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Posts by Liz Benjamin
Apr 12th - 6:49 am
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule. The following members of his cabinet will be discussing the 2013-14 state budget:
- 9:30 a.m., ESDC President and CEO Ken Adams, South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corp., 555 Bergen Ave., the Bronx.
- 11 a.m., Civil Service Commissioner Jerry Boone, Columbia County Chamber of Commerce, 1 North Front Street, Hudson.
- Noon, Adams again. This time in Rockland County at the Orangetown Town Hall
26 Orangeburg Rd., Orangeburg.
Assemblywoman Pat Fahy is having a “community coffee” event from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. at Emma Cleary’s Cafe, 1926 New Scotland Road, Slingerlands.
At 10:30 a.m., HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, Sen. Chuck Schumer, and Rep. Carolyn Maloney hold a press conference to discuss Sandy-related housing announcement. Schumer’s office, 780 Third Avenue, Suite 2301, Manhattan.
Also at noon, LG Bob Duffy attends a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Golisano Institute for Sustainability, Rochester Institute of Technology, 111 Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester.
It’s that time of year again…reporters will be reviewing copies of state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s 2012 tax returns between 11 a.m. and noon at 110 State St., Albany.
IDC leader Jeff Klein will introduce his own campaign finance reform package – complete with a public financing component – making GOP leader Dean Skelos the odd man out on this issue.
Cuomo officials say Klein tried to slip four payments totaling $17,500 to the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corp. into the new state budget by dressing them up as a “reappropriation” of old funds. The governor vetoed this pork.
Cuomo is already acting like a candidate, even though the 2014 elections are far away, with the state Democratic Party spending at least $1.5 million on ads on his behalf.
The NYC mayoral contenders are digging for more dirt on former Rep. Anthony Weiner’s sexting scandal in anticipation that he’ll join the race.
The Daily News interviewed nearly a dozen people who played key roles in the Democrat’s 2005 mayoral campaign as advisers, supporters or contributions and didn’t find much enthusiasm for his comeback attempt.
NYC Councilman Lew Fidler doesn’t think Weiner’s going to run for mayor, and believes if he really wanted back into the political game, he would run for the Council again.
Apr 11th - 5:13 pm
Mayor Bloomberg: “If you want to sell a gun to your daughter, I would suggest you’ve got a family problem. Why don’t you just give it to her? I never quite understood that.”
Nicole Katz, wife of Assemblyman Steve Katz, brought her AR15 along to an interview on public access TV in Westchester. (Just before the 10-minute mark).
An unscientific New York magazine poll indicates voters could be convinced to give ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner another chance.
A “well-placed political insider who knows Weiner” said the ex-congressman could run on a third party line and ”is doing this truly from the point of view of guerilla warfare insurgency.”
Bloomberg doesn’t want to talk about Weiner any more.
Stephen Colbert does – and how.
Are the NYC tabs all that’s standing between Weiner and his comeback?
Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison: “I’d love to see Anthony Weiner be mayor of New York. I hereby endorse him.”
NYLead gained some new supporters for its push for public campaign financing – including a certain prominent SUNY New Paltz professor.
SKDKnickerbocker got 10 Pollie awards from the American Association of Political Consultants, including one for the Washington State gay marriage TV campaign produced by Jennifer Cunningham. (No link).
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley says he’s taking the second half of the year to consider whether to run for the White House in 2016.
The N.H.L. has formed a partnership with the You Can Play Project, an advocacy group pledged to fight homophobia in sports, and planned training and counseling on gay issues for its teams and players.
Two of Brooklyn GOP Chair Craig Eatons fellow party leaders have his back in an ongoing battle with Sen. Marty Golden.
NYC GOP mayoral contender Joe Lhota’s fundraising pitch: “Together, we will sweep away the sleaze and scum that infects our city – whether they are Republican or Democrat.”
New York will have more than 360 electric vehicle charging stations installed throughout the state to help reduce fossil fuel use.
There will never again be another Hurricane Sandy.
A day after the US Senate voted to begin debate on new gun control measures, the Supreme Court is expected to consider a new appeal aimed at loosening state restrictions on firearms.
“The president did not communicate with Jay-Z” about his trip to Cuba, according to White House spokesman Jay Carney.
