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Giuliani's Horse Manure

• Deceased cop Cesar Borja may not have been the hero the press claimed, but it doesn't mean the issue he symbolized is off the table. Mayor Bloomberg says that post-9/11 illnesses are costing the city $400 million a year, and called for $1 billion in federal aid. [Bloomberg] • Giuliani's presidential run is getting more entertaining by the hour. Yesterday, the ex-mayor stumped at a farm-equipment expo, saying he's not "an expert" on the subject but will be by the end of the campaign. Uh-huh. [AP] • Schools chancellor Joel Klein is rolling back some new rules in the wake of the city's school-bus fiasco. For instance, 5-year-olds may now not have to navigate Manhattan on their own, MetroCard in hand. [NYP] • The City Council has been threatening to regulate pedicabs for a while now, but this time, they're serious: Say hello to licensing, compulsory insurance, safety inspections, and a citywide pedicab cap at 300 three-wheelers (there are about 500 now). [amNY] • And fill your Valentine's Day with images of old codgers coupling: The Times drops a feature about local sex educators who grapple with the Greatest Generation's pharmaceutically induced sexual renaissance. Most haunting line: "collapsed uterus can complicate penetration." [NYT]

That's Why the Steamroller Is a Tyrant

• That was fast: Spitzer has earned the epithet "tyrannical" for the first — and probably not the last — time in his gubernatorial tenure. Apparently, the Spitz now tours fellow Democrats' districts to individually rip the legislators for reneging on the comptroller deal. [NYDN] • Late policeman Cesar Borja became the human face of the post-9/11 illnesses befalling first responders. The Times bursts that heroic bubble today by reporting that Borja wasn't even a second responder; he never rushed to the site on 9/11 and simply picked up a few shifts there, in December 2001, for overtime pay. [NYT] • The president, meantime, can't keep his mitts off another hero — Wesley Autrey, our bunny-hat-sporting subway savior; weeks after his cameo at the State of the Union, he is back at the White House for some sort of George Bush Cares About Black People shindig. (Among other invitees: Charlie Rangel.) [NYP] • Chuck Schumer, Christine Quinn, and Hillary Clinton pile on Clipper Equity, threatening to block its Starrett City purchase unless they see an ironclad pledge to keep the complex's 6,000 units affordable. Turns out Clipper "doesn't have a written plan" for its $1.3 billion impulse buy. [amNY] • And get ready for actual snow, if you remember what the stuff is; a few inches of it are expected this afternoon. But don't get too excited: This bit of real winter will quickly be replaced by that post-millennial stand-in — freezing rain — by tomorrow morning. [4 Weather Plus]

Cop Cover-Up

• A seven-months-pregnant Brooklyn cop stands accused of covering up for her ex-con husband, who shot another (plainclothes) officer. We give it seven weeks until it's a Law & Order plotline. [NYDN] • Speaking of ripping things from the headlines, the speed with which the Law & Order machine has absorbed Adrienne Shelly's murder is rubbing a lot of people the wrong way — even the actress playing her corpse. [NYT] • With the U.N. building set for a $1.2 billion spruce-up, diplomats are looking for a temporary home; Bloomberg has scheduled a private talk with Condoleezza Rice about keeping the august institution in NYC for the time being. We suggest HoJo's. [NYP] • The 55-story Bank of America Tower at 42nd and Sixth is going to be the greenest building in town, with a 300-ton icebox for a cooling system and recyclable tap water (it will feed the sprinklers in the rooftop garden). If, you know, costs allow. [amNY] • And the state is hiring marketers to fuck up, sorry, "invigorate" the iconic "I ♥ N.Y." ad campaign. Because leaving good enough alone is just not the New York way. [WNBC]

