Gibson Takes Teachout Campaign To Task For Misspelling

New York City Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson in an “open letter” on Friday took the campaign of Democratic attorney general candidate Zephyr Teachout to task for misspelling the first name of primary rival and New York City Public Advocate Letitia James in press releases.

Gibson in the letter alleged the errors were due, in part, to a pattern of disrespect toward people of color when they run for office.

“As an African American Member of the New York City Council, I find it offensive, and insulting, that given Letitia James’ decades-long career in public office, including being the first and only African American woman ever to be elected to New York City-wide office, you continue to misspell her name in your press releases,” Gibson wrote in the letter.

“This is not an uncommon pattern by politicians to dismiss qualified and experienced candidates from communities of color, particularly women of color, by denying both their past public achievements and their identity.”

Teachout spokeswoman Cristina Gonzalez in a statement took responsibility for the error.

“This would just be my own comment, as I was the one who made the error,” she said. “I do agree with CM Gibson that the misspelling of the names of people of color is something that happens with great frequency, and can signal a level of dismissiveness. However, sometimes you’re just a tired press secretary that didn’t catch a typo. As someone whose name is frequently misspelled, I am generally diligent in not doing the same to others. I will be sure to be more judicious in the future, and not commit the same error.”

Teachout and James are competing for the Democratic nomination alongside Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney and Leecia Eve.

NY-24: Gillibrand Endorses Balter

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Friday endorses Democratic congressional candidate Dana Balter in the 24th congressional district in central New York.

Balter is running for the seat held by two-term Rep. John Katko in what has been historically a battleground seat for the last several election cycles.

“I support Dana Balter for Congress because central and western New York need a representative who will show up, listen, and stand up for health care, women’s rights, and working families,” Gillibrand said in a statement.

“They need a representative who will provide a check on Donald Trump and his administration. Dana has shown her dedication by earning support across the district, and I’m proud to endorse her.” Balter, who won her June primary by 25 points, will take on Congressman John Katko in November. “I’m proud to have the support of Senator Gillibrand,” Balter said. “Her work on behalf of central and western New York – and all the people of our state – is a model for the kind of representative I want to be. Congressman Katko has voted with Donald Trump 90% of time time – I want to join people like Senator Gillibrand in Congress to stand up for the people we are elected to serve, not the Washington insiders.”

Balter defeated Juanita Perez Williams in a Democratic primary last month.

Gillibrand is running for re-election this year, facing Republican Chele Farley.

Eve Agrees To AG Debate

From the Morning Memo:

Democratic attorney general candidate Leecia Eve Thursday agreed to participate in televised debates with her fellow candidates in the primary race.

Eve’s backing of debates comes after Zephyr Teachout also called for a series of televised debates held around the state.

Eve and Teachout, along with Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney and New York City Public Advocate Letitia James are vying for the nomination for attorney general in a four-way race.

“Leecia Eve’s experience in New York courtrooms may be unmatched, but that shouldn’t dissuade the other candidates from joining her for a series of broadcast debates,” said Eve campaign spokeswoman Maggie McKeon. “At a time when the values we cherish as New Yorkers are under assault by Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress, voters deserve to know where candidates stand. Leecia looks forward to debating Zephyr Teachout and any other candidates willing to debate the important issues facing New York State.”

Teachout hailed the statement, writing on Twitter that “voters deserve broadcast debates, and soon, to learn about the candidates for such a critical office.”

“Thanks Leecia, and thanks for being clear that you are ready to go on camera everywhere in the state to talk priorities and differences,” she wrote.

The AG’s office became an open race this May after the resignation of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman amid domestic violence allegations.

Barbara Underwood, appointed attorney general by the Legislature, is not running for a full term.

Who’s Harassing Whom In NY-23?

From the Morning Memo:

Republican Rep. Tom Reed’s campaign says members of his staff were threatened, harassed, and insulted following a rally held in support of his Democratic opponent this past weekend.

Team Reed released several screenshots from social media, in which obscenities were directed at the congressman’s campaign manager, Nick Weinstein, who was present at the event in Olean. One person wrote: “Can’t wait to see you in public.”

Reed’s campaign said the rally for Democrat Tracy Mitrano was hosted by several liberal activists groups, including Citizens for a Better Southern Tier.

