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No Q-and-A For Chirlane McCray

October 13, 2014

Here was the Public Schedule for First Lady Chirlane McCray, for Friday, October 10, 2014, as released by City Hall.

“On Friday First Lady Chirlane McCray will convene and participate in a Mental Health First Aid training with Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Mary Bassett to mark World Mental Health Day. This training will be closed press, and there will be a photo spray at approximately 11:45 AM. There will be no Q-and-A. ….

“Following the first portion of the training the First Lady will deliver brief remarks at the Institute for Family Health in the Bronx. This portion of the program will be open press. There will be no Q-and-A. After the speaking program, the First Lady will resume the Mental Health First Aid training, which will be closed press.”

OK, so why no Q-and-A for First Lady McCray? You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure it out.

It’s to avoid answering questions about why her chief of staff, Rachel Noerdlinger, has not been fired after she failed to disclose on a city disclosure form that she lives with her boyfriend, Hassaun McFarlan, a convicted killer with a long criminal record who in on-line rants has called cops “pigs.”

De Blasio issued a “case closed” order to reporters when they asked him about Noerdlinger. Unlike Canute the Wise, he does not understand that certain things don’t stop on his command.

Last week, the website DNA reported that Noerdlinger and her son were in her car with McFarlan in 2011 when he was pulled over in Edgewater, New Jersey for driving in the wrong direction on a one-way street. The officer smelled marijuana in the car and arrested McFarlan for possession. He gave Noerdlinger a summons for allowing him to drive her car without a license.

The next day, the New York Post reported that Noerdlinger had left a $28,000 tax lien off her city disclosure form. De Blasio aides said she later updated it.

Maybe Noerdlinger’s lapses were OK when she worked as a spokeswoman for the Rev. Al Sharpton. But when city taxpayers are paying her $170,000-a-year salary, that’s not OK.

On Saturday, the Daily News editorialized that de Blasio had a “clear duty: Rachel Noerdlinger must go.” On Sunday the Post, captioned a column about Noerdlinger on its front-page: ”MAYOR BILL DEFIANTLY IGNORES A CITY HALL GONE ROTTEN.”

Since becoming mayor, people have compared de Blasio’s ultra-liberal administration to that of David Dinkins, the city’s first black mayor. NYPD Confidential has compared de Blasio, with his reformist zeal, to former mayor John Lindsay. But although they come from opposite sides of the ideological spectrum, the person de Blasio increasingly resembles, with his arrogance and disregard of the media, is Rudy Giuliani.

Meanwhile, Sharpton has said that coverage of Noerdlinger “smells to me like a witch hunt.” His defense of her contrasts with his bailout on his longtime lawyer “brother” Sanford Rubenstein, who is accused of raping a female associate of Sharpton following the Rev’s 60th birthday party. Rubenstein maintains the sex was consensual.

After de Blasio placed Sharpton next to him at a City Hall event following the “choke-hold” death of Eric Garner, with Bratton on his other side, people at Police Plaza began saying that Sharpton runs the police department. Until he fires Noerdlinger, they’re going to say Sharpton runs City Hall.

Ethnic politics is now front and center in the city’s criminal justice landscape.

Just ask Police Commissioner Bill Bratton. Or Brooklyn DA Ken Thompson.

Last week, a group of Hispanic officers accused Bratton of dissing Hispanics in general, and in particular, former First Deputy Commissioner Rafael Pineiro, the department’s highest ranking Hispanic officer. Bratton forced Pineiro to retire last month with no credible explanation.

The criticism of Bratton, by the National Latino Officers Association, stemmed from what the group termed a “media blackout” of the department’s Hispanic Heritage Celebration month at Police Plaza last Tuesday.

The blackout, said a news release from the NLOA’s executive chairman, retired sergeant Anthony Miranda, “eliminated any public or community recognition for the growing Hispanic law enforcement community.”

Although Bratton “spoke of a ‘commitment to diversity,’’’ said Miranda, “it was a pledge only heard by those present. Hispanic officers wonder if his words were just for the event or was he truly committed because in the past he made similar statements about the longevity of … Pineiro and six months later Pineiro was forced to retire.”

Despite lobbying efforts by Hispanic officer groups, Bratton has given no hint whether he will appoint another Hispanic officer to succeed Pineiro or whether he might appoint Chief of Department Phil Banks, the department’s highest ranking black officer.

Meanwhile in Brooklyn last week, Thompson announced at another Hispanic Heritage Month celebration that he would appoint Eric Gonzalez as his office’s first ever Latino Chief Assistant. Gonzalez, who has been with the DA’s office since 1995 under Thompson’s longtime predecessor Joe Hynes, has served as Thompson’s counsel since his election last November.

But what of Thompson’s current chief assistant, Mark Feldman, a veteran state and federal prosecutor, who is white and Jewish and whom Thompson appointed chief assistant after his election?

“This has nothing to do with race,” said Thompson’s spokeswoman, Lupe Todd, of the office shake-up. “And no, Mark didn’t do anything bad to the DA, none of that.”

Thompson, she said, “was very open and honest when he announced that Mark had walked in the door with him as DA and helped him with the transition.”

Feldman, she added, will become the Senior Executive Assistant District Attorney for Crime Strategies and Investigations, reporting to Gonzalez. She later corrected that to say that Feldman would report to Thompson. Feldman did not respond to an email from NYPD Confidential, seeking comment.

So what’s actually going on? Said a DA from another borough who asked for anonymity: probably the chemistry between Thompson and Feldman wasn’t right and they kicked him upstairs.

Either that or at least for now, it’s better to have a surname of Gonzalez than Feldman.

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