Andrew Cuomo, Sheriff of Greenpoint

• The toxic oil puddle under Greenpoint (which is, we'll remind you, larger than the Exxon Valdez spill) has spent years as one of New York's most esoteric horror stories. Finally, in a big move by new AG Andrew Cuomo, the state is taking Exxon Mobil to court over it. Four other companies are also targeted for dragging their feet on the cleanup. Awesome. [NYT] • That was fast: Starrett City, the nation's largest subsidized-housing complex, changed hands, going for the price we mentioned — just not to the bidder we mentioned. Clipper Equity swooped right in, picking up the megaproperty for $1.3 billion. [NYDN] • Social conservatives are piling on Rudy Giuliani in earnest, decrying his anti-gun, pro-abortion, pro-gay union stance in direct mailings and other "material." One would think they'd let the train wreck play out by itself. [amNY] • And brand-new State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli has a great Day One case on his desk: One of the office's employees was arrested for public masturbation. This is, mind you, one month to a day after a security guard at the same office got caught exposing himself to kids. Must be an exciting place to work. [NYP]

DHS Now Officially Full of Shit

• The federal formula used to allot New York its pitiful share of anti-terrorism funds has been officially discredited. A new GAO report says — in as many words — that Homeland Security officials lack methods to assess risk. Actuarial math aside, failure to classify the Empire State Building as a landmark was a bit of a giveaway. [NYDN] • In related news, the Empire State Building is America's favorite piece of architecture, according to the American Institute of Architects poll. The White House is number two. [WNBC] • Meet Tom DiNapoli. As New York's Chris Smith reported yesterday, state legislators reneged on a deal with Governor Spitzer and installed the assemblyman as the new state comptroller. On the upside, according to the Times, DiNapoli is apparently the nicest guy in Albany. [NYT] • The plot thickens in the Long Island fake-cop case. The con man in question not only wore fake uniform and a prop badge; he owned a car complete with a siren, maintained the cop identity 24/7, and shook down criminals for a living. [NYP] • And it's official: The bankrupt Air America now belongs to real-estate mogul Stephen Green, brother of Mark. The price tag on the voice of the American Left? $4.25 million. We assume they threw in The Nation. [amNY]

Small Victories

20070207heds_sm.jpg • Nassau County Democrat Craig Johnson was elected to the State Senate, in what everyone sees as Spitzer's proxy victory over the state's head Republican Joe Bruno. Us, we're just mildly annoyed at having to cover an election in February. [NYP] • Do you own property in New Jersey? Here, have a 20 percent tax credit and remember who loves ya: The Garden State's senators apparently almost died passing the bill in a marathon, midnight-oil, multi-day session. [NYT] • A new study chalks up much of New York's economic growth to the efforts of recent immigrants. New arrivals, it states, open their own businesses at the rate of almost five to one compared to the natives. [amNY] • Buying phony police badges and dressing up as a cop is very, very lame, not to mention illegal. But doing the above and having the nerve to commandeer a man's SUV — well, one kind of has to applaud. [Newsday] • And, we won't report on the mad-astronaut story, since it doesn't concern NYC in the least, but we will tally up the headline puns: "Lunar Toon!" and "Astro-Nut" (News) versus "Space Case" and "Astro-Nut" again (Post). Post wins on the alliterative strength of "whacked-out Nowak." [NYP, NYDN]

It's Giuliani Time

• Rudy and Hillary, together again for the very first time. That's right — Giuliani all but declared his presidential bid yesterday, filing a "Statement of Candidacy" with the FEC, meaning that the two candidates' aborted Y2K power grapple for the Senate could finally be revived on a national stage. [NYT] • Mayor Mike Bloomberg rips into the $330 million hole in city funding created by Governor Eliot Spitzer's new budget, claiming the cuts will rob NYC of twice that amount — and questioning Spitz's claim that closing up some tax loopholes will balance out the loss. [NYP] • Six panhandlers sue the city for illegally arresting them after one of their own, Eddie Wise, scored $100,000 after a similar suit. They are just a few of a possible 7,000 such wrongful haul-ins. [NYDN] • Having obviously visited the wrong debt-management counselor, a Queens man beats a cop with a bat and steals his gun, aiming to pull off robberies to pay back $16,000. The cop is in critical but stable condition and the arrested thug faces 25 to life, with the debt still unpaid, presumably. [Newsday] • President Bush is putting $1.3 billion into the federal budget to help complete the Second Avenue subway — not to mention $215 mil to aid in bringing the Long Island Rail Road to Grand Central Terminal. [amNY]

Spitzer: Budget Cuts for Everyone!

