VP Joe Biden joked that he came to Rochester for “one reason…I thought Abby Wambach was going to be here.”

Former New York gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout will take the reigns of the super-PAC meant to advocate for the destruction of all super-PACs. She’ll replace Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig, who is an avowed supporter of campaign finance reform, as CEO of Mayday PAC.

The state Board of Elections will begin examining active campaign committees belonging to former office holders, Risa Sugarman, the board’s enforcement counsel, announced.

The state’s Fast Food Wage Board took one of its final steps today, approving a formal report recommending a $15-an-hour minimum wage for employees of the fast-food industry. In an apparent violation of the Open Meetings Law, the report was not made public.

Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins shares Cuomo’s trepidation about a special legislative session to address ethics reform.

Republicans are leading the effort to establish Billy Joel Boulevard in Hicksville, Long Island, but the fact that the singer is still alive has presented a stumbling block.

Billionaire former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has added fuel to rumors that he will run for mayor of London by purchasing a £17 million, or $26 million, house in the city’s Chelsea neighborhood.

Mayor Bill de Blasio says about 400,000 people have obtained New York City’s municipal ID card since the program was rolled out six months ago.

A plea deal is apparently in the works for former Dannemora prison worker Joyce Mitchell, who is accused of helping Richard Matt and David Sweat break out of Clinton Correctional Facility last month.

The NYT’s public editor provides a tick-tock of how the paper botched the Hillary Clinton email investigation story.

Clinton, the 2016 Democratic frontrunner, called GOP hopeful Mike Huckabee’s remark about how President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran would send the Israelis “to the ovens” “offensive” and said it had gone too far.

Private sector employment around the state continued to rise between June 2014 and June 2015, with a 2.3 percent jump, nearly matching the nationwide growth rate of 2.4 percent, according to an analysis by the state Business Council’s research branch.

Republican 2016 candidate Donald Trump has a media handler.

Long Beach Democratic Party chairman Michael Zapson has filed nominating petitions for 120 Democratic committee slots along Nassau County’s South Shore in a power struggle with county Democratic Chair Jay Jacobs, who has called for Zapson to resign.

The deadline to submit project proposals to help the Albany, New York region win millions in state economic development money is days away.

Unionized Verizon employees from the Mid-Hudson Valley would be among the thousands to go on strike Saturday if a dispute over a new contract is not settled.

The Buffalo Bills have a new president.

Boston’s 2024 Olympic bid is over.

Cuomo, With Biden, Plans $4B Replacement For LaGuardia

LaGuardia Airport will be “transformed” under a $4 billion plan aimed at increasing taxiway space, expand transportation access and construct a unified terminal, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday announced.

Cuomo made the announcement alongside Vice President Joe Biden at a meeting of the Association For A Better New York. Half of the upgrade project will be funded by private companies, which is due to start next year.

“New York’s going to get a new airport,” Cuomo said at the event unveiling the construction plans.

The announcement with Biden was the second event Cuomo held today with the vice president, who also appeared in Rochester to announce funding for a photonics institute in suburban Greece.

The project, which is still subject to approval that is expected in the first half of 2016, is expected to create 8,000 direct jobs with an additional 10,000 indirect jobs. It will be managed by LaGuardia Gateway Partners, a new private-public entity that is being chosen by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to build the project.

Should construction begin next year, the the majority of the first half of the project is due to open to passengers in 2019 and full completion is due 18 months after.

Delta Airlines will redevelop the second half of the unified terminal, and the company is expected to begin redevelopment of its own terminals alongside the LaGuardia Gateway Partners project.

Cuomo, at today’s announcement, derided the current state of the airport.

“LaGuardia is un-New York. You’ve heard the phrase un-American? LaGuardia is un-New York,” Cuomo said.

The unified terminal is due to be built closer to the Grand Central Parkway in order to enhance passenger access. In addition, the redesigned terminal will include an island-gate system so passengers can go to gates through raised pedestrian bridges that are high enough for aircraft to taxi below, and connect back to the main terminal.

