Morning Read 4/7: Beginneth the Bannon-Kushner Battle

steve-bannon
Multiple sources are reporting that President Donald Trump’s Chief Strategist Steve Bannon is at war with his former ally, Senior Adviser Jared Kushner [JP capture via Youtube / MSNBC]

With over 8,000 opt-in subscribers, the ‘JP Morning Read’ is the most effective digital resource for messages to reach top city and state government officials, agency and industry leaders, and journalists, advocates, and operatives who are the pulse of the daily issues. The morning email ensures that New York’s busy professionals and news-addicts remain updated on the day’s top stories, highlighting newly released reports, central in-depth analysis pieces, and long-form profiles – all before 8:00 a.m.

Click here to subscribe and get the Morning Read sent straight to your inbox.


INTERNATIONAL


U.S. Launches Missiles at Syrian Base After Chemical Weapons Attack

Two U.S. warships in the Mediterranean Sea, the USS Ross and the USS Porter, fired 59 Tomahawk missiles intended for a single target — Shayrat Airfield in Homs province in western Syria, the Defense Department said. That’s the airfield from which the United States believes the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad fired the banned weapons.

A White House official told NBC News that more than two dozen members of Congress were briefed by administration officials on the missile strike. Vice President Mike Pence returned to the White House after having gone home for dinner Thursday evening and monitored the events from the Situation Room, officials said.

Syrian television characterized the missile strike “as American aggression” Friday morning. But Ahrar Al Sham, the largest Syrian armed rebel group, told NBC News it “welcomes any U.S. intervention through surgical strikes that would deter the Assad regime capabilities to kill civilians and shorten the suffering of our people.”

The Defense Department called the strike a “proportional response to Assad’s heinous act,” saying it was “intended to deter the regime from using chemical weapons again.” [NBCNEWS]

Transcript: President Trump’s remarks on US military strike on Syria

“My fellow Americans, on Tuesday, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad launched a horrible chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians. Using a deadly nerve agent, Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women and children.

It was a slow and brutal death for so many — even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack. No child of God should ever suffer such horror.

Tonight I ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched. It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons. There can be no dispute that Syria used banned chemical weapons, violated its obligations under the chemical weapons convention and ignored the urging of the U.N. Security Council.

Years of previous attempts at changing Assad’s behavior have all failed and failed very dramatically. As a result the refugee crisis continues to deepen and the region continues to destabilize, threatening the United States and its allies.

Tonight, I call on all civilized nations to join us in seeking to end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria and also to end terrorism of all kinds and all types. We ask for God’s wisdom as we face the challenge of our very troubled world. We pray for the lives of the wounded and for the souls of those who have passed. And we hope that as long as America stands for justice, then peace and harmony will — in the end — prevail.

Goodnight, and God Bless America and the entire world.” [ABC]

Israel’s Netanyahu praises U.S. missile attack on Syria

Israel’s prime minister has welcomed the U.S. attack on a Syrian air base saying he “fully supports” President Trump’s decision.

Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday in a statement that “In both word and action” Trump “sent a strong and clear message” that “the use and spread of chemical weapons will not be tolerated.”
Israel’s Channel 2 TV said Israel along with other allies was notified about the U.S. strike.

The attacks in neighboring Syria have worried Israel, which has warned against “game-changing” weapons reaching Hezbollah in Lebanon from the country, which supports the militant group. Last month Israel shot down an anti-aircraft missile fired at its planes as they struck a suspected Hezbollah weapons convoy. [WASHTIMES]

Donald Trump hails ‘friendship’ with China’s Xi Jinping on 1st day of summit

US President Donald Trump said he forged a friendship with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, striking a positive tone in the early hours of the first-ever meeting between leaders of the world’s two biggest economies.

“We had a long discussion already and so far I have gotten nothing, absolutely nothing,” Trump joked on Thursday night at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida while dining with Xi, who arrived in the afternoon. “But we have developed a friendship. I can see that.”

“I think, long-term, we are going to have a very, very great relationship and I look very much forward to it,” Trump said.

The meeting is the first real test of the US leader’s campaign promises to win in negotiations with America’s chief economic and military rival. After defeats on his travel ban and the Obamacare repeal, Trump wants to show progress countering North Korea’s nuclear threat and opening Chinese markets to more US goods in an effort to create jobs. [LIVEMINT]

In curious first, Russia recognizes West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

In an unexpected, unprecedented and curious move, Moscow on Thursday said it considers West Jerusalem to be Israel’s capital, making Russia the first country in the world to extend such a recognition to any part of the city.

