Jul 27th - 2:10 pm
While appearing on Long Island with GOP Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano this afternoon, Democratic gubernatorial designee Andrew Cuomo announced he’s launching a new Website to rally public support for his two percent property tax cap.
This comes on the heels of the AG’s RV tour, during which he asked New Yorkers to sign a petition to support his government/ethics/budget reform etc. proposals.
A two percent property tax cap that is more stringent and broad than the 4 percent cap Gov. David Paterson is pushing (so far without success) in Albany, is part of Cuomo’s “New New York Agenda,” but this is the first time he has singled out the issue as a particular focus.
In an e-mail sent to supporters earlier today, Cuomo wrote:
Jul 27th - 1:45 pm
As predicted, the Senate Democrats are seizing on today’s “Race to the Top” announcement, declaring both a policy and political victory in their ability to push through changes that helped again push New York into the list of finalists for federal education cash.
(Keep in mind: This is not a done deal. The last time New York made it to this RttT level, only to finish 15th out of 16 when it came down to awarding cash).
Senate Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson called this a “shining example of what the Senate Democratic Majority can accomplish for the State of New York.”
“By passing legislation to raise the charter cap, reform charter schools, improve teacher evaluation, and invest in tracking educational outcomes, the Senate Democratic Majority helped give New York the competitive advantage it needed to become a finalist in the Race to the Top,” Sampson crowed.
Jul 27th - 1:04 pm
Twelve upstate GOP county chairs and Assemblyman Joe Errigo are calling on former Long Island legislator Bruce Blakeman, the party’s designee to take on Democratic US Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, to quit the race due to his failure to fundraise.
The group, led by Wayne County GOP Chairman Dan Olson, an early supporterof Blakeman’s primary opponent, economist David Malpass, argues in a letter to Blakeman that Malpass is the “only candidate” who can bring a strong challenge to Gillibrand.
(They make no mention of the third contender, former Westchester Rep. Joe DioGuardi, who petitioned his way into the GOP primary and also is backed by the state Conservative Party).
The GOP leaders also invoke the name of Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, which is kind of ironic, since Blakeman frequently holds him up as proof that a little-known, under-funded Republican can win in an overwhelmingly blue state against a well-known and well-funded Democrat.
Jul 27th - 12:08 pm
The New York League of Conservation Voters is sticking with GOP Sen. Frank Padavan, who again faces a tough re-election bid this fall.
“Throughout his tenure in the State Senate, Frank Padavan has been focused on results, not rhetoric, said NYLCV President Marcia Bystryn.
“He has fought for important laws to protect public health and secured funding for vital environmental projects in Northeast Queens. Senator Padavan’s record is proof-positive that clean air, safe drinking water and a healthy environment are not partisan issues.”
Jul 27th - 11:30 am
New York leaders are anxiously awaiting today’s announcement of the finalists for Round II of the federal “Race to the Top” cash, which is expecting to come sometime around noon along with a speech by US Education Secretary Arne Duncan.
The state made the cut last time, too, but ultimately ended up finishing 15th of the 16 finalists – largely due to its failure to adopt reforms that including lifting the charter school cap and changing the way teachers are evaluated.
That money – or any portion of it – would go a long way toward helping close the budget gap that would likely be opened by the loss of FMAP Medicaid funding, for example, although the two are not interchangeable.
If New York is successful this time around, look for the Senate Democrats to declare a major victory.
Sources say they will be pointing out the fact that the charter school cap bill passed 45-15, with all 32 Democrats – even those who are vehemently ant-charter, like Sens. Bill Perkins and Shirley Huntley – voting “yes” and 15 Republicans in the “no” column.
UPDATE: AP has just announced that 19 states are finalists for the $3 billion in Race to the Top funds. The states are: Arizona, California, Colorado, Washington, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and South Carolina.
Jul 27th - 11:04 am
I was tempted to title this post “Lazio beats mosque issue to death”…but then thought better of it.
The GOP/Conservative gubernatorial designee is trying to hold onto the issue of the mosque proposed for construction near Ground Zero by sending an open letter to his Democratic target, AG Andrew Cuomo, calling for a public debate on the topic.
“You have called those of us who oppose building this mosques racist and bigots. You should be ashamed of yourself,” Lazio wrote (the text of his letter appears in full after the jump).
“To get real answers I suggest that we debate this issue in an open forum to be covered by the news media.”
“Your position on this issue is so wrong and I recognize you may not want to defend it, but all the same I am asking you to do just that.”
Lazio's GOP primary opponent, Carl Paladino, has also zeroed in on the mosque question. But since he doesn't suffer from the same lack of funding as Lazio, Paladino has been able to make a lot more noise about this - even launching a radio ad that casts the race as a two-man affair between himself and Cuomo.
Cuomo has insisted the mosque backers have a right to build the 15-story Cordoba House based on the constitutionally-protected freedom of religion, and Mayor Bloomberg agrees.