The new facility would be built with an eye toward storm resistance — a design requirement needed after Hurricane Sandy led to the 100 million gallons of saltwater flooding the airport, leading to it being shutdown for two days.

The new entity LaGuardia Gateway Partners would be responsible for the designing, building, financing, operating and maintain the new terminal in a 35-year lease.

Crouch Not Running In SD-52

Republican Assemblyman Cliff Crouch on Monday said he was not running for 52nd Senate District, the seat vacated by GOP Sen. Tom Libous.

Crouch had expressed interest in the seat in the days after Libous was forced out of office following his conviction on a charge of lying to the FBI.

“In recent days, I have been approached by constituents, too many to count, who have been very positive, supportive and have encouraged me to run for State Senate,” Crouch said in a statement I have always been humbled and appreciative of all of their support since being elected to the State Assembly and they deserve the very best candidate to represent them in Albany. At this stage, however, I have declined to run for the 52nd Senate District.”

He added he will continue to spend time in the Assembly, adding he can’t commit to the time required to being a member of the Senate.

“It takes a lot of commitment and time to get to know constituents as a newly elected representative and there’s an expectation and obligation that their senator will be there for them for a while, and I regret that I cannot give them that commitment at this time,” Crouch said in a statement. “I would like to thank everyone in the Southern Tier for their gracious support and I look forward to continuing to work for them in Albany alongside the new senator of the 52nd Senate District.”

Republican Denver Jones over the weekend announced he would run for the Southern Tier Senate district. Meanwhile, a Libous ally and Broome County lawmaker, Jerry Marinich, is believed to be interested in the post as well.

Democrat Barbara Fiala, a former Cuomo cabinet member and Broome County executive, will launch her Senate campaign later this week.

Denver Jones Plans To Be On Ballot, No Matter What

Denver Jones, the Republican who unsuccessfully challenged Sen. Tom Libous last year for the GOP nomination, plans to run in the special election even if he doesn’t get the endorsement of local party officials.

“I still plan on being on the ballot, either through other parties or a third party,” Jones said in an interview with TWC News’s Emily Lorsch.

Jones lost to Libous in primary, receiving 4,232 votes to the longtime incumbent’s 7,563 votes in the four-county Southern Tier district.

Jones is likely to run an anti-establishment campaign: In the interview, he knocked state government leadership, which has currency in any election, but could help in a special election to replace a lawmaker who lost his seat due to a corruption conviction.

“We need people in Albany that are going to represent the people and we don’t have them,” Jones said. “There are various people who say it’s corrupt and we can’t do anything about it. They’ve got leadership who keeps the thumb under them or they have a career to look after.”

Potential Republican candidates include Assemblyman Cliff Crouch and Jerry Marinich, the chairman of the Broome County Board of Legislators.

Democrats are coalescing around Barbara Fiala, the former Broome County executive and DMV commissioner who is due to announce her candidacy later this week.

Fiala is backed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who took the unusual step (for him) of backing her bid before she announced her plans to run for the Libous seat.

This would be Jones second race he’s ever run, but said it’s his “civic duty” to do so.

“I don’t plan on being there for the rest of my life and this is something I feel I have to do,” he said.

Stewart-Cousins: Libous’s Seat Is Tough, But Winnable

Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins on Monday expressed confidence that a Democrat could win the heavily Republican 52nd Senate District, even as she acknowledged the special election would be a tough one to win.

“When you have great candidates you want to support them for all the right reasons and we should,” Stewart-Cousins said in an interview on The Capitol Pressroom. “There is nobody who is not thinking that for Democrats that particular seat is difficult. It’s the enrollment, it’s getting the right candidate.”

Libous was forced from office last week after he was convicted on a charge of lying to federal law enforcement in a case stemming from his son receiving a job at a politically connected law firm in Westchester County.

Democrats — along with Gov. Andrew Cuomo — are backing former Broome County Executive and Motor Vehicles Commissioner Barbara Fiala to run for the seat in a special election.

