The Weekend That Was

Fire investigators began searching today for what caused an explosion and a fire in Brooklyn that killed one person and injured 13 others. A gas line from a disconnected stove might have been to blame.

Hillary Clinton says House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s suggestion that the select committee investigating Benghazi was summoned to derail her 2016 presidential bid is “deeply distressing” because it dishonors the four Americans who died in the terror attacks.

On an SNL skit, Clinton poked fun at 2016 GOP contender Donald Trump and played a sympathetic bartender listening to the woes of actress Kate McKinnon, who was portraying the Democratic frontrunner. More here.

The National Education Association, which has 3 million members, announced its support for Clinton.

Trump on Saturday channeled 1970s action star Charles Bronson in defending Second Amendment rights in the aftermath of the shooting at an Oregon community college that left nine dead.

Republican Kate Murray holds a six-point lead over Democrat Madeline Singas in the race for Nassau County district attorney, according to the latest Newsday/News 12/Siena College poll

US Sen. Charles Schumer is warning that a lack of funding to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s budget could lead to big problems with the nation’s weather satellites when the next big storm hits.

The Buffalo News takes a close look at the campaign contributions doled out by the players involved in the Buffalo Billion project, which is now under investigation by US Attorney Preet Bharara.

Racquel McPherson, a Long Island woman, filed a lawsuit against Cuomo, claiming he “sent mercenaries” to Jamaica, West Indies in 2013 to rob and kill her family members to prevent her from challenging him in a Democratic primary.

Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick appeared on Saturday night’s 48 Hours special about Leslie Neulander’s murder, and suggested Robert Neulander dump the weapon used to kill his wife into the 195-foot-deep Green Lake near Fayetteville.

A renewed effort to pass the Equal Rights Amendment received a push this weekend in two places near and dear to supporters of women’s rights.

Cuomo’s aide, Carey Gabay, was a casualty of a bloody gang war.

Two Republican Assembly members who represent parts of St. Lawrence County are concerned that Cuomo’s latest effort at retooling Common Core programs is likely to come up short.

Former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani, under fire for blasting President Obama’s calls for stricter gun control in the wake of the Oregon college massacre, refused to back down from his stance.

The de Blasio administration is grilling museums and cultural institutions about the racial and ethnic diversity of their entire staffs — and if they don’t answer, they’ll be cut off from taxpayer cash.

New Jersey Transportation Commissioner Jamie Fox resigned Friday, saying it was time to return to the private sector. His departure comes as a federal criminal probe continues into the relationship between a former chairman at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and United Airlines, which Fox had served as a lobbyist.

State lawmakers dipped back into the pork barrel Friday night when the Assembly quietly disclosed nearly $35 million in capital projects proposed for lawmakers’ home districts – a form of spending critics charge is just another form of pork.

A proposal by Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan to cap property taxes in New York City presented another headache for Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was already dealing with persistent homelessness, low public-approval ratings and pressure to boost transit funding.

REBNY’s new president, John H. Banks III, is not a necktie fan, and is known for both his down-to-earth approach and his political adeptness.

The de Blasio administration has joined a Supreme Court fight that could change the way voting districts are carved up to exclude residents like immigrants and felons from the population count.

The State Parks Department plans to remove padlocks from a footbridge at Sunken Meadow State Park secured by couples and families to express their love and affection.

Senate Republicans Pitch In For Akshar

aksharState Senate hopeful Fred Akshar reported a whopping $429,548 in campaign contributions for his bid to win an open Senate seat in the Binghamton area next month, far more than his Democratic opponent, Barbara Fiala.

Akshar, the Broome County undersheriff and a first time candidate, has benefited from the largesse of Senate Republicans back in Albany, the filing made public on Friday evening shows.

The Senate Republican Campaign Committee alone has given Akshar’s effort $189,000 — nearly double the $100,000 Gov. Andrew Cuomo had reportedly stepped in to help raise for Fiala, a former DMV commissioner and ex-Broome County executive.

Akshar, too, has gotten help from rank-and-file members, including contributions from Brooklyn Sen. Marty Golden, Nassau County Sen. Kemp Hannon, Hudson Valley Sens. Bill Larkin and John Bonacic and former Elmira Sen. George Winner.

Akshar has put the money to use: He’s spent more than half of what he’s initially raised, $276,386, and has $153,162 in cash on hand with about a month to go before Election Day. More >

Cuomo, At NYU, Calls For Action On Climate Change

Appearing at conference on climate change at New York University, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday afternoon called for an overhaul in favor of using clean energy, but warned it would be an uphill climb.

At the same time, Cuomo touted the state’s high-dollar investment in SolarCity to construct a factory in Buffalo, which is part of an inquiry being conducted by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

Cuomo, in his remarks, warned the effort to shift to renewable and clean energy would be met with stiff resistance from “powerful special interests” — namely oil and coal companies.

“You are saying to them, basically, I want to put you out of business,” he said. “Don’t forget the political backdrop to this. The coal and the oil companies are going to fight change.”

