Pre-K Campaign Launches Robocalls to Thank State Assembly

UPKNYC's Logo. (photo: upknyc.org)
UPKNYC’s Logo. (photo: upknyc.org)

A nonprofit lunched to push Mayor Bill de Blasio’s signature prekindergarten plan made over 200,000 robocalls last night to tout its progress, Dan Levitan, a spokesman for UPKNYC, told the Observer this morning.

In the robocall, a UPKNYC field director praises the State Assembly for including Mr. de Blasio’s tax on high income earners to fund expansive pre-K and after-school programs in its preliminary budget plan. Continue reading “Pre-K Campaign Launches Robocalls to Thank State Assembly”

NYC Assembly Members Push Pre-K as Advocates Rally

Shelly Silver. (Photo: Daniel Barry/Getty)
Shelly Silver. (Photo: Daniel Barry/Getty)

As Mayor Bill de Blasio and other supporters of the mayor’s plan to tax rich New York City residents to fund universal pre-K rally in Albany today, assembly members across the five boroughs have almost completely unified around the proposal. Continue reading “NYC Assembly Members Push Pre-K as Advocates Rally”

State Legislature Moves to Ban Novelty Lighters

Some especially cute cigarette lighters. (Photo: Getty)
Some especially cute cigarette lighters. (Photo: Getty)

New Yorkers may no longer be able to buy lighters that look like the Statue of Liberty or that cute cow in the photograph to the left.

The New York State Assembly approved a ban on novelty lighters today, joining the State Senate, which did so last week, and leaving the bill just a gubernatorial signature away from becoming law.

Continue reading “State Legislature Moves to Ban Novelty Lighters”

Vito Lopez Ally to Launch Bid for His Assembly Seat

Maritza Davila (Photo: Facebook)
Maritza Davila (Photo: Facebook)

Vito Lopez may have left the State Assembly last month in the wake of bombshell sexual harassment allegations, but an electoral war for his former district is still heating up. According to sources, Maritza Davila, Mr. Lopez’s co-district leader who nearly unseated Councilwoman Diana Reyna four years ago, will run for his old job.

Continue reading “Vito Lopez Ally to Launch Bid for His Assembly Seat”

U.S. Attorney: ‘Political Corruption in New York Is Indeed Rampant’

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara explains the scheme.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara explains the scheme.

Two days ago, when U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said New York State corruption cases were beginning to feel like the movie Groundhog Day, he was rather prescient. This afternoon, Mr. Bharara unsealed charges against Bronx Assemblyman Eric Stevenson, making him the third New York City lawmaker to be charged with corruption this week. Additionally, another Bronx Assemblyman, Nelson Castro, was the cooperating witness in the latest case and will resign today.

“So here we go again,” Mr. Bharara began. “This has become something of a habit. For the second time in three days, we unsealed criminal charges against a sitting member of the State Legislature. And based on what is alleged in this complaint, it becomes more and more difficult to avoid the sad conclusion that political corruption in New York is indeed rampant and that the ‘show me the money’ culture in Albany is alive and well.”

Continue reading “U.S. Attorney: ‘Political Corruption in New York Is Indeed Rampant’”

Assemblyman Steve Katz Arrested for Marijuana Possession After Traffic Stop

Steve Katz (Photo: NYS Assembly)
Steve Katz (Photo: NYS Assembly)

Republican Assemblyman Steve Katz is due to appear in court later this month after he was arrested for marijuana possession following a traffic stop on the New York State Thruway yesterday morning. According to the New York State Police, who amusingly spell marijuana with an “H,” when Mr. Katz was stopped for speeding the trooper smelled the drug in his car and subsequently found him to be in “possession of a small bag of marihuana.” Continue reading “Assemblyman Steve Katz Arrested for Marijuana Possession After Traffic Stop”

Dov Hikind Calls Criticism of His Blackface Purim Costume ‘Political Correctness to the Absurd’

Dov Hikind and his family in their Purim costumes. (Photo: Facebook)
Dov Hikind and his family in their Purim costumes. (Photo: Facebook)

Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind is standing by his decision to don a Purim costume that some people have described as offensive “blackface.” The outfit, which consisted of brown face paint, an afro wig and sunglasses in what Mr. Hikind described as a representation of a “black basketball player”provoked widespread outrage after Politicker first wrote about it this morning. However, in a post on his personal website bluntly titled “It’s Purim. People Dress Up,” Mr. Hikind argued his critics don’t understand the nature of the Purim holiday, a costume and wine-fueled reverie commemorating a time when Jewish people living in Persia were saved from extermination. Continue reading “Dov Hikind Calls Criticism of His Blackface Purim Costume ‘Political Correctness to the Absurd’”