Jun 6th - 9:02 am
The state Independence Party threw its support behind Staten Island Rep. Mike McMahon for the first time yesterday after taking a pass on the Democratic congressman in 2008.
The Indys went with Carmine Morano (the father of party activist Frank Morano) in the election two years ago in a four-way contest that featured former Assemblyman Robert Straniere on the GOP line after ex-Rep. Vito Fossella’s drunk driving/out-of-wedlock child scandal forced him into early retirement.
The Republicans had a tough time finding a replacement candidate for Fossella (their first pick, Frank Powers, died of a heart attack).
As Maggie Haberman notes, landing Row C is a boon for McMahon because his “no” vote on health care reform cost him the WFP line, which provided him his margin of victory in 2008.
UPDATE: As per McMahon’s campaign, the congressman beat Straniere with 60.9 percent of the vote to the Republican’s 33.3 percent, so the WFP line didn’t provide him with his margin of victory after all.
May 28th - 3:42 pm
Crisis averted. The Senate has now passed both the parks/e-waste bill and the charter schools bill and can head home for the long Memorial Day holiday weekend.
The charter school vote was 45-14. The no votes were as follows:
Farley, Flanagan, Golden, Griffo, O. Johnson, Larkin, Lavalle, Libous, Maziarz, McDonald, Nozzolio, Padavan, Saland, Young.
That Padavan vote is somewhat surprising, since the veteran Queens lawmakeris a longtime ally of Mayor Bloomberg, whose top aides, Howard Wolfson and Micah Lasher, were instrumental in cobbling together this deal.
UPDATE: The Senate GOP press office notes Padavan voted “no” on the one-house Senate charter schools bill, too.
Also, that means some of the staunchest charter opponents, including Sen. Bill Perkins, who is facing a primary challenge from pro-charter Democrat (and former Bloomberg campaign aide) Basil Smikle; and Shirley Huntley, who also has a pro-charter primary opponent, voted “yes.”
May 21st - 9:04 am
Mayor Bloomberg continued today to defend Sen. Chuck Schumer, with whom he was at one time reportedly at odds over Washington’s push for Wall Street reform.
Speaking on his weekly radio show on WOR, Bloomberg praised both Schumer and the state’s junior senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, who has also had her moments with the mayor, saying they both worked hard to improve the financial regulatory legislation that has now been passed (in different incarnations) by both the Senate and the House.
Bloomberg said there has been “unfair criticism about Schumer not being out there, yelling and screaming.”
“I think he has done an awful lot to make the bill better,” the mayor said. “Now the question is what happens in committee.”
May 21st - 8:09 am
Today’s Q poll finds Mayor Bloomberg’s overall approval rating down to 57 – 29 percent – his lowest grade in five years – largely due to a near even split among voters over how the mayor is handling the city budget.
A March 23 Q poll Bloomberg’s approval rating at 61-27. But even with the drop in his popularity, Bloomberg is still polling higher than most governors in states surveyed by Q poll. (It’s also a far cry from his all-time Q poll low of 31-60, which he hit in July 2003).
“Bloomberg’s job-approval is over 50 percent, at a level most politicians would wallow in during this anti-incumbent storm, but it’s way down from the heady 70-plus heights the Mayor enjoyed before he ran for a third term,” Q pollster Mickey Carroll said.
May 20th - 1:14 pm
NY1′s Josh Robin caught up today with GOP gubernatorial hopeful Carl Paladino at Hofstra’s “Renew New York” event and asked the Buffalo businessman about reports that his campaign’s political director, John Haggerty, is the target of a grand jury probe.
Paladino, who apparently took a break from his tugboat Erie Canal tour to travel to Long Island for this event, stuck by the embattled GOP operative, calling him a “very, very talented man.”
“I asked John about it,” Paladino told Robin. “…He told me that it would not interfere in any way with the responsibilities that we hired him for, and I respect that and I’m good with him.”
Asked if it doesn’t concern him that Haggerty has never been able to account for the full $750,000 contributed by Mayor Bloomberg to the state Independence Party and subsequently handed over to him to (ostensibly) pay for poll watcher on Election Day, Paladino replied:
May 19th - 6:13 pm
Manhattan DA Cy Vance Jr. has empanelled a grand jury that is taking testimony in a case involving Mayor Bloomberg’s $750,000 contribution to the state Independence Party in 2009 that was passed on to campaign operative John Haggerty, who has never fully accounted for how he spent the cash, sources confirm.
