Hassell-Thompson: Strengthen Policing In Suburban, Upstate Cities

gunsAfter a rash of gang-related gun violence in upstate and suburban cities across the state, Democratic Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson is calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo and elected officials in Washington to boost police support.

In particular, Hassell-Thompson wants “immediate and sustained deployment” of the State Police to cities like Mount Vernon, Yonkers, Rochester, Albany and Syracuse to help fight gang-related violence.

“Inner city communities are drowning in taxes and cannot afford the financial commitment to stamp out gang and gun violence,” Hassell-Thompson said in a statement. “I have no wish to create a “police state” however, the temporary deployment of state troopers from low crime areas to high crime areas could be managed without raising local taxes.”

Hassell-Thompson is a Democratic candidate for mayor of Mount Vernon this year. More >

Sugarman Responds To Larkin Probe Request

IMG_1567From the Morning Memo:

The chief enforcement counsel at the state Board of Elections will give the “appropriate attention” to a request from the Orange County Democratic chairman to investigate the campaign finances of Republican Sen. Bill Larkin.

“This office treats all allegations as a serious matter,” Enforcement Counsel Risa Sugarman wrote in the letter dated Aug. 24. “I can assure you this will receive the appropriate attention of my staff.”

Democratic Chairman Brett Broge this month in a letter to Sugarman highlighted Larkin’s failure to report contributions and expenditures during the January through July reporting cycle. More >

Woerner: Return NYRA To Private Control

saratogaFrom the Morning Memo:

With the 2015 meet at Saratoga Race Course wrapping up, lawmakers from the Capital District are making a renewed push to return the New York Racing Association to private hands.

Business leaders and elected officials from Saratoga Springs and the surrounding area are pushing the Cuomo administration to end the state’s re-organization, which has seen some changes to racing in order to maximize revenue.

“As in any industry, government is really not in a position to effectively manage a business long term. That’s not the role of government,” said Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner, a Democrat who represents the Saratoga Springs area. More >

Here and Now

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

At 9:30 a.m., NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina an James Merriman, CEO of the New York City Charter School Center, visit the Girls Preparatory Charter School of the Bronx on its first day of classes, 681 Kelly St., the Bronx.

At 11:15 a.m., Farina and Merriman visit the Growing Up Green Charter School on its first day of classes, 39-27 28th St., Long Island City.

At noon, MoveOn.org Political Action will launch a week-long mobile billboard tour of New York to publicly rebuke US Sen. Charles Schumer’s opposition to the Iran deal, outside the senator’s Manhattan Office, 780 Third Ave. (It will also be stationed outside the offices of House members who haven’t yet taken a position on the deal, including: Reps. Charlie Rangel, Hakeem Jeffries, Yvette Clarke, Nydia Velazquez, Gregory Meeks, and Joe Crowley).

At 1 p.m., U.S. Treasurer Rosie Rios join U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer at a forum discussing which woman should be on the new $10 bill, Wesleyan Chapel, 136 Fall St., Seneca Falls.

Also at 1 p.m., the Thruway Authority holds a board meeting, 290 Elwood Davis Rd., Liverpool.

At 1:45 p.m., NYC Public Advocate Tish James attends the NYPD promotion ceremony, 1 Police Plaza, Manhattan.

At 2 p.m., Assemblyman Charles Barron, Sen. James Sanders, Jr, and the LaMont Dottin Foundation hold a press conference and rally calling for Cuomo to sign legislation For Missing Persons Reform, outside the governor’s Manhattan office, 633 3rd Ave.

At 7 p.m., AARP sponsors a forum for candidates vying for a seat on the New York City Council in District 23 in Queens, State Director Beth Finkel moderates, Queens High School of Teaching, 74-20 Commonwealth Blvd., Queens.

Also at 7 p.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio delivers remarks at the US Open, Arthur Ashe Stadium, USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis, Center, Queens.

At 11:35 p.m., Republican presidential candidate and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie makes his first late-night TV appearance since announcing his candidacy and his third appearance on ‘The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.’


In the midst of the economic crisis in Puerto Rico, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is set to announce he’ll soon be leading a delegation on a “solidarity” trip to the troubled island. Participants will include NYC Council Speaker and Puerto Rico native Melissa Mark-Viverito.

