The real big game day


| vmimoni@queenscourier.com |

Super Sunday and “the big game” across the Hudson may be the big story for football fans. But for those who prefer full-contact politics, there are stories galore to get us through to the November playoffs.

Hizzoner and a squad of City Council players took the field up in Albany last Monday, looking for a good call on the city’s Pre-K plans, and de Blasio’s signature bazillionaire tax to pay for it. Despite the off-field friendship between the mayor and Empire State QB Andrew Cuomo, the gov’s playbook doesn’t call for giving up yardage on tax relief.

After dealing with recent troubles over “illegal contact,” Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver promises to move the ball in his House. Whether City Hall gets a reception on a home rule message and scores on the tax hike is being reviewed.

Our mayor has a notorious problem watching the clock – he showed up to the Legislative hearings a quarter-hour late – which is not the best way to win over upstate pols. Likewise, comparing his tax on the one-percenters with a one percent property tax hike in upstate Ulster County may not sit well with them either.

Property taxes fall more lightly on the “wealthy” city slickers who have been buying up premier properties up there for years – and demanding services to go with their manses. Here’s hoping petty resentment doesn’t cost us any ground.

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Closer to home, a newly-elevated Queens Councilmember is getting a taste of how the tabloids play the game.

Before getting the ball to head the powerful Finance committee, Julissa Ferreras had been mentioned as a candidate to head the Land Use Committee – which the reporter described as  often “rubber stamping” development projects.

Last Friday, a story in The Daily News called her on fumbling financial oversight of a charity funded by her old boss, convicted former Councilmember Hiram Monserrate, who used a rubber stamp of her signature to loot the charity and fund his state senate campaign.

Did somebody telegraph the word play? Maybe not, but when it’s you facing a line of reporters, don’t overlook anything.

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Friday will be a big day for beleaguered State Senator Malcolm Smith and his co-defendants, who are trying to stay out of the federal cooler for up to the next 45 years. Smith, along with former City Councilmember Dan Halloran and others, is hoping the judge will read the law the same way they do and dismiss most of the charges.

Thanks to the gag order the judge issued at U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s request, the parties aren’t talking. But it’s no secret that Malcolm et al felt frostbitten by Bharara’s opening blast – an avalanche of a press conference that one federal judge skewered as sounding, “Like the theme from ‘Mighty Mouse.’”

The feds make defensive linemen look like pushovers when it comes to giving up yardage. Former State Senate leader Joe Bruno has been blitzed by the feds for five years and although the court tossed his conviction – and much of the law he was tried under – they’ll be running a replay of the case against the 84-year-old pol this spring.

So regardless of what the judge in Smith et al decides, the prosecutor’s office isn’t about to punt on these cases. There’s a lot of time on this clock, fans.