Morning Read: ‘Because You’re Special’

Today's New York Post.

Today’s New York Post.

Headline of the Day: “LET MY PEOPLE GO.”

Runner-Up: “Michael Grimm: Bringing Sexy Back.”

All of the city’s major papers lead with the news, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, that Mayor Bill de Blasio placed a call to a high-ranking police contact to inquire about the arrest of supporter Bishop Orlando Findlayter Monday night–after which Mr. Findlayter was let go instead of having to spend the night behind bars. “Jail of Two Cities,” declared the New York Post. “Bail of  Two Cities,” read the Daily News, which referred to a “bizarre story that reads like ‘A Jail of Two Cities.’”

All of the stories seem to confirm City Hall’s insistence that Mr. de Blasio called to inquire about Mr. Findlayter–but did not request his release. According to a detailed account in the New York Times, the mayor made his inquiry to Deputy Chief Kim Royster, who called precinct commander Kenneth Lehr, “who told her that he had spoken with supporters of the pastor and already decided to release Mr. Findlayter … Ms. Royster stressed that Mr. Lehr was not aware of the mayor’s interest when he directed Mr. Findlayter’s release. ‘The mayor’s inquiry came after the fact,’ she said.”

And the Post has another update in the ongoing saga of Assemblyman William Boyland Jr. According to video played yesterday at his ongoing corruption trial, the scandal-scarred pol allegedly rejected a $5,000 bribe weeks before his arrest because he felt the sum was too small. “I’m not talking about $5,000 folks,” he reportedly told undercover agents, asking for $250,000 instead.

In an interview on NY1′s Inside City Hall last night, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito was asked about what she expects from Mr. de Blasio’s preliminary budget, which will be unveiled later today: “In the State of the City, he made a real case, laid the context, the framework … The budget is always supposed to be [about] being able to put out the priorities in monetary terms,” she said. “There’s a lot that we’re all waiting for.”

The Nation is back with another piece about the mayor. In the latest, executive editor Betsy Reed argues that, beyond the statistic about children’s outcomes, “Universal Pre-K Could Redistribute Wealth—Right Here, Right Now” by “offering relief to ordinary working parents, for whom private preschool—which runs some $20,000 a year in New York City—is unaffordable, and asking the city’s most prosperous residents to pay for it.”

And Mr. de Blasio appeared last night on Univision 41, marking his first interview with a Spanish-language television station since his inauguration. Here, for non-Spanish speakers, is the full translation, courtesy of the Mayor’s Office:

UNIVISION 41 – Mariela Salgado – 6:13 pm

Mariela Salgado: There may have been some snowstorms this month, but Mayor de Blasio has made some time to speak with us. The Mayor is committed to advancing his progressive agenda and to implementing policies that help all New Yorkers, including undocumented New Yorkers.

[Mayor is shown walking into the interview room in City Hall]

Salgado: Good afternoon, Mr. Mayor. An amicable Bill de Blasio took time out of his schedule to speak with us exclusively.

Mayor Bill de Blasio: [In Spanish] To me it is important to use a bit of Spanish in all my speeches, and it is a great advantage to be bilingual.

Salgado: The Mayor spoke with us one day after announcing his plan to find a way to give municipal identification cards to undocumented residents so that they can open bank accounts and have access to libraries. Mr. Mayor, what will happen if the Federal government does not do anything about immigration reform. Would you be prepared to find a way to give driver’s licenses to undocumented workers?

Mayor: [Speaking in English, Voiced Over in Spanish] That’s something I believe in now. Colorado, which is not a particularly progressive state, has already done it. Why can’t we?

Salgado: Also, the Mayor has faced more snowstorms than any other New York City Mayor since 1978.

Mayor: Three really major ones – I know, I’ve lost count too!

Salgado: So many that it’s hard to keep count. But what does it take to close schools during a snowstorm? There have been some concerns about the safety of the streets.

Mayor: But the fact is, school has rarely been closed. If students cannot get to school, then yes. But people should know that in the last thirty years, we have only closed schools ten times. It is a very delicate decision, and we have to consider the parents who depend on schools to be able to go to work. Most importantly, we should not interrupt the children’s education.

Salgado: The Mayor also said he does not plan to attend the St. Patrick’s Day Parade due to their discriminatory policy against gay participants. He did speak with us about the Puerto Rican Day Parade, which is under investigation.

Mayor: The Puerto Rican Parade situation is very different, the investigation is centered around a group of people who are facing specific accusations. The Puerto Rican Day Parade is an event I have attended for many years.

Salgado: So we can count on you to attend the Puerto Rican Day Parade?

Mayor: Of course, I will be there.

Salgado: And why did he choose a Hispanic news outlet for his first interview?

Mayor: Because you’re special.

Salgado: We will have a deeper discussion with the Mayor on his plan for pre-K and his plan for carriage horses at 11:00pm tonight.

(In the second half, he pushed his plan to hike takes on the richest city residents to pay for his pre-k plan, bemoaned the “uncertainty” open labor contracts have added to the budget and rejected the idea that horse-drawn carriages are a “staple of the city.”)