That’s a sign the DA is moving closer to potentially bringing charges in the case, which has been open since at least February.
A Vance spokeswoman declined to comment.
The DA’s office issued subpoenas this past winter to state Independence Party Chairman Frank MacKay, Haggerty and an Albany-based lobbying firm, Capitol Public Strategies, whose address Haggerty used to register the limited liability corporation through which Bloomberg’s contribution was funneled.
May 14th - 8:51 am
Mayor Bloomberg is continuing his “catch more flies with honey” approach to fighting for the Obama administration to restore cuts to NYC’s anti-terrorism funding, even as fellow New York elected officials on both sides of the aisle are being sharply – and very publicly – critical of the decision to slash the city’s cash.
“You can yell at them or you can make the case and say, ‘Come on now; we’ve got to work together on this,’ and that’s the strategy,” Bloomberg told WOR’s John Gambling this morning. “…This is one time I think we did get treated unfairly.”
Bloomberg said he and NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly personally pleaded their case with Obama yesterday just before the president’s “thank-you” visit to officers who had participated in the failed Times Square bombing case.
May 12th - 11:26 am
As he appears to be leaning toward a case-by-case approach to endorsements this fall rather than backing one side or another in the war over control of the Senate, Mayor Bloomberg is remaining loyal to a longtime GOP ally: Queens Sen. Frank Padavan.
Bloomberg will host a $1,000-a-head fundraiser for the senator at his Upper East Side townhouse next week.
Padavan was one of the GOP senators cited by Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson on “Capital Tonight “yesterday (along with Sens. Marty Golden and Andy Lanza) as minority lawmakers the mayor would likely continue to back. Bloomberg professed his support for Democratic Sen. Craig Johnson, citing his pro-charter schools position.
Wolfson also wouldn’t rule out the possibility that the billionaire mayor might yet write a big check to either the GOP or the Dems. If he chooses the latter, it would be a big switch for him, since he has long been the Republicans’ largest individual contributor.
May 11th - 5:35 pm
Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson said today his boss, Mayor Bloomberg, has not yet settled on a strategy for the upcoming battle for control of the Senate, leaving the door open to the possibility that the billionaire mayor might yet write a big check for one side or the other.
“I wouldn’t rule anything out,” Wolfson said.
Following Bloomberg’s announcement yesterday that he will be supporting Democratic Sen. Craig Johnson, who is a target of the AFL-CIO for (among other things) his support of lifting the charter cap, I asked Wolfson if the mayor’s relationship with the Senate GOP has officially come to an end.
“We’ve done a lot of very good work with Senate Republicans and we have a great delegation of city Senate Republicans that we will be supporting unequivocally,” Wolfson responded.
“But the mayor has always said that’s he’s going to support somebody regardless of party whether or not they do what’s in the best interest of the city and that’s the mayor sole criteria.”
“I think what we are looking at is to see how this process unfolds. Again, we are certainly going to support Marty Golden; he’s a great senator. Andy Lanza is a great senator, Frank Padavan – they’re all great senators that the mayor is going to support.”
“If the mayor makes a decision that he’s going to support one conference or another, we haven’t made that decision yet. And again, that really does depend on what happens in this process.”
You can catch my full Wolfson interview when “Capital Tonight” airs this evening at 8 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.
May 11th - 2:37 pm
…This time it’s Jeffrey Kay, director of the Mayor’s Office of Operations, who was mentioned as a potential replacement for former Deputy Mayor Ed Skyler, but lost out to former Indianapolis Mayor Stephen Goldsmith.
Kay, who has been with the administration since Day One and held his post since March 2006, will leave the public payroll for a post in the private sector at the end of next month, the mayor announced this afternoon.
“I’ve often said, Jeff is one of the unsung heroes of our administration,” Bloomberg said in a press release.
“For so many of our key programs, if you look behind the scenes, you will often find that Jeff was a major force in making those initiatives a reality.”
“New Yorkers have a City government that simply runs better, in no small part due to the programs and initiatives Jeff has developed and led. I can remember being briefed by Jeff in my first month as Mayor, and he has been a big part of our team ever since.”