“We reaffirm our commitment to the UN-approved principles for a Palestinian-Israeli settlement, which include the status of East Jerusalem as the capital of the future Palestinian state. At the same time, we must state that in this context we view West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” the Foreign Ministry in Moscow said in a statement.

Russia’s surprising announcement came as US President Donald Trump considers moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. It is unclear what prompted Moscow’s decision and whether other countries in its sphere of influence will follow suit.

Officials in Jerusalem, evidently taken aback by the statement, declined immediate comment on the announcement. “We are studying the matter,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nahshon said. [TOI]


NATIONAL


Senate Republicans Deploy ‘Nuclear Option’ to Clear Path for Gorsuch

Senate Republicans on Thursday engineered a dramatic change in how the chamber confirms Supreme Court nominations, bypassing a Democratic blockade of Judge Neil M. Gorsuch in a move that will most likely reshape both the Senate and the court.

After Democrats held together Thursday morning and filibustered President Trump’s nominee, Republicans voted to lower the threshold for advancing Supreme Court nominations from 60 votes to a simple majority.

In deploying this so-called nuclear option, lawmakers are fundamentally altering the way the Senate handles one of its most significant duties, further limiting the minority’s power in a chamber that was designed to be a slower and more deliberative body than the House.

The move, once unthinkable among senators, is a testament to the creeping partisan rancor in recent years, after decades of at least relative bipartisanship on Supreme Court matters. Both parties have warned of sweeping effects on the court itself, predicting the elevation of more ideologically extreme judges now that only a majority is required for confirmation.

Senate Democrats in 2013 first changed the rules of the Senate to block Republican filibusters of presidential nominees to lower courts and to government positions. But they left the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees untouched, an acknowledgment of the court’s exalted status. On Thursday, that last pillar was swept away on a party-line vote, with all 52 Republicans choosing to overrule Senate precedent and all 48 Democrats and liberal-leaning independents pushing to keep it. [NYTIMES]

Ethics panel opens investigation into Nunes

The House Ethics Committee announced Thursday that it is investigating whether Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) made unauthorized disclosures of classified information while overseeing his panel’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

A joint statement from House Ethics Committee Chairwoman Susan Brooks (R-Ind.) and the panel’s ranking Democrat, Rep. Ted Deutch (Fla.), said the investigation will focus on whether Nunes violated federal law and the chamber’s rules during a press conference where he announced that intelligence agencies incidentally collected information about associates of President Trump.

Nunes pointed to the House Ethics Committee investigation earlier Thursday when explaining his decision to temporarily step aside from the Russia investigation. He noted that multiple “leftwing activist groups” had filed complaints against him to the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE).

Liberal groups including MoveOn.Org, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and Democracy 21 asked OCE to investigate whether Nunes disclosed classified information.

“The disclosure of this information by Chairman Nunes was evidently intended to try to lend some credence to President Trump’ claims that former President Obama had Trump Tower wiretapped — claims that have been repeatedly been shown to be absolutely baseless, as confirmed by FBI Director Comey in his testimony before Chairman Nunes’ own committee,” MoveOn.org’s ethics complaint read. [THEHILL]

Jewish groups join letter urging Congress to resist Trump bid to allow church politicking

An array of Jewish organizations joined a letter from religious groups to Congress urging the preservation of a law banning tax-exempt status to faith groups that endorse candidates and parties – one that President Donald Trump says he hopes to rescind.

“Houses of worship are spaces for members of religious communities to come together, not be divided along political lines,” said the April 4 letter signed by 99 groups and addressed to the leaders of both parties in the House of Representatives and Senate, as well as to the leaders of tax-writing committees.

“Faith ought to be a source of connection and community, not division and discord,” the letter said. “The charitable sector, particularly houses of worship, should not become another cog in a political machine or another loophole in campaign finance laws.”

Trump while campaigning said he wanted to roll back the “Johnson Amendment,” named for President Lyndon Johnson, who led its passage as a Texas senator in the 1950s. Trump said the amendment restricts free speech and favors Democrats by inhibiting political support among evangelical Christians. He has repeated the pledge since assuming office.

