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Quote of the Week: “Communist organizing.” The charge against one Park Slope high school principal. According to the New York Times, her defenders say that it’s retaliation for objecting to racist policies.

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Why Does the NYC Jails Chief Still Have a Job?

While the Rikers Island jail became increasingly dangerous for both guards and inmates, NYC Corrections Department Commissioner Joe Ponte was on vacation. He was out of state for seven weeks last year, and took a government car with him. Then, his department spied on investigations into the jails. Why is Mayor Bill de Blasio protecting him?

What’s going on with Rikers Island and its embattled chief? Read it on ShakingNews.

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The hotel workers union just endorsed Mayor de Blasio. What’s the secret to their surprising power?

The Hotel Trades Council is a small union but they’ve become one of the most fearsome political operations for a simple reason: they work hard. That’s why politicians like Mayor Bill de Blasio prize their support. But Airbnb users might not appreciate their continued influence in City Hall. Learn why HTC is so feared by politicians and Airbnb.

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Stories We’re Following

We’re revamping the Quick Hits a bit to focus on keeping you up-to-date on important stories we’ve reported on, even if they don’t merit a full article. Think this format works? Just reply to this email.

• Corruption Watch:
Buffalo Fixer Steered Illegal Donation to Cuomo

Legendary Buffalo political operative Steve Pigeon was already headed to trial for violating election laws. Now, he faces one more charge: helping a Canadian online gambling company make an illegal $25,000 contribution to Gov. Cuomo’s 2014 re-election campaign. Doesn’t look like Pigeon will be able to fly the coop.

Queens Congressman Pays His Brother for an Office Outside the District
The New York Post reports that Congressman Joe Crowley is using campaign funds to pay his brother. Crowley’s campaign rented an office from his brother’s company, even though the office isn’t even in his district. Crowley, a top Congressional Democrat and leader of the Queens Democratic Party, spent $69,700 in donated funds for the space.

• Senate Intrigue: The IDC Gets Paid
The State Senate’s Independent Democratic Conference is reaping the rewards of their alliance with Republicans. Eight of the nine Democratic Senators who have given Republicans control of the Senate earned extra stipends meant for committee chairs, even though some of them don’t actually chair a committee. For Brooklyn Sen. Jesse Hamilton, that meant an extra $5,500 after he joined the IDC. It pays to have friends in high places.

• Commutes: Back to the Bad Days of the 1970’s?
Three times in the last week, subway problems have stranded thousands of riders. This comes on the heels of a big New York Times report about the aging subway system. Meanwhile, LIRR had third straight day of evening rush hour train delays due to issues at Penn Station.

Activists say we’re fast approaching a redux of the 1970’s, New York’s nadir. Then, trains regularly broke down due to lack of maintenance, and New Yorkers fled the city. Of course, then and now, everything comes back to money. Thanks to Gov. Cuomo and his predecessors, the MTA doesn’t have the money to make repairs or replace outdated technology.

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Statistic of the Week: 332% increase in subway delays since 2012, according to the MTA’s own data. If you’ve been thinking the subway is getting worse, you’re right.

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Michael Spitzer-Rubenstein

Posted by Michael Spitzer-Rubenstein

Michael Spitzer-Rubenstein is the founder of ShakingNews.

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