Aug 9th - 4:15 pm
During an interview taped this afternoon for this evening’s “Capital Tonight,” SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher refused to point fingers for the failed empowerment plan (including one she broke during the course of her intense lobbying effort) and insists she’s still optimistic it will pass – someday.
“I think this is a journey,” Zimpher told me. “I think we had a lot of work to do.”
“We felt that we needed to push the reset button in our relationships with the Legislature, so I’ve worked really hard, personally, to get a better acquainted with each of the legislators, to build a relationship with the governor’s office, to appear before the higher education committees of both the Assembly and the Senate, to work with our constituency. ”
“We had an endorsement from the faculty senate, from the student assembly, from a number of economic organizations from some, but not all, of labor. So, I take full responsibility for being able to or being deficient, if you will, in communicating what the obvious benefits for New York are.”
During the interview, which will air at 8 p.m. and 11:30 p.m., Zimpher reiterated her support for Sen. Bill Stachowski, whom she has called one of the “champions” of the plan, even though he eventually ended his stand-off and voted in favor of the revenue bill based on the most tenuous of “framework” deals for SUNY empowerment.
Aug 9th - 4:04 pm
A reader forwarded a last-minute e-mail solicitation from Assemblyman Adriano Espaillat, who is running for the seat Sen. Eric Schneiderman is vacating to seek the AG’s office, in which the Manhattan Democrat seeks campaign cash to “help us reform Albany.”
Not once in the e-mail does Espaillat mention the fact that he is in fact OF Albany – a sitting assemblyman since 1996, when he became the first Dominican-American in the nation elected to a State House.
“With the primary less than 5 weeks away, I have never been more proud of this campaign. Your persistent support speaks to our commitment to reforming Albany and improving New York,” Espaillat wrote.
“With this kind of dedication, I know we can give New York the reform it so desperately needs.”
Espaillat talks about his record as a “community advocate with a progressive record as a tenant organizer and as an agent committed to reforming state government.”
Aug 9th - 3:29 pm
It’s an LG smackdown.
GOP gubernatorial candidate Rick Lazio’s running mate, Chautauqua County executive Greg Edwards, wasted no time in attacking AG Andrew Cuomo’s running mate, Rochester Mayor Bob Duffy, for taking a slightly more nuanced approach to the mosque proposed near Ground Zero, saying it would be better if the developers decided to build elsewhere.
Edwards slammed Duffy for saying during an interview with the Rochester media that there is a “rule of law” and a “process” that needs to be followed for the mosque project, regardless of the strong opposition it illicits on both sides.
NOTE: I read this release very quickly and misattributed these comments to Lazio, rather than Edwards, who up until now has not embraced the traditional attack dog role of an LG contender.
“The ‘process’ for the ‘rule of law’ when it comes to the building of the Cordoba Mosque goes right through Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s office,” Edwards said in a press release.
“While we welcome your courage to break ranks with Andrew Cuomo and oppose the building of the Cordoba Mosque, you cannot shield your running-mate from doing his job as chief law enforcement officer of the state.”
“We would hope that instead of simply asking the developers to stop their plans to build the mosque that you ask your running-mate to do his job as overseer of all registered charities in the state and look into the funding sources of the Cordoba Initiative at Ground Zero.”
Aug 9th - 3:04 pm
Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice’s campaign just slammed one of her AG primary opponents, Sean Coffey, in the wake of a WSJ report that he made more than $150,000 worth of state-level campaign contributions over the past decade – most of which were directed toward committees and candidates where his firm pursued contracts to represent pension funds in shareholder lawsuits.
“This is a game-changing revelation,” said Rice’s campaign manager Jeffrey Stein. “Mr. Coffey has spent the last eight months talking about the need for transparency and the need to end the pay-to-play culture that dominates Albany politics. ”
“At the same time, he knew he had given more than a hundred thousand dollars to candidates across the country and that the recipients of those donations then awarded him work that has made him a multimillionaire. He just went from the race’s unknown candidate to just another rich insider running for office.”
Aug 9th - 1:53 pm
To the list of interests signing on to try to oust Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. add SEIU/1199 and 32 BJ.
The two unions announced earlier today that they’re backing one of the Bronx Democrat’s primary challengers, Gustavo Rivera, in the upcoming Sept. 14 election.
“Albany needs leaders who put the interests of working New Yorkers ahead of politics and power plays,” said 32BJ President Mike Fishman.
“As someone who pledges to uphold the high standards we should expect from our public servants, we are proud to support Gustavo Rivera.”
…and from 1199 President George Gresham:
“This district deserves honest leadership, and we believe Gustavo Rivera will be a true voice for reform rather than an obstacle for change. Gustavo is a friend and a champion of working families; we know he will serve the community with honor and distinction. Our members are excited and ready to get Gustavo to Albany.”
Aug 9th - 12:43 pm
A reader forwarded a fundraising e-mail he received today from Sen. Liz Krueger with the subject line: “Replacing a bad apple…”
“Through my first hard fought campaigns and since my election to the State Senate in 2002, we have worked together on advancing a common-sense progressive agenda,” the Manhattan Democrat writes.