The law, as the letter points out, permits churches to engage with political issues and allows pastors to endorse candidates away from church settings. Its restriction is on explicit endorsements of a candidate or a party by a church. [JTA]


LOCAL


Text Fueled Spat May Have Caused Albany Budget Breakdown

NY1 has learned that personal fights may have led to a breakdown in state budget talks in Albany.

A Democratic Assembly member was texting during a private conference with Speaker Carl Heastie Wednesday night and revealing the meeting’s contents either to Governor Andrew Cuomo or a Cuomo staff member.

Cuomo then texted Heastie, asking the Speaker why he was badmouthing him. Heastie then became upset. Budget talks stopped shortly thereafter.

State lawmakers missed Saturday’s midnight deadline for the $152 million plan. Governor Cuomo publicly blamed the deadlock on items like charter school aid and raising the age of criminal liability to 18. On Monday, an “extender” was passed to keep the current budget through May. It also fully funds the state’s transportation and infrastructure projects for the year. [NY1]

Proposal to link rent regulation to 421a is nixed: report

A proposal by state legislators to keep the new 421a tied to rent regulation has been removed from the realm of legislative possibility, sources told Politico Thursday. The linkage was supported by a number of Assembly Democrats.

Tying the two laws together would have have meant that when rent regulations expired, such as rent stabilization and other laws, the 421a developer tax exemption would have to expire with it, unless there was a deal to renew both.

“It was just not something that could be worked out between the parties,” the Assembly’s Housing Committee chair Steven Cymbrowitz, a Brooklyn Democrat, said.

The Assembly was reported to be in private conference on Thursday afternoon. Senators left Albany on Wednesday, but could be summoned back to vote on the new 421a, dubbed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo as “Affordable New York.” [TRD]

Donald Trump Jr. talks about running for governor of New York

Donald Trump Jr. wants to run for political office, telling members of an elite gun club that he could set his sights on becoming governor of New York.

Don Jr. spoke to members of the F6 Labs gun club in Hicksville, NY, and, when asked about his political ambitions, said he would love to follow his father, President Donald Trump, into office.

A guest at Tuesday’s meeting told Page Six, “Don Jr. said he is interested in running for office, such as governor of New York, but the position of mayor of New York would be less interesting to him.”Don Jr. added that he didn’t want to be one of 100 Senators, nor a member of Congress.

Campaigning alongside his father made him think about his future, with him saying, “Do I want to be behind the scenes and be a mouthpiece and fight back against crazy liberal media? Maybe.” Don Jr. joked that he missed the intensity of the presidential campaign: “Going back to doing deals is boring after 18 months. The politics bug bit me.” [NYP]

Pols press for $50M in city funding to help protect at-risk community centers from hate crimes

Amid the spike in hate crimes in Queens and other parts of the city, the City Council is calling for $50 million to protect at-risk centers and institutions throughout the five boroughs.

“Over the past year and a half, we have heard an increase in damaging and disturbing remarks about the most vulnerable New Yorkers —those that are foreign-born, part of religious minorities, or living at or below the poverty line,” begins the section titled “Protecting and Investing in Vulnerable New Yorkers” in the Council’s response to Mayor de Blasio’s preliminary 2018 budget report.

The mayor’s budget “fails to meet the emerging and existing demands for vulnerable immigrant New Yorkers,” the section, penned by Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and the Council’s Finance Division, continues.

On March 9, Councilman Rory Lancman, who represents areas including Jamaica, Fresh Meadows and Briarwood, called on the city to fund a $25 million security grant to ensure the safety of Jewish, Muslim and other community institutions. Now, the City Council is calling for double that amount, split in half and designated toward expense funding and capital funding to help at-risk local institutions pay for security upgrades to their facilities or cover the costs of increased and enhanced security staffing.

The push for funding follows a reported citywide spike in hate crimes. According to an NYPD crime report in March, overall crime was down, but the city had recorded 24 hate crimes in 2017, which marks a 55 percent spike since the same time last year. 17 of the 24 crimes were anti-Semitic — a 94 percent increase from 2016. [QNS]

64 Yeshivas Now Have Free Security Guards in New York City

Councilman David Greenfield is celebrating the one year anniversary of the passage of his school security law, which pays for security guards at yeshivos.

