The Weekend That Was

Zika could cause major problems in the Big Apple if city health officials don’t start discouraging people from traveling to hotbeds in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, according to former LG Betsy McCaughey.

An investigation by the New York Times uncovered a long history of racial bias at Donald Trump’s family properties – both in the state and outside it.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie defended Trump’s claim that African-Americans should vote for him this fall because they “have nothing to lose.”

Christie blamed Hillary Clinton for starting a campaign fight over bigotry during an appearance on ABC’s This Week.

Trump is casually preparing for the upcoming presidential debates with informal sessions held at his New Jersey golf course, while Clinton is “methodically” researching issues and rehearsing lines.

Clinton’s lead over Trump has shrunk to just three percentage points, a new Morning Consult poll showed. She is beating him in a head-to-head matchup 43-40 nationally.

Experts are questioning Clinton’s broadband plan, saying it’s both ambitious and expensive.

Clinton met with intelligence officials for a two-hour security briefing Saturday morning, her first since winning the Democratic presidential nomination.

When Brooklyn Assemblyman William Boyland Jr. was sentenced for stealing from the taxpayers a year ago, he owed a lot of people a lot of money. Getting that money, it turns out, wasn’t so simple.

Eighty-six private agencies rake in millions of taxpayer dollars to help NYC’s Administration for Children’s Services care for New York’s most vulnerable kids — and their CEOs get big bucks.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer said he would propose legislation creating a national registry tracking cancer rates among U.S. firefighters, something he said would help researchers root out toxic building materials.

G. Steven Pigeon’s shadow looms large over 143rd Assembly District race, given candidate Kristy Mazurek’s long association with the political operative. Her opponent, Moncia Wallace, is devoting much of her campaign to linking the indicted Pigeon to Mazurek, who in turn, defends herself as an independent Democrat waging her own effort.

These are trying times for police, firefighters and medical first responders. Hardly a day goes by when they are not responding to an opioid overdose. More lives are saved than lost, thanks in part to the antidote Narcan, but there is an emotional toll for those on the front lines of the opioid epidemic.

Former NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly said he agrees with Bill Bratton that officers’ disciplinary records should not be made public. He said he tried to cut off the media’s access to those records when he was in office, but was told by department attorneys he couldn’t do it.

Lightly-raced Arrogate, a colt who before Saturday had faced only 15 opponents total in four career races, flattened his Travers Stakes opponents by 13½ lengths in front of 48,630 at Saratoga Race Course.

Of the 237 days when thoroughbred horses compete on the New York Racing Association’s calendar, the 40 days at Saratoga Race Course are among its best attended and most wagered on.

Less than six months after emerging from bankruptcy as property of billionaire Carl Icahn, the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, N.J., is slated for shutdown, an event that has been both threatened and predicted for years

A Brooklyn Supreme Court judge, Laura Jacobson, has filed a $5 million lawsuit against the Brooklyn Democratic Party after she wasn’t approved for re-election by a screening committee.

The political-consulting firms that helped Mayor Bill de Blasio get elected in 2013 have hauled in at least $10.6 million from the mayor’s campaigns and charities over the past six years, a NY Post analysis of public records shows.

As pressure mounts to reduce violence at the troubled NYC jails, top correction bosses — seeking to create the impression they have turned matters around — repeatedly order underlings to downgrade incidents, a Daily News review of scores of internal documents shows.

The director of the state Committee on Open Government said in an advisory opinion that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office and the state department of Housing and Community Renewal should not hold back from release otherwise public documents based merely on the contention that they might relate to an ongoing federal probe of upstate development deals.

As Cuomo ponders a bill to curb Airbnb, the online booking service said it’s policing its website to remove commercial operators in the city, addressing a chief complaint of critics who say it promotes illegal hotels and effectively takes scarce apartments out of circulation.

The governor expects to sign the so-called brunch bill into law “shortly,” according to a spokesman.

The company that runs a call center for Access-A-Ride, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s service for people with disabilities, and the union that represents its workers have reached an agreement to raise their wages to at least $15 an hour by 2018, the union announced.

The Web address Harlem politician Robert Jackson used to run for Manhattan borough president has been taken over by a German company promising to fix readers’ sexual-performance problems.

The TU launches a four-part series on why there aren’t more women serving in elected office.

The conviction of the late Deputy Senate Majority Leader Tom Libous on charges of lying to the FBI may be reversed after his death. The Binghamton Republican’s attorney filed papers last week with a federal appeals court to have his client’s conviction vacated.

New York’s Maine-Endwell team won the U.S. title, and will play South Korea today for the Little League World Series crown.

Assemblyman Karl Brabenec’s petition to run for re-election on the United Monroe ballot line has at least 31 instances in which his campaign incorrectly altered the addresses of voters who live outside the 98th Assembly district and were ineligible to sign the petition, wrongly placing each of them in towns inside the district.