“As an elected official, I have come to accept all that goes with it,” Reed said. “That unfortunately includes unfair, baseless personal attacks against me and my family. But to harass and threaten members of my staff is completely unacceptable. These actions are cruel, petty, and concerning, and reflect the extremism of our opposition. Such extremism must end.”

Weinstein said he was surprised by the “hateful rhetoric” coming from an event that was billed as a unity rally. He insisted he and other staff members are always courteous when they attend events – even when they don’t agree with what is being espoused there.

“We will continue to respectfully engage on the issues, and look forward to working every day to earn the support of every voter in the 23rd Congressional District,” Weinstein said.

The campaign insinuated the incidents could be connected to, or at least consistent with, the comments from California Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters who last month appeared to encourage her supporters to harass members of the Trump administration. 

But Reed’s opponent and her supporters, not surprisingly, have a different view entirely.

In response to the Reed campaign’s press release, Chautauqua County Democratic Chair Norman Green released his own statement. It did not include an apology for the tone of the Facebook thread. Instead, he said Weinstein was the instigator over the weekend and is known in Southern Tier Democratic circles as the “harasser-in-chief.”

He said Reed’s campaign manager has attempted to enter Democrat-sponsored events several times this year and resisted when asked to leave. Over the weekend, Green said, Weinstein was up to the same old tricks.

The Democratic chair said the goal of Reed’s campaign is to divide and inflame voters instead of engaging on the issues.

“Weinstein stood dead center in front of Mitrano silently filming her,” the chairman said. “It wasn’t the filming that was the problem. Tracy Mitrano has nothing to hide. In fact, her aim is to expose Reed and his take-from-the-mouth-of-working-families policies.”

“But Nick Weinstein took that position dead center in front of Mitrano for one reason and one reason alone; to be the Reed harasser in chief. Abbey Daugherty, communication director for Reed was also at the rally respectfully filming from a side view. It should be no surprise that no one called her out.”

Meanwhile, Mitrano’s campaign said it reviewed the insults directed at Weinstein and found “no evidence” that he was threatened or harassed.

“When we read the whole thread under Mr. Weinstein’s photo, we were pleased to see that a member of our campaign posted a reminder that it’s his right to attend out events and to record. He would like nothing more than for you to argue, harass, or record him, so that he can put it up on his Twitter to mock you. Let’s focus on Tracy’s message of bringing economic opportunity back to the district!’ We agree!”

The Mitrano campaign said the comments are protected by the First Amendment, however they are a good reminder “not to post anything online you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see.”

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is in the city with no public events scheduled.

President Donald Trump receives his intelligence briefing, and then travels to his golf club in New Jersey.

It’s opening day of the 155th season at the Saratoga Racetrack.

At 8 a.m., Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa will present during the “Designing Community Schools” session at the 2018 CEI Summer Leadership Conference, while Regent Kathleen Cashin will give the keynote speech and Regent Judith Johnson will provide the introduction, DoubleTree Hilton. 455 S. Broadway, Tarrytown.

At 8:30 a.m., Dutchess County Executive and GOP gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro stops by the Potsdam Diner, 22 Depot St., Potsdam.

At 9:30 a.m., the NYC Advisory Commission on Property Tax Reform holds its first meeting, CUNY Institute for State and Local Governance, 10 E. 34th St., fifth floor, Manhattan.

At 10 a.m., Cuomo makes an announcement and tours the Queens-Midtown Tunnel, LaGuardia Community College, 31-10 Thomson Ave., Long Island City, Queens.

Also at 10 a.m., Molinaro stops by the farmer’s market in Canton, 17 Park St.

At 11 a.m., state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli holds a press conference and releases the Bronx Economic Snapshot, Arthur Avenue Retail Market, 2344 Arthur Ave., Bronx.

Also at 11 a.m., Sen. Kemp Hannon, chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Health, will be joined by other elected officials and stakeholders to announce passage of (S9100) the Drug Take Back Act, CVS, 2419 Hempstead Turnpike, East Meadow, Long Island.

At 1 p.m., Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen and Nassau County Police Benevolent Association President James McDermott join more than 600 children and young adults with disabilities at a carnival, Hempstead Anchor Town Park, 630 Lido Blvd, Lido Beach.

Also at 1 p.m., Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz, Rep. Brian Higgins, state Sen. Timothy Kennedy, Assemblyman Sean Ryan and others review the ongoing demolition operations at the former School 77, 100 Dona St., Lackawanna.