• First hospitals, now prisons. Governor Eliot Spitzer considers closing or consolidating some correctional facilities, in part because crime has plummeted in New York City. But he'll face opposition from pols upstate, where the clinks employ thousands. [NYT] • And he also wants to cut $328 million in aid to the city, which has Bloomberg none too pleased and on his way to Albany to complain about it. [NYT] • Seabiscuit meets Snakes on a Plane in a bizarre grand-jury probe of whether Saratoga racehorses were doped up with painkilling serpent venom to enhance their game last summer. [NYP] • The Reverend Al Sharpton may file a racial-profiling lawsuit in response to new NYPD stats that 55 percent of cop stop-and-frisks in the city happen to blacks. Such data were mandated after the 1999 police shooting of Amadou Diallo. [NYS] • Talk about rolling out of bed: An actor on the HBO hit Oz was arraigned in the death of a Bronx man who fell five flights to his death down the elevator shaft of trendy Chelsea nightclub BED. [amNY]

There Either Will or Will Not Be Six More Weeks of Winter

• We can all agree it's Groundhog Day, but there's little agreement beyond that. Contradictory early-morning behavior from local groundhogs Staten Island Chuck, Holtsville Hal, and Malverne Phil casts uncertainty on the duration of winter. [Newsday] • Hillary Clinton has announced that her presidential fund-raisers must pony up a record-breaking $1 million apiece to make her BFF inner circle. (By comparison, Dubya's BFF benchmark in 2000 was a trifling $100,000.) The burning question: Should the HRC BFFs be called "Pathfinders" or the naughtier "Hillraisers"? [NYT] • Just in time for Black History Month, and egged on by rap legend Kurtis Blow, the City Council ponders a resolution to urge all New Yorkers to stop using the N-word. And even when you end it with an a, dawg. [amNY] • In the political equivalent of wearing the same dress to the dance, '08 rivals Giuliani and McCain learned they'd be sharing top billing in May at a big New York State GOP fund-raiser — and some party insiders are calling it a major dis to Rudy. [NYP] • One day after he suggested that Barack Obama was the first black presidential candidate to master both English and personal hygiene, Senator Joe Biden hit Al Sharpton's radio show to insist he had the highest regard for the Rev's syntax. [NYDN]

So Dark the Con of Man

• The Times declares Spitzer's political honeymoon over; the governor's first state budget, which cuts $1.2 billion from health care and increases spending by 6 percent, seems guaranteed a hard time in both the State Senate and the Assembly. [NYT] • Firefighters: Every time we come dangerously close to deifying them, they do something crazy. Like, in this case, by buying fake "St. Regis College" diplomas online, at $500 a pop, and submitting them to the Fire Department for promotions. [Newsday] • A Long Island con-artist duo lured married marks into one-night stands, videotaped the trysts, then proceeded to blackmail them. The scammers' photos, printed in the Post, make the "luring" part positively puzzling. [NYP] • In a feat of participatory journalism, a Daily News reporter spends a "day dressed like Sienna" (Miller). For our money, she looked more like JT LeRoy. [NYDN] • And a New York marketing firm scared the bejesus out of Bostonians with promo signs for Aqua Teen Hunger Force, which the Boston Police Department somehow mistook for bombs. Nobody objected here, where "a box of fries … giving passerby the finger" is a relatively normal sight. [amNY]