Flipping Libou’s seat would be a major victory for Democrats, who are also looking to 2016 as a year to make key gains in the chamber, which they held control of from 2008 through 2010.

“There are many glowing reviews about her as a person, her as a public servant,” Stewart-Cousins said of Fiala. “We’re excited, I’m excited, our conference is excited. I think this is a really great opportunity for us to not only expand the Democrats, our conference, but with another great woman added to the legislative count.”

The Libous district — which includes Binghamton and the Southern Tier region — has more active enrolled Republican voters than Democrats and has traditionally elected GOP officials.

But Stewart-Cousins said enrollment is secondary in a race when a candidate is strong enough.

“I always think it’s the candidate,” she said in the interview. “The candidate matters so much. People tend to vote for people in their party, but people listen, people can weight who should be representing them versus people who just have a party label.”

She added: “We know that’s going to be a tough seat and we’re willing to roll up our sleeves and do it right.”

Even with Hillary Clinton as the likely leader of the Democratic ticket next year, a Democratic takeover of the Senate isn’t a guarantee. Republicans have an alliance with the five-member Independent Democratic Conference and Simcha Felder, a Brooklyn Democrat, sits in the GOP conference.

“We are looking at increasing our chances substantially,” Stewart-Cousins said. “The possibilities are really very, very exciting. We’re preparing — everything place that we’re supposed to do, everything that we need to do, we’re preparing to be in the majority.”

Biden, Cuomo Pledge Upstate Revititalization Through Photonics Investment

Vice President Joe Biden praised the multi-million dollar investment in the emerging photonics technology in the Rochester suburb of Greece on Monday, calling it a chance for the upstate economy to make a come back.

Biden was in western New York to announce the awarding of a $110 million federal grant for the American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics — a technology that’s been used for smart phones, bar codes and military applications.

Combined with state and private-sector investment, funding of the Photonic Institute is expected to exceed $600 million. New York alone will be spending $250 million for equipment and installation needs.

The event is one of two for Biden and Cuomo: Both men are due to make an announcement together at the Sheraton Hotel in New York City; Cuomo is traveling with the vice president on Air Force 2.

At the event at the old Eastman Kodak building in Greece, Biden singled out Gov. Andrew Cuomo for praise, calling him “just about the best governor in the United States of America.”

He credited Cuomo with the state investment plan leading to the federal grant being approved.

“Governor, your vision is the reason why you won that competition,” he said. “All the intellectual power we need is right here”

Biden even adopted a favorite Cuomo talking point when comparing the investment in photonic research and development to other massive infrastructure and technology breakthroughs, saying it is akin to the construction of the Erie Canal in New York under DeWitt Clinton.

“We remain and continue to be the most innovative country in the world,” Biden said.

A more apt analogy may be the massive investment in nanotechnology in the Capital Region, where GlobalFoundries has been able to grow its chip-fabrication with the help of SUNY Polytechnic, which is also leading the photonic effort in the Rocehster area.

Biden’s ties to New York include attending Syracuse University Law School, but he has also made multiple trips to upstate New York while vice president, including stops with Cuomo at the Capitol and in New York, with infrastructure investment a common theme.

As a U.S. senator, Biden recalled traveling around upstate New York after manufacturers have left.

“I don’t know how many factories I visited from Buffalo down through Syracuse that had a padlock on the front door,” he said.

Off-script at times, Biden pointed to young people in the front row of the event, saying they will hear more about the “in-sourcing” of jobs to this country and not “outsourcing” adding they will benefit from a renewed focus on high-tech job training.

“In order to keep our edge,” Biden said. “You’ve got to build the most modern infrastructure in the world and have the most skilled workforce.”

Awakening the Sleeping Giant

If aliens decided to attack earth, we would probably come the closest to world peace we have ever been on this plant. The materializing of a common enemy would likely force the entire globe to band together to fight that common enemy.