Prominent female city leaders — including Mark-Viverito — praised The Post for sending a reporter “undercover” to be a topless Times Square panhandler for a day. “It’s a real shame that women’s bodies continue to be used as political fodder. As I have said repeatedly, our city has many more pressing things on its plate,” the speaker said in a statement.

Despite saying weeks ago that US Sen. Charles Schumer had made a “persuasive case” against President Obama’s Iranian nuclear deal, Cuomo has repeatedly refused to say if he’s for or against the accord.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio was low key when he went to all three games played between his beloved Red Sox and the Mets this weekend, frustrated by his favorite team’s disappointing season but excited for the upstart Mets and what their surprising resurgence could mean for October’s playoff possibilities in the nation’s largest city.

De Blasio pledged in a Sunday op-ed for the Daily News that quality-of-life issues will not take a backseat to his central goal of reducing income inequality. “Some are in a rush to convince people that the city is on the slippery slope back to the ‘bad old days,'” the mayor wrote. “This much is certain: Under my watch, New York City is never going back to those days.”

A terminal at Newark Airport was evacuated after a man bypassed security then led officers on a chase past bewildered travelers last night.

Economic development officials are looking at ways to pitch the availability of Western New York’s sustainable resource to lure water-dependent companies – especially as droughts plague the Western US and other countries around the world.

Rensselaer officials are growing more confident that developing De Laet’s Landing will spur growth along the Hudson River and the nearby Amtrak Station. The developer provided site plans for a 95-unit apartment building and news is expected soon from SUNY Polytechnic Institute regarding its plans for a high-tech research and training hub on the site.

As SUNY head back to class, they will be doing so with fewer classmates and higher tuition. Enrollment at the system’s 64 campuses has dropped 3.5 percent over the past five years, with the biggest dropoff at its 30 community colleges. At the same time, tuition has increased 30 percent since 2010 to $6,470 a year for incoming freshmen.

A state Supreme Court justice who has likely ruled on more civil commitment cases than any other judge in New York this month issued a bruising indictment of the program for institutionalized sex offenders, questioning whether the psychiatric program is providing “meaningful treatment” as mandated by law.

Gun crimes are spiking in Suffolk County, with fatal shootings more than tripling and the number of violent crimes committed using a firearm increasing by more than 30 percent in the first six months of this year compared with the same period last year.

More >

The Weekend That Was

A highly respected poll in Iowa shows Democratic 2016 contender Hillary Clinton’s lead in the key state has fallen dramatically as Sen. Bernie Sanders has climbed to within 7 percentage points of the front-runner.

Former Assemblyman Karim Camara, who is now an aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, spent a night behind bars last month after a late-night arrest in Buffalo’s party district. The charges were ultimately dropped.

With few beds available in New York City’s homeless shelters, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has authorized another emergency measure to provide rental assistance the homelessness. The $10 million initiative is expected to provide aid to as many as 1,000 adults and is modeled on an emergency measure in May to assist families with children.

The Graveyard of Champions (AKA the Travers Stakes at Saratoga) lived up to its legend. Triple Crown winner American Pharoah came in second on Saturday to Keen Ice.

After American Pharoah finished second by three-quarters of a length, owner Ahmed Zayat said there is a “big chance” the horse could be retired. “I feel that I’ve let the fans down. It’s hurtful,” Zayat said.

New Yorkers expect transit delays and traffic jams when the president visits or world leaders gather at the UN. But in late September, the region’s transportation network could face an even bigger challenge as Pope Francis barnstorms the East Coast, with a visit to the Big Apple during weekday commutes.

Oliver Sacks, the neurologist and acclaimed author who explored some of the brain’s strangest pathways in best-selling case histories like “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat,” died today at his home in New York City. He was 82.

Kyle Jean-Baptiste, the first African-American actor to play the iconic lead role of Jean Valjean in the popular Broadway musical “Les Misérables,” died on Friday after falling from a fire escape in Brooklyn. He was 21.

The hazards of undercover policing were made tragically clear on Friday, when an illegal-firearms sting involving an undercover New York City officer erupted in gunfire on a suburban street in Mount Vernon, N.Y., resulting in the death of an innocent bystander named Felix Kumi.

GOP frontrunner Donald Trump ripped longtime Clinton aide Huma Abedin and her hubby Anthony Weiner, calling the ex-Congressman a “perv” and a “sleazebag” during a speech in Boston.