In the law’s first year, 64 yeshivos and Jewish day schools have taken part in the program that provides free security guards for schools with over 300 students. Collectively these schools have 50,000 yeshivah students in them.

“We came together last year to agree that every child needs to be safe regardless of where they go to school,” Greenfield said. “This is one of our values as New Yorkers — we protect all of our children.”

In order to apply for security guards through the law, a non-public school needs to have at least 300 students. Schools with at least 500 students can get two guards, and an additional guard is added for every 500 students after that. Applications for the coming school year are being accepted until May 1, about ten days after Pesach. Greenfield is urging every school to apply. About 40 percent of eligible schools did not apply for the grant, worth just under $20 million. [HAMODIA]


POLITICS


Bannon wants a war on Washington. Now he’s part of one inside the White House.

Bannon, an unkempt iconoclast, has generally chafed at the transition from firebomb campaigning to more modulated governing and for weeks has vented about the possibility of quitting, one person close to him said.

This account of the latest West Wing turmoil comes from interviews with more than 20 White House officials and people close to those in the administration, many of whom requested anonymity to offer candid assessments.

Despite the demotion, Bannon attended Wednesday’s National Security Council meeting, and his friends and allies say the position on the Cabinet-level security committee was always supposed to be temporary — a way for Bannon to keep watch over retired Gen. Michael Flynn, the controversial former national security adviser who was fired in February after he misled Vice President Pence about his contacts with Russian officials.

But the benign explanation for Bannon’s removal belies the growing strife between Bannon, Kushner and Gary Cohn, the National Economic Council director. A registered Democrat who previously was president of Goldman Sachs, Cohn is close to Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, the president’s oldest daughter and adviser. Fairly or unfairly, Bannon has borne the blame for several specific policy and political failures, including the scattershot drafting and implementation of Trump’s first travel ban and the strategy and approach to dealing with the conservative House Freedom Caucus, which helped tank the Republican health-care bill by failing to support it.

The clash over control of a pro-Trump outside group also pitted Bannon, Republican super-donor Rebekah Mercer and her father, Robert, against Kushner. And Bannon has felt the brunt of general frustrations surrounding the security council. In the early days of the administration, he elevated himself, without Trump’s knowledge, to the principals committee, a move that infuriated the president. Bannon insisted, along with Kushner, on keeping certain staffers over the objection of McMaster.

But the ultimate argument against him, said one person with knowledge of the situation, is that “Bannon isn’t making ‘Dad’ look good.”

Bannon and his populist allies view Kushner’s circle with growing suspicion, worrying aloud that the group — whom they dismiss as “the Democrats,” “the New Yorkers” or, simply, “Goldman” — are pushing Trump in a “Democrat Lite” direction. Kushner’s allies, meanwhile, label Bannon’s crowd as “the Bannonites,” “the Nationalists” or “Breitbart,” the name of the incendiary conservative website he previously ran. [WASHPOST]

In Battle for Trump’s Heart and Mind, It’s Bannon vs. Kushner

At different moments, Mr. Trump has given conflicting impressions of his preferences. He has privately scorned the coverage of Mr. Kushner’s recent high-profile trip to Iraq, according to two people who spoke with him, and questioned the need for his son-in-law’s newly created office to overhaul the government. At other points, he has been dismissive of Mr. Bannon, curtly telling him he is not needed at this meeting or that.

“This president’s method of managing is by him personally curating points of views from a diverse group of people in whom he has some trust and credibility,” said Thomas Barrack Jr., a longtime friend of Mr. Trump who led his inaugural festivities. “And he very rarely accepts one course of action or one suggestion without laundering it amongst all of them. And what happens in that process is confusion amongst those from whom he’s seeking advice. What works for him is that, out of that milieu, his instincts take him to the right answer.”

While alliances have been fluid in this White House, Mr. Kushner is joined by more centrist-minded advisers including not only his wife, Ivanka Trump, who now has her own West Wing office, but also Gary Cohn, the president’s national economics adviser, and Dina Powell, a deputy national security adviser, both veterans of Goldman Sachs.

Mr. Bannon’s closest ally is Stephen Miller, the president’s senior adviser for policy and the author of orders to temporarily ban visitors from certain predominantly Muslim countries. And although they were once at odds and still come from vastly different vantage points, Mr. Bannon has also maintained an alliance of convenience lately with Reince Priebus, the chief of staff closely associated with the Republican Party establishment.

