Aug 4th - 4:14 pm
State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli released a statement about the finally-complete 2010-2011 state budget that both praised his former legislative colleagues and took them to task.
The Democratic comptroller, who is running statewide for the first time this fall in hopes of maintaining the seat he was given by the Legislature in 2007, said there was “some positive news” in the 125-day late budget, noting that it does not rely on borrowing to close the $9.2 billion deficit.
(That number assumes the $1.1 billion worth of FMAP cash will eventually show up in New York, which is now looking increasingly likely, given today’s cloture vote in the US Senate and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s plan to bring her members back next week for another vote on the bill that will provide $26 billion worth of federal aid to the states).
But DiNapoli, whose office released anxious lawmakers’ paychecks after last night’s 32-28 vote on the revenue bill, warned that the spending plan isn’t all good. In fact, he said, it’s mostly bad.
“(A)ll in all, this budget was not worth the wait,” the comptroller said. “There are significant risks in this budget and little has been done to align recurring spending with recurring revenues. The entire budget process still reeks of dysfunction and nothing was done to reform that process.
“New York failed to learn the obvious lessons from last year’s budget crisis. My office will be releasing a detailed analysis of the enacted budget within the next few weeks. I will monitor and report on the state’s spending and revenues throughout the year.”
Aug 4th - 3:46 pm
You just knew this was going to happen.
The American Center for Law & Justice announced it has commenced an Article 78 proceeding seeking to nullify the decision by the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission yesterday that denied to grant protected status to the building that occupies the spot near Ground Zero proposed for construction of a mosque.
The ACLJ says on its Website that it represent Tim Brown, “a firefighter and first responder, who survived the 9-11 attacks but lost 100 friends that day.”
“The lawsuit charges that the city violated its own policies and procedures in rejecting landmark status and exhibited ‘an arbitrary and capricious abuse of discretion and contrary to decades of administrative precedent,’” the site states.
“What’s clear is that this legal challenge points out the fact that the city did not follow its own rules and procedures in this case. The deliberative process was tainted and violated procedural safeguards that have been in place for years.”
The suit charges that the commission violated the City Charter and the Administration Code, failed to properly consider public comments on the project, acted too quickly in taking yesterday’s vote and failed to recognize the significance of the site in connection with the terrorist attacks.
UPDATE: A reader suggests that the Tim Brown in question might be the same guy who ran against Democratic Sen. Liz Krueger in 2008. If it’s the selfsame individual, he also worked on Rudy Giuliani’s failed 2008 presidential bid.
Aug 4th - 3:36 pm
Actually, the man who was once best known for being a thorn in then-Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno’s side never really went anywhere, although he did keep a rather low profile for a while there after crossing swords with the once-powerful Rensselaer Republican.
Tom Dadey, whose refusal to get off the Conservative line after losing the 2004 GOP primary to then-Democrat-turned-Republican Sen. Nancy Larraine Hoffmann in the 49th SD cost the Republicans a seat they’re still trying to win back, is vying become the next Onondaga County GOP chairman.
Dadey is close with Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney, the first woman to hold her post and someone who is viewed as a GOP rising star. Mahoney has a history of being at odds with the current county chairman, John DiSpirito, who reportedly told her while she was mulling a run back in 2007 that county executive was a “big job”.
So far, Dadey is the only announced contender for the chairmanship, although as he mentions in a letter to local leaders announcing his candidacy, DiSpirito is expected to run and some others are considering it, too.
Dadey has been helping Republican Andrew Russo, who is fighting his primary opponent, East Syracuse Mayor Dan Liedka, for the right to face the winner of that 2004 battle, Democratic Sen. Dave Valesky, in the November general election. (Russo has far more cash on hand).
UPDATED: Dadey got in touch to remind me that he was on both the Independence Party And Conservative Party lines. He also pointed out that by the time he had lost the GOP primary, it was too late for him to get off those lines, so he didn’t exactly “refuse” to do so – contrary to my characterization of his actions. He would have had to die, move out of state or run to become a judge (he’s not a lawyer).