As frightened as I am of alien invasion – (I mean, let’s be honest…it’s terrifying, right? ) – in many ways it would be beautiful. At least in how it brought us all together here on earth. Picture us on a hill in Big Sur singing the 1971 “Buy-the-world-a-Coke” song recently featured in Mad Men, only instead of selling soft drinks we’d be preparing for a Battle Field Earth type smackdown with a bunch of flesh gnawing Extra Terrestrials who have NO IDEA just who they are messing with.

I realize that’s a far-fectched example (or is it???), but my point is the absence of a common enemy sometimes forces people to turn on each other. It’s not our best attribute as human beings, but let’s face it…this is who we are.

The fact that politics in New York is largely dominated by Democrats these days, more so than it has been in 20 years when you had Republican governors and mayors, does not mean all is well. In fact, Democrat-on-Democrat violence may be at an all-time high. The takeaway here is that one party rule doesn’t lead to a Pax Democrata. In fact quite the opposite. And the absence of a strong Republican Party to challenge any of this Democratic rule has resulted in the left sowing its own seeds of destruction.

The origins of the fight between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio really go back to before de Blasio was even elected. Insiders say things got off on the wrong foot when de Blasio kept insisting on taxing the wealthy to pay for universal pre-kindergarten. Sources say Cuomo actually called the mayor before the election and assured him that he would deliver the money. Whatever the mayor needed from the state, Cuomo would secure it to help the mayor fulfill his campaign promise.

The catch? De Blasio merely had to stop saying the word “tax.”

Cuomo was headed into re-election mode and he didn’t need a liberal New York City mayor already unpopular in those coveted suburbs blowing up his spot. The mayor didn’t listen. He kept banging the tax drum. Now, one could argue that if de Blasio hadn’t done that, he may not have gotten the full amount of pre-K cash he was seeking, since Albany is all about posturing and deal making. But the damage was done. The die had been cast. Things deteriorated from there, culminating with the governor making all kinds of promises to the mayor to help secure the Working Families Party endorsement in May 2014, only to face backlash from the left when he was accused of not fulfilling those promises.

That likely set the mayor off. And not getting much of his agenda fulfilled in Albany this year only worsened the situation. Although in fairness, once again the mayor was calling for a tax on the wealthy to fund his 421-a tax abatement plan for developers, and that was a non-starter as far as the Governor and Senate Republicans were concerned.

What’s noetworthy here is that since the popular narrative was established that Cuomo is feeling estranged from the left, something very different appears to be happening. While the mayor was off galavanting in Rome, the governor managed to win the week here at home with liberals – supposedly the mayor’s base. And not just with the Uber fight, but also by using his executive authority to accomplish what the mayor has been harping on but has no real power to deliver, which is raising the minimum wage for some workers to $15 an hour.

It’s ironic, dontcha think? (It’s like rain!!! on your wedding day!!!)

Cuomo also managed to drive a wedge between the Mayor and one of his closest allies, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. The speaker and the governor spoke again recently, even after their conversation last Wednesday. Cuomo clearly sees opportunity to make inroads with those who once wrote him off as too conservative.

In the last few weeks Cuomo has signed the sex assault legislation, securing his support among women’s group; established a special prosecutor for cases of civilians who die at the hands of police; and spoke at the NAACP National Convention in Philadelphia. I think it’s fair to say that the battle to win the mantle of the true left is in full swing.

Back in March, the governor went to war with the teachers union over major reforms he wanted to enact in the state budget that greatly undermined teacher’s ability to achieve tenure, and avoid being fired. It was a tough fight, and while he won the battle, in some ways he lost the war. The backlash was intense. Teachers are organized and they fight with no mercy. The governor’s poll numbers began to sink. But supporters of the governor point out that whatever personal hit he took on this issue, it was worth it for the collective good. It was the right fight to wage, even if it cost him in popularity.

What’s curious with the Uber battle and de Blasio, is that the Mayor kinda picked the WRONG fight. Not only did he lose, but he ended up alienated from his base of white progressives, blacks and latinos and New Yorkers who reside in Brooklyn and Queens. At one point the mayor even tried to paint his battle with Uber as something akin to doing battle with oil companies.

