Afternoon Bulletin: Mayor’s Streetcar Proposal Assessed, Tribeca Film Fest Wraps Up

Mayor Bill de Blasio at a press conference about the Brooklyn Queens Connector today.

Mayor Bill de Blasio at a press conference about the Brooklyn Queens Connector today. (Photo: Demetrius Freeman/Mayoral Photography Office)

A new city-commissioned report examines the feasibility and use of the proposed Brooklyn-Queens connector, a streetcar that would run from Sunset Park to Astoria. The report found that the $2.5 billion project, initially envisioned and pushed by the DUMBO-based Two Trees real estate company, was reasonable. The streetcar, if built, is expected to serve 45,000 to 50,000 riders a day, and cut down on travel time. The assessment will be followed up by “visioning sessions” with residents from along the project’s route, and a more extensive study to be conducted later. (Politico New York)

The city agency that approved the deed modification at the center of an unfolding Rivington St. building sale scandal has gone from relatively small to a behemoth, with an annual budget of $1.2 billion. The Department of Citywide Administrative Services, as the agency is called, was established in 1968 by Mayor John Lindsay and now handles the purchase, leasing, and auctioning of city-owned property. The deed change, which stripped the 45 Rivington St. site of the requirement that it be used as not-for-profit before it was sold to a developer for luxury condominiums, was OK-ed by a senior official at the agency. (Wall Street Journal)

A lawyer with Mayor Bill de Blasio’s re-election campaign sent a strongly-worded letter to the State Board of Elections following reports that the board’s chief enforcement counsel, Risa Sugarman, had referred members of the mayor’s inner circle for criminal investigation to the Manhattan District Attorney, Cyrus Vance, Jr.. The lawyer, Laurence Laufer, has questioned why a criminal referral was necessary—claiming that Ms. Sugarman was misinterpreting campaign finance law—and criticized the board for allowing the referral to leak to the press. Political operatives close to the mayor are being investigated for allegedly illegally funneling campaign donations to Senate Democratic candidates through state and county Democratic committees. (New York Times)

New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer waded into the controversy over the 126,000 Brooklyn Democratic voters that were purged from voter rolls in advance of the New York primary last week. Criticizing the “broken voting system,” he pledged that his office would audit the Board of Elections. The Chief Clerk in Brooklyn, Diane Haslett-Rudiano, was suspended without pay last week as complaints rolled in. A combination of data entry and failure to contact voters who had been eliminated from the rolls seems to have been the cause of the error. (New York Post)

The annual Tribeca Film Festival has come and gone again in the city. Observer staffers reported from the iconic festival throughout, covering everything from meditations on a pre-sanitized Times Square, a conversation with actors about movies and baseball, and musings on a documentary exploring a comedic taboo. (Observer)

Afternoon Bulletin: Mayor’s Streetcar Proposal Assessed, Tribeca Film Fest Wraps Up