preaching to the choir
With less than a month to go until the state budget deadline, Mayor Bill de Blasio returned to Albany for the fourth time since his election to press his case to lawmakers reticent to let the city raise taxes on the wealthiest residents to fund universal pre-K.
At a rally at the Washington Armory, which several noted stood half-empty, Mr. de Blasio, joined by city lawmakers and supporters, tried yet again to make his case that the tax made moral and logical sense.
It was a tale of two rallies.
In another round of the political chess between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, Mr. Cuomo spoke today at a rally framed by Mr. de Blasio and his supporters as an attempt to undermine the mayor’s education agenda.
Pre-K this Way
Mayor Bill de Blasio today dismissed planned protests in Albany by charter school operators and advocates next week as a “sideshow” that he insisted would not distract from his pre-K push
Success Academy Charter School head Eva Moskowitz will be shutting down all of her schools this coming Tuesday to join more than 2,000 charter school advocates from across the state in Albany to push lawmakers to support their schools. The date happens to coincide with the new mayor’s planned descent upon Albany to convince reticent state lawmakers to support his plan to raise taxes on the city’s wealthy to fund universal pre-K and after-school programs.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo drew the next line in the sand over funding universal prekindergarten in his 2014 budget address today, side-stepping Mayor Bill de Blasio’s signature tax-the-rich plan.
Mr. de Blasio, of course, made the expansion of universal pre-K his signature campaign issue, which was tied to a tax on the city’s highest-income earners. But such a tax requires approval from Albany and Mr. Cuomo made it clear today he is not on board by proposing an alternate funding mechanism.
Bill of Education
The city’s new public advocate, Tish James, who had vowed to be a thorn in the side of fellow officials, is already making good on her promise.
At a press conference early this morning demanding more education funding from the state, Ms. James went after Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the $2 billion tax cut plan he unveiled ahead of his State of the State speech last week, separating her from other city lawmakers, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, who have largely refused to criticize the plan.
Bill de Blasio will be unveiling “important” new appointments in the near future, but don’t expect his schools chancellor pick to be among them.
Asked today about his selection for the chancellor position, the mayor-elect described his decision-making process as deliberate and methodical and said new candidates are still being considered even as his January 1 inauguration looms a few weeks away.
“It is good to be back in Brooklyn.”
President Barack Obama, who lived in the borough back in the 1980s but had yet to make an official stop as president, according to Borough President Marty Markowitz, returned to the borough today to visit a tech-focused high school in Crown Heights.
Parks and Wreck
Joe Lhota has a suggestion for the president.
Barack Obama is visiting a Brooklyn school today, where he will be joined by Bill de Blasio, the Democratic nominee in the mayor’s race, and a host of elected officials. But Mr. Lhota, the Republican Party’s pick, thinks they should have a debate as well.
Brooklynites may have to find a new place to picnic Friday afternoon.
President Barack Obama’s visit to a high school in the borough will result in the closure of Prospect Park for six hours, according to the park’s website.
After praising a Brooklyn high school in his State of the Union speech earlier this year, President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit in person later this week.
Mr. Obama will drop by the Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) Friday “to discuss the importance of ensuring that the next generation of middle class American workers and entrepreneurs has the skills they need to compete and win in a global economy,” a White House official said, according to the Daily News.