Stewart-Cousins To Push Senate Dem Agenda In Orange County

ascFrom the Morning Memo:

Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins will address the Orange County Democratic committee on Saturday as the conference looks to the Hudson Valley as key region in helping win back the majority.

Stewart-Cousins, a Yonkers Democrat, will address the Orange County Democratic committee’s annual gala, which will also be attended by Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.

In her prepared remarks, Stewart-Cousins will make clear the conference will be planting a flag in the region as part of its strategy to win the majority.

“We are going to be here with you fighting to give you the Senate Democratic Majority that you deserve,” according to her prepared text. “A Democratic and Progressive majority that believes in your issues, a majority that believes in fighting for the working and middle class, a majority that believes in a real minimum wage increase so we can lift over 1 million people out of poverty — that believes in smart and targeted tax relief for the middle and working class.”

Democrats in particular are eyeing the seat held by longtime Republican Sen. Bill Larkin as a potential pickup opportunity.

Larkin, who is planning to run for another term, has been knocked by Democrats, who have tied him to the corruption scandal surrounding the former majority leader, Long Island Republican Dean Skelos.

Democratic Assemblyman James Skoufis is expected to run for the seat. More >

Cuomo Admin Sends More Help to Puerto Rico

From the Morning Memo:

During his whirlwind trip to Puerto Rico in September, Gov. Andrew Cuomo pledged to keep trying to help the cash-strapped island as it struggles to address a massive debt crisis.

Among the issues discussed by members of the governor’s delegation and Puerto Rican government officials was the cost of health care – specifically Medicaid – which have been exacerbated by the Affordable Care Act and are contributing to the financial troubles.

Now Cuomo is making good on his promise by sending a second delegation to Puerto Rico next week, according to one of the impending trip’s scheduled attendees.

Though the governor won’t be personally leading this one, (at least he hasn’t announced as much so far), state Health Commissioner Howard Zucker and state Medicaid Director Jason Helgerson, both of whom were on the September trip, are on tap to return.

Also on this trip will be a new addition: Assembly Health Committee Chairman Dick Gottfried, one of the chamber’s most senior Democratic members and an expert on arcane health-related matters.

Bronx Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, a Puerto Rico native and chair of the Assembly Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force, who was a member of the governor’s initial delegation, will also again accompany the administration team. More >

Fiala Takes a Page From Senate GOP Playbook

From the Morning Memo:

Trailing badly in a public opinion poll with less than four weeks remaining in the special election race for the 52nd Senate District seat, Democrat Barbara Fiala is trying to turn the tables on her opponent, Republican Fred Akshar, calling him a political insider and a tool of “downstate” Republicans.

During a CapTon interview last night, Fiala noted that Akshar, the Broome County undersheriff, has been an officer in the Broome County GOP and has (according to her) all of former Senate Majority Leader Tom Libous’ staff working on his campaign.

“On a national level, people are looking for change, and I get that,” Fiala said. “But the most frustrating thing is that (Akshar) had enough money to fool everyone into thinking that he’s a change agent, and he only represents change on a superficial level.”

“…His campaign, his media has all been focused on that he’s not a politician, and he’s a fresh face. But in essence, he’s very active, and working for, the Republican Party…It’s not being honest and realistic to present yourself in that manner.”

Fiala has been vastly out fundraised by Akshar (by about 20 to 1, as of the last campaign filing), and the Democrat noted that this race is very important to the Senate Republicans, who are hanging on to their majority by a thread. More >

Assembly To Discuss Ride-Share Services

From the Morning Memo:

The Democratic-led Assembly later this month will be hosting a series of roundtables on ridesharing and car-sharing services in New York state.

The events — which are planned for Oct. 19 in New York City and Oct. 21 in Albany — are expected to including the chamber’s committees on Insurance, Transportation, Cities and Local Governments.

The roundtable meetings come as elected officials are struggling with ways to regulate ride-share apps like Uber and Lyft, while others have sought to bring the popular services to upstate cities.