“Celebrity” CEOs like Bloomberg and Mark Zuckerberg, are taking the influence game to a whole new level - staking their personal reputations and fortunes behind political operations once the domain of big companies and major outside groups.
Apr 11th - 2:58 pm
The State Police are countering Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs’ claim that they ordered him to revoke the pistol permit of an Amherst man because of his past use of anti-anxiety medication.
Jacobs announced in a press release earlier today that he had been “following a recommendation” from the law enforcement agency when he revoked the permit of David Lewis, who had been medicated “at one point,” according to his attorney.
Just before the close of business yesterday, Jacobs said, he receivd a call from the State Police saying they had made an error, which he was quick to cast as a failure to “do their due diligence.” But the State Police see the situation differently, as is evident by the following statement that they just released:
“The SAFE Act requires mental health professionals to file notification when a medical professional determines that an individual he or she is treating is at risk to themselves or others. Medical prescription records are strictly private and not shared with the state, and no firearm license would ever be revoked for an anti-anxiety prescription.”
“The notification forwarded to the Erie County Clerk’s Office required additional follow-up before a positive identification of a person at risk to themselves or others became final. The State Police was very clear in its letter to the Clerk’s Office regarding the need for due diligence and the need for a positive identification by the County before they removed any weapon.”
“The final determination on whether to revoke or suspend a pistol permit license rests solely with the County and the licensing officials. The State Police has no authority to suspend or revoke a pistol permit in these circumstances.”
Jacobs, a Republican, had said that this case is proof there is a “serious flaw” with the mental health provision of the SAFE Act, and he’s certainly not the first to make that claim.
Jacobs is scheduled to join me on CapTon this evening, and I’ll be getting his reaction to this latest development.
Apr 11th - 1:14 pm
ICYMI: This was today’s morning memo…
Back when Andrew Cuomo was state attorney general, he issued a scathing report on the so-called Troopergate scandal, condemning then-Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s botched use of the State Police to smear his political rival, Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno.
The scandal dragged on for months (actually, it outlived the tenures of both Spitzer and Bruno), with the Senate Republicans milking every last drop of publicity possible from the mess.
Part of the GOP’s strategy to extend Troopergate was a series of hearings convened by now former Sen. George Winner. At one of these little get-togethers, a trio of top Cuomo aides appeared to testify, making a plea for more power in the AG’s office to prosecute public corruption cases.
“If we had subpoena power, this investigation would be over,” Cuomo’s former chief of staff, Steve Cohen, told the senators, noting the AG’s office does have that ability in some cases – environmental cases, Medicaid fraud cases, securities cases (via the Martin Act, which was used to the fullest extent by Cuomo’s predecessor, Spitzer) – but not when it comes to public integrity.
“This is one of those problems that the more you look at it the more you realize that this is a glaring hole in our arsenal, and the more you realize that, unlike in most cases, the fix is not that complicated,” Cohen continued.
“…What you really want is to have one regulatory body, or more, but at least one, that has the ability to pursue cases wherever they think it’s necessary. It would seem to me that the appropriate place to vest that power…is in the statewide attorney general’s office.”
That was then.
It’s worth noting, by the way, that the biggest corruption-busting case brought by Cuomo while he was AG felled former state Comptroller Alan Hevesi. When it comes to putting away crooked state lawmakers, the prize goes to US Attorney Preet Bharara.
Fast forward to 2011, when Cuomo has become governor and former Sen. Eric Schneiderman – a man widely known not to be Cuomo’s first choice as a successor – had won a crowded and hard-fought primary and general election to make it to the AG’s office.
Schneiderman told the TU he had unsuccessfully raised the issue of a so-called “blanket referral” from the governor’s office via an executive order that would enable him to investigate public corruption cases.
Apr 11th - 6:43 am
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule. Two of his cabinet members are being deployed to Long Island today:
At 8 a.m., ESDC President and CEO Ken Adams discusses the 2013-14 budget at the Long Island Forum for Technology, Hofstra University Club, David S. Mack Hall, 225 Hofstra University, Hempstead.
At 7 p.m., Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey does her budget-touting duty in Nassau County at the Long Beach Public Library, 111 W. Park Ave., Long Beach.
