Aug 16th - 11:02 am
The 2.5 million-member AFL-CIO has opted not to endorse two members of the New York delegation: Reps. Mike McMahon (NY-13) and Greg Meeks (NY-6), according to a source attending the federation’s convention at the Desmond in Colonie.
The McMahon decision comes as no big surprise. Labor soured on the Staten Island Democrat in a big way after he refused to change his “no” vote on the health care reform bill.
UPDATE: AFL-CIO spokesman Mario Cilento e-mailed to inform me that McMahon is not being endorsed “at this time”, which means the question is likely to be revisited at a later date and this is more of an effort to send a message of displeasure than anything else. Meeks is a definite “no endorsement”, and that’s final.
Meeks didn’t get the AFL nod in 2008, either, and has been at odds with labor since his “yes” vote on CAFTA. in 2005 (Another NY Democrat, Brooklyn Rep. Ed Towns, also voted “yes”, but has not been similarly treated).
Aug 16th - 10:45 am
As the AFL-CIO members are meeting in Albany to determine their endorsements in the fall elections, a key public sector union – the Public Employees Federation – has announced its support of Assemblyman Richard Brodsky’s bid to replace AG Andrew Cuomo.
“Brodsky has always been responsive to his constituents,” said PEF President Kenneth Brynien.
“He has had an open door to hear the concerns of PEF members and has been a strong advocate for the needs of middle class families. He has proven himself an open and honest candidate and effective leader in the state assembly. We believe those qualities will help make him a strong Attorney General.”
PEF, which represents 58,000 professional, scientific and technical public employees, is the second-largest state workers union (the first is CSEA). Other labor supporters of the Westchester County Democratic lawmaker include DC37 and CWA.
The bulk of the so-called progressive private sector union support, which includes SEIU 1199, HTC and 32BJ, has gone to Sen. Eric Schneiderman, with RWDSU, UFCW Local 1500 and a number of the trades siding with Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice.
Brodsky is kicking off a four-county, nine-day upstate swing today.
Aug 16th - 8:21 am
The Legislature will not return to Albany this week despite Gov. David Paterson’s call for lawmakers to come up with a plan for allocating $600 million in federal education aid passed by Congress last week.
(ICYMI, this is the second item in my DN column this morning. This is an extended version).
In true Albany fashion, each house is blaming the other.
A Senate Democrat insisted Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver nixed a return because he doesn’t want to give the governor the opportunity to bring up the NYSUT-hated property tax cap issue again – particularly not with the September primaries looming in which he stands to lose as many as a dozen majority members.
“Silver does not want to have that argument with his members and put them in harm’s way with NYSUT after the Senate passed the cap and the suburban and Long Island members are agitating to do the same,” a Senate source said.
A top Assembly Democrat trashed that claim, calling it “bullsh–”. He said said the real problem is Senate Democratic leader John Sampson’s inability to get all 32 of his members to come back to the Capitol and agree on anything.
Aug 16th - 7:49 am
President Obama’s comments about the mosque proposed for construction near Ground Zero nationalized a debate that was already percolating outside New York.
Rep. Peter King accused Obama of “trying to have it both ways” on the mosque.
Mike Lupica says the mosque isn’t about freedom of religion, which no one disputes, it’s about “the constituency of Sept. 11.”
Michael Gerson deems the president’s weighing in on the mosque “late” and “vacillating”, but not necessarily wrong.
A Hamas leader endorsed the mosque, but Sen. Chuck Schumer rejected the move, saying through a spokesman: “Hamas is a terrorist organization, and their views don’t deserve any weight on anything.”
Senate Democrats worry AG Andrew Cuomo’s anti-Albany message will result in the return of GOP control.
A poll commissioned by Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr.’s detractors finds a three-way primary benefits him. The third candidate, Dan Padernacht, so far is refusing to drop out.
A committee formed by Steve Pigeon to help Espada and the causes/candidates he supports has failed to report thousands of dollars worth of expenditures and contributions.
Rick Lazio will receive the formal endorsement of Westchester County Executive Rob Astornio today. (No link).
The AFL-CIO will announce its endorsed candidates today, and Cuomo is expected to get the labor federation’s nod – in spite of the neutrality of NYSUT and possibly other public unions. (No link).
Aug 16th - 6:46 am
Organizing for American, the DNC arm that grew out of President Obama’s vast grassroots network built during his 2008 presidential run, is blasting out an e-mail on behalf of AG Andrew Cuomo today, calling on supporters to join the gubernatorial frontrunner’s campaign to “bring accountability and integrity back to Albany.”
“The challenges we face in Albany are clear: government is being held hostage by lobbyists and special interests that are not accountable to the people of New York,” reads the e-mail, which appears in full after the jump and includes links for readers to join Cuomo’s campaign and “volunteer today”.
“At a time when we urgently need our lawmakers to create jobs and revitalize the economy, they can’t break free from the status quo.”
“Andrew Cuomo has a plan that lays out exactly how New Yorkers can fight back – from providing for independent investigations that crack down on corruption to outlawing pay to play where individuals and corporations who do business with the state have inappropriate access.”
“New York used to be a national model for good government, and it can be again. Join Andrew Cuomo and fight for all New Yorkers – especially those who can’t fight for themselves.”
It’s been an open secret for a long time now that Cuomo has the blessing of the White House in his quest for the governor’s office.
Aug 15th - 4:24 pm
Backing the mosque was perhaps riskier for President Obama that it might have been for his predecessors, but adviser David Axelrod insists Obama knew exactly what he was doing and “understands the politics of it.”
Mayor Bloomberg saw Obama’s words as a “clarion defense of the freedom of religion” (although that was before the clarification and the clarification of the clarification).
