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The place to be for politicians and demonstrators




The chaos at Columbia University has attracted visits from national and local politicians.

With help from Shawn Ness.

New from New York

Happening now:

  • Columbia University is now a gathering place for protesters and political leaders.
  • A new push for wage equality between the state and New York City.
  • The sanitary union is calling for better health care for their workers.
  • A new leader for the Alliance for Clean Energy New York.

COLUMBIA CONFABS: It is the most popular place in the city, also for politicians.

Columbia University is a mess. And Republicans nationally, along with some of New York’s further left-leaning elected officials, see an opportunity to seize the unrest as they visit campus one by one or in small, like-minded groups.

The pro-Palestinian protests at Columbia University touch on a range of issues that particularly resonate with the mainstream of the Grand Old Party: a “woke,” out-of-touch college campus; a perception of disorder in urban centers; and the unfair demonization of Israel.

The hot-button issues are especially underscored in New York, where more Jews call the city and state home than anywhere else outside Israel. There is also a slew of suburban house races in swing districts where the Israel-Hamas war has taken place has already proven itself being central.

It has drawn all kinds of leaders, especially Republicans, to the university’s door.


  • Reps. Mike Lawler, Anthony D’Esposito and former Mayor Rudy Giuliani have done so show up off campus.
  • Representative Elise Stefanik and the rest of New York’s Republican House delegation have done so as well shouted the president of Columbia to resign, and she said its federal funding must be drawn.
  • Sens. Tom Cotton and Josh Hawley said Gov. Kathy Hochul should do that send in the National Guard.

And this afternoon, Speaker of the House Mike Johnson is going to campus, doubled his call that university president Minouche Shafik should resign. Reps. Nicole Malliotakis and Virginia Foxx are also expected to attend.

Hochul cursed Johnson’s visit to New York, saying the speaker is “politicizing” events on campus. The governor contrasted Johnson’s visit with her private meeting with Columbia officials and students — but so did she posted a two-minute video about the meeting shortly afterwards.

In response, a spokesman for Johnson said he might not have to visit if Hochul and other Democrats had not “completely failed in their duty to protect Jewish students and combat the rise of anti-Semitism in their party.”

However, it’s not just Republicans who are moving into the Morningside Heights neighborhood.

Representatives Dan Goldman, Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, Jared Moskowitz of Florida and Kathy Manning of North Carolina made the trip to Columbia to denounce the anti-Semitism spread on and around campus.

Working Families party councilors Tiffany Cabán, Alexa Avilés, Shahana Hanif and Sandy Nurse were also visiting, but used it as an opportunity to write a letter. opinion piece in City & State where they emphasized how the protests on campus are peaceful.

“If you only go by the recent statements of Mayor Eric Adams, Gov. Kathy HochulAnd President Joe Bidenyou could conclude that a student protest against the massacre in Gaza is worse than the murder itself,” the group wrote.

GOP consultant Dave Catalfamo disagreed that the presence of politicians on campus should be viewed in political terms: “I know we shouldn’t engage in that kind of hate speech, and honestly, I don’t really care about the politics. Politics will arrange this themselves.” Jason Beeferman

A new analysis has rejuvenated those who want pay parity with New York City and the rest of the state.

LOON MAZE: An effort to raise New York’s minimum wage and unify the hourly wage floor in New York State with the New York City region has achieved failed so far this year.

But now left-wing advocates think they have new fodder: The Cornell School of Industrial and Labor Relations does have updated their statistical analysis of the economic impact of the proposed $21.25 wage.

The school’s Wage Atlas shows that the higher wage would lead to an $80 billion increase in combined revenues and boost consumer demand. It also claims that the move would lead to the creation of 75,000 jobs in the state.

Business organizations have viewed the minimum wage increases with doubts and have warned that further increases in wages would lead to job losses, more automation and further financial pressure on small businesses.

The wage in New York City, Westchester County and on Long Island is $16 and is set at $15 in the rest of the state.