The sister of pop music star Mariah Carey was arrested Friday in Saugerties on a prostitution charge. Police arrested Alison A. Carey, Mariah’s older sister, after an investigation found her soliciting money in exchange for sexual favors from an undercover police officer posing as a client.

If Domenic Broccoli’s plans come to fruition, America’s largest Revolutionary War burial ground will be transformed into an International House of Pancakes.

A New York City taxi driver challenging the constitutionality of mandated GPS-tracking of cabs has gotten a red light from a federal appeals court.

Congratulations to Melissa DeRosa, Cuomo’s chief of staff; and Matt Wing, former Cuomo spokesman, who tied the knot at the Sagamore on Lake George this weekend. (The governor was among attendees).


The party Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he established to tackle women’s issues isn’t actually doing anything to help women, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer declared bluntly at an Equality Day rally today.

In an interview with MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Clinton said she was sure that there were no foundation ties that could harm her chance of becoming president.

Trump’s apparent pivot away from his calls for mass deportations of millions of undocumented immigrants is partially the result of prodding by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, according to former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Rep. John Katko and Colleen Deacon have agreed to participate in three televised debates (including one with TWC News) and two other joint appearances this fall in their race for Congress, their campaigns confirmed today.

Katko released a new TV ad that is a clear appeal to women voters.

Drew Pinsky’s six-year-old HLN show, “Dr. Drew On Call,” has been canceled by CNN, effective Sept. 22. The decision came eight days after Pinsky’s comments on a radio show on Aug. 17 questioning Clinton’s health and medical care.

Cuomo announced that the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services and Office of Fire Prevention and control will conduct campus fire safety inspections across the state.

The governor today remembered the devastation of Hurricane Irene while also highlighting New York’s work to recover from the 2011 storm.

As construction accidents have surged, Manhattan prosecutors are pushing to bring criminal charges against builders they say have sacrificed worker safety for profits.

New York’s health and environmental commissioners as well as Hoosick Falls Mayor David Borge are among the public officials expected to speak at a state Senate hearing next week on the state response to the PFOA crisis.

Tough talking war hero John McCain, a GOP senator from Arizona, has a soft spot for Britney Spears.

A amount that has been suggested as a potential new salary for state legislators could be a record high, even when adjusting previous salaries for inflation.

Central New York is home to the most segregated school district border in the state, a report found.

Police agencies on Long Island and in two dozen upstate counties issued 1,285 tickets and 1,416 warnings during a two-week pedestrian safety initiative earlier this summer.

A 35-year-old Rockland County case worker contends in a multimillion-dollar civil rights lawsuit that she’s faced discrimination, was bumped by a co-worker and has been disrespected.

Ah, Maine. So bucolic, so traditional, so peaceful…or not.

Legal Document Sparks Controversy In WNY Assembly District

Here’s the latest connection to state Assembly candidate Kristy Mazurek and Steve Pigeon, the Western New York political operative facing charges for allegedly bribing a judge. According to records from the Erie County Clerk’s office, Pigeon granted Mazurek power of attorney this week to handle his real estate transactions.

Pigeon signed the document Monday from San Diego County in California. Mazurek officially acknowledged her new legal responsibility a day later.

“Kristy was merely using a Power of Attorney for a real estate transaction that was months in the making,” stated her campaign manager David Pfaff. “She did this because the individual concerned was out of town when the papers were being signed. She received no financial benefit and to suggest she did is outrageous.”

According to a listing attributed to RealtyUSA, Pigeon’s waterfront condo in Buffalo was priced at $389,900 and a sale was pending last month. Early this month, the condo was delisted.

It’s the same residence, state and federal agents raided in May 2015, leading to Pigeon’s indictment. His attorney is arguing there were issues with the warrant.

But Mazurek’s critics say it’s just another example of how closely the candidate and the political operative are connected. She was the treasurer of an oft-criticized political action committee, the WNY Progressive Caucus, that was partially funded by Pigeon.

“It is inconceivable that someone who is running for public office and asking the public to put their confidence and trust in her would be so closely aligned in the personal and professional affairs of a man who is indicted for bribing a state judge,” her primary opponent Monica Wallace said.

Pfaff called it a non-issue though, noting that everyday thousands of people use power of attorney for business transactions. He shot back at the endorsed Democrat, Wallace.

“We have officially entered the silly season, if her opponent is leveling outrageous allegations about when and how a Power of Attorney is used. As a person who claims to be a law professor, she should know better,” Pfaff said.

He said Mazurek doesn’t plan to make any further comments about the issue, rather she is spending her time walking door-to-door to talk about the “issues that are important to real people.”

