A fight has been raging over a stark racial imbalance across New York City’s eight specialized high schools, elite schools like Stuyvesant and Bronx Science where Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to do away with a high-stakes test that determines admission.
Yet, the segregation problem in city schools goes far beyond those schools — and so does the push to change things, as protests on Monday showed. Hundreds of students walked out at Manhattan’s Beacon High School, whose selective admission process has resulted in a student body that skews disproportionately white. About 45 percent of students there are white, compared to just 15 percent in city schools overall, the Daily News reports.
The student protesters are pushing for an end to selective high school admissions in use at dozens of high-performing schools across the city. At Beacon, there’s no test to get in, but it does require high grades and standardized test scores, plus a portfolio of class work and essays, the New York Times reports. Making the cut isn’t easy: Last year, there were more than 5,800 applications for 360 seats in the freshman class.
While de Blasio has embraced the push to get rid of the admissions test for specialized schools — and been frustrated with Albany — he has not gotten on board with a broader overhaul of high school admissions to promote diversity. Student protesters with the group Teens Take Charge aren’t going to let him forget it, and plan to conduct more Monday student strikes at city schools until their demands are met.
IT’S TUESDAY. Got tips, suggestions or thoughts? Let us know … By email: EDurkin@politico.com and email@example.com, or on Twitter: @erinmdurkin and @annagronewold
WHERE’S ANDREW? With no public events scheduled by press time.
WHERE’S BILL? In New York City with no public events scheduled.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “It was clearly, at least to some extent, motivated by a desire to limit the WFP and that’s not what that commission was for. So I’m frustrated by that.” — Bill de Blasio, one of the last politicians in the state to say Gov. Cuomo used the Public Financing Commission to burn the Working Families Party
“NEWARK IS TAKING New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to court to stop a controversial program that sends homeless families to live in often-uninhabitable conditions in New Jersey, new court records show. The special one-time assistance program relocates NYC homeless families across the country with a full year’s worth of rent paid up front. More than 2,200 families have been placed in 62 New Jersey towns with 1,198 in Newark alone. But local officials say some of these families end up in decrepit conditions — with no heat, hot water, collapsed ceilings or mice infestations. In East Orange, at least 14 families were placed in eight properties that were illegally rented and never passed local inspections, NJ Advance Media found. ‘New York has continued to send people despite us having several discussions about our problems with their program,’ Newark’s corporation counsel Kenyatta Stewart said. ‘We need to get a judge involved so they can stop shipping people to Newark.’” NJ.com’s Karen Yi
“A FORMER CITY Hall fundraiser convicted of taking part in a massive NYPD corruption scandal is appealing his four-year sentence — claiming he should have been allowed to call Mayor Bill de Blasio as a trial witness. In newly filed court papers, Jeremy Reichberg’s lawyer John Meringolo argues that allowing jurors to hear testimony from turncoat pal Jona Rechnitz about de Blasio allegedly taking bribes — without hearing from the Mayor himself — confused the jury, leading to his client’s conviction on conspiracy and other charges. Reichberg’s defense team tried to subpoena de Blasio as a trial witness, but that request was quashed by Manhattan federal court judge Gregory Woods.” New York Post’s Emily Saul
“NEW DATA on the money parent-teacher associations raised at every city school last year reveals vast racial inequities in the access children have to extracurricular resources, a Daily News analysis shows. The median white student attended a school that raised about $65 per student last year, while the median black student went to a school that collected about $4 per student from parents, the analysis found. The data, which the City Council required the Education Department to collect, was published in full for the first time Monday. PTA fundraising has long been recognized as a source of inequality in the city school system. Wealthy schools can raise more than a million dollars per year to pay for extra-curriculars and supplies. Schools with lower-income families can struggle to raise anything.” New York Daily News’ Michael Elsen-Rooney
“NEW YORK CITY’s newly sworn-in police commissioner has told the force he wants to change a media-driven misperception that officers and the communities they patrol have a bad relationship. Dermot Shea took the oath from Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday at a police headquarters ceremony. His mother Ellen and wife Serena and their three children looked on, along with a room full of dignitaries and police officials. They included former Commissioner William Bratton, but not Shea’s predecessor, James O’Neill, who was traveling to the west coast to start a job Monday as Visa Inc.’s head of global security after three years as police commissioner. During the public ceremony, Shea, a statistical whiz who rose through the ranks from patrol officer and was most recently the chief of detectives, called it ‘truly humbling’ to be named the 44th commissioner of ‘the greatest police department in the world.’” Associated Press’s Michael Sisak
— A thin blue line flag, a design associated with the Blue Lives Matter movement, was spotted at an NYPD station for the second time in a week.