Steamrolling in Our Time

• Ladies and gentlemen, your new catchphrase for the day: "I am a fucking steamroller." If we are to believe the Post exclusive, this gem was uttered by none other than Governor Spitzer — in response to a GOP assemblyman who complained about being shut out of the legislative process. [NYP] • Albany Democrats, who apparently didn't get the above memo, are, in the delicate Times phrasing, "leaning toward reneging" on their deal with Spitzer that lets him hand-pick the Hevesi replacement. [NYT] • The White House has approved $25 million in aid to combat lung diseases and others in 9/11 first responders. And to think all it took was five and a half years, and the Dems pretty much parading a dead cop around the State of the Union address. [NYDN] • Guess who's about to sign a lease for $50,000 square feet at Lincoln Center vacated by the dear old Tower Records? T. J. Maxx, that's who. And so, suburbia encroaches one step closer. [Crain's] • And the Landmarks Preservation Commission has bestowed its blessing on three heretofore unprotected sites, thus saving them from, you guessed it, a fucking steamroller: two Harlem churches — one built by the architect of St. Patrick's — and the awesomely named Horn & Hardart Automat-Cafeteria Building. (Now, sadly, a drugstore). [amNY]

It's Not Easy Being a Hell's Angel

• Anyone who's ever walked by the Hell's Angels' redoubt at 77 East 3rd Street knows the place is a bit creepy. But holy crap: After an injured woman was found outside, the police had to cordon off the block and use rooftop snipers, machine guns, helicopters, and a Bearcat vehicle to storm the mini-fortress. [amNY] • The Post whips out the trusty "Un-Fare" pun for an unpleasant little scoop: The much-covered Fulton Street Transit Center will force riders switching from, say, J to R trains to swipe their MetroCard twice. And suddenly, we couldn't care less about the shape of its dome. [NYP] • If you're at all hip, you know that the absolute trendiest thing to do is to beat the living shit out of someone and post the footage on YouTube. All the cool kids are doing it, including four aspiring documentarians on Long Island. One thing about video, however: It makes it awfully easy to identify the perps. [WNBC] • A Manhattan professor expresses parents' overarching sentiment on the new school-bus routes, as quoted by the Times: "It looked as if a monkey had done it." [NYT] • And if you like self-piloting trains and automated dry cleaning, you'll love robotic parking. The first such garage opens this February in Chinatown; your car will be lowered through the floor on a moving platform and assigned a free space by a computer. One hopes without you still in it. [FoxNews]

So Much for the Hill-Rupe Alliance

• Hillary stumps in Iowa — hey, the caucus is only twelve months away — and the Post is already scandalized. See, Hillary rolled her eyes when asked if she can handle "evil men" — and we all know what that means. [NYP] • Remember Efrain Gonzalez, the Albany politician who funneled children's-charity funds into vacation houses and custom cigars? Turns out Gonzalez is, at least, as cruel to his own children as to others': He has "virtually abandoned" his disabled son, an ex-wife says. [NYDN] • Charles and Camilla's itinerary for the weekend New York visit included watching Harlem kids perform Shakespeare, picking up an environmental award from Al Gore, and getting photographed shooting hoops (one of the two princely shots went in). [WABC] • The new contract between public-school teachers and the city had an interesting side effect: Teachers will now be making more than principals, who aren't part of the same union. The latter aren't happy (especially now that Bloomberg wants to give them more authority). [NYT] • And thousands ran the "Idiotarod" from Greenpoint to Queens on Saturday — a bizarro race wherein costumed participants, tied to shopping carts, throw edibles at each other. The official winner is not yet known, so we'll just go ahead and call it for Hillary. [amNY]

In Case You Haven't Been Screwed Enough By the MTA...