Aug 4th - 3:15 pm
I briefly considering the headline: “Department of Desperate Measures”…but then I thought that might be too mean, even for me.
Still, it’s hard to see it as anything other than a naked political ploy when the GOP/Conservative gubernatorial candidate appeals to the Democratic leader of the free world to intercede in a controversial local issue when his spokesman just made it clear his boss doesn’t want to touch it with a 10-foot pole.
Here’s Rick Lazio’s statement:
“Mr. President, I have been pushing for maximum transparency on the proposed Cordoba Mosque at Ground Zero, an area which holds a special place for all Americans, not just New Yorkers.”
“I was disappointed to see the comments by Robert Gibbs yesterday, signaling that your Administration does not wish to engage in this issue of national importance.”
“For weeks I have asked for New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to use his authority over registered charities to open up the books on the funding sources for the Cordoba Initiative led by Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf.”
“My assumption would have been that if Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf and the developer Sharif El-Gamal are peace makers and bridge builders that they would yearn for transparency, which I know is something you ascribe to as well.”
“Given the significance of this hallowed land, please join me and a growing chorus of organizations like the Anti-Defamation League in our call for maximum transparency on the plans to build a Cordoba Mosque at the sight of the worst terrorist attack in American history.”
Aug 4th - 2:48 pm
AG Andrew Cuomo, who is upstate today to announce an investigation into predatory health care lending, weighed in during a stop in Buffalo on the Senate’s action (and inaction) on some key policy measures before lawmakers departed Albany last night – presumably not to return until at least after the Sept. 14 primary.
Cuomo called the Assembly’s failure to pass the governor’s property tax cap a “missed opportunity”. He called UB 2020 “an exciting project”, adding: “It’s something I would support and I would work diligently to make sure it actually happens.”
“I understand it didn’t happen now,” the AG said. “I don’t think people should lose faith and lose hope. It’s a smart idea, it has brought the community together. It has a lot of potential. I think it could really brighten the future for Buffalo, and I’m committed to making it a reality.”
Aug 4th - 2:34 pm
Rep. Anthony Weiner, who took to the Times this morning to explain his angry outburst on the House floor over the defeat of the Zadroga Act, told attendees at a union convention today that more Democrats should follow his lead.
“I don’t think people are turning on the TV and saying, ‘The Democrats are too outraged,’” Weiner said during a speech at the RWDSU convention in Orlando, Fla. “I think the problem is that we’re not yelling enough.”
Weiner said Democrats too often shy away from taking the battle to the Republicans, adding: “We sometimes come into knife fights carrying library books,” adding: “I’m sick and tired of sitting at the altar of Olympia Snowe and Joe Lieberman.”
The Brooklyn/Queens congressman has taken some heat for his display, during which he directed the bulk of his vitriol at his fellow New Yorker, Republican Rep. Peter King, another sponsor of the bill, for failing to whip sufficient votes for its passage.
The battle between the two lawmakers continued in subsequent interviews.
King criticized Weiner and his fellow Democrats for requiring a two-thirds majority to pass the bill, protecting marginals from having to take a potentially dangerous vote on a GOP amendment that would prevent any first responders who were illegal immigrants from collecting the health benefits.
Aug 4th - 2:11 pm
Senate Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson sat down with me this afternoon for an interview that will air this evening on “Capital Tonight” and insisted that there is indeed a three-way “framework” agreement on SUNY empowerment, but, as he said: “The devil’s in the details.”
According to Sampson, there was a meeting last night between his aide, Paul Rivera; Larry Schwartz, secretary to Gov. David Paterson; and Dean Fuleihan, who is Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s right-hand man; at which this supposed deal was hammered out.
However, the statement released last night was a one-house affair, featuring Sampson and the two holdouts – Sens. Brian Foley and Bill Stachowski. Usually, deals are announced in joint statements, or at least multiple statements from all the players involved.
Further muddying the waters, Paterson said this morning: “I don’t know exactly what the framework is that the senators are looking at.”