In recent weeks, as Mr. Bannon has felt increasingly frustrated, Mr. Priebus has several times bolstered the chief strategist in discussions with the president, according to people with direct knowledge of the talks. In turn, Mr. Bannon has gone out of his way to praise his onetime rival’s performance.

Mr. Bannon’s supporters are publicly warning about the subversion of Mr. Trump’s real agenda by the so-called Democrats. “This isn’t about palace intrigue,” Laura Ingraham, the conservative radio host and author who was one of Mr. Trump’s earliest backers, said in an interview. “This is about a full-scale assault against the Trump agenda from within. If the president allows this to continue and drifts away from his key pledges, he risks losing his core constituency and any hope of a second term.” [NYTIMES]

Former bodyguard maintains role as top Trump protector

During Jared Kushner’s visit to Iraq this week, one man stood out from the military uniforms and business suits. At a table with top Iraqi Kurdish leaders, an imposing figure in an Adidas athletic jacket sat next to President Donald Trump’s trusted son-in-law and senior adviser.

Meet Keith Schiller, Trump’s former bodyguard.

That might seem like a peculiar assignment for the director of Oval Office operations. But Trump’s request that Schiller accompany Kushner as an extra measure of protection underscores that the president feels most comfortable having Schiller around, despite the sophisticated security surrounding Trump and his family.

Nearly two decades after he began working part time for Trump’s security team, the 58-year-old former New York detective who distinguished himself crashing through doors in drug busts as the “ram guy” is still the man standing beside a president who is crashing through Washington.

“He’s one of the most loyal, responsible guys I’ve ever met. Tireless worker,” said Bo Dietl, a former NYPD detective who has known both men for years. On paper, Schiller’s job is helping ensure that Trump’s daily meetings flow smoothly. In practice, he’s part presidential body man, part gatekeeper, part protector and familiar companion in an unfamiliar place. Schiller is a loyal and trusted aide rarely far from his boss’s side.

After receiving Secret Service protection, Trump insisted on maintaining much of his private security — a highly unusual situation that drew criticism. “If I had a Keith Schiller, I’d do the same thing,” said Dietl, who is now running for mayor of New York. “In reality, who can you trust more than Keith?” [AP]

Mitt Romney is exploring a 2018 Senate bid in Utah.

Republican leaders and high-powered donors in Utah are waging a quiet but concerted campaign to convince 83-year-old incumbent Senator Orrin Hatch not to seek reelection next year—and now, they may have found a successor. Mitt Romney, the one-time presidential nominee and leading Trump critic, is exploring a run for Hatch’s Senate seat.

According to six sources familiar with the situation, Romney has spent recent weeks actively discussing a potential 2018 Senate bid with a range of high-level Republicans in both Utah and Washington, and has privately signaled a growing interest in the idea. Romney, though, has made clear he would not pursue the seat without Hatch’s blessing.

Hatch, who has served in the Senate for more than four decades, seemed to signal a willingness to step aside during an interview last week with National Journal’s Alex Rogers. “If I could get a really outstanding person to run for my position, I might very well consider [retiring],” Hatch said, adding, “Mitt Romney would be perfect.” [THEATLANTIC]


CULTURE


Is Trump Ending The White House Passover Seder Tradition?

Jews have been celebrating the spring festival, which commemorates their exodus from Egypt, for thousands of years. Some of the details, like the commandment to eat only unleavened bread, are even in the Bible.) And the ritual meal, called a seder, draws on the practice of the Greek symposium, in which participants would relax and discuss intellectual topics.

The annual White House Passover seder, started by former president Barack Obama, does not seem to be happening this year.

Donald Trump, as far as Jewish activists close to the administration know, does not plan to host a seder for Passover, which begins next Monday evening. The White House did not respond to inquires of the Forward regarding the possibility of President Trump holding a seder.

White House Passover seders are a fairly new tradition. They began after Obama’s impromptu campaign trail seder organized by Jewish staffers during the 2008 presidential race. That meal evolved into an eight-year tradition in which the First Family hosted a small gathering made up of family friends, White House aides and participants of the original campaign seder. Under Obama, the White House Passover seder included reading from the Maxwell House haggadah and Jewish traditional fare prepared based on family recipes and by visiting chefs. When the president was out of town, the seder was postponed to accommodate his schedule.

