Niagara County Leaders Plan Lobbying Trip For EMS

From the Morning Memo:

Several dozen Niagara County elected leaders and first responders are planning a last-second trip to Albany next Wednesday to lobby for a local not-for-profit ambulance service.

A spokesperson for the Niagara County Legislature said competitors of Mercy Emergency Medical Services took steps to block the final issuance of a Certificate of Need by the state.

The group plans to leave early next Wednesday morning from Lockport to let officials at the State Emergency Medical Service Council know how important the issue is to them.

“Almost every municipality wrote letters of support, every fire, police agency wrote support, and we still faced appeals,” said Jonathan Schultz, Niagara County Emergency Services director and fire coordinator. “So until we get through that vote on Wednesday, I’m nervous. We need this for our citizens.”

The group said it wants to ensure all areas of the county – particularly its many rural ares – have access to ambulance services.

Mercy Flight, which operates the emergency helicopter service in Western New York, started running ambulances in Genesee County in 2009, and has since expanded to parts of Erie and Niagara County.

Tenney: Town Hall Went Smoothly Despite Controversy

From the Morning Memo:

Rep. Claudia Tenney said her first town hall meeting as a member of Congress went pretty well last night, and she told Spectrum News Central New York she’d consider doing more.

Dozens of people showed up for the event in the small town of Camden in Oneida County, where Tenney talked about immigration, the environment, and health care, among other major federal issues.

“What I was really pleased about today was that I think we had a really good turnout,” the freshman Republican congresswoman said. “More people that were opposed to me than for, but I thought that they were pretty respectful.”

A group of protestors stayed civil throughout the town hall, generally opting to signal their disagreement or agreement with Tenney by brandishing red and green cards.

Some of Tenney’s opponents said they came away surprised at the color they sometimes flashed – particularly when she spoke in support of the so-called dreamers – young immigrants who face deportation if DACA is rolled back, as the president has proposed – and her work with refugees.

Tenney’s take on the GOP attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act elicited the strongest reaction though from Democrats in the audience.

“She made it seem as though the American Health Care Act protected people with pre-existing conditions, that it didn’t throw people off their healthcare, and some of those are just patently false,” one protester said.

Critics of the congresswoman, who have been pressuring her for months to hold a town hall, had accused her of stacking the deck at this event. They said after she finally agreed to hold this meeting, she organized it through her campaign so she could make sure it was attended by the maximum number of her supporters, and a minimum number of opponents.

Tenney’s campaign vehemently denied that claim, which was made by, among others, the congresswoman’s Democratic opponent, Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, saying the event was ticketed for safety reasons and to avoid disruptive protesters.

Tenney herself offered another explanation last night, saying she was able to avoid using taxpayer dollars by organizing the town hall through her campaign.

Tenney who earlier this year received a threatening email, said she paid for security at the event, and also had a number of former police officers on sight who offered their services on a volunteer basis.

“So we saved a little on that,” Tenney said. “But I don’t think the taxpayer should be burdened with something the other side has created.”

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City and Ulster County.

President Donald Trump is still in NYC for the UN General Assembly.

This morning, he’ll travel from Trump Tower to the Lotte New York Palace Hotel where he will participate in an expanded meeting with the King of Jordan.

Trump will then participate in an expanded meeting with the president of the Palestinian Authority.

In the afternoon, the president will attend a working lunch with African leaders, participate in an expanded meeting with the prime minister of the United Kingdom, and articipate in an expanded meeting with the president of Egypt, before returning to Trump Tower for the night.

In the morning, Vice President Mike Pence will deliver remarks at a UN Security Council high-level debate on reform of United Nations Peacekeeping Operations.

Later in the day, Pence will join Trump for the expanded meetings with the prime minister of the United Kingdom, and the president of Egypt.

Former President Bill Clinton is also in NYC. She’ll be the inaugural speaker at NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s Bloomberg Global Business forum at the Plaza Hotel.

At 8:30 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul headlines the CORE breakfast series for women entrepreneurs, Core Club, 66 East 55th St., Manhattan.

At 9 a.m., members of the Release Aging People in Prison/RAPP Campaign hold a press conference followed by a 10 a.m. NYC Council Hearing in support of The CARE Act, which establishes an interagency task force to examine the needs of older adults returning from incarceration, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

Also at 9 a.m., Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. speaks at the ceremony renaming the Morris Heights Post Office for Dr. Roscoe Brown, 2024 Jerome Ave., the Bronx.