Nevertheless, Sampson was steadfast in his talking points, explaining to me:
“We’re just trying to get down the details…making sure that the legislation passes both houses.”
“Those details are being negotiated and worked upon. And in order for the bill to pass, a lot of the details dealing with the TAP, dealing with the rational tuition, dealing with procurement…dealing with the public private partnership are very important to all different members of our conferences. Those issues will be addressed that were brought up during this whole period of negotiation.”
Aug 4th - 1:49 pm
…which would make Democrats from…Mars, maybe?
OK, so that metaphor fell flat. Moving right along now.
Gov. David Paterson engaged in a little Senate Republican bashing this morning, hewing to the whole “party of no” line that the Democrats have been using as we transition into full-time campaign mode.
But the governor departed from the script when it came to the property tax cap, which passed the Senate last night with only eight “no” votes – all cast by Democrats.
“The Republicans were the ones that were against the $1.4 billion that we cut in education costs,” the governor said.
“The Republicans never had a plan for how they were going to close the budget, and, as a matter of fact, in the area of reduction of health care costs we went beyond what the Republicans proposed. ”
“They actually said that we have $4 billion in taxes, which is about as far off as this planet is from Pluto.”
“So, they don’t have a plan, they’re in campaign rhetoric, they voted against everything. But they did support the property tax cap, so I still like them.”
UPDATE: Senate GOP spokesman Scott Reif sent a response, which appears after the jump.
Aug 4th - 1:36 pm
Just in time for redistricting week here at “Capital Tonight”, the Senate passed an historic measure last night as part of the revenue bill that will, for the first time in New York history, have the Census count prisoners at their last known address rather then in the (usually upstate) cells where they temporarily reside.
The resulting information will be used for redistricting ONLY. See the update below for more.
The measure was sponsored in the Senate by Eric Schneiderman and by Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries on the other side of the Capitol. (Jeffries will be on CapTon Friday, along with filmmaker Jeff Reichert, to discuss the soon-to-be-released documentary “Gerrymandering“).
Gov. David Paterson has indicated he will sign this when it reaches his desk.
“This is a huge step for justice in the reapportionment process because there is a history of prisoners being used to artificially inflate the population of areas far from their homes,” Schneiderman said last night after the vote.
“…New York taking this step is huge in terms of the national debate over what the proper way is to count prisoners.”
“The Census was started a long time ago, when there was a handful of prisoners relative to what we have now – 2.3 million people being used to artificially inflate the population of prison districts, move back to their home districts in the sense of reapportionment strengthens the power of the poor minority community where many of our prisoners come from. This is a basic civil rights issue”
UPDATE: Based on the comment that appears on this post, I checked in with Jeffries for some more details. Check after the jump for a clarification.
Aug 4th - 12:53 pm
A certain downstate Democratic lawmaker turns 40 today.
A mischievous fan sent this baby picture of said elected official, who just so happens to share his special day with the president of the United States. Does he look familiar to you?
Barack Obama is turning 49 today. He’s celebrating with a stag dinner with friends in his hometown of Chicago. (First Lady Michelle Obama is out of the country on a trip to France with the couple’s younger daughter, Sasha, while older daughter Malia is away at summer camp).
Other Aug. 4 babies include (compliments of CBS News):
Elizabeth, The Queen Mother (who would be 110) and famous trumpeter Louis Armstrong (who would be 109). Writer Percy Bysshe, the husband of “Frankenstein” author Mary Shelly, would be 218.
Roger Clemens (48), B.J. Surhoff (45), Jeff Gordon (39).
Actors Cole and Dylan Sprouse turn 16 today, “Lost” star Daniel Dae Kim is 42 (as is model and reality TV personality Marcus Schenkenberg) and actor Billy Bob Thornton is 55 years young.
UPDATE: Dan Levitan, come on down! For guessing correctly the identity of today’s mystery man, you win “>this fabulous YNN swag. (I’ll deliver it in person when I see you next. Or, you can send me an address). Kudos! LB