The idea that the AG would agree to a debate on the mosque - or anything else for that matter - this early in the campaign season is pretty far-fetched. Cuomo has repeatedly said he doesn't plan to actively engage until after the GOP primary because (and this is beginning to make a lot of sense) there's no telling who might emerge as the winner.
Here's Lazio's letter in full:
The Honorable Andrew Cuomo
Office of the Attorney General
Albany, NY 12224-0341
Dear Attorney General Cuomo:
I understand that there will be plenty of time for us to debate the important issues of concern to the citizens of New York in the fall. But the time to debate the Cordoba Mosque proposed to be built on the sacred land at Ground Zero is now.
Many questions about the funding for this project have surfaced in the press in recent weeks; including the funding for the project itself and the sourced funding for the land and building donation. However obscured and concealed these funding trails are, the people of New York have a right to know the identity of all the figures behind the project given many of their inflammatory statements by the public faces of the project.
As Attorney General, it falls under your jurisdiction to oversee the funding sources of “charitable” organizations such as the Cordoba Initiative. Many are wondering how the proprietors of this project came into so much funding so quickly for a project which is dividing the community.
You have called those of us who oppose building this mosques racist and bigots. You should be ashamed of yourself.
To get real answers I suggest that we debate this issue in an open forum to be covered by the news media.
Your position on this issue is so wrong and I recognize you may not want to defend it but all the same I am asking you to do just that. I am sending a copy of this request for debate to all television stations and all newspapers in New York. I believe the debate should be held where the audience can watch and respond as well as ask questions of us.
I hope you will respond positively to my request for the debate.
Jul 27th - 10:17 am
Senate Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson is in Washington, D.C., his spokesman confirmed. The trip is a combination of politics and policy, with meetings scheduled during the day between the Brooklyn senator and members of the NY congressional delegation and a fundraiser for the state DSCC at night.
“After meeting with the governor and speaker yesterday to discuss a responsible FMAP contingency plan, Senator Sampson went to Washington to get New York the Medicaid funding it deserves,” Sampson spokesman Austin Shafran said.
“Yesterday was about planning for the worst. Today is about pushing for the best outcome – a fully funded Medicaid enhancement.”
Jul 27th - 8:57 am
Joyce Johnson is adopting a very different approach to the mess surrounding her primary target, Rep. Charles Rangel, than the three fellow Democrats trying to oust the embattled Harlem congressman.
While Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell IV, Vince Morgan and Jonathan Tasini have all sought to capitalize (in varying degrees) on the uproar surrounding Rangel’s ethics charges, with Tasini going so far as to call for the congressman to abandon his re-election bid, Johnson is reserving judgment.
She noted Rangel remains innocent until proven guilty and decried the “mudslinging” underway in the race.
Speaking to her supporters yesterday, Johnson called the yet-undetailed charges against the congressman “of a grave and serious nature,” adding: “I am sure the panel will work to expose the truth, whatever it may be.”
She then lamented the fact that Rangel’s ethics maelstrom has distracted him – and his primary opponents – from addressing the needs of the 15th CD “while politicians engage in a circus of punditry and prediction.”
Jul 27th - 8:23 am
AG Andrew Cuomo, the Democratic gubernatorial designee, is scheduled to appear today with Republican Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano to call for passage in Albany of the statewide property tax cap Cuomo proposed in his “New New York Agenda.”
(For the uninitiated, Cuomo’s cap would limit increases in property taxes, both for local government and schools, to two percent annually or the rate of inflation – whichever is lower. This is more stringent that the cap proposed by Gov. David Paterson, which would be 4 percent and exempt the so-called “Big Five” cities and NYC).
Where to start?
First: Mangano, as you’ll recall, was one of the surprise winners of the 2009 election cycle. He ousted Democratic incumbent Tom Suozzi, who was viewed as a rising star in the party – possibly even a gubernatorial contender (ahem) or a running mate for Gov. David Paterson.
Jul 27th - 7:59 am
Diana Taylor, best known as Mayor Bloomberg’s live-in companion, thinks she could have defeated Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, adding: “I don’t know what she really believes in…There’s always 2012.” She also hasn’t ruled out a 2013 run for the job Bloomberg now holds.
Rep. Charlie Rangel met last night with his attorney and DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen, who said he was acting “as a friend.”
“I think Charlie should think about what’s best for Charlie and his legacy,” said an anonymous Democrat, who stopped short of calling for Rangel’s resignation.
The chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, California’s Barbara Lee, warned against rushing to judgment on Rangel.
The Republicans are moving quickly to try to capitalize on Rangel’s ethics mess.
Rangel isn’t much of an issue in the NY-20 race.
The Post notes House Speaker Nancy Pelosi & Co. could have dealt with the Rangel mess a long time ago, adding: “Anything other than a full public examination would amount to a cover-up.”
Newsday questions Pelosi’s timing.
VP Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, will be at Fort Drum tomorrow to welcome home the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, from Iraq.
AG Andrew Cuomo’s office is targeting the so-called “lying nun.”