Morning Read: And Lo and Behold, a Couple of Weeks Later We Got a Check

At the State of the City, Mayor Bloomberg will try to reassert his agenda after a series of setbacks, including a bruising battle over his new schools chancellor, an $80 million fraud scheme involving the city’s payroll system and a botched effort by the city to deal with a crippling snowstorm last month. Bloomberg will try to remind New Yorkers of his signature accomplishments, particularly his efforts to stimulate the economy. He is also expected to push for changes to the city’s pension system.

Bloomberg gave generously to the city’s local G.O.P organizations. Reports Adam Lisberg: “Phil Ragusa, head of the Queens GOP  said it came as a surprise, entirely at Bloomberg’s will and with no strings attached. ‘We met with some of his people. They called a meeting and said, ‘What do you need?’ We said, ‘We could use some resources.’ And lo and behold, a couple of weeks later we got a check. I was as surprised as anyone.”‘

Federal prosecutors are trying to determine if former state Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. used tax money intended for his Bronx medical clinic to pay a ghostwriter helping him pen a memoir.

Andrew Cuomo handed out $400,000 in bonuses to senior campaign staffers.

Cuomo also hired an ex-staffer to head the state’s ethics commission.

The city has set aside $10 million to give extra help to tens of thousands of students who failed standardized exams last year after the state raised the standards for passing.

Senate Democrats called for more equality than even they instituted when they controlled the chamber in the last two years.

The Committee to Save New York will register as a lobbying outfit.

The Times thinks they need to reveal their donors.

The City Council held its first public hearing on the blizzard response.

New Yorkers for Growth are trying to limit a provision of the Taylor Law which allows unions to operate under the provisions of an expired contract while a new contract is being negotiated.

A Manhattan-based nonprofit agency has agreed to pay a $18 million to settle charges it ripped off the state’s Medicaid system.

The NYPD will assign 700 cops to the World Trade Center area.

The city’s new restaurant rating system has created a new A-list of eateries

The DN says its time for Shelly Silver and Dean Skelos to get on board with Cuomo’s agenda.

Azi Paybarah notes that Cuomo received $35,000 from two LLC’s, private business organizations that, under state rules, do not have to disclose their owners, and whose contributions do not get counted towards any individual’s donor cap.

Is Mike McMahon laying the groundwork for a comeback?

Joe Lieberman will not seek another term as Connecticut senator.

Ex-Marine Michael Grimm has hired a bodyguard.

A look at New Jersey Democratic powerbroker Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr., who makes no bones about his closeness to Republican gov Chris Christie.

A look at the post-collegiate hive of Murray Hill.


Morning Read: And Lo and Behold, a Couple of Weeks Later We Got a Check