At 9:30 a.m., Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Lorelei Salas releases the State of Workers’ Rights report, followed by a roundtable discussion with advocacy groups, worker organizations and labor unions, City Hall, Manhattan.

At 10:30 a.m., NYC independent mayoral candidate Bo Dietl holds a press conference with the Reform Party’s Curtis Sliwa and Frank Morano to discuss the campaign’s focus and real reform platform, outside City Hall, Manhattan.

Also at 10:30 a.m., Democratic Westchester County lawmakers, union leaders and women’s rights advocates introduce a bill to help ensure salaries will be based on job qualifications and the value of the job they are being hired to do, not what prospective employees made in the past, 148 Martine Ave., 8th Floor, White Plains.

At 11 a.m., Toxics Targeting Inc. holds a news conference releasing photos of algal blooms threatening the sources of public drinking water for residents of Syracuse, Auburn, Rochester, Ithaca and other communities across New York, state Capitol, third floor, adjoining to the LCA Press Room, Albany.

Also at 11 a.m., Rep. Brian Higgins announces federal funding for the Buffalo Community Food Hub Project, MAP Farmhouse, 389 Massachusetts Ave., Buffalo.

At 12:30 p.m., U.S. Climate Alliance Co-Chairs Cuomo, California Gov. Ed Brown, and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee make an announcement,
governor’s press room, 633 3rd Ave., 38th Fl., Manhattan.

Also at 12:30 p.m., GOP NYC mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis attends a press conference with Elmhurst United on the de Blasio administration’s housing of the homeless in hotels, Pan Am Hotel, 7900 Queens Blvd., Queens.

At 1:30 p.m., Binghamton mayoral candidate Tarik Abdelazim hosts a press conference to discuss the incumbent’s “inaction in the face of one of the greatest threats to neighborhood safety, housing values, and the local property tax base,” corner of Gaylord and Court streets, Binghamton.

At 2 p.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio makes an announcement about expanding electric vehicle accessibility, Whole Foods Market parking lot, 214 3rd St., Brooklyn.

Also at 2 p.m., the NYC Department of Transportation holds a public hearing, 55 Water St., ninth floor, Manhattan.

At 2:15 p.m., Cuomo makes an announcement, Bronx Museum of the Arts, 1040 Grand Concourse, the Bronx.

At 3 p.m., Malliotakis meets with CCBA members, Chinese Consolidated Benevolence Association, 62 Mott St., Manhattan.

At 4:30 p.m., Cuomo makes an announcement, Keegan Ales, 20 Saint James St., Kingston.

At 5:30 p.m., the NYC Commission on Human Rights hosts a panel to highlight the work of public servants of Afro-Caribbean descent, featuring Deputy Commissioner Brittny Saunders, state Sen. Roxanne Persaud and other city officials, Medgar Evers College’s Edison O. Jackson Auditorium, 1650 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn.

At 6:15 p.m., Hochul and Sen. Velmanette Montgomery host the state Women’s Suffrage Commission’s #TheNext100 film series featuring “Chisholm ’72: Unbought and Unbossed, Celebrating the Legacy of Shirley Chisholm,” BRIC House, 647 Fulton St., Brooklyn.

At 6:30 p.m., City Limits hosts its 2017 Gala, Pier A Harbor House, 22 Battery Place, Manhattan.

At 7 p.m., Malliotakis attends The Developers Forum, Keens Steakhouse, 72 West 36th St., Manhattan.

Headlines…

In his first address to the UN General Assembly, President Trump brought his confrontational style of leadership to the world’s most prominent stage, vowing to “totally destroy North Korea” if it threatened the U.S., and denouncing the nuclear agreement with Iran as “an embarrassment” that he may abandon.

Trump also urged world leaders to help restore “democracy and political freedoms” in Venezuela, singling out the South American country for some of his most blistering criticism. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro hit back by calling the U.S. president “the new Hitler” of international politics.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Trump’s UN address as a “bold and courageous” speech while, like the president, throwing barbs at an adversary and threatening to meet its provocations with maximum force.

NATO’s secretary-general welcomed Trump’s new strategy for the 16-year Afghan war and said the U.S. leader’s insistence that NATO members increase their defense spending is achieving positive results.

U.S. Senate Republicans, abandoning a key fiscal doctrine, agreed to move forward on a budget that would add to the federal deficit in order to pave the way for a $1.5 trillion tax cut over the next 10 years.

