Erie County Executive Threatens To Sue Clarence IDA

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz is threatening to sue a local industrial development agency if it follows through with tax breaks for a project he said doesn’t qualify. Poloncarz wrote a letter to the Clarence IDA arguing the approval of more than $100,000 dollars in tax incentives for a mixed-used project called “The Abbey” was inappropriate.

He said it is a retail project which is clearly prohibited under state law. Poloncarz argued the agency is giving away sales tax revenue that would benefit the county and other municipalities.

“As long as the Clarence IDA continues to do this kind of stuff I’m going to call them out. Same with Lancaster, Hamburg, if they do bad projects that are violating law, I will call them out and if I have to, I will sue, because they’re taking money away from the public. It’s as simple as that,” he said.

Council for the IDA said the county executive’s threat will not stop the project from moving forward. Attorney Larry Meckler said the retail portion of the project hasn’t even been defined yet, and noted the plans also include luxury apartments and office space.

Furthermore, he said the project qualifies because it’s an “adaptive reuse” despite the fact the developer is demolishing the building. Meckler said it’s an 85 year old dilapidated structure that would only be developed through incentives.

Poloncarz called that “poppycock,” censoring himself for television cameras. The county executive noted he did not have an issue with the project, just the tax breaks.

Extras

A commuter train crashed into one of the busiest train stations in the New York area during the morning rush, killing at least one person, injuring more than 100 others and creating a scene of chaos and destruction.

Given the high speed of the train, the fact that there was only one fatality is a “blessing,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Cuomo appeared at a joint press conference with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and the duo said citizens could take some solace in at least one thing: the two of them work well together in times of crisis, despite their political differences.

Due to a mix up by Verizon, a 78-year-old retiree in Poughkeepsie is getting calls on his home phone for Donald Trump.

Hillary Clinton wrote in Fortune about what she learned from being a working mother. “(L)et’s be real. We still have a long way to go. Our policies just haven’t kept up with the challenges women and families face today.”

The practice among top Cuomo aides of calling one another “Herb” originated in former governor Mario Cuomo’s scheduling office, according to four former state officials, and is a reference to Herb London, one of the late governor’s opponents in the 1990 campaign.

The state will investigate the death of 6-year-old Harlem boy Zymere Perkins, Cuomo said.

Nassau Comptroller George Maragos announced that he has switched his registration from Republican to Democrat and will seek the party’s nomination for county executive next year.

Former Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich has sent complaints to the inspectors general of the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency calling on them to investigate New York’s permitting process for Competitive Power Ventures’ gas-fired power plant project in Orange County.

The number of people sleeping in New York City homeless shelters has risen to nearly 60,000, according to an official city count released today, reviving questions about the effectiveness of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s policies to combat homelessness.

Good news for freshman Republican Rep. John Katko: The Cook Political Report changed its outlook for the NY-24 race from “tossup” to “leans Republican.”

The Legislature between October 2015 and March this year increased spending on mail to constituents by 7 percent compared to the same period in 2014, the last time lawmakers were on the ballot, state records reviewed by the USA Today Network’s Albany Bureau showed.

The regular Senate Democrats and the IDC have reached a détente of sorts – for the moment.

Republican Sen. Jack Martins, who is running for Congress in NY-3, asked the FEC to let him raise more campaign cash due to his now-cancelled primary.

For the second time this year, a court has blocked efforts by the state Public Service Commission to restrict energy sales by independent marketers that sell electricity and natural gas to residential customers.

Twenty-two New York locations have been nominated by the Cuomo administration for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino’s message to NYC Council members who won’t stand for the Pledge of Allegiance: “Get off your a**es and show respect.”

PolitifactNY says Cuomo’s recent statement about Buffalo having the most private sector jobs in its history today is true, though the data doesn’t prove his policies and economic development projects are responsible for the increase.

District Administrative Judge C. Randall Hinrichs has barred Suffolk’s traffic court from jailing defendants who don’t have an attorney without a review by a higher court judge, curtailing a practice that defense attorneys have complained violates motorists constitutional rights.

Christie Touts His ‘Tested’ Relationship With Cuomo

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie lauded the relationship he and his office has with Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his team, calling it one of the most effective in the time he’s been on the scene.

The comments came after Christie and Cuomo toured the site of a crashed train in New Jersey that had been carrying commuters from both states and originated in Rockland County in New York.

“We’ve been tested as have the people of New York and New Jersey have been tested,” Christie said, noting Cuomo was the first to call him following a staff briefing on the train crash.

The crash has left at least one person dead and more than 100 injured.

At the end of a news conference featuring both men in New Jersey, Christie pointed to the past efforts he and Cuomo have collaborated on in times of crisis, saying they’ve been able to work well together.