Also at 1 p.m., Green Party gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins and LG candidate Jia Lee hold a press conference to call for desegregation of all NYC schools, NYC Department of Education, 25 Chambers St., Manhattan.

Also at 1 p.m., Molinaro has lunch at Sergi’s, 10 Market St., Potsdam.

At 1:30 p.m., Assemblyman David Weprin speaks at a New York City Department of Education press conference on new Sikh-focused lesson plans for elementary students in all New York City public schools, P.S. 161, 101-33 124th St., Queens.

At 4 p.m., Molinaro is endorsed by NY-21 Rep. Elise Stefanik and then joins her for a tour of Maple View Diary, 307 Jones Rd., Madrid.

At 6 p.m., Molinaro attends the St. Lawrence County Conservative Party Dinner, 6 Elm St., Potsdam.

At 8 p.m., “The New York Times Close Up with Sam Roberts” features New York Times Op-Ed columnist Bret Stephens, New York Times Metro reporter and columnist Corey Kilgannon and others, CUNY TV.

Headlines…

At least 11 people, including children, were reported dead after a tourist “duck boat” capsized and sank during a thunderstorm on a lake in Branson, Mo.

President Donald Trump plans to invite President Vladimir Putin of Russia to visit Washington in the fall, the White House said — an invitation that stunned the nation’s top intelligence official, who said he was still groping for details of what the two leaders had discussed in their encounter this week in Helsinki, Finland.

Nearly 80 percent of Republicans approve of Trump’s performance during his press conference with Putin in Helsinki, a new Axios/SurveyMonkey poll found.

Hillary Clinton responded to a deceptively edited video tweeted by Trump that showed her claiming that a “strong, competent, prosperous, stable Russia” is in the best interest of the world, pointing out the comments were made when reformist Dmitry Medvedev – not Putin – was president.

U.S. Senate Republicans joined Democrats in passing a symbolic non-binding resolution rebuking Putin’s proposal to interview American diplomats.

The Trump administration has lifted a ban on the Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE that had pushed the company to the brink of financial collapse by preventing it from acquiring parts and software from American companies.

The Interior Department proposed the most sweeping set of changes in decades to the Endangered Species Act, the law that brought the bald eagle and the Yellowstone grizzly bear back from the edge of extinction but which Republicans say is cumbersome and restricts economic development.

Former First Lady Michelle Obama will be playing a role in the upcoming midterm elections this November by helping people around the country register to vote.

A steam-pipe explosion sent asbestos spewing from a crater in Manhattan’s Flatiron District, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio revealed.

Test results that showed there was asbestos in the steam line raised concerns about the long-term effect of exposure through debris.

NYC began releasing about 100,000 pages of court, police and prosecution documents connected to the infamous “Central Park Five” case – a massive document dump that has been in the making for three years.

The woman who was raped and beaten beyond recognition after going for a job in the park at the age of 29, Trisha Meili, remembers nothing about the incident now and supported the release of the documents related to her case.

A federal judge dismissed New York City’s lawsuit seeking to make several major oil companies financially responsible for dealing with climate change, saying that the legal effort wasn’t permitted under the federal Clean Air Act.

Two of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s former secretaries and even one of his late father’s aides have submitted letters asking for leniency for former top aide Joseph Percoco in sentencing after his federal corruption conviction — but not the governor himself, who once likened Percoco to a brother.

Cuomo, who has said he was surprised by Percoco’s actions, has offered no explanation for not seeking to get a reduced sentence for his onetime friend.

Cuomo expressed surprise that his campaign reported that 57 percent of his contributors were small donors — including one contributor who gave a dollar 67 times. Ultimately, just 1 percent of the $6 million raised by the governor since January came from donations of $250 or less.

As he prepared for a campaign fundraiser last night in Syracuse, Republican candidate for governor Marc Molinaro criticized Cuomo’s fundraising, saying the massive $31 million campaign account the governor has amassed is tainted by Albany’s pay-to-play culture.

Tough commutes meant a tough campaign week for Cuomo, with Democratic primary rival Cynthia Nixon criticizing him for showing “no urgency” in the subway crisis.

A Manhattan federal judge paved the way for corrupt lobbyist and ex-Cuomo associate Todd Howe to be sprung from jail — saying she doesn’t understand why the disgraced government cooperator “is taking up a bed” in federal lockup. His new sentencing date is Nov. 2.