Cuomo has often emphasized a push to prepare New York for rising waters and extreme weather events. The state is preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Joaquin, though it is likely the storm will not make landfall in New York as initially feared.

But Cuomo’s address on Friday afternoon at NYU focused heavily on the state’s push into clean energy, touting a plan to have 50 percent clean energy usage in the next 15 years.

The transition, in addition to the political forces, will be an expensive one, which Cuomo said required an investment of resources.

“You can prove savings with renewable savings,” he said, “but you can finance the transition to clean energy.”

Paired with his remarks came an announcement the state will launch a clean-energy competition for colleges and universities in the state focusing on student plans to develop “creative ideas” for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Three groups that submit the best ideas will be awarded $1 million to help implement the plans.


Following reports that Hurricane Joaquin is likely to bypass New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office announced this afternoon the Democrat would be re-upping his plans to travel to Washington, D.C. and Baltimore tonight and tomorrow.

Defense lawyers for former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver have listed a virtual who’s who of Albany politics including Gov. Andrew Cuomo as potential witnesses or subjects of testimony at Silver’s upcoming corruption trial.

Following the shooting at Oregon’s Umpqua Community College, Hillary Clinton called for a “national movement” strong enough to rival the NRA, which she described as a “an intense, dedicated group” or gun lobbyists who “scare politicians and say, ‘We will vote against you.'”

President Obama said he plans to keep talking about gun control and “will politicize” the issue for the remainder of his time in office.

DACC has spent more money in recent months backing Assemblyman John Ceretto, a Republican who joined the Democratic conference this summer, than on each of this year’s three special elections combined.

Former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg is pushing back on suggestions that he is unhappy with his self-named company’s year-old hub for political coverage, Bloomberg Politics.

For anyone who’s spent a fall or winter day tailgating outside Ralph Wilson Stadium, Yahoo! Travel’s ranking of Buffalo as the NFL’s best tailgating city should not come as a surprise.

The Manhattan Municipal Building will be renamed for former NYC Mayor David Dinkins, the current mayor announced with his wife, NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray, whom he met while they both worked for the 106th mayor of New York.

After developers of the planned Lago casino resubmitted a 3,000-page environmental report, the host community of Tyre, Seneca County, has given the proposal an updated stamp of approval.

SolarCity executives downplayed a federal investigation into construction of their Buffalo factory, as well as the importance of state incentives in general.

Some Hillary Clinton donors are defecting to Vice President Joe Biden, resisting entreaties from the Democratic front-runner’s campaign to stand by her despite declining poll numbers.

The president of the state Correctional Officers Police Benevolent Association called the New York Times’ decision to identify a guard who, according to inmates, was involved in beatings that followed the June escape of two Clinton Correctional Facility inmates “troubling and irresponsible.”

Once again, Cuomo is asking state agencies to hold their spending flat as he prepares a budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year.

Appearing at an event in Schenectady, Cuomo’s girlfriend Sandra Lee said it’s too early to tell how breast cancer will change her life in the long term. She also said it would be an “irresponsible” decision to take a wait-and-see approach on treating the disease.

Two trade groups representing Chinese and Korean nail salon owners are seeking to block Cuomo’s requirement that they purchase bonds as security for unpaid wages.

Next week’s first hearing of the long-delayed JCOPE Review Commission has been cancelled. The panel, which is supposed to file its report by Nov. 1, will now hold only a single hearing, from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 14 at New York Law School in Manhattan, before submitting its findings.

The governor on MTA funding: “Everybody’s paying for this system. I’m paying $8 billion. If the city wants more control, then let them pay $8 billion. Then we’ll talk about more control.”

Short of a drastic turn in the weather forecast, the former Millard Fillmore Hospital at Gates Circle in Buffalo will be imploded about 7 a.m. tomorrow.

De Blasio, a Red Sox fan who grew up in the Boston area, whiffed when he tried to use famous a quote from Yankee great Yogi Berra quote in a radio interview this morning.

In the midst of a relatively tepid campaign season, Nassau Democratic legislative candidate Dean Hart continues to throw political bombs at incumbent Republicans.

Cuomo has no immediate planski to promote Troy Waffner, the acting director in charge of the past two fairs, to the top job permanently.

Turns out it’s punctuation, not size, that matters – at least on online dating sites.

Source: Senate GOP Coffers At $1.2M In Cash On Hand

flanaganSenate Republicans are set to announce having $1.2 million in cash on hand, growing their campaign committee’s coffers by $640,000 since July, a source with knowledge of the filing told Capital Tonight.

The amount of cash on hand represents hard money in the campaign committee alone, and not the conference’s housekeeping account, which won’t be filed until January.

It’s unclear how much of the money represents transfers from individual lawmakers, but the source said the bulk of the money raised since July — about $500,000 — was pulled in from two fundraisers alone.

The GOP campaign account reported $847,316 cash on hand in July.

The healthy fundraising amount over the last several months is good news for the conference’s new majority leader, Suffolk County Sen. John Flanagan, who took over the leadership post in May after Sen. Dean Skelos stepped down from the leadership as he fights corruption charges.