Efforts to create a statewide regulatory insurance framework for companies like Uber and Lyft have so far stalled in the Legislature. In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio unsuccessfully sought a measure that Uber believed would have capped its growth.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule.

At 10 a.m., IDC Leader Jeff Klein hosts New York’s first summit on synthetic cannabinoids featuring state Sen. David Valesky, Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj, City Councilman Ritchie Torres, City Councilman Andrew Cohen and New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, Jacobi Medical Center, 1400 Pelham Parkway South, building 4, the Bronx.

At 10:30 a.m., US Sen. Chuck Schumer urges the EPA to step in and stop the city of Montreal’s plan to dump 8 billion litres of untreated sewage into the St. Lawrence river, Ogdensburg Public Library, 312 Washington St., Ogdensburg.

Also at 10:30 a.m., representatives from Allegiant will be at the Greater Rochester International Airport for the inaugural flight to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Also at 10:30 a.m., Sen. Daniel Squadron, Riders Alliance, Tri-State Transportation Campaign and others announce the results of Squadron’s Subway Station Study, Canal Street 1 station entrance, Canal between Varick and Sixth Avenue, Manhattan.

At noon, Brooklyn BP Eric Adams and Adams and FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro will recognize National Fire Prevention Week with a fire safety outreach drive outside Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon St., Brooklyn.

At 1 p.m., Sen. David Carlucci will hold a roundtable discussion on cyberbullying with students, faculty and staff, Rockland Community College, Student Union, Room 3214, Suffern.

From 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., supporters of Democratic 2016 candidate Larry Lessig will rally outside CNN HQ to protest the fact that he isn’t being allowed to participate in next week’s first pre-primary debate, USS Maine monument, Columbus Circle, Southwest corner of Central Park, Manhattan.

At 7:30 p.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio participates in the opening day puck-dropping ceremony for the New York Islanders’ inaugural season at the Barclays Center, 620 Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn.


Gov. Andrew Cuomo joined government leaders worldwide in signing the Under Two MOU – an agreement to help combat global warming and keep the Earth’s average temperature from rising dangerously.

Cuomo made his climate change announcement – the first time he has spoken at great length on the issue – while standing with former Vice President Al Gore, who lauded the governor’s leadership in addressing global warming.

Cuomo derided the assertion — backed by both the city and transportation advocates — that he has a history of taking money intended for the MTA and redirecting it elsewhere. “It’s a joke,” the governor “It’s crystal clear.”

The three p’s of the Cuomo-de Blasio fight over MTA funding: Politics, policy, personal.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will visit Israel next week for a three-day trip, embarking on a familiar pilgrimage for New York City politicians. He will speak there about combating anti-Semitism to a gathering of mayors sponsored by the American Jewish Congress and other Jewish groups.

In announcing she won’t run for mayor of New York City in 2017 — a race few thought she could win — Success Academy CEO Eva Moskowitz can now turn her attention to education campaigns at home and across the country that are more easily attainable.

Just after he shocked Washington by dropping out of the Speakership race, Rep. Kevin McCarthy suggested the House — and House Republicans in particular — may have hit their low point, and are potentially ungovernable.

Rep. John Katko said McCarthy’s announcement in a private meeting of House Republicans was as unexpected as House Speaker John Boehner’s decision last month to step down at the end of October. “It was almost like Groundhog’s Day,” the congressman said. “With Boehner, it went from sublime to surreal in a flash of a second. And the same thing happened today.”

Democratic 2016 frontrunner Hillary Clinton will meet with members of Black Lives Matter and other affiliated groups today at the National Council of Negro Women in Washington, D.C.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, hasn’t missed a chance to highlight his policy differences with the more moderate Clinton on progressive priorities and drive the debate in that direction. That approach will likely continue Tuesday during the first Democratic presidential debate on CNN.