At 9 a.m., NYC Council Speaker/Democratic mayoral frontrunner Chris Quinn discusses the future of the NYC mass transit system. LaGuardia Community College, Room E500, 31-10 Thomson Ave., Queens.
At 10 a.m., the NYC Campaign Finance Board will meet in the CFB Conference Room, on the 19th Floor, at 40 Rector St., Manhattan.
The NYC is Not for Sale group will protest outside Quinn’s district office to oppose her call for its anti-Quinn ad to be pulled from the airwaves. 11 a.m. to noon, 224 West 30th St., Manhattan.
At noon, Sens. Tony Avella and Daniel Squadron, NYC Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and Comptroller John C. Liu, (both mayoral hopefuls) Assembly members Bill Colton, Danny O’Donnell and Linda Rosenthal and others criticize the risks they say are posed by fracking; steps, City Hall, Manhattan.
At 12:30 p.m., Democratic NYC mayoral hopeful Bill Thompson will detail his plan to strengthen public safety during a speech at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, 6th floor, 899 10th Ave., Manhattan.
At 1:30 p.m., former LG Richard Ravitch addresses the Rockefeller Institute of Government’s public policy forum entitled “The Fiscal Crisis Facing Local Governments,” 411 State St., Albany.
Mayor Bloomberg meets with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, 3 p.m., City Hall, Manhattan.
At 5:30 p.m., Outgoing Brooklyn BP Marty Markowitz presents his last State of the Borough Address, Barclays Center, 620 Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn.
Sen. Liz Krueger is hosting a campaign finance reform forum at 6:30 p.m., Lighthouse International, 111 East 59th St., Manhattan.
At 7 p.m., Assembly members Patricia Fahy and Mark Emanatian attend a Fair Elections Community Forum, SUNY Albany, Lecture Center 21, 1400 Washington Ave., Albany.
A new Q poll finds 66 percent of NYC voters support Quinn’s call to create an inspector general to independently monitor to the NYPD.
Gun law loopholes allow people to skirt background checks and purchase firearms when they perhaps shouldn’t own them.
The bipartisan background check deal presented by US senators yesterday still has some loopholes.
Sen. Chuck Schumer defended the deal, saying it will save lives.
As Cuomo continues to face heat from firearm-rights supporters and conservatives for the SAFE Act, his administration is launching a new grant program for shooting ranges across the state.
The governor vetoed 202 line items from the budget approved by the Legislature last month.
A Budget Division spokesman said the vetoes included three items the governor believed were improperly reinserted, four new member items, one duplicate item, 120 member items that were fully cashed out, and 45 appropriations where no money has been paid since 2005.
The key to ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner’s comeback: His wife, Huma Abedin, who’s taking a page from the playbook of her boss, Hillary Clinton.
Apr 10th - 4:59 pm
Former Assemblyman Sean Hanna sat next to ex-Assemblyman Nelson Castro for two years and never suspected the guy who was always in a “happy mood” was wearing a wire.
After reaching a bipartian gun control deal, GOP Sen. Pat Toomey refused to appear at a press conference with Sen. Chuck Schumer.
NYC Council Speaker/mayor frontrunner Chris Quinn is No. 20 on Out magazine’s list of the nation’s 50 most powerful LGBT leaders.
Another of ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner’s potential Democratic mayoral rivals, NYC Comptroller John Liu, says the former congressman should rid of his phone and stop Tweeting altogether if he does run.
More reactions to Weiner-for-mayor.
Maybe Huma Abedin, not Weiner, should run for mayor.
If Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley runs for president in 2016, expect to hear a lot more about the very progressive legislative session that just wrapped in his state.
Anti-abortion billboards that target Cuomo will soon appear in Albany.
Former LG Richard Ravitch cops to leaking a story to the New York Times.
Rep. Charles Rangel says he does not have sufficient resources to open a district office in the Bronx.
David Axelrod, President Obama’s longtime confidant and former strategist, will pen a “personal biography of his professional life.”
Jason Hilliard, a long-time staffer to Queens Rep. Gregory Meeks, is actively mulling a challenge to Sen. Malcolm Smith.
NYC GOP mayoral candidate Joe Lhota won’t be Kristin Davis’ running mate on the Libertarian Party line this fall.
Connecticut gun-maker PTR has announced it intends to leave the state following the passage of sweeping gun control legislation.