• Wait, now there's a $3.9 billion surplus?! Just weeks ago, the city was projected to be mere $2 billion in the black. Bloomberg warns that the city's become "very dependent" on transfer taxes from huge real-estate deals. Whatever. We want free cabs for a week. [NYT] • A "wacky" judge "ranted" "bizarrely" against a death-penalty case on his hands, preferring that the prosecutors shoot for life-in-prison instead. And that's just the news story; you should see the epithets in the editorial. [NYDN] • Today the massed forces of NYPD will once again do furious battle with the evil swarm otherwise known as hippies on bicycles: Critical Mass is coming to town. Interestingly, Brooklyn cops appeared far more supportive two weeks ago: Officers even rode alongside the cyclists. [amNY] • The Post's Andrea Peyser, having finally cracked, roams the floors of a Bed, Bath & Beyond waving photos of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Paris Hilton. It's a "social experiment," apparently. [NYP] • And City Hall is about to, um, roll out official New York City condoms. "Memorable packaging" may include the iconic subway map. Is the mayor getting frisky with the budget surplus already? [AP]

One Day, Everything Will Be Named for the ‘Daily Show’ Host

• The Post has "Mob scion" Chris Colombo on tape waxing nostalgic about the days of former New York A.G. Dennis Vacco: "Spitzer is the worst. Vacco was the best. He didn't care about anything. I had a hook in him." Oh, the election ad that would have made. [NYP] • So there's JFK, La Guardia, Newark and … Stewart? With the Spitz's blessing, the Port Authority is about to buy an underused airport 60 miles north of the city and turn it into the region's fourth international hub. Pataki, apparently, hated the idea. [NYT] • We suppose it was inevitable: The issue of how to list the names of WTC victims on the 9/11 memorial — alphabetically, at random, in weird associative clusters — is now fodder for hysterical TV ads running on NY1. [amNY] • So there's this $140 million police-radio system the MTA had been installing in the subways for ten years. It's done, but the cops won't use it: Everything sounds "as if you're talking through a glass of water." A $140 million glass of water. [NYT] • And the Daily News somehow "learned," unprompted by any recent developments, that Thor Equities is planning to redevelop Coney Island as a "glitzy playground" — a plan in the works for years. Let's not tell the paper about the whole WTC memorial thing; it might upset them. [NYDN]

Free at Last, Free at Last

• What were we doing in the days before DNA testing? Well, apparently jailing busloads of innocent people, for one thing. The eighth — eighth! — New York State convict in thirteen months to be exonerated by DNA evidence was released yesterday after fifteen years in jail. [NYT] • Both tabloids look at the State of the Union address through the eyes of Ceasar Borja Jr., the son of a WTC cop whom Hillary Clinton had flown to Washington. His father died of lung disease hours before Bush's speech. [NYP, NYDN] • It's not exactly the Oscars, but a consortium of community activists got to nominate the city's worst landlords last night. The runaway winner: Adam Mermelstein of TreeTop Development, who used fake inspectors with prop badges and invalid eviction papers to harass his tenants. [NYDN] • Now this is a divorce case. Four children, $55 million in assets, $5 million in legal bills, and the heaviest dueling allegations in recent memory (kiddie porn and spousal rape versus drug addiction and mental disease). Welcome to Westport. [NYP] • And you know you love the Mets a little too much when they have to take out a restraining order against you. An 18-year-old Piazza fan was barred from Shea for three years after faking a press pass to get closer to his idol. [amNY]

George and Hillary Want 9/11 Health Care

• The health of 9/11 first responders finally becomes a major political issue; President Bush will address it in tonight's State of the Union address, and now-official White House contender Hillary Clinton used ground zero to announce her $1.9 billion long-term treatment initiative. [amNY] • The Sean Bell case began in earnest yesterday, with the 23-member grand jury beginning to parse the evidence in the infamous 50-shot police slaying of an unarmed man. The presentation will take close to a month; detractors say the D.A. is using the occasion for a "minitrial." [NYP] • A side effect of being rich and famous is that people think they don't need to make good on their debts to you. For instance, New Delhi owes New York City $16.4 million (in real-estate taxes for the properties India owns here). Our courts are tempted to tweak the laws so the city can sue. [DNA World] • "Come on, guys, we can get more mileage out of this antique-dealer-suing-bum story. Angles, think angles." "How about the bum's son comes to town to reconcile with him?" "Perfect." [NYDN] • And a mass evacuation of New York City will commence today via the Brooklyn Bridge, under the cover of Coast Guard cutters and military helicopters. Luckily, it's all so that Will Smith can save the earth or become a stockbroker or something. [7Online]


