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The Thrilla in Albany

• The battle royale between Joe Bruno and Eliot Spitzer — and maybe, a little bit, the Albany Times Union — continues to heat up. Now the embattled State Senate majority leader says he'll activate a senate committee to investigate the guv — and start issuing subpoenas. [NYP] • Another week, another power outage: About 2,500 Upper East Siders lost their electricity again last night, this time after an underground fire. Blacking out 10021 twice in ten days can't be good for business. [Reuters] • Turns out that while he was preparing to decamp the GOP, Mike Bloomberg was privately bombarding the state Republicans with messages of support — including pledges to back some Dem-targeted senators' 2008 campaigns. Now that's triangulation. [NYT] • The new noise regulations have barely gone into effect, and already dozens of businesses have been busted — including a Mister Softee truck caught blasting the jingle in a residential area. [amNY] • And the Statue of Liberty is increasingly unlikely to make it onto the modern "seven wonders of the world" list currently being compiled. As the massive poll draws to a close with over 90 million votes cast, the poor green thing is languishing at the bottom, with the likes of the Kremlin and Stonehenge. [NYDN]

Rudy's in the Money (Sorta)

• Rudy Giuliani came out on top in the second round of Republican fund-raising, becoming the only GOP candidate to raise more dough in the second quarter of 2007 ($17 million) than in the first ($16 million). For comparison’s sake, Barack Obama took in $31 million over the same period. [NYDN]

Fireworks, Pools, Booze — Not Terror — Will Kill You Tomorrow

• There's no reason to fear terror attacks on the Fourth of July, the mayor is insisting; the threat of terror, he says, is nothing compared to the dangers of unguarded beaches and pools. "Don't let the kids play with fireworks. Don't drink and drive," he advised. Oh, also, the NYPD is on its highest alert. [NYDN]


• Crime is drastically down so far this year, with the city on track to set a record in 2007: the fewest murders since the police began keeping track in the sixties. An NYU prof credits an NYPD program that sends crowds of rookie cops to bad neighborhoods — and those rookie cops would be the ones they're now paying $25k. [NYDN] • Is Joe Bruno the Alan Hevesi of the sky? The state's top Republican is under investigation for allegedly steering state contracts to associates; now Spitzer is threatening to look into Bruno's use of state aircraft — and police escorts — to fly to fund-raisers in New York City. [NYP] • Those new New York City condoms hit 100 of New York's 325 senior centers last week. The remaining 225 centers — save for seven apparently run by prudes — will get their rubbers this week, along with pamphlets on HIV prevention. [NYP] • Bloomberg's new noise code went into effect yesterday. See, isn't the city nice and quiet now? [NYT] • And A-Rod's wife wore a tank top to yesterday's game bearing the words "Fuck You" on the back. Perhaps it would have been better to convey this message at home? [NYP]

Bloomberg Calling

• People are receiving anonymous, computerized telephone polls asking if they'd support a Bloomberg run for the presidency if he spent $1 billion of his own money on it. When asked if the poll was conducted by Bloomberg, aides in his office refused to confirm or deny it. How very diabolical! [NYDN]

When the Lights Go Down in the City

• Yesterday's power outage lasted for less than an hour, but it closed down subway lines and affected about 385,000 people on the East Side and the Bronx. Con Ed doesn't know what caused it, and the mayor, naturally, shrugged it off as a "minor inconvenience." [NYP]


• The Rent Guidelines Board last night split the difference between a tenants' proposal and one from landlords and settled on renewal increases of 3 and 5 percent for one- and two-year leases, respectively, in rent-stabilized apartments. Both sides, predictably enough, railed against the decision. [NYP]

Going Your Way, Slowly

• Breaking news! After a comprehensive study, the MTA can now tell you that numbered subway lines are overcrowded, and that Lex lines often run behind schedule. (Who knew?) Apparently there's nothing officials can really do about it, as those lines are already operating at capacity.

No Congestion Pricing, But...

• So Mayor Mike struck out on his congestion-pricing deal as Albany ended the legislative session. But while that plan got all the attention, Bloomberg got a slew of other projects passed: a child-care tax credit, a corporate tax slash, and more state funds for public housing. Huh. [NYP] • Dozens of pissed-off New Yorkers are being bussed to D.C. for a congressional hearing about the Feds’ performance monitoring air quality at ground zero. Jerry Nadler will be the congressman first to grill ex–EPA head Christine Todd Whitman. [amNY] • What Sunday’s pride parade may have lacked in middle-aged, middle-class gays, it more than made up for in a newly prominent demographic: religious groups. Jews, Roman Catholics, Buddhists, and others came dangerously close, in the words of a reveler, to “hijacking the parade.” [WCBS] • The weekend brought a mass gang arrest in Bushwick — 32 kids, the youngest 13 years old, collared on their way to attend a murdered friend’s wake. The gang is supposedly an offshoot of the Bloods, colorfully dubbed the Pretty Boy Family. [NYT] • And now that Fred Thompson seems to be a viable presidential candidate, let’s get all our political advice from Law & Order cast members. Sam Waterston — a.k.a. A.D.A. Jack McCoy — is also the face of the libertarian-flavored online movement Unity08, and he's ready to vote Bloomberg. [NYDN]


