Tax records show that labor costs at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center Foundation rose 58 percent in 2011 and the organization's expenses tripled to $35.6 million as revenues fell, The Wall Street Journal writes: http://on.wsj.com/V6lsiD
New York City officials say that 12 MTA-subsidized billboards next to highways in Queens and the Bronx violate zoning regulations, while the transportation authority is challenging the Buildings Department on the restrictions in court, the Times reports: http://nyti.ms/UuVOqx
A state Supreme Court justice dismissed a lawsuit brought by the New York Retired Public Employees Association challenging a state decision to impose health care cost increases on retired workers negotiated by public employee unions, the Times-Union reports: http://bit.ly/V6oEKW
The Journal News posted an interactive map of registered handgun owners in Westchester and Rockland counties using publicly available data, eliciting angry comments from some readers: http://lohud.us/Tqhu54
New York City has had only 414 murders so far this year and is on pace for a record low, though officials disagree on whether the NYPD's stop-and-frisk policy is behind the decline, the Daily News writes: http://nydn.us/Tqj86L
HEARD AROUND TOWN:
* In his "What You Should Know" column yesterday, the email blast authored by state Sen. Rubén Díaz, Sr., the Bronx senator ticked off his top ten wishes for the New Year, a list that jabs at everyone from the Senate Independent Democratic Conference to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. But Díaz directed his most inflammatory statement at Sen. Malcolm Smith, who recently defected from the Democratic conference to join the IDC, writing that he wishes, "For Senator Malcolm Smith, to find another minority to join him in order for him not to be the only Uncle Tom in the house." When asked about his comments, Díaz said that he is tired of people using black and Hispanic pain for their own benefit, and suggested that Smith is being exploited by the IDC and Senate Republicans simply to have a minority face in their leadership coalition. "I know the game, I know how they play. [The Senate leadership] need[s] to show that they care [about minority issues] and for that they get one or two [minorities]," Díaz said. "They give a little piece of bone to Malcolm, and they say 'we have the minority we love'." Smith did not respond to a request for comment.