One observer points out that may have been bad advice from Press Secretary Karen Hinton, who spent some time battling Chevron for their actions in Ecuador. Uber was not the same fight. Not even close.



The Joe And Andrew Show

From the Morning Memo:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in his comfort zone today.

The governor will host Vice President Joe Biden in New York later today at two separate events that appear to designed to show off a perceived strength for Cuomo: Upstate economic development and infrastructure investment.

Biden and Cuomo will first hold an event on investment in the emerging photonics technology in Rochester and then jet down to Manhattan for an announcement on airport upgrades.

The trips provide both geographic balance as well as an air of above-the-fray politics as Cuomo continues to feud with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who will be holding his own news conference today with City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

This isn’t the first time the governor and vice president have teamed up.

Cuomo in 2014 hosted Biden at the Capitol in Albany in an event focusing on post-Sandy recovery projects.

Later in the year, Cuomo and Biden pushed infrastructure spending at airports in and around New York City (rather than criticizing him for it, Cuomo has embraced Biden’s knock on LaGuardia Airport as being like a “third-world country” as a need for broader upgrades at airports).

Biden and Cuomo, at one point, were even considered contenders for the same job.

Once considered presidential material, both men are likely to sit out 2016 as Hillary Clinton holds wide leads over rivals like former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

But it’s more than just White House ambitions that Biden and Cuomo share.

Both Cuomo and Biden take a keen interest in massive, big-picture ideas and the power of government getting behind them.

Biden, in 2009, was put in charge of the stimulus spending approved in the wake of the recession — government funds meant to support a host of local-level projects.

Cuomo, too, has embraced projects form the mundane to the major, especially the replacement project of the Tappan Zee Bridge spanning the Hudson River, now underway after years of delay (there’s still the question of, exactly, how the bridge is being paid for and what tolls will ultimately cost).

It was perhaps no surprise the Obama administration put the New NY Bridge design on its budget briefing book last year.

Here And Now

Good morning!

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City and Rochester, hosting Vice President Joe Biden today.


At 8:30 a.m., the fast-food wage board meets, Department of Labor, 75 Varick St., Manhattan.

At 9:30 a.m., SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher will participate in a panel discussion led by Education Secretary Arne Duncan at the University of Maryland. Baltimore, Maryland

At 9:45, Sen. Chuck Schumer will presenting prizes for winning technologies at the Connect Ability Challenge, 26 Wall St., Manhattan.

At 10:45 a.m., New York City Public Advocate Letitia James and Rep. Steve Israel will speak at a news conference on a push for a review of security measures at reserve bases, 442 Weaver Ave., Bayside.

At 11 a.m., Biden delivers remarks with Gov. Cuomo at the SUNY Polytechnic Canal Ponds

At 11 a.m., Sen. Marty Golden hosts his 13th Annual Golf Outing fundraiser, Wiltwyck Golf Club, Kingston

At 11:30 a.m., Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney will present a World War II veteran with service medals, Middletown Park Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center, 121 Dunning Road Middletown.

At noon, Mayor Bill de Blasio will host a news conference at the American Museum of Natural History to make an announcement. Central Park West and West 79th St., New York.

Also at noon, Republican Margaret Cunzio will launch her candidacy for Westchester legislator with County Executive Rob Astorino and Sen. Terrence Murphy. One Town Hall Plaza, Valhalla.

At 1:15, Sen. Terrence Murphy will appear with local officials calling for a bill that would enhance safety at railroad crossings. Katonah Train Station, 70 Katonah Ave., Katonah

At 2:45, both Cuomo and Biden appear together at a joint news conference on infrastructure to be held at the Sheraton New York, 7th Ave.

Your headlines:

In Rochester today, Vice President Biden is expected to talk up the future of Photonics as “the science of light” with an investment in the technology aimed at a creating a new breakthrough.

So, what exactly are photonics, anyway?

Rep. Louise Slaughter believes the Photonics Institute could bring up to 6,000 new jobs to the Rochester area.