While the White House seder became a regular feature of Obama’s presidency, the event was always seen as an intimate get-together, leaving the main stage for the annual Hanukkah reception, a decades-old White House tradition.

Although Trump does not seem to be inclined to host his own seder at the White House, the President may choose to attend the traditional meal celebrating the liberation of ancient Israelites from Egyptian bondage with his daughter and son-in-law. [FORWARD]


FINANCE


Stocks spooked, safe-haven assets jump as U.S. missiles strike Syria

Safe-haven bonds and the yen jumped in Asia on Friday as stocks slipped after the United States launched cruise missiles against an air base in Syria, raising the risk of confrontation with Syrian backers Russia and Iran.

The U.S. dollar dropped half a yen, while gold and oil prices rallied hard, though dealers said the early panic calmed when a U.S. official called the attack a “one-off”. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan were down 0.5 percent but above the early low.

E-mini S&P 500 futures lost 0.3 percent in an unusually sharp move for Asian hours, but Japan’s Nikkei reversed course again to be up 0.4 percent.

“While President Trump had flagged a response to this week’s chemical attack in Syria, the swiftness of the response and the willingness to take action halfway through the Trump-Xi meeting caught markets a little off-guard,” said Sean Callow, senior currency strategist at Westpac in Sydney. “There should be limited market follow-through, however, with no indication at this stage that this is the start of a broad-based, sustained U.S. military campaign.” [REUTERS]

Amazon will create 30,000 part-time jobs, but Americans are desperate to work full-time

Amazon said Thursday it will create 30,000 part-time jobs in the U.S. over the next year, nearly double the current number. Of those jobs, 25,000 will be in warehouses and the other 5,000 will be home-based customer service positions. This is in addition to the 100,000 full-time jobs Amazon AMZN, -1.21% said it would create over the next 18 months, many of which were planned, according to a separate announcement made in January. Last year, Amazon’s world-wide workforce grew by 48% to 341,400 employees. In the U.S., it has over 70 “fulfillment centers” and over 90,000 full-time employees.

Seeking more flexibility, American workers are working from home and part-time, but these jobs often come with fewer benefits. In fact, the number of Americans working involuntarily part-time rose 45% since 2007 to 6.4 million, a December 2016 report by the Economic Policy Institute found.

The EPI, a nonprofit think-tank in Washington, D.C., said the increase is almost entirely due to the inability of workers to find full-time jobs, leaving many workers to take or keep lower-paying jobs with less consistent hours to make ends meet. And more than half (54%) of the growth in these involuntary part-time jobs between 2007 and 2015 were in retail, leisure and hospitality industries.

There’s a prolonged “structural shift toward more intensive use of part-time employment,” the Economic Policy Institute report found. Aside from the frequent lack of sufficient work hours, these part-time workers must also “navigate unpredictable and/or variable hours,” with their work schedules varying week-to-week at a rate more than double that of full-time workers, it added. [MARKETWATCH]

New city housing policy faces test amidst affordability debate

The most controversial part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s new housing policy, a provision that benefits middle-class tenants, is facing its first test in a city debating just how affordable affordable housing should be.

Riverside Developers is seeking a rezoning from the City Council to build a mixed-use development with 296 apartments on manufacturing land in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. In exchange, 88 units would be rent regulated, but available to residents who almost all earn more than the area median income.

In seeking to use the part of the year-old Mandatory Inclusionary Housing policy known as the “workforce option,” the proposal has become a flashpoint in a city grappling with a sharp increase in homelessness, a rental housing shortage and long wait lists for public housing.

The provision was written into the housing policy to allow for moderately-priced homes in certain neighborhoods. Other options applied to some of the poorest parts of the city call for cheaper apartments, which are partly funded by public subsidies.

Riverside would not receive any city money for the project and would have to devote 30 percent of the new units to tenants earning, on average, 115 percent of the area median income — $89,355 for a three-person household. The rest would be rented at market-rate.

“In going for a project that is not relying on subsidy, I think what’s being put forward is creating some traditionally middle-income [housing],” said City Councilman Steve Levin, who represents the area. “I don’t think that the project in and of itself would be then the cure-all for affordable housing needs in the neighborhood, and there’s going to continue to be a need for more lower-income housing.” [POLITICO]

04/07/2017 10:33 AM by David Kinzer
Tags: Morning Read

More from News