With his Republican rivals embracing aggressive stands against illegal immigration, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said that if he is elected president, the United States would track foreign visitors just like FedEx tracks packages.

De Blasio has endangered New Yorkers’ lives by abandoning stop-and-frisk — an “amazing surrender” rooted in politics, ex-NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly charges in a new book.

Looking to crack down on the synthetic marijuana rage, NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito detailed a new bill that would make peddling the drug a crime.

Former state Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk filed a set of rules late Friday afternoon for the Women’s Equality Party, ostensibly setting up a confrontation with party’s founder, Cuomo.

State Sen. James Sanders told employees late last year that the feds were investigating him and that anyone with “baby-mama drama” or a “white powder issue” should resolve it immediately.

Rensselaer County District Attorney Joel Abelove still is seeking clarification on the executive order issued in July that gives the state attorney general special prosecutorial powers in cases involving civilian deaths at the hands of police.

A NY Post reporter went “undercover” as a painted topless lady in Times Square, made $210 for seven hours work and is now a convert to the idea that these women aren’t hurting anyone.

Former South Queens Councilman Alfonso Stabile, a Republican, died on Saturday morning of natural causes. He was 68.

A moment of silence was observed Saturday at the New York Air Show for a stunt pilot killed during a practice flight a day earlier. Andrew Wright, 53, died when his single-engine plane crashed near Stewart Airport in New Windsor after the tail snapped off.

Five years after unveiling a proposal to spend $15 million to $20 million to turn three dilapidated, historic structures in Fort Niagara State Park into an upscale inn, an Amherst developer has withdrawn his plans. The state is expected to start shopping for new developers later this year.

Federal authorities plan to launch a crackdown on recreational users of small drones after a rash of accidents, near-misses and dangerous stunts this summer raised concerns about the potential for a large catastrophe.

Erie County Democratic Chairman Jeremy Zellner and GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy are expected to cross-endorse each other’s candidates for state Supreme Court judge, essentially guaranteeing their elections in the fall. The candidates in question are: divorce attorney Emilio Colaiacovo (Republican) and County DA Frank Sedita (Democrat).

A former Hempstead school district athletic director has sued the district in federal court alleging racial discrimination when he was fired in 2013.

Georgine Hyde, a Rockland County icon for her dedication to public education for over 40 years, died peacefully at her Pomona, NY, home on August 28, 2015. She was 90-years of age and suffered with Alzheimer’s disease.


Officials said 62,136 people attended opening day of this year’s State Fair, up from 46,094 last year. It is the best opening day attendance at the fair since 2009, when 67,252 people attended the first day of the annual 12-day event.

Rep. Jose Serrano, a Bronx Democrat, added his name to the short list of New York congressional delegation members who plan to vote “yes” on the Iran deal.

American Pharoah’s workout at Saratoga this morning brought some 15,000 fans to the track.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie attended the State Fair (wearing a tie) and ate the obligatory sausage sandwich along with six of his majority conference members.

Heastie seemed to really enjoy the Megadrop, though some of his colleagues didn’t look nearly as thrilled. He also lost $5 on the midway when a carnie accurately guessed his age within one year.

State police say a pilot has died after his propeller-driven stunt plane crashed while he was practicing tricks for a weekend air show at Stewart International Airport in New Windsor.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio hit back at Hillary Clinton for comparing Republican presidential candidates to terrorists when it comes to their views on women, saying the candidate is “desperate” and her campaign is in “bad shape.”

Former Rep. Dan Maffei says it’s time to repeal unpopular taxes from the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s landmark health care law that Maffei voted for in 2010.

Former Sen. Cecelia Tkaczyk filed a set of rules for the Women’s Equality Party. There are now two different sets of rules for this party – each with different leadership.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has not delivered on his pledge to end the city’s use of an emergency form of housing for the homeless that officials have deemed abhorrent and ineffective.

Vickie Gardner, the woman injured during an on-air shooting that killed two journalists this week in Roanoke, Virginia, has ties to Central New York.

The state doesn’t appear to have a plan in place to deal with the aftermath of old power plant closures, like the Huntley coal-burning power plant, which will shut down in March.

Former Senate Deputy Majority Leader Thomas Libous has asked a judge to throw out the felony conviction that forced him from office last month.

