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Feb 21st - 5:44 pm
A White Plains man with a massive arsenal was charged after making death threats to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bloomberg and others on Facebook.
The Erie County Legislature approved a resolution calling on the state to repeal and revise the SAFE Act of 2013 “in a manner that is respectful of the Second Amendment rights of New Yorkers.”
The little-noticed 31st CD special election in Queens produced a surprising result: An Orthodox Jewish candidate emerged with a chance to capture a district that is 71 percent black.
The state Department of Financial Services is investigating the claims practices of three insurers after Sandy: Narragansett Bay Insurance Company, Tower Insurance Company and Kingstone Insurance Company.
One of the pro-gay marriage videos recorded last year by Chelsea Clinton and scuttled by NBC News has surfaced.
Moody’s is keeping its outlook negative for U.S. local governments in 2013, as cities and counties must continue to contend with tight revenues, high demand for spending, and an “uneven economic recovery.”
Bloomberg doesn’t understand why the press is upset about being barred from watching the president golf with Tiger Woods.
VP Joe Biden took the administration’s gun control push to Connecticut – home of the Newtown massacre.
Is Cuomo a “a modern day LBJ“?
NYC’s first “green” food truck sells pizza.
Bloomberg weighed in on a contentious political race across the Hudson, endorsing the incumbent mayor of Jersey City, Jerramiah Healy, for re-election.
The Empire Center will ask the state’s highest court to hear an appeal of a court ruling today that would allow New York’s public pension funds to keep secret the names of pension recipients.
Republican NYC mayoral candidate Joseph Lhota may have spent a year running the MTA, but he won’t be attending a mayoral forum to debate transit issues tomorrow.
NYC Public Advocate Bill de Blasio sided with Alec Baldwin against the NY Post.
Kurt Colucci, an anti-tax writer, Tea Party activist and former teacher from New Rochelle, plans to challenge Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino this fall.
At New York’s request, FEMA has approved a 14-day extension to a program that allows eligible survivors from Sandy who cannot return to their homes to stay in participating hotels or motels.
The governor seems unconcerned that the state’s overtime costs are going up.
There’s such a thing as an “anti-fracking bail fund.”
Dec 18th - 7:12 am
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Albany. At 10 a.m., he holds a cabinet meeting in the Capitol’s Red Room.
Also at 10 a.m., former LG Richard Ravitch and former Federal Reserve Board Chair, Paul A. Volcker, founders of the State Budget Crisis Task Force, will release a report on the fiscal challenges facing New York. Roosevelt House, Public Policy Institute at Hunter, 47-49 East 65th St., Manhattan.
And one more at 10 a.m.: The state Assembly will hold a public hearing to examine the affordability and accessibility of long term care insurance. Hearing Room C, LOB, Albany.
JCOPE meets at 10:30 a.m. 540 Broadway, Albany.
Two of the 6-year-old Newtown shooting victims were laid to rest, as investigators continue to try to figure out why the incident happened in the first place.
The shooter, Adam Lanza, appears to have damaged his hard drive before going on his rampage, making it difficult for police to extract any information from it.
Dawn Hochsprung, the principal killed in the massacre, was the cousin of a University at Buffalo official.
A Queensbury school employee is the nephew of Hochsprung.
Dick’s Sporting Goods, one of the largest sporting goods retailers in the world, says it has removed all guns from its store nearest to Newtown, Connecticut, and is suspending the sale of certain kinds of semi-automatic rifles from its chains nationwide.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the largest seller of guns and ammunition in the country, removed a website listing for a semiautomatic assault rifle similar to the gun used by Lanza.
A “visibly angry” Mayor Bloomberg launched a new campaign against gun violence, including a web page with a set of videos from 34 people affected by gun violence asking political leaders to tighten gun laws.
Dec 13th - 5:29 pm
President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner are meeting at the White House.
The UFCW issued the first labor endorsement of the 2013 NYC mayoral campaign, throwing its support to Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
…The union was the first to endorse Mayor Bloomberg after he changed term limits – with Quinn’s assistance – and ran for a third term in 2009.
The ladies of “The View” got into a heated debate over whether one of their own, Barbara Walters, should have asked NJ Gov. Chris Christie about his weight.
“Being obese, and he certainly is, makes everyone assume he is a heart attack waiting to happen,” said Ed Rollins, who managed the 2008 presidential campaign of a previously heavy pol: Ex-Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.
Also, according to Walters, Bill wants Hill to run in 2016, but she’s “not so sure.”
Barbra Streisand hopes after a four-year “rest” Hillary Clinton will run because she would “be a great woman president.”
