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City Council

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Billionaires Have Bad Days, Too

Carl Icahn is struggling with various projects, Sharon Waxman becomes the latest media lady to start a news-aggregation Website, and — it's official! — most City Council members pay less rent than you do, in our daily roundup of finance, media, real-estate and entertainment news.

Christine Quinn Joins the Scandal Bandwagon

The City Council Speaker has been allocating monies to phony nonprofits at the beginning of every year so she can use the funds later for favors, reports the Post.

Department of Agriculture Sued Over Beef; Skip Wine Pairings in Top Restaurants

The Humane Society filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against the Agriculture Department, alleging the bureau has created a legal loophole that consistently permits potentially sick cows to enter the food supply. [NYT] The City Council’s bill to place more fruit-and-vegetable street vendors in poor neighborhoods could hurt business for grocery stores and bodegas in those neighborhoods. [NYT] Even with a reservation, dining at hot spots in L.A. can be just as bad, if not worse, than in New York. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]

Housing Advocate Brad Lander to Run for DeBlasio's Council Spot

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Brooklyn City Councilman Bill DeBlasio plans to run for borough president, and the guy who wants to replace him is part of the borough’s urbanist next generation. "I’m running," said Brad Lander, 38, who directs the nonprofit Pratt Center for Community Development. Lander, neighbors might remember, got the Bloomberg administration to include affordable-housing incentives when rezoning the Williamsburg waterfront two years ago. A savvy political operator, Lander is also popular with the brownstone-bourgeois crowd — the Atlantic Yards Report quotes him approvingly. Even Steven Spinola, president of the Real Estate Board of New York, has battled with Lander and admits grudging respect. "He’s a bright individual," Spinola says. Having successfully fought last year to bring those affordable-housing incentives to parts of all five boroughs, Lander now wants to expand them to the entire city and require public amenities in all development. He also wants to save rent stabilization. "What I feel a lot of passion about is, shouldn’t this growth and development bring us new parks and affordable housing and jobs?" he told us. "It seems like all they bring is luxury condos." —Alec Appelbaum

The City Is Coming for Your Takeout

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The city has taken away from you the simple pleasure of a beer and a cigarette, the delicious trans fats that made food you know is not good for you even less good for you, the words "nigger" and, potentially, "bitch" from your vocabulary, and, if Peter Vallone Jr. has his way, the right to look out your window and into your neighbor's. So what can the City Council come up with to ban next? Today's Sun finds the answer: Styrofoam! "It is mind-boggling that our city, which is becoming a leader on environmental issues, is still using Styrofoam when we know it is extremely harmful to our environment and creating massive amounts of waste," said the councilman behind the idea, Bill de Blasio. And frankly we're disappointed. That makes perfect sense: Can't he come up with something more creative to ban? City Council Bill Would Take Out City's Styrofoam [NYS] Earlier: Peter Vallone Jr. Is Coming for You, and for Jimmy Stewart

Peter Vallone Jr. Is Coming for You, and for Jimmy Stewart

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When Peter Vallone Jr. came for the graffiti artists, we did not speak up, because we are not graffiti artists. Now Peter Vallone Jr. is coming for the Peeping Toms, and we were not going to speak up, because we are not Peeping Toms. But then we read about the city councilman's proposal in today's Sun, and we got worried. You see, the crazed neo-Fascist wants to extend a state law banning nonconsensual peeping with cameras to also criminalize peeping with the naked eye. Which means, as we read it, and as the Sun seems to read it, too, that anyone looking out his window and into the apartment across the way — a venerable and beloved New York tradition, one dissected by Arianne Cohen in the magazine's last Reasons to Love New York issue — would be violating the law. Soon, there'll be no one left to speak up for us. Ban on Window Peeping Is Sought [NYS] Because We Like to Watch [NYM]

Partly Cooked

20070803heds_sm.jpg • Something to ponder during your commute: The most recent federal survey rated the upkeep of the Brooklyn Bridge lower than its collapsed Minneapolis counterpart. [NYDN]

