Immigrants in danger, Bill de Blasio balancing competing demands, Republicans balancing ideological purity while in danger of losing the State Senate, and more.

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Our Feature
Will New York Be a Sanctuary for Immigrants?

Attorney General Jeff Sessions threatened to take back $4 billion in federal aid to sanctuary cities, including New York City, Syracuse, Ithaca, and Rochester. Those cities have said they will not help Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) enforce federal immigration laws.

What does “sanctuary” mean?

Sanctuary cities refuse to use police in immigration raids, won’t allow federal immigration authorities to access school and other records to find undocumented immigrants, and won’t hold immigrants in jail for ICE to pick them up. However, if someone is already in prison, they will generally turn them over to ICE. They also generally won’t ask immigrants if they are documented.

Read on to find out about the argument and what’s at stake.

BUT New York City might not be so safe for immigrants. The Daily News reports that the NYPD still tells ICE when undocumented people have court dates. Is New York City trying to have it both ways?


From Across New York

Bill de Blasio’s Balancing Act

Mayor Bill de Blasio is in a tricky spot as he runs for re-election. The mother of Ramarley Graham, the teen killed by police officers in front of his family in 2012, accused the Mayor of being disrespectful in a Daily News op-ed and critiqued him for not doing enough to reform the NYPD. Meanwhile, the police officers’ union is hitting de Blasio and his administration from the other side for not protecting officers. He’s appealing to his base in order to win a second term.

At the same time, the sensitive topic of metzitzah b’peh, part of the circumcision process for some Orthodox Jews, has emerged as a flashpoint. Mayor de Blasio is trapped with no good options as he tries to both protect babies and keep supporters happy.

Republicans Struggle to Maintain Their Grip on the State Senate

Republicans control the State Senate but it’s tenuous. Even though there are 32 Democratic State Senators and 31 Republicans, Republicans hold power thanks to nine Democrats, mostly in the Independent Democratic Conference, who support them. Republican Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-Long Island), a moderate in the Republican camp, has been able to work with Governor Andrew Cuomo and the nine Democrats who back the Republicans.

Now, more conservative Republicans threaten an uprising. It might hurt Cuomo’s chance to build a progressive record but could also doom their control of the Senate.

Where’s Your Money Going?

The Albany Times Union teamed up with the Investigative Post, and other outlets to dig into the “State of Subsidies”: how New York spends billions on subsidies for businesses with very little return.

This weekend, they also revealed how state legislators spend millions of taxpayer dollars on advertising that’s barely distinguishable from their re-election campaigns. Theoretically, they aren’t supposed to use this money for campaigning but as one source noted, “It’s all done with a wink and a nod.”

Where’s the Money? The MTA Doesn’t Have It

Just two weeks after the MTA raised fares, the New York City Council is admonishing them for not fixing escalators and elevators quickly enough. Those escalators and elevators are incredibly important for wheelchair-users and parents with strollers. New York City’s subway is one of the oldest and largest subway systems in the world and many of the escalators and elevators are showing their age.

The money needs to come from somewhere; think anyone wants to pay for the subway’s many needed repairs?



As we mentioned last week, there’s quite a bit of uncertainty around how Trump will affect New York State’s spending. Well rather than pass a budget before the April 1 deadline, Cuomo and the state legislature agreed to so-called extenders, continuing government funding and pushing the deadline for a new budget back until the end of May. One real consequence? Lawmakers won’t get a paycheck until they pass the budget.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown is facing a tough re-election campaign. As in many urban elections, development is controversial and the location of a new Buffalo train station is emerging as a flashpoint.

Three lawyers dominate Queens politics. They’ve managed to amass power and money without ever being elected, thanks to their connections to Rep. Joe Crowley, the County Democratic Leader, and his predecessor as both County Leader and Congressman, Tom Manton. Read the article by ShakingNews friend Ross Barkan in The Daily News.

There are no reporters assigned to cover the 200,000 cases that happen at the Queens County courthouse. The Daily Beast covers the decline of the local press and why “it’s going to be a field day for local corruption.” That’s why we’re working on ShakingNews, so that someone is paying attention to state and local government and alerting the public about what to watch.


You’ve read all the way to the end and I’m sure you can tell we’ve changed things a little from the last email. Did that make it easier to read and find interesting stories? What did you think of this new format?

You can also comment or email me to let us know what we can improve.

– Michael

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Michael Spitzer-Rubenstein

Posted by Michael Spitzer-Rubenstein

Michael Spitzer-Rubenstein is the founder of ShakingNews.


  1. […] It’s good to be (related to) the King. Last week, we noted that it pays to be close to the Democratic Party leader for Queens, Congressman Joe Crowley. Now, […]


  2. […] mentioned Rep. Joe Crowley, before. He’s one of New York’s most powerful representatives and leads the Queens […]


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