“Our goals have always been simple ones: making life more manageable for those of our neighbors who need a hand and bringing a measure of transparency and decency to state government.”
“We have had some significant victories, but also some major disappointments. Depending on your personal priorities – keeping New York competitive, affordable health care, civil rights, tenant protections, government reform – everybody’s list of ‘what’s wrong with Albany’ would look different.”
“But likely every list would include the name “Pedro Espada.” He is the poster-child representing all things wrong in Albany.”
“Today, I am asking you to help me oust disgraced Pedro Espada from the State Senate by investing in Gustavo Rivera, a wonderful man with the right resume of community work and government experience. He is an educator, an organizer and just recently served as Senator Gillibrand’s Director of Community Outreach.”
Aug 9th - 12:29 pm
George Demos released a new Web video today hitting one of his two GOP NY-1 primary opponents, Chris Cox, for playing up his family ties to the hilt while campaigning for the seat currently held by Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop.
“Bloodline and pedigree are not qualifications to serve in the US Congress or any job,” the spot states.
Cox rarely misses an opportunity to note that his is the grandson of the late President Nixon – a connection he said has been a “big plus so far” during a “Today” show segment that aired last week.
The first-time candidate insisted he is feeling no negative effects from the Watergate scandal that tarred his grandfather’s legacy and forced his resignation on this very day, 36 years ago.
Cox also frequently mentions, albeit with less regularity, the fact that he is the son of state GOP Chairman Ed Cox, even though his father has insisted on multiple occasions – much to the disbelief of Conservative and Republican detractors – that he is steering clear of Cox-the-younger’s campaign. (The task of defending Chris Cox has been taken up of late by his future father-in-law, John Catsimatidis).
Since this race is becoming increasingly negative, it was only a matter of time before one of Cox’s opponents sought to use what is arguably his strongest suit – his family connections – against him.
UPDATE: Cox’s campaign spokesman Jim Teese responded by accusing Demos of breaking the late President Ronald Reagan’s 11th commandment, (thou shalt not attack a fellow Republican), in a response that appears after the jump.
Aug 9th - 12:16 pm
In case you missed the second item in my DN column this morning, former Bronx Borough President Freddy Ferrer is reigniting an old fight against his former political nemesis, Mayor Bloomberg, saying the mayor is again pushing nonpartisan elections so he can handpick his successor.
“He believes, given his vast wealth, he can either get a fourth term or bequeath it to someone of his choosing,” Ferrer said.
Ferrer, who lost to Bloomberg in 2005 and opposed the mayor’s last push for nonpartisan elections in 2002-2003, said it is “entirely conceivable” the mayor is trying to set the stage for his longtime companion, Diana Taylor, or NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly to succeed him at City Hall.
During a recent interview with WNBC-TV’s Melissa Russo, Taylor declined to completely rule out a run for mayor in 2013, calling the job currently held by Bloomberg “interesting”, but also adding: ” I think it is probably something that is not in the cards for me.”
Aug 9th - 11:40 am
Techincally speaking, Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli, a Syracuse Democrat, is one of Ed Koch’s “enemies” of reform, called out by the former NYC mayor during his upstate tour last week for failing to sign the NY Uprising pledges to support budget, ethics and redistricting changes.
However, Magnarelli says Koch’s band of reform “heroes” is one club he doesn’t want to join because he doesn’t think its membership is, shall we say, sufficiently exclusive.
“I have no problem not being in a group of people who are called ‘heroes’ that includes Pedro Espada because that senator is not an advocate for reform,” Magnarelli said in a YNN interview.
Koch didn’t seem to have a problem with Espada signing the NY Uprising pledges, even going so far as to use the controversial Bronx Democrat’s move as a “powerful statement” that should spur his scandal-free colleagues to man up and sign.
The former mayor did make it clear, however, that he wouldn’t vote for Espada, if he had the chance to do so. (Koch lives in Mahattan, while Espada’s district is in the Bronx).
Magnarelli isn’t the only incumbent employing the Espada defense. Assemblywoman Joan Millman used a similar tactic in explaining why she had followed the lead of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is declining to sign on Koch’s dotted line.
Aug 9th - 10:58 am
In the wake of the Post story that ConEd owns part of the property on which developers want to build a mosque just blocks from Ground Zero and the sale might require approval from the Public Service Commission, Rick Lazio released a statement declaring he would appoint anti-mosque commissioners if he’s elected this fall.
“The reporting in today’s New York Post is exactly the information that would have been exposed weeks ago if Andrew Cuomo had done his job as Attorney General,” the GOP gubernatorial hopeful said in a statement.
“Instead, Andrew Cuomo has let a divisive debate go on for weeks while the developers of the Cordoba Ground Zero Mosque have been operating under false pretenses. Shame on Andrew Coumo, shame on the Imam, and shame on Sharif El-Gamal for opening the wounds of September 11th all over again.”
“As governor I will appoint commissioners to the Public Service Commission who like me oppose this group’s plan to build a mosque at Ground Zero and I encourage New Yorkers to call the Public Service commissioners and tell them the same.”