The judge made her comment at a brief hearing during which a prosecutor also revealed that Howe’s cooperation agreement was still “in place,” even though he had his bail revoked after he violated the terms of the deal.

More >

Extras

Trump indicated he and Russian President Donald Trump soon could have a second meeting, even as the confusing fallout continues from their initial summit.

An embattled Trump once again declared his widely criticized summit with Putin a “great success, except with the real enemy of the people, the Fake News Media.”

Protestors determined to keep Trump from getting a good night’s sleep after his controversial summit in Helsinki called in big shots for Day Three of #OccupyLafayettePark last night – an 18-person Mariachi band crowd-funded in under 30 minutes by Twitter users.

Today, the EPA’s Office of the Inspector General released its findings that the agency must strengthen its oversight of state drinking water programs.

Poor management from federal, state and local governments resulted in a delayed response to solve the 2015 Flint water crisis in Michigan, the report notes.

New York state has been “lazy” in codifying reproductive rights in either a statute or in the state’s constitution, Attorney General Barbara Underwood said, arguing for more urgent action on the issue.

Jonathan Mitchell, a conservative lawyer chosen to head a federal agency, has spent months bringing cases that could bankrupt public-employee unions in several states – including New York.

A steam pipe ruptured underneath a Manhattan street this morning, producing a thick geyser of white smoke and debris that authorities said probably contained asbestos.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he steered clear of the steam pipe blast, which resulted in no major injuries but did cause evacuations, because the terrifying incident wasn’t “serious” enough for him to rush to the scene.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo again tried to distance himself from the Buffalo Billion corruption scandal that has consumed his upstate economic development project, and argued that the spate of guilty verdicts won’t hurt his re-election chances. “I think there has never been a suggestion that I did anything wrong,” he said.

Onondaga County’s chief assistant district attorney was one of more than 75 people to write on behalf of former Cuomo aide Joseph Percoco, convicted on federal corruption charges, to the judge who will sentence him.

The two most high-profile women running for office in New York – Cynthia Nixon (governor), and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14) – launched criticism at Cuomo’s Women’s Equality Party for ignoring their candidacies.

The NYPD will immediately launch its internal disciplinary proceedings for the officers involved in Eric Garner’s 2014 chokehold death, a department spokesman confirmed.

Saturday Night Live raked in $42.7 million from New York taxpayers in recent years — all for filming in the state that it has proudly called home for 43 years, state records show.

The creators of the fan account Every Outfit on “Sex and the City” are stumping for Nixon, and addressing some of the more controversial aspects of her character, Miranda.

Rumors are flying that Tronc is pressuring Daily News editor-in-chief Jim Rich to institute sweeping cuts across the newsroom.

Republicans have raised objections to U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney running for re-election and state attorney general, according to filings with the state Board of Elections.

Fitch Ratings, one of the three major Wall Street bond rating firms, reduced the City of Niagara Falls’ credit rating to BBB, a one-level reduction to a level just above junk bond status.

Architectural Digest says Ithaca is the prettiest town in New York State.

Williams Campaign Assessing Contributions After 3 Donations Appear Over Limit

A trio of donations to the lieutenant governor campaign of Democrat Jumaane Williams made public Thursday show they are above the $5,000 limit for corporate contributions.

Williams’s campaign reported receiving donations of $20,000 from Glenwood Mason Supply, Inc., $15,000 from Glenwood Masonry Products and $15,000 from Ferguson Hauling Corp.

Both masonry companies also appear to be related.

Willaims’s campaign overall reported $183,469 in contributions and spent $137,967. It ended the current reporting period with $45,502 in cash on hand.

Should Williams have to return the money, that would leave his campaign with about $10,000.

For now, the campaign says it is reviewing the contributions.

“We’re in the process of looking into the contributions in question and if any were accepted in error we’ll certainely rectify any mistakes that were made,” the campaign said in a statement.

Williams is challenging Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul in a Democratic primary.

New York has notoriously high donor limits for personal contributions and, through a web of limited liability companies, a single donor can give an unlimited amount of money.

Cuomo Says NY Investigating Trump Foundation

Gov. Andrew Cuomo confirmed on Thursday that the state is investigating the charity founded President Donald Trump and run by his family.