• We're 48 hours into Hillary's official campaign for the presidency, and already the Times is wondering who'd fill her Senate seat. Names that have come up: Paterson, Meeks, Velasquez, Lowey — and even Suozzi. A News survey, meantime, finds Hillary beating Obama handily — in New York City. (Of course, we're pretty sure Gore and Kerry did likewise to Bush here.) [NYT, NYDN] • Damon Mootoo, the deaf guy from Guyana who disappeared in Queens last week hours after arriving in the United States, was finally found and returned to his relatives. He said he lived in cars and backyards for four days. [NY1] • Tired of the busy signals when you try calling for that Per Se reservation exactly two months in advance? You'll be thrilled to learn that a new service charges clients $35 to $45 to nab them rezzies at tough-to-get-into hot spots. [NYP] • London may be edging out Gotham as the biz capital of the world, due in part to the United States' lawsuit-heavy culture and tough immigration rules, says a new $500,000 report. [NYDN] • Waitress, the movie made by New York indie-film actress Adrienne Shelly before she was murdered in her apartment last year, was shown to applause and tears at Sundance. [1010WINS]

McCall Sticks With Hillary

• Barack Obama is making overtures to one of Hillary's main African-American supporters in New York — pre-Hevesi State Comptroller Carl McCall, once the state's highest elected black official. McCall says he'll stick with Hillary. [NYP] • Yesterday's favorite tabloid story — a Madison Avenue antiques dealer is suing a homeless guy for standing in front of his windows — got a sequel today: The latter has a friend and patron in multimillionaire Edward Baron Cohen (no relation to Sasha). Which increases the beyond-awesome likelihood we might actually see that suit play out. [NYDN] • Several Roman Catholic parishes in the city, including Manhattan's St. Vincent de Paul, are about to close as part of the church's reorganization. The news itself may be less notable than the fact that the Times appears to have an anonymous source in the church. [NYT] • Newsday minds the gap — with a scarily comprehensive report on that pesky bit of space between the platform and the train. Turns out it's a more serious menace than most think, with 900 incidents reported since 1995 on the LIRR alone. [Newsday] • And you know who we haven't heard from even once in the whole Jim McGreevey saga? His now-estranged wife, Dina, who's about to rectify things with a deal for a tell-all memoir. The book will, sadly, be called Silent Partner rather than American Beard. [NYP]

State Regulators Make It Official: Con Ed Sucks

• Con Ed might want to change its slogan from "On It" to "In It." State regulators, in what even the Times calls "a devastating condemnation," place full blame on the utility giant for last July's Queens blackout. (Even better: Regulators determined Con Ed also lied about the number of affected customers.) [NYT] • In a Dickensian tableau of class inequality, an Upper East Side antiques dealer is suing a homeless man — for a million dollars! — for loitering in front of his windows and obstructing the view of the wares. Be sure to catch the A-grade Post prose ("dingy socks, soiled shoes and layers of odorous old clothing"). [NYP] • Carlton Ingleton, a well-known local sculptor who taught art at Medgar Evers College, is dead after a violent confrontation with his son. Cops say the artist was beaten to death "with a pipe and a hatchet." The son, Carl Assawa, is undergoing psychiatric evaluation after attacking police officers while in custody. [amNY] • Mayor Bloomberg's expectedly upbeat State of the City speech — the state of the city is "alive with hope" — included a novel law-enforcement initiative: Crime witnesses and victims will be able to send camera-phone pictures straight to 911 operators. Also, the property tax goes down 5 percent. [NYDN] • Also on the hopeful techy note: OMG Internet over power lines! "Broadband over power lines is coming to New York, says the City Council's technology commission. Get ready for Web-enabled toasters, blenders, and hair dryers. [GG]