Robert Capers, a federal prosecutor in Brooklyn, was nominated by the White House to be the next US attorney for the Eastern District, which covers Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Long Island. If confirmed, he’ll replace Loretta Lynch, who vacated the post to become US attorney general in April.

The de Blasio administration will spend $1 million on ads intended to promote the rent freeze enacted this year for New York’s rent-regulated tenants, timing the campaign to roughly coincide with the first town hall-style meeting the mayor has held since being elected.

The three-man prison debate team that recently defeated a team from Harvard College has become an overnight sensation, with movie producers jostling for the film rights to their story.

More >


Rep. Kevin McCarthy abruptly took himself out of the race to succeed John Boehner as House speaker, apparently undone by the same conservative forces that drove Boehner to resign.

Lawmakers were reportedly in tears upon learning of McCarthy’s decision.

Meanwhile…Rep. Charlie Rangel made a smoothie in his office while enjoying the GOP meltdown from afar.

US Attorney Preet Bharara: “Somebody once made the mistake of asking me, ‘What again is your jurisdiction exactly?’ And I said, ‘Are you familiar with Earth?'”

Eva Moskowitz, the leader of a major chain of New York City charter schools and an outspoken critic of Mayor Bill de Blasio, ended months of speculation today by declaring she won’t run for mayor in 2017.

In response to Moskowitz’s news, de Blasio said: “Each person has to make their own choice on whether they want to run for office and I have said I welcome anyone who makes that choice and I’m ready to have a very spirited debate about New York City.”

Robert Capers, already a senior litigation counsel in the public integrity section, was nominated by the president to replace now-US AG Loretta Lynch as US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Common Core Task Force is set to meet for the first time next week in New York City. The executive session will be closed to the public, but members are expected to discuss and plan future public sessions that will be held around the state, the governor’s office said.

Government regulation may be needed to oversee daily fantasy sports giants FanDuel and DraftKings to ensure they are not “a rigged casino,” AG Eric Schneiderman warned.

The American Democracy Legal Fund, a liberal group, has filed a House ethics complaint against Reps. John Katko, Elise Stefanik and 21 other Republicans, alleging they violated House ethics rules in order to obtain financial support for the 2016 election.

Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan parked in a crosswalk outside City Hall in Lower Manhattan while on “official business” – (according to the placard in the window).

Assemblyman Danny O’Donnell and a group of Irish-American legislators are on a trip to Northern Ireland this week; O’Donnell is scheduled tomorrow to discuss the effort to pass same-sex marriage in New York.

Democratic 2016 frontrunner Hillary Clinton detailed her plans to crack down on risky Wall Street behavior, delivering a sharp rebuke to the Obama administration’s weak enforcement against financial misconduct.

…Clinton’s approach stops short of the wholesale financial reform favored by her primary opponent, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, and also by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who some liberals have tried to draft into the race.

The private email server Clinton used as secretary of state was the subject of attempted cyberattacks originating abroad, according to congressional investigators.

Robocalls and Internet messages have been flowing from Sanders’ New York supporters, advising those interested that they must register as Democrats by tomorrow if they wish to vote in the party’s New York primary in April.

NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito assembled a coalition of female activists today to launch the Young Women’s Initiative – a group she said would combat racial and gender inequality and be the first of its kind in a nation with many similar initiatives aimed at young men of color.

Cuomo, With Gore, Pushes Action On Climate Change

cuomogoreAppearing with former Vice President Al Gore on Thursday at Columbia University, Gov. Andrew Cuomo pledged to make New York a leader on climate change initiatives, pushing a plan that says other states and Canada should follow.

“We can show the nation what is possible,” Cuomo said, pledging to “drive the national conversation” on the issue. “Let’s lead by example. It’s the only way to lead, it’s the New York way to lead.”