FUNDRAISING IS THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR FOR DEMS, TOO:
“LIKE THE STEADY LINEUP of Albany fundraisers held during the regular legislative session, the committee’s Monday affair will attract a who’s who of politically wired lobbyists, including those who specialized for years in lobbying Republicans when they ran the Senate. To be considered a “friend,” the Monday event will cost attendees the minimum entrance fee: $1,000. A “host” designation is $10,000, while $25,000 gets donors the title of ‘chair.’’ At the bottom of an invitation for the event is a notation reminding attendees that $117,300 is the maximum amount that can be contributed to the Senate committee by individuals, partnerships, political action committees and limited liability companies. Fundraising, at blistering paces, is a well-worn trend in Albany. But this round – engaged in also by Assembly Democrats and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo — comes as a panel on Sunday released its final plan to create a program in which taxpayers will contribute $100 million annually to help finance the campaigns of statewide and legislative candidates. In turn, dollar donations to those candidates will be lowered. The panel, led by appointees of Cuomo and Democratic legislative leaders, put a far-off effective date for the full program: the 2024 elections for lawmakers and 2026 for statewide races.” Buffalo News’ Tom Precious
“ON NOV. 19, Suffolk County police were able to secure an order that allowed it to remove any weapons from the Long Island home of a student who claimed, ‘He intended to bring a gun to school and shoot everyone,’ records showed. The case was brought under New York’s new Red Flag Law that allows school officials or police to request an “extreme risk protection order” from a judge to take weapons from a home where a person is deemed dangerous to themselves and others. ‘With this new law, family, household members, school officials and law enforcement are now empowered to prevent gun violence within our homes, schools, and communities,’ Rebecca Fischer, executive director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, said in a statement when the law took effect in August. Eighteen states now have so-called Red Flag laws that allow police and households to petition a judge to remove weapons from a home where a dangerous person lives. But now the law is being expanded to scuttle school shootings.” USA Today Network’s Joe Spector
PUBLIC FINANCING COMMISSION FALLOUT:
— “THE WORKING FAMILIES PARTY isn’t about to throw in the towel. The union-fueled third party says measures meant to boot minor parties from the ballot in New York will only embolden progressives and could spell trouble for Gov. Cuomo. ‘With the subtlety of a sledgehammer, the Governor and his allies tried to weaken New York’s progressives before he runs for office again — instead, his blatant abuse of executive power has only further energized progressives for 2020 and beyond,’ WFP director Bill Lipton said Monday.” Daily News’ Denis Slattery
— “OVER THE PAST five years, Sugarman’s office has seemed to change the board’s formerly lackluster dynamic by pursuing a number of high-profile cases — probes that have angered a bipartisan array of prominent politicians and interest groups. Yet as a result of a report issued late Sunday by another, newer commission — this one appointed by the Legislature and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to implement a publicly funded campaign system in New York — a significant amount of the enforcement work appears headed away from the independent enforcement counsel’s office and back to the state Board of Elections. That has some government reform advocates concerned.” Times Union’s Chris Bragg
— “TWO LAWSUITS filed by minor political parties, aimed at cementing the constitutionality of “fusion” voting — where candidates may run on and collect votes from multiple party lines — will push forward, officials said, despite a decision from a state-sanctioned panel that effectively leaves New York’s practice — which had been threatened — in place. The panel’s final decision was outlined late Sunday evening in a quietly-published report, which will be equivalent to a new law, unless the Legislature acts in the coming weeks to repeal it. Representatives from the two parties, the Working Families Party and the Conservative Party, said Monday that the panel’s decision would not disrupt their legal strategy.” New York Law Journal’s Dan Clark
“GOV. ANDREW CUOMO has long-standing ties to the state official who dismissed a whistleblower’s claim that the governor was illegally tipped off to a potential probe into a crooked former top aide, Joe Percoco, The Post has learned. Cuomo was New York’s attorney general when he hired lawyer Spencer Freedman as his chief counsel for civil rights in 2008, records show. Following Cuomo’s election as governor, Freedman was named the state’s executive deputy inspector general by then-IG Catherine Leahy Scott, a Cuomo appointee. That appointment let Freedman take over the whistleblower case when Scott’s successor, Letizia Tagliafierro, had to recuse herself because of her own Cuomo ties, which include spending years as one of his closest advisors.” New York Post’s Bernadette Hogan and Bruce Golding
#UpstateAmerica: “In Rochester, we’ve got Park Ave, Lilacs, garbage plates and a Keg Tree.” — Janine Schoos, brand director for Genesee. (The sixth annual lighting of the 27-foot-tall tree made from 520 empty beer kegs and decorated with more than 30,000 lights is this Friday.)