Rally For Child Victims Act To Be Held In Cuomo’s Hometown

A rally for the Child Victims Act, a measure that is aimed at making it easier for the survivors of childhood sexual abuse to file lawsuits, will be held next week in the hometown of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The rally is scheduled to be held next Wednesday in Mount Kisco, the Westchester County suburb Cuomo calls him (there’s some disagreement, of course, that the governor lives in New Castle with his partner Sandra Lee).

The rally is being held at Mount Kisco’s City Hall, starting at 1 p.m.

The event itself is being hosted by Allison Boak, a supporter of the bill and a Democratic candidate for the state Senate. Boak is challenging Republican Sen. Terrence Murphy.

Also helping organize the rally is Gary Greenberg, an upstate businessman who is bankrolling a political action committee backing candidates who would support the bill if elected to the state Legislature.

Greenberg in an email on Friday afternoon said he invited Cuomo to attend the rally.

The Child Victims Act has languished in the state Legislature during the past legislative session.

Stavisky Allies Knock Primary Opponent’s Abortion Stance

Supporters of Queens Democratic Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky, ranging from state lawmakers to prominent advocates, on Friday criticized her primary opponent SJ Jung for his stance on abortion.

Jung at a candidates forum this week declared he is opposed to abortion unless bringing the pregnancy term threatens the life of the mother.

At a news conference, Stavisky and her allies — including Democratic Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins — blasted the remarks.

“The last thing that New York needs is another State Senator working to restrict a woman’s right to choose,” Stewart-Cousins said. “We need more pro-choice Senators fighting for the women of New York, not fewer.”

Advocates for abortion rights, too, criticized Jung’s stance on the issue, which in recent years come to the forefront of both Democratic electoral politics and policy in Albany after Gov. Andrew Cuomo pushed for a codification of the Roe v. Wade decision in state law.

“SJ Jung fails to understand that abortion is a fundamental right for women, just like equal pay, or the right to vote. His extreme anti-choice views make him unfit to represent Queens in the New York State Senate,” said Andrea Miller, the president of the Campaign for a Pro-Choice New York PAC. “The people of District 16 have been fortunate to be represented by Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, who has long been an advocate for access to all reproductive health care and a true champion for women’s rights.”

Not lost on the event, too, was the recognition of Women’s Equality Day. One lawmaker, Assemblywoman Nily Rozic, said Jung’s comments were disqualifying.

“We need strong pro-choice women defending our rights in Albany,” she said, “not those who will betray the women of Queens.”

AD-72: De La Rosa Gets Nods From PAC, Mark-Viverito

Democratic Assembly candidate Carmen De La Rosa this week racked up a series of endorsements, with nods from the city Council speaker and a political action committee backing the passage of the Child Victims Act.

“The continued failure of Albany to pass legislation to protect victims of sexual abuse is unacceptable,” said Carmen De La Rosa, who is running for the 72nd Assembly district in a primary next month.

“As a mother of a young daughter, I will fight for our children and ensure strict accountability measures are established to punish past and future child abusers. We must enhance the rights of those whose experiences have left deep scars throughout their lives, enabling them to pursue the justice they deserve.”

Earlier in the week, De La Rosa was endorsed by City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, backing that dovetails with other high-profiled endorsements from elected officials, including congressional candidate Adriano Espaillat.

“We need more women of color in positions of leadership and I can think of few more capable than Carmen,” Mark-Viverito said. “Her experience, energy and fresh perspective will benefit upper Manhattan residents tremendously and I am proud to endorse her candidacy for Assembly.”

De La Rosa is running for the Democratic nomination in the district led by Assemblyman Guillermo Linares.

Balance New York Gets Boost From DC

Balance New York, an independent expenditure committee formed by veterans of the Senate Republicans’ fundraising arm, received a $200,000 contribution from a Washington-D.C.-based group that supports GOP candidates in state races.

The contribution, made Thursday, came from the Republican State Leadership Committee — a group that backs down-ballot GOP candidates running in state level races.

Balance New York is one of a constellation of independent expenditure committees that have benefited Senate Republicans in their effort to keep control of the state Senate. Senate Democrats, too, are expected to draw some support from PACs affiliated with teachers unions.

It’s expected Senate Republicans will be drawing on these groups once again this election cycle as they face the political headwinds of a presidential election cycle that typically brings out more Democratic voters to the polls.

Upstate Employment Lags Behind Rest Of NY, DiNapoli Finds

The upstate employment picture is worse than the rest of New York and the country following the official end of the recession, according to a report issued on Friday by Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.

Since 2009, employment in upstate New York rose by less than a full percentage point, 0.3 percent.

In the New York City region, employment grew by 2.2 percent and nationally grew 1.9 percent during that same time period.

