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The ideal place for politicians and protesters

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

With the help of Shawn Ness.

New from New York

Happening now:

  • Columbia University is now a gathering place for protesters and political leaders.
  • A new push for pay parity between upstate and New York City.
  • The sanitation union demands better health care for its workers.
  • A new leader of the New York Clean Energy Alliance.

COLUMBIA CONFABOS: It is the most fashionable place in the city, and also for politicians.

Columbia University is in chaos. And Republicans nationally, along with some of New York’s most left-wing elected officials, see an opportunity to take advantage of the upheaval when they visit campus one-on-one or in small, like-minded groups.

The pro-Palestinian protests at Columbia University touch on a number of themes that particularly resonate with the Grand Old Party mainstream: a “woke” and disengaged university campus; a perception of disorder in urban centers; and the unjust demonization of Israel.

The hot-button issues are particularly highlighted in New York, where more Jews call the city and state home than any other place outside Israel. There are also a number of suburban races in swing districts where the war between Israel and Hamas has already shown be central.

It has brought all kinds of leaders, mainly Republicans, to the university’s door.


  • Representatives Mike Lawler, Anthony D’Esposito and former Mayor Rudy Giuliani have appeared off campus.
  • Representative Elise Stefanik and the rest of the New York House Republican delegation have called the president of Colombia quit and she said your federal funding must be thrown away.
  • Sens. Tom Cotton and Josh Hawley said Gov. Kathy Hochul should send the national guard.

And this afternoon, House Speaker Mike Johnson heads to campus, duplicating your call that the university’s rector, Minouche Shafik, must resign. Reps. Nicole Malliotakis and Virginia Foxx are also expected to be there with him.

Hochul criticized Johnson’s visit to New York, saying the speaker is “politicizing” events on campus. The governor compared Johnson’s visit to her private meeting with Columbia officials and students, but also posted a two minute video about the meeting shortly after.

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.”

But it’s not just Republicans heading to the Morningside Heights neighborhood.

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

Working Families Party councilors Tiffany Cabán, Alexa Avilés, Shahana Hanif and Sandy Nurse also visited, but took the opportunity to write a opinion article in city and state where they emphasized how the protests on campus are peaceful.

“If we rely solely on the recent statements of Mayor Eric Adams, Governor Kathy Hochuland president joe biden“one could conclude that a student protest against the mass killing in Gaza is worse than the killing itself,” the group wrote.

Republican consultant Dave Catalfamo disagreed that politicians’ presence on campus should be seen in political terms: “I know we shouldn’t abide by that kind of hate speech, and I honestly don’t care about politics. Politics takes care of this.” Jason Beeferman

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

WAGE LABYRINTH: An effort to raise New York’s minimum wage and unite the upstate hourly wage floor with the New York City area has so far it has failed this year.

But now left-wing advocates believe they have new material: Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations has updated its statistical analysis of the economic impact of the proposed $21.25 salary.

The school’s Wage Atlas found that the higher wage would lead to an $80 billion increase in combined profits 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 minimum wage increases with doubt and warned that raising them further would lead to job losses, greater automation and greater financial strain for small businesses.

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

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

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

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

BUDGET BATTLES AHEAD: Mayor Eric Adams reversed only a small portion of the $7.2 billion in cuts and savings initiatives he made over the past year in his Executive budget of $111.6 billion published today.

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

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

But Adams’ message was entirely celebratoryannouncing the budget with a rally in front of City Hall, focusing on things that have improved in the city – “crime is down, jobs are up” – since Adams took office.

While he focused on a few limited spending initiatives, he defended cuts and conservative forecasts. “All this and much more is possible,” he said, “because we ignored the critics and made difficult decisions when we had to.” — jeff coltin

OH, RATS, PART 2: As a continuous increase in leptospirosis cases causes concern among New York City healthcare workers, the president of the Uniformed Paramedics Association demands more protection for them.

“Our sanitation 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 get sick at work,” President Harry Nespoli said in a statement.

Leptospirosis is an infectious disease that can attack the kidney, liver, brain, lungs or heart and can be fatal and is largely transmitted through rat urine.

In 2023, 24 people were diagnosed with the disease, and five of them were healthcare workers.

Assemblymember Stacey Pheffer Amato is sponsor a bill That would provide more benefits to health care workers and their families, and Nespoli is urging the Legislature to adopt the measure. —Shawn Ness

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

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

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

“His experience and knowledge in the field of large-scale renewable energy in New York State is extensive,” said Keith Silliman, Chairman of the Board of Directors of ACE NY and Director of Regulatory Compliance for Cypress Creek Renewables. “She will help guide us forward as we push to put shovels in the ground to meet our climate goals.”

Wells got his start in the renewable energy business in the state by developing a Small community wind project outside Ithaca. that would have sold power to Cornell University. Local opposition and delays hampered the project. Wells went to work for Invenergy after the project failed in 2016.

Most recently, he led Invenergy’s development efforts in New York, overseeing a 2-gigawatt project portfolio, according to ACE. She is also co-owner of a small solar grazing business. Wells starts 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 reached $5.6 billion, an increase of 1.6 percent from a year earlier during the same three-month period.

Much of that money came from New York City, the comptroller’s office said. Sales tax revenue is critical for local governments – it is their primary source of revenue, 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, as a result of a variety of economic influences.” Nick Reisman

—The collapse of three critical offshore wind projects is hitting New York’s ability to meet its climate goals. (POLITICAL)

— 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 won positive verdicts in unrelated cases from the state Court of Appeals. (Union of times)

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