Queens Democrats are mulling putting someone up to primary the IDC’s newest member, Sen. Malcolm Smith (assuming he runs again), perhaps NYC Councilman Leroy Comrie (if he doesn’t run for borough president).
Jamaica pastor and activist the Rev. Charles Norris called Smith a “traitor” who should be “impeached” or recalled (if New York allowed for that sort of thing).
Newark Mayor Cory Booker made his Daily Show debut.
An appellate court has rejected a motion to stall ballot counting in the five-county 46th Senate District, and elections officials are scheduled to begin opening roughly 385 ballots tomorrow morning.
Politico’s Alexander Burns and Maggie Haberman shut down their campaign 2012 blog.
Former JCOPE commissioner Ravi Batra has been cited by the Huffington Post on a list of “brave employees who stood up to the boss.”
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley released her “vetting” of would-be US senator Stephen Colbert.
Former Wyoming Sen. Alan K. Simpson is jealous of the Ed Koch Bridge (AKA the Queensboro). “I said, Ed, you old S.O.B. They haven’t even named an outdoor toilet seat after me here in Wyoming.”
The Citizens Budget Commission released an interactive map that lets you see how transportation spending per pupil varies by school district across the state.
AG Eric Schneiderman filed a lawsuit in Albany County Supreme Court against American Tree Company and its principals for price gouging consumers during Tropical Storm Irene in 2011.
The man behind the soon-to-relaunch PoliticsNY.net is GOP consultant Michael Caputo.
The NYCC Board of Directors appointed the organization’s former organizing director, Jonathan Westin, as the new executive director, filling the shoes of the late Jon Kest. (No link).
Colin Quinn on Cuomo: “I didn’t know the governor was a psychopath.”
Susan Rice withdrew her name from consideration for US secretary of state. President Obama’s reaction:
“While I deeply regret the unfair and misleading attacks on Susan Rice in recent weeks, her decision demonstrates the strength of her character, and an admirable commitment to rise above the politics of the moment to put our national interests first. The American people can be proud to have a public servant of her caliber and character representing our country.”
Some enterprising PR shop needs to replicate this in New York.
Dec 13th - 12:28 pm
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who did a flurry of press interviews yesterday (including sitting down with our own Liz B.) to tout his proposal to force 501(c)4 organizations that engage in political activity to reveal their donors, appeared on Eliot Spitzer’s Current TV show, “Viewpoints.”
Spitzer, in addition to being a former governor, sat in Schneiderman’s chair as attorney general from 1999 through 2007, earning the reputation as the “sheriff of Wall Street.”
In the interview, Schneiderman said the disclosure of the groups was needed in order to shine a light on “dark money” funding smear ads.
“There’s no question that since Citizen United was decided in 2010, we have seen an extraordinary increase in the amounts being spent,” the current AG told Current’s former AG. “Frankly a lot of the time when people want to conceal their identity they want to do it because these organizations pay for the worst ads. When you’re paying for the slimiest ad of all time, you probably don’t want your name associated to it.”
Around the same time Schneiderman was doing these interviews, Gov. Andrew Cuomo told Public Radio’s Karen Dewitt he would be introducing his own plan to forc disclosure of non-profit organizations that fund political activities with little to no disclosure.
Cuomo and Spitzer do not get along.
Nov 9th - 1:07 pm
Stephen Colbert of Comedy Central’s Colbert Report praised — in his hyper ironic way — the propeitor of the Latham “gentleman’s club” Night Moves that was at the center of the Court of Appeals case over whether lap dances constitute art.
The legal dispute between the club and the state began over the disagreement over whether the business is exempt from the state’s sales tax.
Making an appearance in the video is Times Union writer Steve Barnes, who does declare exotic dance, er, art, even if his glasses became fogged up with “breast sweat.”
While Colbert praises the owner of Night Moves as a “difference maker and the “Martin Luther King” of strippers, Barnes suggests that, “I think he’s just trying to save himself a great deal of money.”
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 - 1:41 pm
State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli said on CNBC today that trying to estimate the cost of Sandy is almost impossible at this point, because the dimensions of the damage she caused – both physical and economical – are simply unmeasureable this soon after the storm.
“The real challenge here in trying to come up with a bottom line is that there is no bottom line at this point,” DiNapoli said.
“You know the estimates are obviously in the billions in terms of an impact – property damage, loss of business. We’re concerned, obviously, about the revenue impact coming to the State of New York. Our budget has been in a very fragile condition.”