20070622heds_small.jpg • Bill Clinton chimes in on the Bloomberg party switch, and he's all smiles about it: "I suppose he just couldn't bear to be in the Republican Party anymore," and he won't affect Hillary's margins. [NYP] • The grad student who drove journalist David Halberstam to his death in a car crash will be charged with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter: The accident happened when he made an illegal turn. [amNY] • Jason Giambi finally admitted to steroid use. He will now meet with MLB steroid czar George Mitchell, thus becoming the only current player to cooperate with the probe. [NYDN] • The Haywards — a wealthy Native American family, who built the Foxwoods casino — say they're being "shunned" and "pushed out" of the 800-person Connecticut tribe. Which makes them the Trumps of the Pequot. [NYT] • And the city credits its "hard-hitting" TV ads (starring Ronaldo the Hole-in-the-Throat Guy) with reducing the local smoking rates to a historic low. Could be that. Or could be the fact that you can't smoke anywhere. [NY Metro]

To Run or Not to Run

• As Mayor Bloomberg continues to deny that he's running for president, the Times reports that his top aides have been testing that scenario for the last two years. Just a coincidence! [NYT] • With mere hours left until the legislative session ends, Governor Spitzer is leaning on Shelly Silver to consider congestion pricing. Spitzer's bold step: to "discuss creating a commission of experts." Ooh, effective! [NYS] • In Episode 4,387 of the McGreevey soap opera, the ex-gov filed new papers with a New Jersey family court — to dismiss Dina Matos's charge that his coming-out had traumatized their daughter. [NYP] • Despite some politicians' calls for a rent freeze, the Rent Guidelines Board has recommended increases "between 2 and 4.5 percent" (in other words, 4.5 percent) on New York's stabilized apartments. [amNY] • And a guy goes on the lam for violating probation, gets tracked down by U.S. marshals right here in Manhattan, fights the arrest, breaks his arm, and goes to jail. That the guy is a close friend of Bernard Kerik's shouldn't be much of a shock. [NYDN]

Mike Bloomberg, Independent

• The political world is waking up to a queasy query — is Mike Bloomberg a Ross Perot or a Ralph Nader (or, one hopes, neither)? Of course, the man himself is no help: He still says he's not running. [NYT] • Rudy Giuliani's campaign, meanwhile, seems to be aiming squarely at the high-school-hooligan vote. First it comes out he'd been booted off the Iraq Study Group for truancy. Now his former South Carolina campaign chairman has been indicted for — are you ready for this? — selling crack. [NYDN] • If you tried leaving the city last night, you're, well, probably still here. The three area airports canceled hundreds of flights because of the major thunderstorms blazing from here to the Midwest. [WNBC] • The new city regulation requiring fast-food places to post calorie count on their menus is now not going into effect until the legal fight over it plays out. So far, it's had the opposite effect — Quizno's and White Castle deleted all nutritional info from their Websites altogether. [amNY] • And two female marriage-license clerks are allegedly terrorizing Bronx couples by refusing to do their jobs and closing the office early. Maybe they're stealth Dworkinites. [NYP]

What a Bargain!

• Thanks to the limp dollar, New York is now only the fifteenth most expensive city in the world. Moscow (where a luxury bedroom is $4,000 a month), London, and Seoul are the top three. [amNY] • The Post is up in arms over Bloomberg's pay-to-the-poor incentive program, with experts warning it may cost the city "hundreds of millions." Those poor get all the breaks. [NYP] • In the wake of the Sean Bell case, NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly wants to institute sobriety testing for every cop who shoots someone. (One of Bell's killers had two beers before the shooting.) [NYDN] • The city has paid a $29,000 settlement to Jill Coccaro, a woman erroneously arrested for going topless. In New York, of course, women have a full, if woefully rarely exercised, right to take off their shirts in public. And yet we can't dance in bars. [CNN] • And, you think Bush v. Gore was bad? Residents of Potter, an upstate town, accidentally voted to ban alcohol in a ballot mix-up and might soon be forced to go dry. [NYT]

Is This the End of Braunstein?

