Morning Read: ‘The Right to Be Puppets’

Today's Daily News

Today’s Daily News

Headline of the Day: “New York City Council Member Asks a Senator: Stop the Emails.”

Runner-Up: “Plan Offers No Picnic for Union Square Park.”

Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will endorse State Senator Adriano Espaillat in his bid to oust Congressman Charlie Rangel, Capital New York first reported last night–marking a reversal from her position when Mr. Espaillat first challenged Mr. Rangel two years ago.

“These decisions are never easy … But Adriano has a strong trajectory of working on the issues important to me and my district, and I look forward to working with him when he’s in Congress,” Ms. Mark-Viverito told Juan Gonzalez of the Daily News, who predicted that the move “could spark even more defections among key Rangel backers, and bring to an end nearly 70 years of Harlem being represented in Congress by black leaders.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo “is taking the unusual step of involving himself in the selection of his challenger, telling some top Republicans that they should be leery of nominating [Westchester County Executive] Rob Astorino” for governor, according to the New York Times. One possible explanation: That Mr. Cuomo wants to ensure his opponent is not too far to the right on social issues, potentially alienating moderate voters and costing Republicans control of the chamber.

Mr. Cuomo has reportedly warned that, if Mr. Astorino is the nominee, he will receive a pounding. “He’s told me that if Astorino runs, he is going to pound the hell out of him and talk about guns and gays, and it won’t be pretty and will hurt all of us,” one Republican senator told the paper. But party backers aren’t buying it: “Andrew Cuomo is being a bully,” Republican Chair Ed Cox was quoted saying. “His attempts to derail Rob Astorino’s candidacy show just how worried he must be.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio appears to be no closer to moving to Gracie Mansion nearly two months into his administration. The mayor attended a reception at the official Upper East Side residence last night, but made his way back to Park Slope after it was done, noted the Daily News. A spokeswoman told the paper “only that the move would be ‘in the coming months'” and “blamed the foot-dragging on de Blasio’s ‘busy’ schedule.”

First Lady Chirlane McCray hosted a private lunch Wednesday to champion the mayor’s plan to raise taxes on the wealthy to fund universal pre-K. According to the Wall Street Journal, Ms. McCray asked the well-heeled crowd, which included Glamour magazine editor Cindi Leive and fashion designer Nanette Lepore, to “call their state legislators and reach out to their friends to convince lawmakers in Albany to allow the city to raise income taxes.”

While New York magazine weighed in on Mr. de Blasio’s continued push for the tax, despite resistance in Albany: “But the mayor — by not trading angry words with Albany’s leaders, and by acting as if some form of pre-K is a sure thing this fall — is sticking to his strategy: that to show weakness, or hint at a willingness to compromise, would surely kill the prospects of making anything substantial happen by September,” they wrote.

Former Lieutenant Governor Richard Ravitch is apparently livid over the MTA’s decision yesterday to cut tolls the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. “I’m just flabbergasted that nobody understands the seriousness of this,” Mr. Ravitch told the Times, arguing that members had violated their obligation to act in the best interest of the MTA, not the officials who appointed them. Former Assemblyman Richard Brodsky piled on, adding: “They have the right to be wrong. They don’t have the right to be puppets.”