Senate Republicans and the White House pressed ahead with their suddenly resurgent effort to undo Obamacare, even as their attempt was dealt a setback when a bipartisan group of governors and several influential interest groups came out against the proposal.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said New York faces a potentially devastating loss of $2.5 billion worth of Medicaid funding on Oct. 1. if Congress does not intervene, which could grow significantly if the latest Obamacare repeal effort is successful.

After Bill and Hillary Clinton announced the end of their signature Clinton Global Initiative conference during last year’s presidential campaign, former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg has stepped unto the breach, hosting today a reorganized and rebranded Bloomberg Global Business Forum at the Plaza Hotel.

The former New York mayor is inheriting not a conference, but a platform for an alternative American diplomacy.

Hillary Clinton’s new memoir is No. 1 on Amazon’s best seller’s list beating out New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady’s “The TB12 Method: How to Achieve a Lifetime of Sustained Peak Performance,” (No. 2), and two novels from 1986: Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and Stephen King’s “It: A Novel.”

Clinton returned to late night TV for the first time since the election last night, telling “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert that Trump’s speech to the United Nations was “very dark” and “dangerous.”

An email from Trump’s campaign operation is advertising a chance for donors to win tickets to a “Trump Victory Dinner in New York City” next Tuesday.

FBI agents reportedly took an unusually tough approach in executing a search warrant, dealing with potential financial crimes by Trump’s former campaign chief, Paul Manafort, busting into his home – armed with guns – while he was asleep in bed.

U.S. Hecretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price took private jets on at least five separate flights last week in a stark departure from his predecessors under the Obama administration.

A former “Apprentice” contestant who claims Trump groped her has enlisted three attorneys who cleared a path for former President Clinton’s impeachment.

Hurricane Maria barreled toward Puerto Rico after wreaking widespread devastation on Dominica and leaving the small Caribbean island virtually incommunicado.

Hurricane José churned up the East Coast, creating dangerous rip currents and causing flooding along New Jersey and Long Island.

Based on what he’s hearing from riders, Cuomo asserted that NYC is already seeing the benefits of the MTA’s “emergency plan” to improve subway service, but statistics to prove his claim are still unavailable.

An expected visit later this week by Cuomo was postponed just hours after it was announced.

Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis could emerge from the NYC mayoral race as a contender for governor or other statewide office in 2018, GOP state Chairman Ed Cox said.

More >

Cuomo Calls On NY Congressional Delegation To Consider Impending Healthcare Issues

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-NY, called on the state’s congressional delegation to take several actions regarding healthcare in the coming days and weeks.

At a press conference Tuesday in New York City, Cuomo voiced his concern over scheduled cuts to Medicaid for so-called Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments. They are federal reimbursements to hospitals for uncompensated health care costs.

Cuomo said New York would lose $2.6 billion, roughly 16 percent of the scheduled cuts, if Congress doesn’t take action before October 1. He said of that $2.6 billion, the state would lose $1.1 billion in just 18 months.

“There is no way the state can pick up this cost. The state is already facing a $4 billion deficit going into next year, $4 billion deficit. There is no way we can close a $4 billion deficit and absorb an additional $1 billion, and then $2.6 billion cut. It is mathematically impossible,” he said.

The governor said the DSH cuts would affect about 3 million people served at more than 200 hospitals. The first and most severely affected would be public and safety net hospitals both of which serve uninsured and under-insured patients.

Cuomo said as concerned as he is about that issue, he’s even more concerned about the potential for Congress to pass the proposed Graham-Cassidy healthcare bill and repeal the Affordable Care Act. That, he said, would cost New York roughly $19 billion as the legislation plans to block grant Medicaid funds.

Cuomo said the state would essentially be punished for utilizing the system better than other states.

“I would not trade $19 billion for the flexibility because if they cut us $19 billion, if I was as flexible as a Gumby doll, we could not fund our healthcare system.”

The governor said the Republican healthcare proposal would also put 2.7 million New Yorkers at risk of losing their coverage, not to mention he has ideological disagreements about issues like defunding Planned Parenthood.

Extras

If the United States is forced to defend itself or its allies, “we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea,” President Trump said in his address to the General Assembly.

Michael Cohen, a longtime attorney for the Trump Organization, is forcefully denying unverified allegations contained in a dossier compiled by a former British intelligence officer about the president’s activities and connections in Russia.

The Senate Intelligence Committee unexpectedly cancelled a session to interview Cohen, citing public statements he made prior to his scheduled testimony, despite requests that he not make any comments.