State Republicans believe Gov. Cuomo has put his “prestige” on the line by endorsing a Democrat to win Sen. Tom Libous’s Senate seat, considering the heavy GOP enrollment.

Libous was a political giant in the Southern Tier, using his power to put allies on his payroll and help steer needed investment to the area.

Republican Rep. Chris Gibson in an interview over the weekend said he was considering a run for governor in 2018.

New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer is using his staid role to build a broader coalition of community leaders, business advocates and others as he considers a potential mayoral campaign.

Fundraising among Albany politicians has hit a 12-year low, with lawmakers raising less in the first half of 2015 since 2003.

The battle between New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo has opened up two new fronts: MTA funding and Uber.

Cuomo’s feud with de Blasio has helped the governor forge a new ally: City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

The Daily News edit board says it’s up to Cuomo to fully fund the city’s transportation needs.

Despite his attack on John McCain’s war record, Donald Trump continues his lead atop the presidential primary poll.

GOP presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee is being slammed for making a Holocaust analogy when criticizing President Obama for the Iran nuclear agreement.

Aging infrastructure plagues the U.S.’s northeast rail corridor, the busiest in the nation.

Pro-fracking interests set their sights on another fight in the gas-drilling debate.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer is calling for expanding funding for technology that would disable a vehicle if the driver is drunk.

Schumer’s vote on the Iran nuclear agreement is being closely watched in Washington.

The push to raise fast-food workers pay to $15-an-hour is facing a backlash from business groups that plan to file a legal challenge.

Republicans are refining their rhetoric on abortion with the hope of putting Democrats on the defensive with the issue.

The Wall Street Journal highlights a day job for former Gov. George Pataki when he isn’t running for president: Artisanal beef farmer.

New York City is invalidating the tests taken by third-grade students at a Harlem school amid allegations of improprieties by the principal.

More than a dozen communities in Westchester and Rockland counties will receive a storm “micro grid” to help fight power outages.

Officials on Long Island have steered more than $1.3 million to projects run by a non-profit led by a convicted felon.


The Weekend That Was

A federal judge rejected a bid by former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to have his charges tossed in his corruption cases.

The special election to fill former Sen. Tom Libous’s seat in the chamber will be an early test for new Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan.

Patronage claims are a common thread in the latest series of corruption cases to involve state lawmakers.

Deep-pocketed groups backing education reform this year are taking advantage of loopholes in transparency laws to keep their donors anonymous.

Questions remain over a $100,000 donation from a teachers union PAC to Democratic Sen. Marc Panepinto’s campaign.

A Buffalo city council candidate’s campaign manager resigned after the candidate was caught on tape using a racial slur.

Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik is one of the North Country’s most prolific political fundraisers since Kirsten Gillibrand represented the area.

New York City officials suggest they are open to increasing some funding for the MTA, with the proviso they have more control over how it is spent.

After the Uber War has subsided, Staten Islanders wonder why the ride-share app hasn’t come to their borough.

Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito is upset with Mayor Bill de Blasio for not receiving enough credit for the hiring of new police officers as well as the deal with Uber.

Four announcers on the Long Island Rail Road system are earning more than $200,000, The Post reports.

Writing in Crain’s New York, Association For A Better New York Chairman Bill Rudin calls for an expansion of design-build.

Verizon workers this weekend voted to authorize a strike amid a contract dispute.

The Times Union’s editorial board is not impressed with the slow phase-in of the minimum wage hike for fast-food workers: “Put another away, the message to thousands of fast food workers is this: Stay in poverty for years to come, while the multi-billion-dollar corporations you work for keep raking in profits.”

The Journal News’s edit board urges for an expansion of safety regulations for trains carrying crude oil.

The Buffalo News praises the recent efforts by the Power Authority, writing that it has become “more of a benefactor than an occupier” in western New York.

Gawker founder Nick Denton says the rebooted suite of blogs will be “20 percent nicer.”

Sorry, Halfmoon. You won’t be getting a new zip code after all.