Still, it’s not all bad news: the average annual wage gain in upstate New York stands at 3.3 percent, outpacing both downstate and the national average last year

Overall, the report issued by Comptroller Tom DiNapoli paints an uneven picture for upstate’s economic situation, which has historically struggled behind the rest of the state for the last generation.

“On the surface, New York’s economy has rebounded from the Great Recession,” DiNapoli said. “But it should come as no surprise that a closer look reveals pockets of the state still have a long way to go to catch up.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has insisted upstate New York’s recovery is a priority, and his administration has spent heavily to bolster the economy through tax breaks and incentives to targeted high-tech industries.

Still, the largest employment growth during the time period of 2010 through 2015 was in leisure and hospitality, which increased by nearly 26,000 jobs. Education and health care employment grew by more than 20,000 jobs.

The steepest decline in job losses was in government, which decreased by 34,000 positions during the first half of the decade.

And in western New York, where Cuomo has focused much of his energies in boosting the jobs picture, the steepest decline was seen in public-sector employment — more than 6,500 jobs, the report found.

Nevertheless, the public sector remains upstate New York’s top employer, with 21 percent of all jobs in the region accounting for government work.

Updated: Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi defended the administration’s efforts on upstate job creation.

“Under this administration, Upstate’ s unemployment rate has been nearly cut in half and has gained tens of thousands of new private sector jobs,” he said.

“While there is more work to be done, its inarguable that the arrows continue to point in the right direction and that is because of the Governor’s unprecedented focus on Upstate. Additionally, statewide income tax rates are lower at every bracket than in 2010 and the lowest middle class tax rates in 70 years were passed into law, as was, the lowest corporate taxes 1968, the lowest manufacturing tax rate since 1917, and a cap on property taxes – all of which make upstate more competitive.”

Employment Trends Nys 2016 by Nick Reisman on Scribd

Hannon Wants Investigation Of EpiPen Cost Hike

From the Morning Memo:

Senate Health Committee Chairman Kemp Hannon on Thursday called on Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office to investigate the hike in the cost of EpiPens after its manufacturer boosted the price in the last year by 75 percent.

“Prescription drug costs are increasing at a rate far outpacing other health care costs,” Hannon wrote in a letter to Schneiderman.

“The costs have become a top concern amongst families and individuals in need of medications, their elected officials, health plans, health providers and the state Medicaid Program.”

The call for the review of the price hike, which has stoked nationwide anger toward manufacture Mylan, dovetails with a proposal included in the Senate’s one-house legislation that would block steep increases in prescription medications without justification. Hannon was also a sponsor of that bill.

The measure would also give the AG’s office explicit authority in prosecuting price gougers of prescription drugs.

The cost of an Epi-Pen, said to be life saving in the event of a severe allergy reaction, now can cost up to $600 after the price increase.

“When you have an allergy, EpiPens are necessary to save your life,” said Hannon. “Mylan knows they have the consumer’s hands tied. Obviously, people are going to purchase medication that can save their life, or the lives of their children, no matter what the cost.”

WNY Tea Party Activist’s Friends Raise Money To Pay His Legal Bills

From the Morning Memo:

Friends of embattled Tea Party activist Rus Thompson are planning a fundraiser to help him with his legal bills. Thompson has been fighting election fraud charges in court since May.

“People have asked me when they were putting together this, how much money do you think you’re going to need,” Thompson said. “I said, to be honest with you I have no idea – $10,000 to $20,000, depending on how far it actually goes. It could be $30,000. It could be $40,000.”

Thompson is accused of voting in the Town of Grand Island during the last three elections, while officially living in Niagara Falls. Wednesday, he rejected an offer from the Erie County District Attorney’s office he said would’ve kept him from serving time.

“If I accepted a plea for a felony, I’d lose my 2nd amendment right and I’m one of the biggest supporters of the 2nd amendment in New York state and I’d lose my right to vote,” he said. “I’m not going to do that. I’m not going to give up my rights.”

Thompson’s long-time friends Carl Paladino and Assemblyman David DiPietro are among the people organizing the event. According to the invitation, it’s a roast of Thompson and the suggested donation is $30.

“He’s spent so much time in the best interest of the community. He’s done so much and there’s never any thank you, pat on the back, a little give back to him to help him along. He’s got a lot of kids,” Paladino said. “Instead he gets nonsensical treatment from the Erie County District Attorney.”

Former congressional candidate and radio personality David Bellavia plans to emcee.

“Rus Thompson is the victim of his belief system and ideology,” Bellavia said. “There is no other reason to target him for five felonies for the equivalent of electoral jaywalking. Every citizen who speaks their mind can have the same thing happen to them. We must take a stand.”

Thompson said he plans to let the process play out in court and believes he will be vindicated. In the meantime, he said he’s thankful for the support.

“You really find out at these points in time, who your friends are,” he said. “So many people have convicted me already just because I’m going into court.”

Thompson Invite