“The fact is that over the last six years that Gov. Cuomo and I have served in these positions together we have gone through Hurricane Irene, Hurricane Sandy and a number of terrorist attacks,” Christie said while flanked by Cuomo. “What that’s done for our relationship and for the relationships of our staffs has been these folks know how to deal with a crisis.”

The praised went further: “What the people of the region need to be assured of is I don’t remember a time in the history of the state when I’ve been observing when you’ve had a better and more tested relationship of the governor of New York and the governor of New Jersey and their staffs.”

The comments highlight what has been an unusual bond between both governors, one a Republican and the other a Democrat and come amid ongoing political troubles for both men.

Christie, a prominent supporter of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign after dropping his own White House bid this year, is under scrutiny for his administration’s role in the closure of traffic lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge. His former top aides are now on trial for the incident, which was allegedly done out of political revenge after the mayor of Fort Lee declined to endorse Christie’s re-election bid.

The bridgegate saga has also drawn in the bistate Port Authority of New York and New Jersey — an agency both governors control.

NY1’s Zack Fink — who has covered both Christie and Cuomo as a reporter — wrote an extensive profile of the relationship that ran in City & State magazine.

Meanwhile, Cuomo faces his own problems with his former top aide Joe Percoco facing bribery charges, along with a host of upstate developers and Alain Kaloyeros, the leader of SUNY Polytechnic.

Republicans in New York have been deeply suspicious of Christie after the governor declined to provide material support to GOP nominee Rob Astorino 2014 while he led the Republican Governors Association.

Cuomo cancelled his trip to Israel, where he was due to attend the funeral of former Prime Minister Shimon Peres, shortly after the news of the train crash broke.

Cuomo Cancels Israel Trip

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has cancelled his trip to Israel to attend the funeral of the late Shimon Peres in the wake of a deadly train crash in the metropolitan area.

Cuomo had planned to leave this morning to attend Peres’s funeral in Tel Aviv and fly back soon after.

But the derailment in New Jersey of a train that originated in Spring Valley and has left at least one person dead and nearly 100 injured commanded his attention, his office announced.

Cuomo plans to hold a news conference with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on the crash at around 2 p.m.

On Heels Of Corruption Scandal, State Senate Candidate Proposes Reform Plan

State Senate candidate Amber Small released a 7-point plan Wednesday to “clean up Albany.” The Democrat, Small, noted in her press release, the plan comes on the heels of a major public corruption scandal where nine people were arrested, including three executives from Western New York developer LPCiminelli.

Small said she entered the race for the 60th state Senate district in January, in large part because she was disgusted by the corruption she saw at the capital. She said it was clear to her the slew of scandals was impeding progress in other parts of the state.

“Ethics reform in New York is perhaps the most pressing issue facing this state,” Small said. “In many ways, it is the root of all of the challenges we face. It must be confronted relentlessly and comprehensively. Anything short of this is simply failure.”

The proposal addresses campaign finance reform, calls for additional resources to oversight agencies like the Attorney General’s office, and calls to explore mandatory minimum sentencing for corruption convictions, in addition to pension forfeiture.

Small also writes about the need for independent redistricting.

“In 2010 Republicans had control of the Senate, and in doing so, were able to gerrymander districts like the 60th District. The result of this was the Republicans winning a controlling amount of Senate seats despite consistently getting less overall votes than Democratic Senate candidates Statewide. Of course, if the Democrats had the same opportunity, there is no doubt the same would have been done in their favor,” Small wrote.

Her opponent, Republican Chris Jacobs, released his own reform plan in August. His campaign is currently running a TV spot in Buffalo calling for term limits.

In her proposal, Small said while term limits might be a “feel-good quick fix,” it needs to be one part of the solution, not the entire solution.

NY-22: House Dem Super PAC Takes On Tenney’s Albany Record

The super PAC backed by House Democrats on Thursday released its latest TV ad trashing the tenure of Republican congressional hopeful Claudia Tenney.

The ad seems designed at the very least to get a rise out of Tenney, a conservative member of the Assembly GOP conference.

The ad claims Tenney backed legislation that supported New York City interests — namely on affordable housing subsidies — at the expense of her upstate constituents.

“Claudia Tenney missed hundreds of votes in the state Assembly and even when she did bother to show up, she wasn’t working for Upstate New York,” said House Majority PAC Communications Director Jeb Fain. “Upstate New Yorkers deserve far better representation in Washington than the very worst Albany has to offer.”

The ad will air in the Binghamton, Syracuse and Utica media markets, part of an media purchase that began Sept. 6 now totaling more than $1.8 million.

Tenney is running in a three-way race for the 22nd congressional district which stretches from central New York, the Southern Tier and the Mohawk Valley. She faces Democrat Kim Myers and independent Martin Babinec.

NY-24: D-Trip Ad Knocks Katko’s Special Interest Donors

The latest ad in the swing-y 24th congressional district in central New York from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee criticizes Rep. John Katko for receiving donations from special interest groups.

