Milking the System
A Department of Education contract with milk providers has gone sour, the city’s new comptroller charged today.
Scott Stringer’s first major audit of city schools has revealed evidence of collusion among the dairy companies that provide milk to school children, Mr. Stringer told reporters at a press conference this morning.
In yet another subtle sign that he is one of the few city Democrats willing to criticize the new mayor, Comptroller Scott Stringer today tweaked Bill de Blasio for not sufficiently accounting for expired labor contracts in his preliminary budget.
Standing in front of a PowerPoint presentation in his downtown office’s conference room, the new comptroller praised Mr. de Blasio for fighting to raise the minimum wage and trying to hike income taxes to fund universal prekindergarten. But he said that Mr. de Blasio’s otherwise laudatory budget had failed to account for the mass of expired municipal labor contracts.
The days after the mayor releases his preliminary budget are usually filled with protests by advocates stomping their feet, decrying cuts to favored programs on the steps of City Hall.
But today, the labor groups, workers, and council members rallying outside City Hall were there to hail Mayor Bill de Blasio’s call during his State of the City speech for an increase in the minimum wage.
New York Quits
Top Democrats and organized labor celebrated Mayor Bill de Blasio’s State of the City address this afternoon, hailing the new mayor’s repeated calls for more affordable housing, expanded science education and a tax hike to fund universal prekindergarten.
Little of Mr. de Blasio’s speech actually broke new ground–the new mayor stuck mainly to the campaign themes that he repeated in his victory and inaugural addresses–but Democrats were more than happy to offer praise.
Best Friends Forevah
Smoking is out at City Hall.
City politicians took to Twitter today to applaud CVS’s announcement that its stores will no longer sell tobacco after Oct. 1.
“Thanks to @CVS_Extra for taking bold action to improve public health & make vision of a #tobaccofree generation one step closer to reality,” wrote Comptroller Scott Stinger, a longtime anti-smoking activist.
The next public advocate, the city charter-designated thorn in the side of the imperial mayoralty, was singing.
“De Blasio-ooo,” crooned Tish James at Bill de Blasio’s last campaign stop before he throttled his Republican rival in November. “De Blasio-ooo. C’mon choir! De Blasio-ooo.”
Ms. James, swaying and giggling in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, was singing a snippet of a campaign anthem crafted by a labor union that fell behind Mayor de Blasio early and loudly, setting the stage for a political year only foreseen by liberal Pollyannas—a changing of the guard that would have been a grand joke in the Bloomberg bullpen a year ago.
The Upper West Side’s Mexican Festival Restaurant celebrated Three Kings Day last night, but there was only one person in the room treated like royalty: Councilwoman and speaker candidate Melissa Mark-Viverito.
Just a day and a half before the race for City Council speaker is decided, Ms. Mark-Viverito, the front-runner in the contest, was lavished with praise from citywide officials and some of her colleagues who will cast a vote.
Scott Stringer, the city’s next comptroller, slayed one scandal-scarred pol on his road to victory. Now he’s bringing on board the ex-staffer of another randy Democrat.
Camille Joseph, who served as the second campaign manager of former Congressman Anthony Weiner’s failed mayoral bid, will join the comptroller’s office as deputy comptroller for public affairs. Ms. Joseph will be tasked with handling all communications and outreach while also serving as a liaison to various governmental agencies.
Brian Ellner has been named the executive vice president and group head of public affairs for Edelman, the public relations firm. Mr. Ellner, who is known for his role in marriage equality, was the senior strategist for the Human Rights Campaign in 2011 and worked on the successful push to legalize same-sex marriage in New York.
Though most attention has been focused on Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio and his incoming administration, other newly-elected office holders are getting ready for their transitions, too.
Incoming Comptroller Scott Stringer, who will replace John Liu come January, is set to formally unveil his transition team later this afternoon at an event in Lower Manhattan.