Archive for October, 2012
Oct 31st - 9:16 pm
Today the New York Stock Exchange re-opened after an historic two day break caused by Sandy. That’s good news for the state because Wall Street is a major economic engine and has a significant impact on the state’s revenue. Just how much of a hit New York’s bottom line will take as a result of this storm remains an open question. State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli addresses the issue.
Oct 31st - 9:08 pm
Westchester County saw a lot of damage from Sandy, including some deaths. Wednesday, County Executive Rob Astorino joined the governor’s tour of the impact on Long Island, New York City, and the lower Hudson Valley. He explains what’s happening now.
Oct 31st - 8:56 pm
Election day is less than a week away, and that’s keeping candidates busy. For Julian Schreibman, the Democrat running against Rep. Chris Gibson, it’s the last few days of introducting himself and his views to voters. He says that’s what he’s been trying to do all along, and yesterday’s Siena poll suggests it’s working.
Oct 31st - 8:52 pm
The state Business Council is calling for another round of reforms to the workers comp system. They say changes made in 2007 have not brought the savings businesses were promised. Council president Heather Briccetti explains what could be done know to save money without cutting benefits to workers.
Oct 31st - 5:20 pm
MTA Chairman Joe Lhota’s former colleagues say he’s uniquely qualified to handle the massive and unprecedented job of setting the subway system back up and running after Sandy.
Subway, Metro North and LIRR and service is returning (or already has) in a limited capacity.
Another 1,900 utility workers are headed to Long Island to help get the lights turned back on. (That includes crews from 11 states).
Spared the worst of Sandy’s wrath, the state Canal System is reopening.
Eliot Spitzer has a post-Sandy, pro-government slogan suggestion for Obama: “Who rebuilt it?”
AG Eric Schneiderman issued a guide to New Yorkers on how to avoid getting scammed as they recover and rebuild their homes and businesses.
Jerry Goldfeder on postponing Election Day due to Sandy: “Legally it’s simple. But historically, politically and logistically, it would be a highly extraordinary and unique event in American history.”
GOP Rep. Nan Hayworth sent Gov. Andrew Cuomo a letter thanking him for his “prompt and prudent actions” preparing for and responding to Sandy.
Maybe what post-Sandy NYC needs is some very large - and very expensive – sea gates like the Dutch city of Rotterdam has.
Mayor Bloomberg has been very direct in his comments about the connection between climate change and extreme weather.
Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch, whose health prevented him from campaigning for Obama in Florida, endorsed him via video instead.
Russell Simmons, who was in LA for Sandy, had some harsh criticism of Bloomberg’s handling of NYC’s homeless population.
Cuomo’s sister, Maria Cuomo Cole, Tweeted a post-Sandy fundraising pitch for the homeless housing organization he founded, Help USA.
Bloomberg’s rockstar sign language interpreter Lydia Callis was educated in Rochester.
The Daily Beast called Callis “a shining beacon of optimism” amid all the gloom and doom of Sandy.
Doris Fisher, who opened the first Gap store in 1969 along with her late husband Donald, gave $25,000 to the Senate Republicans.
The Obama campaign turned former Republican Secretary of State Colin Powell’s endorsement of the president into a radio ad, running in key battleground states.
Rep. Kathy Hochul campaigned with Jon “Bowzer” Bauman of Sha Na Na fame.
Oct 31st - 4:49 pm
The campaign of Democratic Rep. Louise Slaughter, which has had its wrists slapped by the area Fair Elections Campaign Committee for making questionable claims in its ads, is touting a “fact based” TV ad that blasts Republican opponent Maggie Brooks.
The Slaughter campaign has kept up a series of sustained attacks against Slaughter, claiming that she’s part of a culture of corruption in Monroe County.
The campaign notes that the generally awesome fact-checking being done by Jessica Alaimo at the Democrat and Chronicle in Rochester deemed the ad “mostly true” (what a high bar to set!).
The full sentence from Alaimo’s blog post read, “This ad, while mostly true, makes arguments that are nothing new and, at this point, of no help to voters.
Oct 31st - 3:56 pm
Damage from Hurricane Sandy could cost up to $6 billion in New York alone, Gov. Andrew Cuomo wrote in a letter to President Obama and the Federal Emergency Management Agency this afternoon seeking the maximum reimbursement from the federal government.
Cuomo wrote that the “initial estimates” say the $6 billion cost comes from lost economic revenue in the New York City area, along with the expensive restoration of subway and rail lines after corrosive saltwater flooded the tracks.
Cuomo has so far praised the response of the Obama administration and its handling of the storm.
From his letter:
Our counties are responding to the continued impacts of multi-building fires, tunnel closures, power losses to hospitals and other critical infrastructure, destroyed homes and sheltered populations – all in the midst of historic flooding that has complicated emergency response operations exponentially. Moreover, the cost to restore the complex electrically driven subway and rail transportation systems after total inundation from saltwater flooding will place a tremendous financial burden on New York State. The impact of this storm on thousands of small businesses is devastating and unprecedented. Initial estimates project up to $6 billion in lost economic revenue in the greater metropolitan area and the State due to the severe disruption of business in the world’s leading financial hub and the largest port on the northeastern seaboard.