Sarah Palin pressured Obama (via Twitter) to take a firm position on whether building the mosque is the right thing to do.
For the most part, members of the NY congressional delegation are staying mum in the wake of the president’s mosque comments.
AG Andrew Cuomo issued no statement in response to the president’s mosque comments.
Michael Goodwin smells a rat.
The WSJ has a nifty who’s for it, who’s against it mosque graphic.
The Democrats have lost support among independent voters – an important swing bloc.
In hopes of countering the anti-Democratic mood of the electorate, party leaders are trying to cast Republicans as scary extremists.
A loophole allows spouses and subsidiaries of firms involved in ongoing or recent legal actions by the AG’s office to contribute to Cuomo’s campaign, and they have, to the tune of more than $150,000.
“You shouldn’t be out there supporting someone whose the epitome of abuse and ethics violations on the same day you’re touting a new policy for ethics,” said LG contender Greg Edwards, speaking of Cuomo’s new TV ad.
The election isn’t until November, but Cuomo is already deeply involved behind the scenes in Albany.
Aug 15th - 4:13 pm
Richard Hanna, the Republican candidate in NY-24, is out with his first TV spot – a positive bio ad that focuses on his background as a businessman and success in creating jobs in the community.
This is the first ad of the NY-24 campaign, in which Hanna is making his second attempt at ousting Democratic Rep. Mike Arcuri. Hanna is partially self-funding his congressional bid, but also managed to out-raise Arcuri by about $150,000 during the first quarter of 2010.
The two candidates are now about dead even in the money race, but the DCCC is poised to spend up to $7 million to protect marginals across the country – including Arcuri.
Hanna is running on the GOP, Conservative and Independence Party lines. Arcuri is running on the Democratic line and is trying to create a second, independent line known as NY Moderates. The Working Families Party, which endorsed Arcuri in 2008, declined to back him this time around after he voted “no” on the health care reform bill.
The Rothenberg Report ranked NY-24 “tilts Republican” late last month, moving it from the “pure toss-up ” category.”
Here’s the script:
“My Dad died when I was 20, and it took us eight years to pay his bills. I put myself through college and I built a successful business from the ground up. I’ve employed over 450 people. This community gave me opportunity. What we’re leaving our children is crippling debt. I want to bring jobs and a promise of a better future back to upstate New York. There are reasons America’s exceptional. Let’s not forget them. I’m Richard Hanna, and I approve this message.”
Aug 15th - 10:05 am
New York has officially become the last state in the nation to adopt no-fault divorce following the governor’s signature of a measure that will permit couples to separate by mutual consent, signaling a major policy shift that has far-reaching implications for both families and attorneys.
A spokesman for Gov. David Paterson confirmed he has signed the legislation – actually a package of bills that also includes the establishment of post-marital income guidelines for maintenance awards and the required awarding of counsel fees toward the beginning of the divorce process – after “much internal debate”, and is poised to make a formal announcement sometime today.
Paterson publicly said he would sign no-fault, but he waited until the eleventh hour to do so. The deadline for him to take action on the bill was midnight Saturday.
The governor could have simply taken no action and the legislation would have automatically become law. He had 10 days to act from the moment the legislation arrived on his desk – sent by the Senate, which passed the bills first and therefore controlled the timeline of when they were sent to the governor.
Paterson had three options: Sign, veto or do nothing.
Advocates hailed the Legislature’s passage of no-fault, saying it allows couples with “dead” marriages to quickly dissolve their unions through mutual consent instead of having to first separate for a year or blame one of the parties involved, citing reasons like adultery, abandonment or cruel treatment.
But the legislation was not universally hailed.
Opponents, which included an odd coalition of the Catholic Church and women’s advocacy groups, argued no-fault divorce debases marriage, making it too easy for couples who should be working out their problems to throw in the towel (the church) and suggested it will now be too easy for the wealthier spouse – usually the man – to leave their partners without adequate resources (NOW-NYS President Marica Pappas blasted what she dubbed “divorce on demand”).
Aug 14th - 8:36 pm
Rep. Jerry Nadler, whose district includes Lower Manhattan, and, more specifically, Ground Zero, released a statement today praising President Obama for his speech on the mosque last night and reiterating his support for allowing the project to move forward.
“As the Member of Congress who represents Lower Manhattan and Ground Zero, I commend President Obama’s statement on the Cordoba House and his support of our First Amendment rights of freedom of religion and separation of church and state,” Nadler said.
“As I previously stated, government has no business deciding whether there should or should not be a Muslim house of worship near Ground Zero. The United States was founded on the principle of religious liberty and tolerance, and it is equally important 234 years later that we uphold this principle. Hate should have no place in America.”
Aug 14th - 8:28 pm
White House spokesman Bill Burton walked back his boss’ walk-back earlier today on the mosque, reiterating that the president does indeed support the developers right to build within blocks of Ground Zero, even though the project might be upsetting to some.
“Just to be clear, the President is not backing off in any way from the comments he made last night,” Buton told reporters traveling with the Obama family in Florida (this is per the pool report).
“It is not his role as President to pass judgment on every local project. But it is his responsibility to stand up for the Constitutional principle of religious freedom and equal treatment for all Americans.”
“What he said last night, and reaffirmed today, is that If a church, a synagogue or a Hindu temple can be built on a site, you simply cannot deny that right to those who want to build a mosque.”
“The World Trade Center site is hallowed ground, where 3000 Americans-Catholics, Protestants, Jews and Muslims were the victims of a cold-blooded massacre.”
“We are still at war with the small band of terrorists who planned and executed that attack. But that does not give government the right to deny law-abiding Americans of one faith the same rights you would accord anyone else.”