The wage will reach $17 in the New York City area and $16 north of Westchester by 2026, and future increases will be aligned with the rate of inflation.

But those increases could be suspended if the state’s unemployment rate rises — another sore point for left-wing advocates, lawmakers and unions who have tried to overturn the provision. – Nick Reisman

Mayor Eric Adams held a meeting this morning to promote the city's budget.

BUDGET BATTLES AHEAD: Mayor Eric Adams has reversed only a small portion of the $7.2 billion in cuts and savings initiatives he initiated over the past year. The $111.6 billion executive budget released today.

That leaves advocates for public libraries, early childhood education and parks to prepare for further fights ahead of the June 30 deadline for the 2025 fiscal year.

Leaders of the city’s three library systems, for example, said they were “deeply disappointed” in the budget, claiming that most branches would only be open five days a week if the cuts remain within budget.

But Adams’ message was completely festiveannouncing the budget with a rally outside City Hall, highlighting things that have improved in the city – “crime is down, jobs are up” – since Adams came to power.

While he focused on some limited spending initiatives, he defended the cuts and conservative forecasts. “All this and more is possible,” he said, “because we ignored the critics and made tough choices when necessary.” — Jeff Coltin

OH, RATS, PART 2: Like a continued increase in cases of leptospirosis is causing concern among New York City sanitation workers, the president of the Uniformed Sanitationmen’s Association is demanding more protections for them.

“Our sanitary men and women come every day to keep the city clean. They deserve to know that they and their families will be protected if they become ill on the job,” President Harry Nespoli said in a statement.

Leptospirosis is an infectious disease that can affect the kidneys, liver, brain, lungs or heart and can be fatal and is spread largely through rat urine.

In 2023, twenty-four people were diagnosed with the disease, five of them in sanitary facilities.

Assemblymember Stacey Pheffer Amato is sponsoring a bill that would provide more benefits for sanitation workers and their families, and Nespoli is urging the Legislature to approve the measure. –Shawn Ness

Marguerite Wells will be the new executive director of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York.

NEW RENEWABLE LAWYER: The Alliance for Clean Energy New York, a leading voice for renewable energy developers in the state, has chosen a longtime industry driver as its new leader.

Marguerite Wells will lead the organization as executive director, the group announced today.

“Her experience and expertise in large-scale renewables in New York State is extensive,” said Keith Silliman, chairman of the ACE NY board of directors and director of compliance at Cypress Creek Renewables. “She will help us move forward as we work to get shovels in the ground to meet our climate goals.”

Wells got her start in the renewable energy sector in the state that a small community wind project outside Ithaca that would have sold the power to Cornell University. Local opposition and delays hampered the project. Wells started working for Invenergy after the project fell apart in 2016.

Most recently, she led Invenergy’s development efforts in New York, overseeing a pipeline of 2-gigawatt projects, according to ACE. She is also co-owner of a small tanning business. Wells starts on April 30. – Marie J. French

CASH RULES: Sales tax collections between January and March increased slightly in New York compared to the same period last year, Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office said.

The amount of money raised by the tax was $5.6 billion – a 1.6 percent increase from the same three-month period a year ago.

Much of that money came from New York City, the comptroller’s office said. Sales tax revenues are critical to local governments; it is their main source of income, even more so than property taxes.

“The city’s numbers indicate a healthy tax base and a return to its pre-pandemic role as a major driver of sales tax growth in the state,” DiNapoli said. “Out-of-town collections were relatively flat, reflecting different economic influences.” Nick Reisman

— The collapse of three crucial offshore wind projects It hammers home New York’s ability to meet its climate goals. (POLITICS)

– President Joe Biden granted clemency to two New Yorkers, one from the Capital Region and one from the Hudson Valley. (State of politics)

Donald Trump and ex-wife of Chris Cuomo has received both positive rulings in unrelated cases by the state appeals court. (Times Union)