Jul 8th - 10:32 am
GOP gubernatorial designee Rick Lazio is keeping the pressure on AG Andrew Cuomo regarding the Cordoba Mosque proposed for construction near Ground Zero, saying his Democratic opponent “should be ashamed of himself” for making this a freedom of religion argument.
“The Imam blames the United States for the attacks of 9/11 and now Andrew Cuomo calls into question the motivation of the victims! ” Lazio said in a press release.
“Andrew Cuomo stating that those who oppose a sympathizer of terrorism are somehow guilty of bigotry is outrageous. Andrew Cuomo and (US Attorney General) Eric Holder were wrong on trying Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in lower Manhattan and are now even more outside the mainstream by not yet investigating the Mosque and the Imam behind it.”
Yesterday, Lazio held a press conference with family members of 9/11 victims who oppose the mosque and called on Cuomo to investigate who’s funding the project. His campaign released footage from that event this morning.
Jul 8th - 10:18 am
Talk about politics and strange bedfellows.
A reader forwarded a flyer for a Tea Party event tomorrow in Broome County at which GOP Sen. Tom Libous will appear with Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino, who is trying to primary his way into a September gubernatorial primary with Rick Lazio and also plans to run in November on a Tea Party-inspired indpendent line.
The flyer describes the event, taking place at Brothers 2 Restaurant in Endwell, thusly:
“Yes, our next state Senator (running unopposed) and our promising, next Governor of New York will appear at the same venue. This is a heart-to-heart talk with fellow New Yorkers.”
“Tom can give Broome County, and all New Yorkers, a first-hand account about the struggles New York is having. Carl will express his plan on how he intends to help Tom transform the ways of New York’s government. Away from the political fray and media hype, Tom hopes for a historic gathering of fellow New Yorkers.”
“Carl’s goal is to contribute to that significant discussion. Tom and Carl are as concerned as you and your neighbors are about our great state of New York. Come meet Tom and Carl!”
Jul 8th - 10:00 am
Senate Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson told Greg Kelly on “Good Day NY” this morning that ethics and campaign finance reform is a priority for the majority, but defended his fundraising from special interests insisting “a nickle, a penny, a dollar or a dime doesn’t influence me whatsoever.”
On the so-called Sampsonmobile, the conference leader said:
“You know what’s so exclusive about it is…I don’t have the vehicle. I never saw the vehicle. I don’t even know what the vehicle looks like. I’m still driving my 2005 Crown Victoria without air conditioning. If you notice that vehicle was purhcased a couple of months ago and I’m still riding by 2005 Crown Victoria.”
Sampson said he’s going to continue to drive his own car, despite the fact that it gets 8 miles to the gallon and the new SUV, a hybrid, gets somewhere in the neighborhood of 20.
On Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr., Sampson said he is “a colleague and also a friend,” adding: “My relationship with him has always been fruitful and trustful…he hasn’t been high maintenance.”
Kelly didn’t ask Sampson for his reaction to the move by the state Democratic Party to get the Bronx Democrats to oust Espada from the party – an effort that comes as Sampson is trying to get 32 votes for the last remaining piece of the budget: The revenue bill.
Admittedly, Espada isn’t the one holding out in this case. Sens. Brian Foley and Bill Stachowski are pushing for the SUNY empowerment plan. But since it’s the Senate Democrats we’re taking about here, you never know when one of them will get it into their heads to go off the reservation.
Jul 8th - 9:27 am
A veteran of the Pataki administration just called with some sad news, informing me that the former governor’s first chief of staff, Brad Race, has died after a long battle with cancer.
Race served with Pataki from when he first took office in January 1995 to 2002. His tenure spanned two terms, which is unusal for someone in the chief of staff/secretary post – a job that essentially requires one to act a combination traffic cop and gatekeeper to the governor’s office.
Since Pataki’s management style was very hands-off, particularly later in his 16 12 years in office, serving as his chief of staff was a demanding gig. (Race is pictured here on the right with the man who succeeded him, John Cahill).
Race and Pataki both worked at the law firm Dewey Ballantine prior to Pataki’s entry into politics. Race worked there from 1970-1981 and then rejoined the firm in February of 2002 after he left his government job. In 1981, Race joined the firm of Seward and Kissel where he practiced until 1994 (the year Pataki was elected governor, defeating Democratic Gov. Mario Cuomo).
Race was a member of Pataki’s inner circle in the early years, along with Patricia Woodworth, budget director; Michael Finnegan, counsel; and Zenia Mucha, communications director.
Jul 8th - 9:13 am
Is the break-up between Gov. David Paterson and his hand-picked lieutenant governor, Richard Ravitch, finally official?
The two men have been at odds for months, with Ravitch saying he has been shut out of budget negotiations (placing the blame largely on Paterson’s chief of staff, Larry Schwartz) and Paterson publicly rejecting his LG’s budget borrowing plan.
Now, according to developer Donald Trump, the governor is saying he “made a mistake” in appointing Ravitch last summer – a controversial and historic move that Paterson fought all the way to the state’s top court to implement.
Trump, who has never been a Ravitch fan and vehemently opposed his appointment, said during a “Good Day NY” interview yesterday that the governor now agrees with his assessment that the LG should not have been appointed.
“I was right about Richard Ravitch,” Trump said. “Richard Ravitch is somebody who doesn’t have it, OK? He never did, and I understood that. A lot of people didn’t.”
