Jul 1st - 5:41 pm
The Mott’s strike is becoming a must-do campaign stop for Democratic statewide candidates. The latest to take a turn on the picket line in Williamson, Wayne County was AG contender Sean Coffey, who showed up in a suit and tie.
From Coffey’s press release:
“The son of a union carpenter, Coffey commiserated with the striking workers, who have been on strike since May in response to a proposed contract of cut wages and increased health care cost, and pledged his full support.”
“Knowing Coffey’s background, as an aggressive litigator who took on powerful corporate interests, strike leaders asked Coffey to write to Dr. Pepper Snapple executives on their behalf, which Coffey promptly agreed to do.”
The last AG candidate to stop by the Mott’s strike was Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice, whose campaign helpfully provided a Web video of her remarks at a rally.
AG Andrew Cuomo sent his LG running mate, Rochester Mayor Bob Duffy, to express solidarity with the picketing workers, and also released a letter through their union, RWDSU, calling on Dr. Pepper Snapple to come back to the negotiating table.
Jul 1st - 3:21 pm
Here’s Andrew Cuomo explaining how he’s now wearing “two hats” – one as attorney general of the state and the other as a candidate for governor.
At his fourth consecutive press conference on an AG issue (for the record, I can’t recall a time when he has been this visible this many days in a row), Cuomo was asked how big of a priority he would make the legalization of gay marriage, assuming he’s elected.
Answer: “My opinion, from my policy point of view, it is a priority.” He also voiced confidence that he could get it done in his first year on the job – something that has so far eluded both Eliot Spitzer and Gov. David Paterson.
A reporter noted Cuomo has largely avoided talking about gay marriage and other controversial issues while serving as AG (on gay marriage, that makes sense, since he’s charged with enforcing state law, which doesn’t recognize same-sex marriages) and asked why he feels comfortable discussing the topic now.
Jul 1st - 2:34 pm
According to Sen. Diane Savino, a former labor leader who was monitoring the AFSCME election at the union’s convention in Boston via BlackBerry while the Senate was in the final throes of its last day in Albany (for now, at least), Donohue received 648 votes to Lee Saunders’ 652.
It was speculated headed in to the election Saunders was favored to win as he is the executive assistant to AFSCME President Gerald McEntee.
But the election caused a rare split in the union. McEntee backed Saunders, while the outgoing secretary-treasurer, Bill Lucy, who has held the position for 38 years, backed Donohue.
Donohue’s past endorsement of Republicans (namely former Gov. George Pataki) became an issue during this campaign, with the New York labor leader arguing perhaps more vociferously than his brothers and sisters in the movement that Democrats should not take them for granted and automatically expect to receive their support.
Donohue has been very outspoken during this budget battle, issuing some memorable zingers directed at Gov. David Paterson in response to the governor’s efforts to get the public employee unions to agree to concessions such as furloughs or a wage freeze that he says would help close the budget deficit.
You’ve got to wonder whether the rhetoric might have been ever so slightly lower on the richter scale had Donohue not been seeking a national post this year….He was certainly playing to a larger constituency than usual.
Jul 1st - 2:09 pm
The answer to the question “Just how rich IS Harry Wilson?” is in….and it is: Very.
The Republican state comptroller hopeful made four years worth of unredacted tax returns available to the press today (2005 through 2008). Wilson filed an extension for 2009, but will make that information public, too, campaign spokesman Bill O’Reilly said.
We know from his 2009 PIC disclosure form that he earned more than $250,000 from Silver Point Capital last year. Considering the numbers that appear below, it’s a safe bet he took in a LOT more than that.
We here at CapTon sent the intrepid Intern Bryan up to state GOP HQ on State Street to get the salient details. He was on the phone with the individual tapped by Wilson to explain his (rather voluminous) returns when the line went dead. Apparently, the Republicans are having some trouble in that department…Hmmm.
Here’s what IB was able to glean before the connection died:
- Earnings (adjusted gross):
Jul 1st - 1:15 pm
And that’s all, folks….for now.
