De Blasio & his Donors, the City & its Subways: Campaign Newswire for July 24

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“Do you not help somebody because they’re a donor? … If there’s a problem with the bureaucracy and you can make the bureaucracy work, you do it, whoever asks.”

-Henry Berger, the mayor’s special counsel, in an interview with The New York Times.

Mayor’s Advocacy on Behalf of Donor Still Raises Questions
New York Times
Less than six months after Bill de Blasio became mayor of New York City, a campaign donor buttonholed him at an event in Manhattan. The donor, Harendra Singh, one of the earliest contributors to his mayoral campaign, ran a restaurant on city property and was having problems with the lease. Could the mayor help him? That encounter, on June 3, 2014, set the wheels of government turning in an extraordinary way on behalf of Mr. Singh. City officials at the highest levels became involved, ultimately drawing the interest of federal investigators focused on what they saw as a pattern of trading favors for campaign contributions.

De Blasio Scoffs at Notion that Transit Buck Stops with the City
Mayor Bill de Blasio rode the F train Sunday and blasted what he called “fiction” from the state — saying it “makes no sense” that the MTA claims the city is responsible for the problem-plagued transit system and demanded a plan to fix it as soon as possible. The mayor, who got on at 4th Avenue and 9th Street and rode four stops to Jay Street-MetroTech, said Gov. Andrew Cuomo should “step up” and fund the MTA and also accept responsibility for the system. “The state of New York is responsible for making sure our subways run,” de Blasio said.

Why NY Pols Remain in the Closet
City & State
Despite New York being one of the most progressive states in the nation, the struggle for LGBT rights and acceptance is ongoing. LGBT elected officials still find the gay community’s priorities being blocked or neglected during the policymaking process. Public officials’ fear of being targeted and ostracized is real. As a result, some elected officials have waited years to reveal their sexual orientation. And according to one well-placed source, even today, other elected officials remain firmly in the closet.

No, City Hall Didn’t Clear the Homeless Out Before a Subway Photo Op
Daily News
Contrary to a report that homeless people were booted from two subway stations that Mayor de Blasio visited Sunday morning as he rode to his Brooklyn campaign headquarters, Mildred, 62, says she stayed put and watched Hizzoner pass by at the Jay St.-Metro Tech station. “He’s so tall,” she said.

How an MTA Board Meeting Works
On Wednesday, MTA officials will gather for the agency’s monthly board meeting, where they’ll be formally updated on agency performance metrics like how trains and buses are running, how the money is coming in and going out, what contracts to award and who to award them to. (Check out the agenda for the upcoming New York City Transit committee meeting here.) But before the board takes up business, members of the public can speak.

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