Eliot Spitzer Has Reached Acceptance

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• The Albany County D.A., P. David Soares, announced yesterday that he will review Cuomo's findings regarding use of state police by the governor's office. Spitzer, sounding more Zen by the minute: "I welcome it, I accept it." [amNY]

Stalled Traffic

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• After all that, Albany shelved Bloomberg's congestion-pricing idea, letting the federal-funding deadline pass without the issue even coming to a vote. Expect a new traffic-reducing proposal, nothing like Bloomberg's, later in the year. [NYT]

Traffic Jam

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• The Feds are insistent on their Monday deadline for approval of Bloomberg's congestion-pricing plan, the mayor says, and Shelly Silver's Assembly doesn't even have plans to reconvene to discuss it. Poor Mike. [NYT]

Educating About Sonny Carson

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So the fight over the proposed renaming of four blocks in Brooklyn as Sonny Abubadika Carson Avenue has reached the point where people are threatening to kill each other over it. Is the plan really, as Mayor Bloomberg said, "the worst idea the City Council has had in recent memory"? Maybe, maybe not. There's little more controversial about Carson's positions than, say, Malcolm X's: He freely mixed admirable initiatives (closing down crack houses, fighting police corruption), dramatic ideas (reinterring black slaves in Africa), and the baby-with-the-bathwater nationalist rhetoric. But Malcolm X was infamously "glad" at JFK's death, and he's got a street. Here's an observation we can submit, though — Sonny Carson was, among other things, an expert street renamer. As chairman of the Committee to Honor Black Heroes, he led the fight to rename Reid Avenue after Malcolm X, Sumner Avenue after Marcus Garvey, and Fulton to Harriet Ross Tubman Boulevard. Clever, creating the precedent, eh? Related: Fighting In the Spirit of Sonny Abubadika Carson [Amsterdam News]

Murdoch's Meeting

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• Now, finally, inevitably, the Bancroft family has announced it would "consider" selling Dow Jones. The rest is hemming and hedging, but do click through for the most ridiculously villainous photo of Murdoch the Times has ever run. [NYT] • Leroy Comria, a city councilman, has been issued police protection after another councilman's aide kinda sorta threatened to assassinate him. Why? Because Comria wouldn't vote to rename a street in honor of Black Nationalist Sonny Carson. [NYP] • While Bloomberg wants to increase the city's real-estate tax cut from 5 to 8.5 percent, renters are screwed again — looks like the Christine Quinn–proposed $300 refund to the city tenants won't happen. [NYDN] • Columbia University, squeezed by the AG's office over an alleged violation of student-loan laws, denies any wrongdoing — but agrees to pay up to a million dollars nonetheless. [amNY] • And, in a possible first, the Hotel Chelsea Blog has inspired a documentary, Living With Legends. The last outpost of bohemia, gentrification, whither New York, blah blah. [WNBC]

Five Shots

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• Another cop's bullet, another unarmed man dead, another immigrant family demanding justice. An off-duty Manhattan officer apparently killed a Honduran van driver who sideswiped a parked car and tried to leave the scene. An investigation is under way. [amNY] • New York State's Republican party is beginning to line up behind Rudy Giuliani, on the logic that his candidacy will help the GOP hold the State Senate. One senator says "ethnic Democrats," i.e. immigrants, will vote Rudy. Yeah, he's got the Diallo vote all sewn up. [NYT] • Bruce Ratner must be sweatin' about something: He's sent out letters to 700 addresses near Atlantic Yards promising residents free ACs and double-paned windows (to minimize construction nuisances). The kicker: Daniel Goldstein got one. [NYP] • The City Council is touting the "undeniable success" of a campaign designed to inform clinics and drugstores that Plan B, an emergency birth-control pill, can be sold over the counter; some 94 percent of surveyed city stores had it available. [WNBC] • And in lesser city initiatives, a Brooklyn assemblyman is aghast after having been hipped to the fact there are hookers on the Internet. Specifically, on Craigslist! You mean all those "18 y.o. bored females" aren't just, you know, bored? [NYDN]