Shortly before 1 p.m., the Senate finished passing bills and shut down. Speaking from the floor Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson promising his colleagues he will continue negotiating on FMAP and other outstanding issues and call them back at some point in the future when there’s a deal.
Sampson assured senators that the “end is almost near.” He didn’t give a firm date for the Senate’s return, but there has been talk of July 13 or 14.
UPDATE: I stand corrected…As per CapTon’s Kaitlyn Ross, Sampson told reporters he’ll be calling members back when the FMAP contingency plan is negotiated. He did NOT provide a firm date. He insisted overrides remain possible and that he can get GOP support for that, adding: “I refuse to divulge my method, but I will.”
Meanwhile, CapCon’s Jimmy Vielkind reports Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver doesn’t plan to bring his house back for the remainder of the summer.
“During that period of time, I will be continuing my negotiations with all parties so there can be an effective resolution,” Sampson said. “…I just want to let my colleagues know that I will continue to work hard to meet our obligations.”
Sampson’s speech did not sit well with Senate Minority Leader Dean Skelos, who felt his Democratic counterpart’s words were far too reminiscent of an end-of-session oratory for comfort.
Jul 1st - 12:51 pm
I ran into Sen. Antoine Thompson a little while ago outside the Assembly chamber, where he had come to lobby some of his colleagues on the other side of the Capitol in hopes of changing some minds on the SUNY empowerment plan, particularly as it pertains to UB2020.
Thompson, a Buffalo Democrat, told me in no uncertain terms that he’s not going to leave his colleague, Sen. Bill Stachowski, “out to dry like that” when it comes to balking on the revenue bill, which leaves at least two solid “no” votes until the Assembly decides to deal on this issue.
“Folks in the Senate are going to go home and won’t be back until there’s a deal.” Thompson said. “We gotta get UB done…we gotta come home with that bill…I gotta come twist a couple arms.”
Thompson is hoping for an agreement on a stand-alone bill that would allow the empowerment plan to be put in place on a pilot basis at at least two schools – UB and SUNY Stony Brook (that’s for Sen. Brian Foley, who faces a tough re-election fight this fall) – and possibly UAlbany, too, (that would be for Sen. Neil Breslin).
Sticking points include concern that enabling SUNY schools to control their own tuition increases would price out low-income students, especially if there increases aren’t TAP reimbursable. Thompson said he thinks this issue has been worked out, but there are also some problems remaining with CSEA, UUP and PEF.
Jul 1st - 12:09 pm
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said he has no plans to keep his members in Albany today any longer than it takes to pass the two-way revenue bill and unidentified “substantive things,” which more or less shuts down the possibility that there will be any new budget deals.
Which also means lawmakers won’t get paid anytime soon, since the Senate does not appear capable of passing the revenue bill today.
“We are staying today and we are leaving,” the speaker told reporters as he made his way to the Rules Committee meeting.
“We will pass everything that we have to pass to have a balanced budget and we are completing our work on substantive things as well, and we will be leaving. I don’t know what the senate plan is, I have not yet spoken to (Senate Democratic Conference Leader John) Sampson since last night.”
Silver said he hasn’t yet spoken to Gov. David Paterson today, either. He did say he’s “prepared to talk about” an FMAP contingency plan “if the governor wants to sit down and talk.”
Given Paterson’s comments this morning that he is done talking to the Legislature unless they come to him with an FMAP plan first, Silver responded: “Well, so, I don’t know what that means; find that out.”
The Assembly is expected to also pass the bill that would authorize legislators and judges to be paid when (and if) the budget deal is finalized. (The Senate passed that yesterday). Also on tap in the Assembly is the no-fault divorce deal that was reached in recent days with the Senate.
Jul 1st - 11:48 am
State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is beefing up his campaign staff, hiring on a spokesman who is so confident of the former assemblyman’s chances at victory that he’s departing the Senate payroll to take this political gig.
Eric Sumberg, who has worked as Sen. Tom Duane’s communications director since last March, called to report that today is his last day with the Manhattan senator. He’ll be joining DiNapoli’s campaign as press secretary next Tuesday.