“Paterson appointed him. I told Paterson: By the way you made a mistake. He told me the other day he agrees with me, that he made a mistake. He told me that the other day on the telephone. He made a big mistake with Richard Ravitch.”
Trump’s anti-Ravitch rant came at about the 2:24-minute mark of this video amid his sounding off about how much his dislikes Columbia University President Lee Bollinger, whom Trump called a “moron.”
UPDATE: Paterson spokesman Morgan Hook insists Paterson told Trump no such thing. His statement appears in full after the jump.
Jul 8th - 8:55 am
Gov. David Paterson this morning gave a big shout-out to Bob Duffy, who is running for the lieutenant governor post Paterson himself once held, saying the Rochester mayor is ready to step in and lead the state if necessary.
Paterson’s comments on Duffy came during an interview with Rochester radio station WHAM (one of three radio interviews the governor did this morning). Asked for his reaction to Democratic gubernatorial designee Andrew Cuomo’s selection of the mayor as his preferred running mate, Paterson replied:
“I used to say the lieutenant governor’s job is to wake up at 6:30 in the morning and call the executive mansion. If the governor answers, he or she can go back to sleep. That is what I used to say and then one morning I found out that I was going to become governor.”
“So, the better question then is whether or not Mayor Duffy would make a good governor, and frankly, I think he would be a superb governor.”
UPDATE: Here’s the audio of the governor’s comments courtesy of 1180 WHAM in Rochester
Jul 8th - 8:07 am
All LeBron, all the time. (Thankfully, he’ll be making his announcement just as I get off the air).
The Times takes a look inside ConEd’s command center as workers struggle to keep the lights on the height of a heat wave.
Gov. David Paterson’s VetoThon ended with the delivery of 6,681 vetoes to the Legislature.
AG Andrew Cuomo called the practice of pension padding “chronic” and “unbearable,” adding: “It should have been stopped a long time ago.”
CSEA spokesman Stephen Madarasz said it’s wrong to “blame the vast majority for the abuses of the few” when it comes to pension padding.
Rick Lazio called on Cuomo to investigate development of a mosque near Ground Zero.
Cuomo is in Syracuse today for a press conference and a fundraiser.
Another blow to ex-AG Eliot Spitzer’s legacy.
ADDED: Court reporting firms owned by Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy’s wife, Colleen West, have received work from businesses that have millions of dollars in county contracts. He has never revealed this in any disclosure forms.
Jul 7th - 5:39 pm
Sen. Eric Schneiderman’s father is a big donor to NARAL Pro-Choice NY, which just endorsed his son for AG.
“Would I love to run a presidential campaign someday? Sure, theoretically, it would be fun,” said Mayor Bloomberg’s “secret weapon” – Bradley “Ivory” Tusk.
The Room 9 reporters have been relocated to a trailer outside City Hall.
Longshot Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Joel Tyner ended his 140-mile walk from Wall Street to Albany today.
Adam Kramer is back working for Assemblyman Jim Tedisco.
The Empire State Pride Agenda had a mixed year in Albany.
The new NYC OTB CEO will earn a whopping $125,000 a month.
The governor is touting a new loan fund for small businesses.
The criminal convictions in another case started by Eliot Spitzer when he was AG and inherited by AG Andrew Cuomo were tossed out.
Chris Cox’s former advisers complained he wouldn’t listen to them.
A Long Island highway maintenance crew removed some of Cox’s campaign signs.
Who says finance can’t be fun? Not state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.
Ademola Oyefeso has been named as the RWDSU’s new political and legislative director. (No link).
Democratic Senate candidate and Clarkstown Town Clerk David Carlucci supports the effort to oust Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. from the Democratic Party.
EJ McMahon deems the “more or less” state budget “shaky.”
Jul 7th - 3:39 pm
Here’s Morgan Hook, Gov. David Paterson’s communications director, explaining why the governor went ahead and delivered his vetoes.
“The governor has said, and we have taken the position that this is not a negotiation. the legislature delivered to him budget bills last week,” Hook said.
“Those budget bills were out of balance. So the governor was forced to take this action. the governor stands by these actions. Again, we are talking about approximately $525 million in savings that were achieved in these vetoes in addition to another $180 to $190 (million) in reapprops that were vetoed.”
(For those not schooled in Capitolspeak, “reapprops” is short for “reappropriations,” and that refers to last year’s member items).
All told, there were 6,681 vetoes, according to Hook, who added: “In the spirit of disclosure, he initialed most of them.” The whole process took about seven hours over two days (and in two locations: the governor’s Capitol office and the executive mansion) to complete.
And again, here’s the link to the whole list.
Jul 7th - 3:19 pm
Score one more for state Conservative Chairman Mike Long.
State GOP Chairman Ed Cox today officially backed off his plan to run all GOP statewide designees on a new independent line, citing “serious reservations” raised by some candidates and county chairs. Cox broke the news in a memo to GOP county chairs that appears in full after the jump.
Cox hatched the idea at the GOP convention last month as it became increasingly clear that Long’s ploy to tap Rick Lazio to run on Row D prior to the GOP gathering in hopes of blocking Cox’s preferred gubernatorial candidate, Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy, had succeeded.
Long made it clear to all his statewide candidates that he did not want them to agree to run on Cox’s new line.
Lazio’s campaign never commented on the matter. Ditto for state comptroller hopeful Harry Wilson. Staten Island DA Dan Donovan’s AG campaign spokeswoman told me he would review future ballot line opportunities at the appropriate time.