Cuomo, who has raised more campaign cash through the LLC loophole than any other candidate, isn’t concerned about the ramifications of a lawsuit that seeks to fine a candidate for accepting large sums from such donors.

General Electric Co., which Cuomo is trying to convince to move its headquarters to New York, dropped the Dallas area as a site for its possible relocation reportedly due to concern that Texas’s political climate is unfavorable to the company’s business.

Rep. Dan Donovan, the only Republican representing New York City in the House, praised his “personal friend” Donald Trump and for the Queens-born real estate magnate’s populist message, though he declined to make a formal endorsement in the GOP presidential primary.

The Seneca Nation of Indians are planning a $40 million dollar expansion at the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino.

Niagara County Community College inaccurately reported crime statistics in a security report that colleges and universities across the country are required to publish annually, the state comptroller’s office found.

While the bare breasts of Times Square’s painted ladies seemed to have shocked some officials, City Planning Chairman Carl Weisbrod – often credited with cleaning up Times Square the first time around – is a bit non-nonplussed.

For the second time in a week, an Oneida County legislative candidate has been arrested.

Unfortunately for former Gov. George Pataki, this exists.

Monroe County Clerk: DMV To Issue Refunds To Vets

Veterans who received a special distinction on their license or non-driver’s identification card are eligible for a $12.50 refund, Monroe County Clerk Cheryl Dinolfo announced on Friday.

Dinolfo, the president of the New York State Association of County Clerks, had pushed the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue the reimbursements to veterans who sought the special distinction on their state-issued cards.

“Veterans across New York State have earned the right to proudly display their service and status on their drivers’ licenses and non-driver identification cards at no additional cost. The refund of the State imposed fee is the right decision,” Dinolfo said in a statement. “I am proud that County Clerks throughout New York State worked together and I thank the State Legislature for passing and Governor Cuomo for signing this legislation into law.”

The reimbursement plan was approved at the end of the legislative session and signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier this year. The measure applies to any veteran who paid the fee for the distinctive mark after October 2012.

A previous measure approved last year suspended the fee for veterans to receive the special mark on identification cards or driver’s licenses.

Rand Paul To Be Special Guest At NY GOP Event

New York Republican Chairman Ed Cox will host Kentucky senator and presidential hopeful Rand Paul at GOP fundraiser next month.

The luncheon event with Paul, to be held with The Empire Club, is scheduled for Sept. 28, according to an invitation the Republican Committee blasted out today to supporters.

Tickets to the event cost $500 for guests of Empire Club members.


DiNapoli: Settlement Funds Boost State’s Coffers

moneyThe state took in less tax revenue than projected by the Division of Budget, about $17.7 million lower, account to a report released on Friday by Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.

Still, the July cash report from the comptroller found the tax revenue is more than $1 billion higher than initially forecasted by budget officials.

The fund balance overall remains at “historical levels” at $9.6 billion — fueled in part by the one-shot settlement funds. All-funds receipts, totaling just under $49.5 billion through July 31, were $1.6 billion higher than initially estimated due to the financial settlements.

“Personal Income Tax collections remain strong, and one-time settlement funds have temporarily boosted available funds,” DiNapoli said. “However, due to increased collections from historically volatile sources and the one-shot nature of billions of dollars in settlement proceeds, it is important to closely monitor results as the year progresses to ensure the state’s fiscal picture stays on track.” More >

Morelle Hedges On WEP

morelleFrom the Morning Memo:

LG Kathy Hochul said this week that several hundred candidates running in local elections this fall want to appear on the Women’s Equality Party line, which was created by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in his successful re-election bid last year.

According to Hochul and other WEP boosters, the new party, which has ballot access for four years, thanks to Cuomo, will play a key role in next year’s state legislative elections – particularly in the closely-divided state Senate, where Democrats will make yet another effort to win back the majority.

But not all Democrats are feeling quite so bullish about the WEP, which made a number of them fairly uncomfortable when it was created, and even caused some – including Sen. Liz Krueger – to suggest its existence would hurt, not help, the Senate Democrats’ cause in the 2014 elections.

Also, it was not lost on the Working Families Party (AKA the WFP), which wasn’t getting along terribly well with Cuomo last year, that the WEP had an acronym awfully similar to its own. Some political conspiracy theorists believed that was no accident, and, in fact, had been done specifically to confuse voters and keep the WFP’s own tally low. More >