Faux firefighter Peter Braunstein will be sentenced today at noon, and our short citywide nightmare shall be over. Oh, jeez, will he write a book in jail? Clemency! [amNY] • The Matos-vs.-McGreevey matter keeps getting more colorful. Now Dina Matos is claiming her ex-husband is sabotaging not just her book sales but her charity work as well. Fellow fund-raisers snip that she's "taken her eye off the ball." [NYP] • The New York State Restaurant Association is suing, mostly on behalf of fast-food franchises like McDonald's and Burger King, for the right not to disclose calorie count on the menus. They're crying Big Government. [Crain's NY] • City Comptroller William Thompson is about to become housing activists' darling: He thinks the recent property-tax cut should trigger a rent freeze in stabilized apartments. [NYDN] • And Eliot Spitzer is apparently ruining Albany's nightlife. Not through regulation, mind you; it's just that his staffers are more coffee-shop people than bar people. Figures. [NYT]

Braunstein Writes Again

20070615heds_small.jpg • This year's edition of the Puerto Rican Day blowback begins: activists say the police have overreached in their pre-parade gang sweep and wrongly jailed innocent bystanders. [NYDN] • Peter Braunstein dusted off his dormant journalism skills to write a long leniency-seeking letter to the judge: "I implore you, your honor, to [ignore] the venomous tabloid media and its premodern understanding of mental illness." Hey Pete, "media" is plural. [NYP] • The NYPD premieres a new siren, the Rattler (a low-frequency aural assault) to go with its storied repertoire: the Yelp, the Wail, the Hi-Lo etc. The Times article actually links to the sound samples for each. [NYT] • Wednesday's weird confluence of NYC critter sightings — a hawk and a kestrel in Manhattan, a lamb tearing through the Broonx — made for the busiest day in Animal Control's history. [FoxNews] • And, one more squeeze of the Sopranos-ending "controversy": James Gandolfini admits he has no idea if his character lives or dies. His career is a far more clear-cut case. [AP via amNY]

Shelly Silver Comes to Bury Congestion Pricing

• As expected, Bloomberg's congestion-pricing plan might come to a halt at Shelly Silver's Assembly desk. Silver's steering committee called the idea "unpassable" yesterday. [NYP] • A federal judge has just reversed his own ban on NYPD's videotaping of protesters. He had previously ruled that the taping must have a "law enforcement purpose" other than political monitoring, which made all kinds of sense to us. [amNY] • JPMorgan Chase will move 6,000 New York City employees downtown, to a new tower on the current Deutsche Bank site. The old we're-going-to-Connecticut threat worked: The city is showering the company with perks and tax breaks to make the move. [NYDN] • The Times continues its bizarre pattern of subtly torpedoing Barack Obama with nonstories about his acquaintances, this time tying the candidate to a possibly unsavory businessman even as it admits "there is no sign that Mr. Obama … did anything improper." [NYT] • And police commish Ray Kelly wants $40 million worth of radiation sensors installed around the city, on highways, bridges, tunnels, and so on. Just, you know, in case. [Newsday]

Anything God Can Do, Rudy Can Do Better

• Giuliani yesterday unveiled the centerpiece of his presidential campaign, a "Contract with America"–style plan called — we kid you not — "The Twelve Commitments." Most of it is boilerplate, calling for low taxes, energy independence, security. Best part: America's Mayor unleashed it during a "speech attended by about 150 people." Fred Thompson leads in the polls. [NYP]

Puerto Rico, You Lovely Island

• The fallout from Sunday's Puerto Rican Day parade included 208 arrests, a huge increase from last year's 50 or so. The police insist all but ten of the arrested were "gang members." [NYT] • First Connecticut was on the brink of legalizing medical marijuana; now New York is, too. The legislation may be heading for the governor's desk within ten days, and Spitzer, who earlier opposed the idea, now says he's open to it. [NYDN]

Jersey Boys

• So some TV show had its finale last night? Depending on whom you believe, the ending was either terrible ("Chase will have to live with what he did last night," says Stasi in the Post), simply mediocre ("It didn't end," says Bianculli in the News. "It just stopped"), or a near-ideal conclusion to the series ("a perfectly imperfect finish," according to Heffernan in the Times). We're just wondering: How many people started calling Time Warner, convinced their cable had gone out? [NYP, NYDN, NYT]

Senators Like Mike

• When Bloomberg speaks, Washington listens? The mayor is praising senators for killing an amendment — it would have forbidden the feds to share gun data with local police — he recently ripped to shreds. [NYDN] • It looks like we have a mob war on our hands, with a second Mafia-related hit in three days. First a Gambino capo's son was attacked; now an alleged Genovese mobster is found executed. Or is it all just an HBO promo? [NYP] • Remember Wall Street West, a Pennsylvania developer's plan to sell NYC financial firms a kind of giant, high-tech office park as a backup facility? There's one snag: Nobody's biting. [NYT] • The city's slowly getting used to those spindly, War Of the Worlds–like "Sky Watch" surveillance towers. The next question is whether they actually reduce crime. [amNY] • And a Long Island gym teacher was arrested for endangering the welfare of a minor after he duct taped the legs of a student, presumably to teach him some sort of lesson. If we'd known this kind of stuff was actionable, our gym teacher would probably still be in jail. [Newsday]