The Senate Republican Campaign Committee is heading into what could be a challenging political year: Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pushing a $15 minimum wage increase, a proposal that has support among voters, while GOP lawmakers will be defending their thin majority in a presidential election year. More >

After King Announcement, NYSUT Urges Members To Call White House

The New York State United Teachers union on Friday blasted the appointment of former Education Commissioner John King to become the acting secretary of education and urged its members to call the White House to “express their displeasure.”

NYSUT had never been big fans of King to begin with, having passed a vote of no-confidence in his tenure as commissioner, including knocking the roll out of the Common Core education standards, which education observers and elected officials had said was was flawed.

“New York State United Teachers is disappointed in John King’s appointment as acting U.S. Secretary of Education,” the union umbrella organization said in a statement. “NYSUT has always considered John King an ideologue with whom we disagreed sharply on many issues during his tenure as the state’s Education Department commissioner. Just last year, our members delivered a vote of no confidence against him and called for his resignation. NYSUT urges its members to call the White House switchboard at 202-456-1414 — as well as a special White House telephone line dedicated to public comments at 202-456-1111 — to express their displeasure in John King’s appointment.”

King left New York at the end of last year to become a special advisor to Arne Duncan, the education secretary who he will replace on an acting basis.

Fiala Raises $20K, Has $92K On Hand

Democratic Senate hopeful Barbara Fiala on Friday reported having $72,161 in cash on hand for her bid to flip a district long held by Republicans in the Southern Tier, a campaign finance filing with the Board of Elections shows.

Fiala had initially transferred $144,733 from an old campaign account used for her Broome County executive campaign, but her fundraising for the race, though, has been comparatively small. She reported raising $20,148 in contributions.

Since launching her bid for the seat, Fiala has $92,719, including $80,000 on television advertisements.

Fiala is running against Republican Fred Akshar, the Broome County undersheriff.

She received an early endorsement from Gov. Andrew Cuomo for the district held by Republican Tom Libous, who was ousted in July following a felony conviction.

Cuomo had reportedly stepped in to help raise money for Fiala’s bid.

A TWC News/Siena College poll released this week found Akshar leading Fiala among likely voters by 28 percentage points in the district that has a GOP voter enrollment edge.

Basil Seggos Nominated For DEC Commissioner

seggosBasil Seggos, a top advisor to Gov. Andrew Cuomo on the environment, has been nominated to become the next commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation, the governor’s office on Friday announced.

Word of the Seggos’s nomination was first reported by Politico New York and later confirmed by the Cuomo administration.

“Basil is an exceptional public servant, a strong advocate for the environment, and is dedicated to serving the public both as a member of my administration and as a member of the U.S. military,” Cuomo said in a statement. “I am proud to nominate him as Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner, where he will continue to advance the agency’s critically important mission of protecting New York’s natural beauty and resources.”

Seggos joined the administration in 2012 and has been the deputy secretary for the environment since 2013. He is a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve and serves in a Schenectady-based JAG unit.

Before that, Seggos worked as a vice president of business development at the Hugo Neu Corp., a private-equity firm that focuses on recycling and sustainable industry. More >

Cuomo Reiterates Continued Support For Clinton

cuomobidenGov. Andrew Cuomo insisted in an interview on NY1 Friday morning that he will continue to support Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid even if Vice President Joe Biden enters the race.

Cuomo is close to the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party, having worked in former President Bill Clinton’s administration and serving in his cabinet.

But Cuomo in recent months has been increasingly aligned with Vice President Joe Biden on key issues such as economic development, the overhaul of LaGuardia Aiport and increasing the minimum wage.

“I am also a friend of the vice president and a fan of the vice president. People talk about political choices like they are death matches,” Cuomo said, echoing comments he’s made before about the potential primary between the two political heavyweights. “If you support one then you have to hate the other person because they’re the enemy. I support Hillary, but the vice president is a good man.”

Cuomo had previously suggested he would welcome Biden’s late entry into the campaign, saying it would put Democrats in a bind because they would have a number of good choices for president.

But Cuomo insisted on Friday his support for Clinton wouldn’t shift to Biden were he to enter the race.

“I support Hillary Clinton and that’s not going to change,” he said, adding, “My opinion of him is not going to change if he gets into the race.”

John King To Become Acting U.S. Education Secretary

john kingPresident Obama will tap former New York Education Commissioner John King to become the acting secretary of education, replacing Arne Duncan, who is stepping down at the end of the year.

King, a Brooklyn native, was the youngest education commissioner in New York history, having been appointed to the post at the age of 36 in 2011 by the Board of Regents.

King’s background is in leading charter school organizations and was the co-founder and co-director of Roxbury Preparatory Charter School.

His tenure at the Department of Education was a rocky one: The roll out of the controversial Common Core education standards was criticized by both parents and the state’s teachers unions. Gov. Andrew Cuomo also was critical of the Department of Education’s handling of the implementation of the standards.

King left for the Obama administration at the end of 2014 to serve as a special advisor to Duncan. More >