“NEW YORK’S most vulnerable Democrat — freshman Congressman Max Rose — joined the legions of Republicans criticizing the state’s criminal justice reforms Monday, blasting the measures as going ‘too far, too fast.’ ‘We can and we must ensure our justice system is fair and maintains our public safety — but the fact is with the bail and discovery reforms Albany went too far, too fast,’ Rose said in a statement. ‘That’s why I’m joining law enforcement and bipartisan colleagues from across the state in calling for quick action in Albany to ensure the safety of our communities — and especially the victims of these crimes — are not put in jeopardy.’ Rose has no jurisdiction over the state’s criminal justice system as a member of Congress, but his remarks provide new evidence of the toll that supporting the measures could take in potentially competitive districts.” New York Post’s Carl Campanile and Kenneth Garger
THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN announced Monday that it will no longer credential Bloomberg reporters for campaign events in response to the outlet’s decision not to investigate its owner, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, or his Democratic rivals for president. “Bloomberg News has declared that they won’t investigate their boss or his Democrat competitors, many of whom are current holders of high office, but will continue critical reporting on President Trump,” campaign manager Brad Parscale said in a statement. “Since they have declared their bias openly, the Trump campaign will no longer credential representatives of Bloomberg News for rallies or other campaign events,” he continued, adding that the campaign will determine whether to engage with individual reporters or inquiries on a “case-by-case basis” and that the move “will remain the policy of the Trump campaign until Bloomberg News publicly rescinds its decision.” POLITICO’s Caitlin Oprysko
BY ALL APPEARANCES, Bill de Blasio is having a fit. The New York City mayor has decried Mike Bloomberg’s hubris for pursuing the presidency, castigated Bloomberg’s apology for his race-based policing policies and excoriated his immediate predecessor’s “damning” record on homelessness. In a weeklong series of appearances in national and local media, de Blasio has expressed disgust with Bloomberg’s bid for the presidency — the same office de Blasio tried to win, before his anemic campaign fell apart earlier this year. “Before his millions and millions of dollars of advertising … we need an honest conversation about what really happened,” de Blasio said last week in an online interview. De Blasio is not mistaken to think that he is well situated to serve as a voice of reason amid Bloomberg’s excessively rosy presentation of his own tenure as mayor. Like a Cassandra from City Hall, de Blasio is warning Democrats to resist Bloomberg’s enticements. But in his eagerness to do so, he is perhaps diminishing himself in the process. POLITICO’s Dana Rubinstein and Sally Goldenberg
— De Blasio won’t be joining other mayors in quizzing presidential candidates at a forum in Iowa this week.
“THE CONGRESSIONAL HISPANIC Caucus’s politics arm…will back New York City Council Member Ritchie Torres in a crowded field of Democrats looking to replace Rep. José Serrano in New York’s 15th Congressional District. Bold PAC, which works to elect more Latino members of Congress, will provide financial and strategic support to Torres, a frontrunner in a 12-person race to succeed Serrano, who first took office in 1990. All but one of the Democratic candidates has Latino roots, and Torres would be the first openly gay black or Latino member of Congress should he win the 2020 election.” BuzzFeed’s Kadia Goba
IN ITS FIRST MAJOR gun rights case in nearly a decade, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments from New York City Monday, which told the high court that a National Rifle Association-backed lawsuit challenging a now defunct gun transport rule is moot. The case — New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. City of New York, New York — could determine whether the city’s former ban on transporting a licensed, locked and unloaded handgun to a home or a shooting range outside city limits ran afoul of Second Amendment protections. POLITICO’s Amanda Eisenberg
NEW CHARGES ARE likely to be brought against two associates of Rudy Giuliani who were indicted for campaign finance crimes, prosecutors said Monday. The two men, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, are already charged in a scheme to skirt campaign finance laws as part of a plot to oust the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. A new indictment — which could include additional charges or additional defendants — is likely in the case, assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas Zolkind said at a pretrial hearing in federal court in Manhattan, as investigators pore through a mountain of potential evidence in the case. “The government’s investigation is ongoing, and we think a superseding indictment is likely,” he said. “No decision has been made.” POLITICO’s Erin Durkin
— The city has reached a trifecta of milestones in the fight against HIV and AIDS.
