Chancellor Appointee Gets Her Waiver

Tuesday will be mild with highs in the 50s and a 50 percent chance of rain from the leaden skies. Brace yourselves for the storm headed our way.

Cathleen P. Black, a publishing executive, won the helm of New York City’s public school system on Monday with a waiver from the state education commissioner that said her inexperience in education would be offset in part by the appointment of a chief academic officer to serve by her side.

Ms. Black agreed with the education commissioner, David M. Steiner, that her first act as chancellor would be to appoint an experienced educator as her chief deputy, to administer and supervise instruction in the city’s 1,600 schools.

It was the latest in a series of pledges over nearly nine years that Mr. Bloomberg has made to state legislators and officials to secure approval for his control of the school system. During that time, his administration says, it has followed the letter of the law on mayoral control. But critics say the mayor’s record of success in living up to the spirit of those promises has been mixed. [NYT] (Also see The Wall Street Journal, The Daily News and The New York Post.)

In Tuesday’s NYC column, Clyde Haberman considers whether a deputy shortstop might be a suitable option for the Yankees’ 36-year-old shortstop, Derek Jeter, who is currently embroiled in salary negotiations after the worst season of his dazzling career in Tuesday’s NYC column.

Crimson Bees of Red Hook & Trees of Rockefeller Center

Beekeepers in Red Hook, Brooklyn, were concerned when their saffron-and-black charges returned to their hives tinted red, and later filled honeycombs with a cloying substance reminiscent of cough syrup rather than honey, Susan Dominus reports in Tuesday’s Big City column. The bees were not the victims of some strange new blight; they appear to have a taste for Maraschino cherry juice, probably from Dell’s Maraschino Cherries Company on Dikeman Street.

The tree lighting ceremony at Rockefeller Center will take place Tuesday. But many who flock to watch the lights go on do not realize how emotionally fraught giving up a beloved Norway spruce can be for owners who have nurtured it, sometimes for generations. [NYT] Rockefeller Center scouts sometimes have to be very persistent to get families to part with them.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg told people planning to attend the tree lighting ceremony not to worry about security issues after a failed bomb plot in Portland, Ore. [Daily News]

Government & Politics

Lawmakers who gathered here for a special session appeared almost certain on Monday night to set aside a package of spending cuts proposed by Gov. David A. Paterson, leaving this year’s state budget hundreds of millions of dollars out of balance as the governor-elect, Andrew M. Cuomo, prepares to take office on Jan. 1. [NYT]

In the genteel parliamentary history of the House of Representatives there lurk rowdy days of rough-and-tumble brawls, beatings, chokings, fistfights, upended hairpieces, stentorian demands for apologies unheeded and a lot of sneaky conduct and foul-mouth talk. Some did nothing bad, or almost nothing. But they all wound up where Representative Charles B. Rangel, a Democrat from Harlem, is expected to find himself this week: in the well of the House, facing the shame of formal censure. [NYT] (Also see The New York Post.)

Real Estate

In Tuesday’s Appraisal column, Christine Haughney examines the essential guarantors and their place in the city’s real estate world, where even well-to-do tenants are often forced to enlist a better-off friend or relative to vouch for them.

Crime & Public Safety

Schiavone Construction Company, a heavy construction company that has been involved in some of New York’s biggest infrastructure projects, admitted on Monday that it had defrauded government programs for five years, and it agreed to forfeit $20 million for crimes it committed while performing $691 million in public contracts. [NYT]

Schools

A Bronx man was indicted Monday on charges that he stole $5 million from Columbia University. The man, George Castro, was the beneficiary of an unauthorized bank account into which millions of dollars from the university were transferred in October and November, according to a criminal court complaint in Manhattan. [NYT]

Transportation

The Post reports that the Port Authority is working on a plan to terrorist-proof the PATH tunnels that run under the Hudson River, and that Zagat rated La Guardia the worst airport in the country.

The Wall Street Journal says that New Jersey has less than 30 days to pay back more than $271 million in federal funds from a canceled Hudson River tunnel project.

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