Silicon Alley U

The Political Operative Managing Stanford’s Bid for Tech Campus Also Ran Mayor Bloomberg’s Last Election [UPDATED]

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Almost immediately after hitting publish on a round-up of the latest hubbub over plans to build an engineering campus in New York,  Betabeat got an intriguing tip from an interested party. Apparently Cornell isn’t the only school tapping power players to help their campaign.

“About two weeks ago Stanford hired City Hall ‘fixer’ Bradley Tusk and his consulting firm Tusk Strategies to seal the deal on this Tech Campus bid,” wrote the source. We confirmed the tip with Tusk Strategies, but we needn’t have. The Stanford Daily actually reported the hire in a small item in late September, along with the news that the school had also signed up Edelman, the global public relations firm that also represents Wal-Mart.

Mr. Tusk, the man The Observer called Bloomberg’s “secret weapon,” back in 2010, engineered the mayor’s third term reelection in 2009. Coincidentally, Mr. Tusk was also hired by Wal-Mart earlier this year to the lead the corporation’s push into New York. The New York Times reported that Mr. Tusk, “is still close to the mayor, a strong supporter of Wal-Mart’s campaign.” Read More

Silicon Alley U

Forget Silicon Alley, Politicians Want Tech Campus in the Middle of the East River to Become ‘Silicon Island’

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Thus far the anticipation index over Michael Bloomberg’s big plan to bring an engineering campus to New York has centered around which university will win the bid. (The mayor’s rather sweet on Stanford, but Cornell is doing a full court press.) While those two duke it out, jockeying for position has swung back over to where, exactly, this campus will be located. NYC EDC has offered up three city-owned plots of land: the Navy Hospital Campus at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Governors Island, or the Goldwater Hospital Campus on Roosevelt Island. And the latter has come out swinging.

At a press conference earlier this week, Councilwoman Jessica Lappin (D-Manhattan) told reporters, “We want Roosevelt Island to be Silicon Island.” But as Capital writer Dan Rosenblum points out, the pitch wasn’t held on the would-be developer mecca, but rather a Manhattan plaza at the end of the Roosevelt Island Aerial Tramway, “the gondola that for many years was the only public transportation available to the island from Manhattan without going through Queens.” (You can now get there via the F train.) A spokeswoman for Ms. Lappin told Capital said they wanted to host the press conference “on the quieter island, but said that they also wanted to make sure reporters would come.” Read More