“We’re all trying to make assessments, but I think any guesstimate out there right now is just that. A guesstimate. In the short run there’s going to be a negative impact, there’s no doubt about it.”
DiNapoli noted that the price tag to the federal, state and local governments from Irene and Lee was $1.2 billion for recovery and clean-up. And Sandy, by all accounts, did far more damage.
(To clarify: The federal government picked up 75 percent of the cost of post-storm clean-up. Cuomo has said he wants the feds to pay at least 90 percent – if not more; he joked today that he would prefer 110 percent – of the costs associated with Sandy).
Also significant is the fact that the bulk of the impacted area is in New York City, which serves as the economic engine for the state, while the damage of last year’s storms – while horrific – was confined upstate where impact on the state’s bottom line (in terms of tax revenue and economic actively) is less of a concern.
DiNapoli also pointed out that the MTA was having financial troubles long before Sandy struck, particularly with its capital budget.
“They obviously weren’t anticipating the kind of damage that this storm has brought,” the comptroller said. “So, long term where we’re at with financing with the MTA, it’s a very unclear picture.”
The comptroller, a former assemblyman who still lives in his native Long Island, said he has “never seen anything like this” before in terms of storm damage. He noted small businesses are also being hurt in the suburbs where widespread power outages have brought most economic activity to a standstill.
“I do think this is what the new normal is going to be, and we would be wise to listen to Mother Nature,” DiNapoli said. “What that is going to mean in terms of cost anybody’s guess. And we have so many unmet needs already that’s going to be a long-term discussion, and one that’s not easily resolved given our limited resources.”
Oct 19th - 10:33 am
ICYMI, here are the full monologues delivered by President Obama and Mitt Romney at last night’s Al Smith Dinner in New York City.
And both Romney and Obama directed jokes at Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s expense over his potential ambitions for president himself.
Romney: “I’m pleased to once again have the chance to see Governor Cuomo whose already being talked about for higher office. A very impressive fellow. But he may be getting a little ahead of himself. I mean, let me get this straight. The man has put in one term as a governor, he has a father who happened to be a governor, and he thinks that happens to be enough to run for president.”
Obama: “Tonight I am here with a man whose father was a popular governor, who knows what it’s like to run a major northeastern state, who could very well be president some day and I’m hoping it is Andrew Cuomo.”
Cuomo, who attended the dinner, announced yesterday morning that he planned to travel out of state as a surrogate for the president, but hopes to avoid any implication he plans to run in four years.
If you listen carefully in the videos, you can hear a few Cuomo guffaws in the background.
Oct 11th - 12:37 pm
A few weeks after the campaign of Republican Sen. Greg Ball released an improptu, er, dance video on YouTube, the rival Democratic campign Justin Wagner has its own.
And, oh boy, is it something.
It’s more like a music video, with the Bill Clinton ’92 theme song pumping, and a not-so-subtle reference to Ball now backing a minimum wage increase.
Oct 11th - 10:28 am
Actor Sam Waterston is the front man for an expansive effort to overhaul New York’s campaign-finance laws in a video being distributed by progressive groups and labor organizations.
In a YouTube video, Waterston, currently staring in the HBO drama “The Newsroom” delivers his pitch on changing the state’s sky-high contribution limits and campaign loopholes. The video is being blasted out to more than one million email addresses today.
“Fair Elections. We don’t have them in America and we don’t have them in New York. Today in our broken system, political candidates raise huge contributions from a few wealthy donors.
“You can bet those fat cat CEOs, millionaire lobbyists and multi-billion dollar corporations have their own interests in mind. Middle-class working Americans’ interests? Not so much.
“You can change that. Here in New York, Governor Cuomo has taken the lead to pass public financing for elections. Instead of accepting a handful of huge donations from the 1%, candidates would raise a large number of small contributions from every day Americans.”
Waterston urges viewers to see where their local state lawmaker stands on the issue by going to website, fairelectionsny.
Cuomo has said he wants campaign-finance reform, but the effort went nowhere in the Republican-controlled state Senate.
The Republican conference argues that a public financing system is too expensive and that taxpayers shouldn’t foot the bill for political campaigns (the state Conservative Party, which the GOP conference needs in many of its elections, is also vehemently opposed to publicly financed campaigns).
It’s possible he could pass the measure that includes public financing of campaigns in a December special session, though Cuomo would probably have to entice lawmakers with a legislative pay raise and other sweeteners.
The video out today is very similar to the celebrity-fueled effort to pass same-sex marriage. During that effort, actors, athletes, and other bold-faced names appeared in videos in support of the measure, which was ultimately successful.