Cuomo joined California in signing on to the Under 2 MOU, an agreement between states, provinces and local governments across the world to cap the rising average temperature by the year 2100. The agreement requires the governments to limit greenhouse gas emissions, and New York already is pursuing a goal of reducing emissions by 40 percent by 2030 and 80 percent below 1990 levels by mid-century.

At the same time, Cuomo is pushing solar power for a combined 150,000 homes and businesses by 2020, while also pursuing renewable energy at SUNY campuses that same eyar.

The state will work with other governments in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative with determining how to link success carbon markets to cap emissions. More >

DiNapoli: ‘Positive Relationship’ With Bharara

bhararaComptroller Tom DiNapoli in a radio interview on Thursday described his relationship with the office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office as “ongoing and positive” as the federal government investigates the contracting process for the “Buffalo Billion” economic development program.

DiNapoli wouldn’t say, however, whether he or his office has been issued a subpoena or turned over documents relating to Bharara’s investigation.

“I can’t comment directly on that question other than to say we have a very on going and positive relationship with Mr. Bharara’s office,” he said on Fred Dicker’s Talk-1300 radio show. “Certainly it’s a cooperative one. But I can’t comment without any specificity about those interactions.”

Bharara and DiNapoli were spotted last year breaking bread in lower Manhattan, a lunch that came after the federal prosecutor took possession of records generated by the Moreland Commission, an anti-corruption panel that folded earlier in 2014 following an agreement on ethics law changes in the state budget.

Attorney General Eric Schneideramn, along with DiNapoli, have also teamed up on various public integrity probes in recent years. More >

Schneiderman, NYC Campaign Finance Board Settle With Advance Group

schneiderman Consulting firm The Advance Group on Thursday received a $25,800 fine by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and the New York City Campaign Finance Board joint investigation over the organization’s work during the 2013 elections in New York City.

The investigation by the AG’s office, along with the campaign finance board, found through its investigation that the Advance Group had worked for both city-based candidates as well as independent groups that had spending money to boost those candidates.

As per the terms of the settlement, none of the candidates who were clients of the group violated the law.

“New York voters deserve elections that are fair and free of coordination that distorts the democratic process,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “The law preventing coordination between candidates and advocacy campaigns is clear. Today’s agreement sends a clear message that campaign coordination is unacceptable in New York City and state politics.”

City campaign finance law limits the amount of contributions a campaign may receive from a single contributor, and those laws also apply to money spent by outside parities that are working on behalf or opposition to individual campaigns.

Spending done without the cooperation of a campaign is considered “independent” but that activity can include authorizing, requesting or suggesting the campaigns work together. More >

Paterson Unsure If State Party Will Help Fiala

patersonOutgoing Democratic Committee Chairman David Paterson in a radio interview on Thursday said he didn’t know if the state party will aid the state Senate candidacy of Barbara Fiala in a Binghamton-area special election.

“I really don’t know,” Paterson said on WCNY’s The Capitol Pressroom when asked about whether the party will invest in Fiala’s bid. “I don’t know.”

Paterson, who in the coming weeks steps down from the chairmanship was appointed to 18 months ago, said in the interview that Fiala has the “fire in the belly” but the race remains an uphill one for any Democrat, given that it has been a “Republican stronghold” for decades.

“I was at the state party where I saw Barbara about a week and a half ago,” he said. “She still has the fire in the belly. But one person can’t do it alone. It’s going to take a lot of effort on behalf of the party to make this happen.”

Fiala has struggled to raise money compared to her Republican opponent, Fred Akshar, a Broome County undersheriff whose candidacy has been injected with hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Senate Republican Campaign Committee as well as rank-and-file state lawmakers.

Republicans hold a voter enrollment edge in the district. Fiala and Akshar are competing next month for a district held by former Sen. Tom Libous, who was ousted in July following a felony conviction on a charge of lying to the FBI.

Fiala, in a subsequent interview that followed Paterson on the radio show, shrugged off the lack of support from the state party, as well as Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who had quickly endorsed her candidacy and pledged to help her win the district back in July.
More >