The NYLCV released its legislative priorities for the remainder of the 2013 session.
Sen. Ted O’Brien, who has raised concerns about the potential closure of Indian Point, used the same political consulting firm (Parkside) that has been hired by the plant’s owner, Entergy.
Apr 10th - 1:39 pm
First came the TV ads praising the 2013-14 state budget, paid for by the state Democratic Committee (since the Committee to Save NY appears to be sitting this session out entirely).
Next came Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s statewide victory lap, in which he and members of his administration fanned out across the state to tout the fact that this was the third on-time budget in as many years – a first for at least three decades.
Next up: Mailers, paid for by Cuomo’s own campaign committee.
A reader helpfully forwarded these photos of the glossy, six-page, full-color booklet sent by the governor in an attempt to sell both the new spending plan itself and the idea that three on-time budgets in a row indicate New York is “on the move and rising once again.
(The front and back of the booklet are pictured here. If anyone has a pdf they want to share, that would be great).
In this booklet, Cuomo insists the budget is good for both middle-class families and the state’s business community, even though most in the latter category are none too pleased with the budget.
The budget has increasingly come under fire from critics in Washington and Albany who question the so-called “gimmicks” the governor and Legislature relied on to close the $1 billion budget deficit.
Also, Cuomo’s claim that a trio of on-time budgets means the bad old days of Albany are behind us now is a little hard to swallow, given last week’s back-to-back corruption scandals that dominated the news and stepped on the governor’s big statewide budget tour.
Apr 10th - 7:04 am
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule.
Four members of Cuomo’s cabinet are on the road to spread the good news about the 2013-14 budget.
At 12:45 p.m. ESDC Regional President Sam Hoyt will be at the Larkin Building
Barton Room, 6th floor, 726 Exchange St., Buffalo.
OGS Commissioner RoAnn Destito is at the Southern Saratoga Chamber of Commerce, 15 Park Ave, Suite # 7B, Clifton Park, at 1 p.m.
At 2 p.m., Ag and Markets Commissioner Darrel Aubertine will be in Watertown at the Roswell P. Flower Memorial Library, 229 Washington St.
And Financial Services Superintendent Ben Lawsky speaks at 6 p.m. at the Vivian & Seymour Milstein Family Heart Center, Conference Room 1, 173 Fort Washington Ave., Manhattan.
At 8:30 a.m., NYC Comptroller/mayoral hopeful John Liu speaks at the ABNY breakfast. Roosevelt Hotel. 45 East 45th St., Manhattan.
At 1:30 p.m., Mayor Mike Bloomberg is meeting with former President Carter at NYC Hall, Manhattan.
The Bronx DA’s office will unseal an indictment filed against a former Assemblyman Nelson Castro in state Supreme Court at 2:15 p.m., 265 East 161st St., Bronx.
At 3 p.m., LG Bob Duffy makes an announcement at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering Atrium, 257 Fuller Rd., Albany.
Down in D.C, President Obama submits his $3.77-trillion dollar spending plan for FY2014 to Congress.
Also, a deal on gun background checks is expected on Capitol Hill at 11 a.m. (The final federal product won’t go nearly as far as some states have since Newtown).
Former Rep. Anthony Weiner is indeed eyeing a potential run for NYC mayor, which he confirms in a coming out interview of sorts with his normally publicity-averse wife, Huma Abedin, in the NYT magazine.
Weiner on his Twitter scandal: “(T)here’s no one who deserved this less than Huma. That’s really the bottom line. No one deserved to have a dope like me do that less than she did.”
What people say to Weiner in the subway: “It’s one of the following,” he said: “1) ‘Oh, you should run.’ 2) ‘Man, you got screwed.’ 3) ‘Aww, I’m so sorry what happened to you.’ 4) ‘Spitzer! You’re Governor Spitzer!’”
The current Democratic mayoral frontrunner, NYC Council Speaker Chris Quinn, continues to lead her primary rivals, but her support among New Yorkers fell to its lowest level in five months, according to a new Q poll.
She’s still 18 percentage points ahead of her closest competitor, NYC Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.
Apr 9th - 5:35 pm
An indictment filed against a former state Assemblyman will be unsealed in state Supreme Court in the Bronx at 2:15 p.m. tomorrow. Sources tell NY1 the ex-lawmaker in question is Nelson Castro. (No link).
Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long says anger over the state’s Wilson Pakula law is misdirected, insisting the focus should remain on punishing those who try to “game the system.”
State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli has reached agreement with five Fortune 500 companies – Southwest Airlines, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Plum Creek Timber Company, Harley-Davidson and Noble Energy – to disclose political spending made with corporate funds
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has “pledged his full support” if Sean Eldridge decides to move forward with a run against Rep. Chris Gibson next year.
The Working Families Party is throwing a gala to celebrate its 15th anniversary.
The board for the state Teachers Retirement System gave a unanimous thumbs-up to a pension smoothing option included in the 2013-14 budget.
Azi Paybarah charts the drop-off in Cuomo appearances on Fred Dicker’s radio show.
DiNapoli has endorsed former Nassau County comptroller Howard Weitzman as he runs for his old seat in November.
A former Navy Seal unloads on Mayor Bloomberg for his gun control push.
A New York Times magazine interview with ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner and his wife, Huma Abedin, will appear on line at 5 a.m. tomorrow.
Weiner insists he’s not polling (again) for a potential mayoral run.
Election law attorney Jerry Goldfeder proposes reforms to improve voter participation.
A bill sponsored by an Assembly Democrat to limit use of drone aircraft above New York’s skies has just gotten the support of a Senate Republican – Carl Marcellino – improving the measure’s odds of passage.
Brooklyn GOP Chairman Craig Eaton has joined the Bronx and Manhattan chairs in supporting John Catsimatidis for NYC mayor.
…That means former Bronx BP Adolfo Carrion can’t get onto the GOP ballot, but he plans to stay in the race on the Indy line.
Justin Timberlake at the White House.
Apr 9th - 2:14 pm
Gov. Andrew Cuomo just unveiled Step One in what will be a multi-pronged reform proposal in the wake of last week’s back-to-back corruption cases: Empowering local district attorneys to better ferret out and prosecute wrongdoing by dirty elected officials at all levels of government in New York.
Cuomo said he had decided to start here because the DAs are essentially the first line of defense in busting bad pols. Increasing penalties and creating new crimes – like making it a misdemeanor to fail to report bribery – through the Public Trust Act, as the governor has dubbed it, is also arguably the low-hanging fruit when it comes to getting legislative support.
The governor has said he wants to strike while the iron is hot, and believes state lawmakers are ”receptive” to approving reforms in light of recent events. But more political efforts, like doing away with fusion voting and creating a publicly funded campaign finance system, could still be a tough sell.
Notably left off Cuomo’s law enforcement proposal today was any mention of the state attorney general, who has repeatedly asked for more power when it comes to investigating public integrity cases.
Most notably, the AG lacks subpoena power in corruption cases, which hamstrings him considerably – so much so that AG Eric Schneiderman has resorted to teaming up with state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, who does have suboena power, to prosecute the misuse of public funds.
Asked (by NY1′s intrepid Zack Fink) why the AG isn’t part of his proposal, Cuomo said his quest is to “maximize all political offices” when it comes to corruption busting, adding that the attorney general has “an important role” to play.
That’s a very different tune than the one Cuomo himself was singing back when he was AG.
In the wake of the so-called Troopergate scandal, in which Cuomo issued a scathing report on then-Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s botched attempt to use to the State Police to smear his political rival, Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno, Cuomo’s top aide, Steve Cohen, said the following at a Senate GOP hearing:
“This is one of those problems that the more you look at it the more you realize that this is a glaring hole in our arsenal, and the more you realize that, unlike in most cases, the fix is not that complicated…What you really want is to have one regulatory body, or more, but at least one, that has the ability to pursue cases wherever they think it’s necessary. It would seem to me that the appropriate place to vest that power…is in the statewide attorney general’s office.”
At the time, the Senate Republicans were calling on Spitzer to make Cuomo a special prosecutor with the subpoena power so he could take a deeper dive into investigating Troopergate.
They even drafted legislation that would require the state inspector general to refer cases to the AG, and confer subpoena power to that office in the process, any time a conflict of interest arises in a case – as it did in Troopergate, pitting the executive and legislative branches against one another.
Needless to say, Spitzer did not heed that call, and the bill in question never went anywhere.