Up to this point, consultant John Del Cecato (who’s also working for AG contender Eric Dinallo and has in the past worked for AG Andrew Cuomo and ex-AG/Gov. Eliot Spitzer) has been splitting press duty with DiNapoli’s campaign manager Mark Benoit, backed up on the government end by OSC spokesman Dennis Tompkins.
DiNapoli, who was appointed to his post in February 2007 by his former legislative colleagues after ex-Comptroller Alan Hevesi was felled by Chauffeurgate, is facing a tough challenge from Republican former hedge fund manager Harry Wilson.
The two campaigns have traded barbs in recent weeks over a controversial amortization plan that Wilson characterizes as borrowing from the pension fund and DiNapoli’s camp insists is merely “smoothing” to provide predictability for local governments and the state when it comes to contributions.
Jul 1st - 10:46 am
Gov. David Paterson told reporters this morning he is through talking with the Legislature and plans to stick to his plan to veto some 6,900 lines representing just over $500 million worth of spending the two houses restored to his budget, but also seemed to leave the door open for future negotiations.
“I’m not talking to them ever!” the governor insisted, but when pressed on whether he might stop vetoing or not send the vetoes he does sign to the Legislature (they must be delivered to take effect, and so far have not been sent), he added:
“My point is that they sent me a message they sent that budget hat was out of balance and didn’t even address the Medicaid issue. Now the Senate seems to have come to a different point of view and I appreciate that very much. I’m not talking. If they bring me something, then that’s different.”
After initially saying he would let his members go home for a long holiday weekend, Senate Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson abruptly reversed course last night after meeting with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, saying he would remain in Albany in hopes of getting an FMAP and SUNY empowerment deal.
(The Senate is just getting into session now; it was scheduled to start at 10 a.m.).
Paterson insisted the fact that he has not yet sent any vetoes to the Legislature is not “some sort of a ploy for negotiations,” saying he would not “sit here and kill myself” trying to sign all 6,900 just to make a statement. But his messages were mixed on this point.
When first pressed by DN Capitol Bureau Chief Ken Lovett whether he would still send the vetoes to the Legislature if the two houses agree on an FMAP and SUNY empowerment deal, Paterson paused for a long moment and then replied: “Next question.”
Jul 1st - 10:37 am
Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch has converted a sinner into a saint.
(Those are his words, not ours).
In a news release, Koch’s reform group NY Uprising announced they have accepted a signed pledge from Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. The former Mayor went on to issue a challenge to all other lawmakers who haven’t signed the pledge.
“If Espada Can Commit to These Reforms, it’s the Least You Can Do,” said Koch, who has set a July 21st deadline for legislators, and those running for office to sign his pledge, or be dubbed “enemies” of reform.
“When the legislator most identified in the media with scandal and corruption publicly recognizes the need to change the way Albany does business, that’s a powerful statement.”
“And with his signature, the refusal of some candidates – incumbents and challengers alike – to sign the pledge and support these reforms says even more about their candidacies, their beliefs, their ethics, and their obviously utter contempt for the people of our state.”
Koch made it clear that if he lived in Espada’s district, he would not vote for the scandal-scarred Bronx Democrat, who has been slapped with two civil lawsuits by AG Andrew Cuomo and remains under investigation for allegedly bilking his Soundview nonprofit out of millions of dollars.
Espada also shouldn’t expect Koch to endorse him anytime soon. “Never,” said the former mayor, who has pledged to stump statewide for the “heroes” of reform who have signed the NY Uprising pledges.
“But when these measures come to the floor for a vote, do we want him to do the right thing and support real reforms to clean up Albany? For as long as he’s a sitting member of the Legislature, we certainly do.”
Espada, whose two primary challengers, Desiree Pilgrim Hunter and Gustavo Rivera, have already signed Koch’s pledges, is the target of another reform PAC, the New Roosevelt Initiative, which is run by former LG candidate Bill Samuels.