Morning Buzz | Dakota Co-op Bias?

Be ready for an icy glaze during your morning commute. Light freezing rain and mist will continue on Wednesday, turning into ordinary rain when the temperature goes as high as 40.

The Dakota, the legendary New York apartment building, has long been famous for its celebrity residents, including Leonard Bernstein, Lauren Bacall and John Lennon.

But it is also well-known for having among the most restrictive co-op boards in Manhattan, having turned down would-be buyers including Billy Joel, Cher and the acting couple Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas.

Now a lawsuit by Alphonse Fletcher Jr., a prominent black Wall Street investor and former board president, is offering an inside look at how its enigmatic decisions are made, and to hear him tell it, the process is not at all in keeping with the Dakota’s rarefied reputation. Mr. Fletcher accuses several board members of racial discrimination and defamation in the suit. [NYT]

Schools

After six hours of public testimony, the Panel for Educational Policy voted early on Wednesday to close 10 city high schools and open a new charter school in the heart of the Upper West Side. [NYT] The decision followed hours of heated debate punctuated by jeers and catcalls from an audience of nearly 2,000 and is another victory in the city’s efforts to shut down failing schools while expanding charter schools, which are publicly financed but privately run. (Also see The Daily News and The New York Post)

Government & Politics

Declaring New York State “functionally bankrupt,” Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo proposed a $132.9 billion budget on Tuesday that would reduce year-to-year spending for the first time in more than a decade, slash projected spending on education and health care, and slice the budget for state agencies by more than half a billion dollars in the next fiscal year. [NYT] (Also see The New York Post and The Wall Street Journal)

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg wrote an op-ed piece in The Daily News claiming Mr. Cuomo’s budget proposal ignores important cost containment measures, like reining in increased pension benefits, in favor of severe cuts that will affect New York City’s schools, health care system and public benefits offices. (Also see The New York Post and The Wall Street Journal, paid subscription required)

Tens of thousands of New York City employees who did not report for work during the snowstorm on Thursday could lose a day of leave — even though Mayor Bloomberg sent out a predawn message that day saying that all city nonemergency offices and schools would be closed. [NYT] (Also see The Wall Street Journal)

Crime & Public Safety

By all accounts, the F.B.I.’s concern was clear: Just make sure he’s really dead. The seemingly simple task of confirming that mobster Tino Fiumara, responsible for calling in or carrying out a dozen hits for the Genovese crime family, had indeed died of pancreatic cancer last year was not without its complications — a testament to the notion that even in death, his reputation for being elusive lived on. [NYT]

About two dozen people have been charged with stealing credit card data and using it to make counterfeit credit cards that they used to buy and resell goods across the country, according to an indictment filed on Tuesday in State Supreme Court in Manhattan. [NYT]

Transportation

With half of their fleet on the New Haven line knocked out by weather-related repairs, Metro-North Railroad officials said Tuesday that they could no longer run regular weekday service on that branch for the indefinite future. [NYT]

The city is embarking on an ambitious plan to provide year-round ferry service to seven points along the East River, despite past failures. [NYT] (Also see The Wall Street Journal, paid subscription required)

People & Neighborhoods

Patrick Goodman was 29 when he moved to New York City in September 1980. He danced at Studio 54. He was stabbed five times one night in 1983 by a group of youths who wanted his leather jacket. One Labor Day he walked the length of Queens Boulevard. He lived in, and loved, this city for 30 years. But Mr. Goodman, 59, left New York this week, part of a growing tide of long-term residents no longer able to afford the rising costs of life here. Manny Fernandez tells his story in Wednesday’s About New York column.

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