This support is critical to ensuring that our State and local governments are able to respond effectively to the emergent and continuing issues associated with the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy.
Oct 31st - 3:47 pm
The New York Republican Party has criticized Democratic candidates for both state and federal office this year for not blasting Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and his role in securing more than $100,000 in settlement money for the alleged sexual harassment victims of Assemblyman Vito Lopez.
Today the GOP took their criticism a step further, blasting Democratic Assemblywoman Didi Barrett for taking money from the Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee, the chief fundraising arm of the Assembly majority.
The party says Democratic candidates are “mindful” of what happens when they step out of line after the attempt coup by Syracuse Assemblyman Michael Bragman 12 years ago.
Bragman was stripped of his leadership post in the chamber and later left the Legislature as a result of the coup attempt.
From the Republican statement today:
The freshman Assemblywoman won a special election earlier this year and has since been the beneficiary of over a quarter of a million dollars of DACC cash. Put in perspective, that’s over five times the total amount that she spent on her special election campaign earlier this year.
All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men and women to do nothing. When members of the Assembly like Didi Barrett refuse to stand up to Silver for fear of political blowback, the culture of corruption flourishes, and women in Albany pay the price.
To be fair, the attempted leadership challenge via Bragman did force Silver to reassess his leadership style and appoint more upstate lawmakers to leadership positions.
Oct 31st - 2:34 pm
Update: A commenter correctly points out this is likely Robert Moses State Park. A quick Google Earth check confirms this.
Via State Operations Director Howard Glaser, here’s a stunning photo of what’s left of Long Island’s Robert Moses State Park post-Hurricane Sandy.
When he tweeted the original photo, Glaser incorrectly ID’d it as Jones Beach in Nassau County. It is an easy mistake to make, given that both have the obelisk and large roundabout.
“here is no beach left at Jones Beach,” he wrote when he tweeted the picture, which appears to have been taken during the helicopter tour of the area.
Glaser is a prolific keeper of his twitter account and has been sending out surreal images of the devastation surrounding New York City. He’s very much worth a follow.
Oct 31st - 2:05 pm
The politics of storm recovery and disaster are clearly quite delicate.
Elected officials want to project strength and competence during a crisis, but they also don’t want to overplay their hand and appear grandstanding.
And they don’t want to wade into controversy and attract the wrong kind of attention during the storm recovery as their efforts to rebuild a state, county or city depend on outside help from Washington.
Consider how President Obama and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie are putting the coming election aside (in theory) to tour the storm damage together.
And more locally for New Yorkers, GOP Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, who has been talked about as a potential 2014 rival to Cuomo, praised the governor’s handling of the storm at today’s news conference, expressing “warm gratitude” for all the work the state has done.
“We’ve been told this whole time, whatever you need just tell us. And that’s important,” he said.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo at his midday news conference to provide a briefing on the tour he took of the storm damage around the New York City area went beyond his statements yesterday when it comes to blaming the changing climate on the Hurricane Sandy, one of the largest storms to ever sweep through the northeast.
“I think given the frequency of these extreme weather situations that we’ve had and I believe that it’s an increasnig frequency, I believe for us to sit here today and say that it’s a once in a generation and it’s not going to happen again I think would be short sided and I think we need to anticipate more of these extreme weather conditions in the future,” Cuomo said.
When another question came up over climate change, Cuomo said he didn’t want to get into a political debate.
“Climate change is a controversial subject, right? People will debate whether or not there is climate change, whether or not it’s a cycle, whether or not it’s a cycle,” Cuomo said. “I want to talk about the frequency of extreme weather conditions, which is not political.”
Cuomo was just reiterating what he said yesterday — that extreme weather is becoming an increasing problem for New York and the city in particular. When city and state rebuild, officials need to consider that these flooding events are going to come again and again and should keep that in mind when designing a smarter system was Cuomo’s basic argument (As someone who commuted to an internship in the city in the summer of 2007, I can tell you any rainy day floods the subway tracks and can disrupt service).
But it was too late to walk back the climate talk.
“I don’t think the federal government has done enough. I think there’s a group in Washington who deny the truth and there is in my judgment anyway a relationship between these once-in-a-lifetime storms and what’s going on in the atomsphere. And the best way to deal with that and the least costly in the long run is to grab the bull by the horns and prevent climate change and global warming from occurring,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer.
His colleague, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who is running for re-election next week against Republican Wendy Long, agreed.
“I also think what you see in Washignton and we know that it’s broken, is a poor reflection of priorities,” she said. “When you have those in Washington who are arguing a cuts only approach, cutting FEMA, cutting money for families, when we turn our attention to actually creating an energy plan for this country, we can also be mindful that we not cut some of the most vital resources to these families when disaster does strike.”
Scientists and climatologists generally agree that the planet’s weather patterns are changing for the worse and that human activity, is responsible for change in climate. But climate change has been strongly contested, in part, by energy companies, politicians, and contrarian scientists who say it’s simply environmentalism run amok and part of a larger conspiracy.
Cuomo seemed clearly relieved when the next question was about ConEd.