The D-Trip ad paints Katko as a lawmaker who has raked in the special-interest donor money which in turn has influenced his decisions in office.

“Katko joined with Washington Republicans to help wealthy donors and allowed huge loopholes that benefit tax-dodging corporations,” the ad claims. “Truth is, Katko has taken over half of his campaign donations from special interests.”

Katko is running for a second term in the Syracuse-area congressional district that has changed hands between the two parties over the last several election cycles, making it a reliable battleground race every two years.

This year, Katko faces Democrat Colleen Deacon.

Cuomo Says Peres Funeral ‘Right Exception’ To Leaving NY

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is often loathe to leave New York, rarely stepping outside of the state during his first term.

But Cuomo on Thursday is traveling to Tel Aviv, Israel, to attend the funeral of the late former Prime Minister Shimon Peres.

Before leaving, Cuomo told reporters in New York City the trip to Israel — his second since 2014 — is the right thing to do given the state’s cultural and political relationship with the Jewish State.

“I don’t like to leave the state of New York,” Cuomo said. “I take very seriously that I am the governor and people expect me to be there. If there’s a snowstorm, they expect me to shovel their snow and if there’s a fire, they expect me to be there with a hose. That’s how my father did the job before me and that’s how I do the job. I don’t like to leave the state, but I think this is the right exception.”

Cuomo in 2014 made a trip to Israel with a bipartisan delegation of state lawmakers. He later traveled to Cuba as the United States started to normalize relations with the country.

The trip also comes this week amid political headaches for the governor after nine people, including his former top aide Joe Percoco, were charged in a sweeping corruption case.

Cuomo insisted this morning the trip won’t take him out of the state for long.

“I’m going to fly there and do the funeral and then I’ll fly right back,” he said. “I won’t be go long.”

NY-22: Carson Endorses Tenney

From the Morning Memo:

Republican former presidential candidate Ben Carson has released a fundraising appeal for GOP congressional hopeful Claudia Tenney, calling her “a Washington outsider like myself” who will take on special interests.

“Claudia will fight for the people New York’s 22nd District,” he wrote in the email released by the Tenney campaign. “Consistently ranked as the top conservative legislator in New York, she’s got a proven record of working for New York families, voting to cut taxes and standing as a Pro-Life champion.”

Carson, a renowned surgeon who rose to prominence in conservative political circles for his denunciations of the Affordable Care Act, dropped his bid for president before New York’s April presidential primary, which was handily won by Donald Trump.

Still, he remains a popular figure with conservative voters, even if his appeal doesn’t necessarily cross over to a broader electorate that will vote in November.

In the email, Carson calls Tenney a “true conservative patriot” and touts her biography.

“As a single mom who raised her son up to attend the U.S. Naval Academy and that now serves as a first lieutenant in the Marine Corps., Claudia understands firsthand the importance of protecting our troops,” he said.

A TWC News/Siena College poll found Tenney leading the three-way race for the open congressional district against Democrat Kim Myers and Martin Babinec. Tenney received 35 percent of the vote, with Myers drawing 30 percent. Babinec, launching an independent candidacy, has 24 percent of support, the poll found.

TWC News/Siena College Poll: Tenney Leads Three-Way Race

From the Morning Memo:

Republican congressional candidate Claudia Tenney leads a crowded race for the open congressional seat in central New York, a Time Warner Cable News/Siena College poll found.

The poll shows Tenney drawing 35 percent of the vote, with Democratic challenger Kim Myers receiving 30 percent of the vote. Martin Babinec, a businessman running an independent bid for the district, received 24 percent of support.

Babinec has said he would caucus with House Republicans if elected. But the poll found him drawing virtually equal shares of Republican, Democratic and independent voters, receiving 22 percent, 24 percent and 25 percent of those voters respectively.

The 22nd congressional district is considered a battleground race in part due to the retirement of Republican Rep. Richard Hanna, a moderate GOP lawmaker who has endorsed Hillary Clinton’s bid for the presidency.

Tenney, an assemblywoman, is making her second bid for Congress after falling short in primary against Hanna two years ago.

The poll shows Republican Donald Trump defeating Clinton in the district, 46 percent to 35 percent.

Nevertheless, Hanna remains a popular figure in the district, with a favorable rating of 55 percent to 30 percent.

And most voters have been engaged by the campaigns, the poll found: 58 percent reported hearing or seeing a commercial from the Tenney campaign, with half saying they’ve been contacted by the Myers camp as well. Forty-nine percent of voters say they’ve been contacted by the Babinec campaign.

A majority of voters — 52 percent — want to see Republicans retain control of Congress next year.

The poll of 649 likely voters was conducted from Sept. 21 through Sept. 26. It has a margin of error of 3.8 percentage points.

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