— Coming legislation to address employee benefits for gig workers will likely include collective bargaining, which could clash with federal labor and antitrust laws.
— A new law lets you opt out of telemarketing calls!
— The rapper T.I. apparently inspired proposed Albany legislation to ban virginity tests, after saying his daughter sees the gynecologist for annual hymen exams.
— Council Member Inez Barron is opposing a homeless shelter’s redevelopment to incorporate upgrades and some affordable housing, arguing East New York has become “oversaturated” with shelters.
— The state teachers union endorsed Democrat John Mannion in his second bid for the seat Antonacci’s leaving vacant next year.
— New York has quietly established a program that expands access to clean syringes in far-flung areas of the state.
— Brooklyn rapper Paperboy Prince is running for Congress against Rep. Nydia Velazquez.
— “Residents of Brooklyn’s Sea Gate say the state left their homeowners’ association marooned after a $500,000 state grant got washed away in a corruption scandal.”
— More than 90,000 packages are stolen or disappear in New York City every day.
— A team of thieves has been stealing ATMs (the machines themselves) around the city.
— A murder trial began in the beating death of 6-year-old Zymere Perkins.
— The New York Philharmonic’s concert hall will reduce its capacity by more than 500 seats as part of a $550 million renovation.
— Billionaire Robert Mercer and his wife Diana are applying to build an 8,633 square foot maintenance building at their Long Island estate, angering some neighbors.
— The Brooklyn Public Library will begin lending out board games.
— City pols pushed for an end to a sweet deal on parking tickets enjoyed by shipping giants like FedEx and UPS.
— The rate of heroin use among city teens has quadrupled over the last two decades.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Ali Zelenko, SVP for comms at NBC News … Lizzie Edelman, managing partner at E:SIX Strategies … Mandi Critchfield, communications director for the Senate Banking Committee … Lance Trover, consultant at Tusk Strategies … Robert Pondiscio … Margaret Mulkerrin … Diane Cardwell … Danielle Filson … (was Monday): Chris Berend, EVP of NBC News Digital
ENGAGED — Alexandra Olsman, associate specialist/project manager for the art of Africa, Oceania and the Americas at Sotheby’s in New York, on Saturday got engaged to Zachary Frankel, principal of real estate development firm Frankel Enterprises. He proposed in her hometown of Philadelphia at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Pic … Another pic
— Chris Martin, an associate at Cooley LLP, proposed to Taylor Williams, a VP at Goldman Sachs. The couple, who have been together for a little more than 5 years, met on Hinge, and Martin proposed at the Belvedere in Vienna. Pic
MAKING MOVES — Hassan Syed Naveed is joining the mayor’s Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes as deputy executive director. He was previously the director of outreach for the NYPD inspector general at the Department of Investigation.
— Luke Hornblower is now a corporate attorney at financial services company ICE Data Services. He previously was compliance counsel at MarketCounsel.
MEDIAWATCH — “New York Times overhauls its presidential endorsement process,” by POLITICO’s Michael Calderone: “The New York Times’s editorial board is veering sharply away from its traditional closed-door endorsement process for Democratic presidential aspirants, conducting interviews with the 2020 Democratic contenders on the record and airing parts of the discussions — along with the board’s final decision — on its FX show, ‘The Weekly.’”
A PROPOSAL INTENDED to guarantee that Rikers Island will close as part of the de Blasio administration’s jail replacement plan has moved into the city’s public review process. The land use proposal, filed by the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, the Department of Correction and the City Council speaker, would prohibit jail uses on the island after 2026, the timeline by which the city intends to close the troubled facility and build four new jails around the boroughs. The plan to close Rikers won Council approval in October. POLITICO’s Janaki Chadha
The Mets, who have been pretending they’re going to spend money like a real New York team… soon… since Bernie Madoff went bust in December 2008, leaked to a friendly reporter that, once again… they won’t. It’s been well over a decade like this.
Bucks 132, Knicks 88: If you find a silver lining in this one, you’re made of stronger stuff than I am. Back-to-back while missing Marcus Morris and Frank Ntilikina did set the Knicks up for failure on Monday night. But they did nothing to rise above their circumstances.
The day ahead: The St. John’s men’s hoops team hosts St. Peter’s.