“The state has an ongoing investigation into the foundation and the tax treatment at the foundation and as a matter of policy we don’t comment on ongoing investigations,” Cuomo said.

On Wednesday, Cuomo’s top legal counsel Alphonso David in a statement said the administration was prepared to grant a criminal referral to Attorney General Barbara Underwood in the matter.

“At Governor Cuomo’s direction, the state stands ready to provide the Attorney General with the appropriate criminal referral on this matter if and when she asks for it,” David said.

The attorney general’s office in New York does not have the authority to pursue criminal case unless the governor grants it.

The case stems from a civil lawsuit filed by Underwood in June that alleges the president and the family had used the charity to promote the presidential campaign. The suit also alleges the foundation was used to settle disputes stemming from the Trump Organization.

Trump’s adult children act as the foundation’s directors.

The move comes after attorney general candidate Zephyr Teachout urged Cuomo to grant the criminal referral.

Flanagan Rips Cuomo’s RHA Support

Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan in a statement Thursday blasted Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s push for the passage of the Reproductive Health Act, charging that is being brought about by the “singular fear” of Cynthia Nixon’s primary challenge.

The bill has been a flashpoint for Cuomo in the wake of the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy from the U.S. Supreme Court and the pending confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, a development that could tip the balance for abortion cases at the high court.

Cuomo has vowed New York would serve as a bulwark if the landmark Roe v. Wade decision is overturned.

“Governor Cuomo’s singular fear is Cynthia Nixon tarnishing his newfound progressive narrative,” Flanagan said in a statement.

“He knows, as the Daily News pointed out in a recent editorial, that Roe is the law of the land in New York. Roe is federal law, no case is currently before the Supreme Court or even anticipated to be decided in the near future. Further, New York’s Attorney General offered a legal opinion in 2016 that Roe stands in this state.”

The RHA would shift language for abortions from the state’s penal code to the public health law, change abortion’s status as an exception to homicide and allow abortions in the third trimester of a pregnancy under certain circumstances.

Cuomo has released ad aimed at individual Republicans in the state Senate who represent potential battleground districts for Democrats, urging them to return to Albany and take up a vote on the bill.

Cuomo’s top aides scoffed at the statement, pointing to a Quinnipiac University poll this morning that found 73 percent of New York back the Roe v. Wade decision.

“What or who are you afraid of?” tweeted Melissa DeRosa, Cuomo’s top aide. “Enough with the obfuscation — PUT THE BILL ON THE FLOOR”

Updated: Flanagan’s comments were criticized by reproductive rights groups.

“Senator John Flanagan chooses to stand with right-wing extremists and ideologues rather than with New York women,” said Robin Chapelle Golston, the president of Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts.

“His comments that women do not need to fear losing their constitutional right to abortion while the president has vowed to overturn Roe v. Wade defy logic. Senator Flanagan tells us to be complacent while the Trump administration is conducting a full-scale assault on our access to health care from destroying Title X, the nation’s oldest family planning program to packing the Court system with anti-choice zealots.”

Morelle Endorsed By Equality New York PAC

Democratic congressional candidate Joe Morelle on Thursday was endorsed by the Equality New York PAC in his bid for the 25th congressional district.

Morelle, the number two Democrat in the state Assembly, is running to replace the late Rep. Louise Slaughter who died earlier this year.

In its endorsement, Morelle was praised for his support of the LGBTQI community in New York.

“Far too many people across this nation are still living their lives in fear of prejudice and discrimination and that is why we need more leaders in Congress like Joe Morelle who will be a fierce champion for equality and a strong ally to the LGBTQI community,” said Chris Sardella of Equality New York PAC. “Joe has spent his career fighting for equality, opportunity, and dignity for all people, regardless of their race, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, or socioeconomic status. We know that a vote for Joe is a vote to keep advancing lived and legal equality for all.”

In particular, the group cited Morelle’s support for the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, as well as the effort to legalize same-sex marriage in New York.

“I am proud to stand as an ally to the LGBTQ+ community and I’m honored to have the support of Equality New York,” said Morelle. “New York has always been a leader in the fight for equality — but there is still so much work to be done, especially with leaders in Washington who are advancing a disturbing anti-equality agenda. In Congress, I will never stop fighting back against the politics of hate and I will work every day to continue tearing down barriers that stand in the way of equal rights and the promise of equality for all people.”