Billionaire Virgin founder Richard Branson blasted Trump for refusing to address climate change amid a string of powerful hurricanes that have lashed the United States, Caribbean and Virgin Islands in recent weeks.

Melania Trump’s choice for U.S. ambassador to her home country of Slovenia, Kelly Roberts, has reportedly withdrawn her name from consideration.

New York Times White House Correspondent Glenn Thrush has chosen to leave his Twitter account dormant as of midnight this morning, and said the social media platform is “too much of a distraction.”

NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and three members of Congress were arrested protesting outside Trump Tower for protections for young immigrants threatened by an order from the president.

This was to be a year of celebration for New York’s booming gambling industry, but like casinos themselves — where glitter often hides the grime — the reality has been far less glamorous, with underwhelming returns, evidence of industry cannibalization and a new, sharp-edged conflict between the state and a major tribal gambling operation.

The chairman of the Onondaga County Conservative Party abruptly resigned Friday, a week after he shocked fellow party leaders by working to defeat a Conservative candidate endorsed by the party.

The Rockefeller Institute of Government released its latest state and local governments fiscal report showing relatively strong growth in tax revenues in the first quarter of 2017, which is largely attributable to income tax growth in California and New York.

SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s real estate arm will get a $38.5 million grant from the state to help pay for its $324 million NanoFabX computer chip manufacturing research facility, after the aid package, was approved by the board of Empire State Development.

NY1’s Grace Rauh was a guest on the NY Slant podcast, where she talked about how NYC mayor Bill de Blasio doesn’t seem to be enjoying the job – or, at the very least, isn’t having very much fun.

Only one Long Islander – Nassau County Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs – appears to be included in Hillary Clinton’s more-than-a-page of single-spaced acknowledgments and “thank yous” in her new memoir, “What Happened.”

A University of Rochester student has been on a hunger strike since Thursday morning in protest of a tenured professor who has been accused of sexual harassment.

Drawing on data from the Budget Function Analysis and Mayor’s Management Report, the CBC’s new NYC Money Meter allows you to track spending by service line for 15 New York City agencies

After months of speculation and delays, the last parts of the old Kosciuszko Bridge that linked Maspeth and Greenpoint is set to be demolished this month.

The bank with the green flag is teaming up with Gang Green. M&T Bank announced a multiyear partnership with the New York Jets, making M&T the official community bank of the team. The dollar value and specific number of years of the deal were not disclosed.

Six months after being fired from Fox News, Bill O’Reilly returned to the small screen to deny the sexual harassment allegations that led to his departure from the network.

As of today, the new 838 area code has taken effect within the existing 518 area code

A former juvenile justice center in Cayuga County is one of four sites New York plans to repurpose and reuse existing facilities to house youth offenders.

Happy 10th anniversary Morning Joe.

Tenney-DCCC At Odds About Town Hall Hours Before Event

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee got one more shot in, just hours before Republican Claudia Tenney’s first town hall since the congresswoman took office. In a press release the DCCC called the event a shame and said she took pains to fill the event with “sycophants and devotees.”

Tenney’s opponents have criticized her for sending invitations to the forum through the online plannning website Eventbrite and requiring everybody attending to RSVP. The DCCC also claimed the invites came through Tenney’s campaign fundraising list.

“Rep. Tenney designed this town hall to be as secretive and closed to the public as possible,” spokesman Evan Lukaske. “Rather than host an official town hall for all constituents, Tenney is using her campaign and her fundraising list to send invites, meaning that only die-hard Tenney supporters received advance notice. It’s sad that even this attempt to do the bare minimum reveals Tenney’s inaccessibility and partisanship.”

The Tenney campaign said the DCCC is spreading lies. Campaign spokesperson Tim Edson said the committee is upset that the congresswoman made it harder for them to stack the meeting with disruptive and possibly paid protesters.

“This is just sour grapes because their whole campaign against Congresswoman Tenney is based on the lie that she’s not accessible when, in fact, throughout her career she’s been one of the most accessible politicians in the state.” Edson said.

He continued that the event, at 7 p.m. this evening, is open to the media and it will be clear that people with all different and opinions and beliefs will be there. The DCCC also criticized the campaign for not mentioning the town hall on official channels, claiming that means her congressional staff will not be able to follow up wit constituent concerns.

Davis Declares Con-Con Victory, Withdraws Lawsuit

Evan Davis, a former counsel to Gov. Mario Cuomo who had been pursuing legal action against the state Board of Elections over placement of a referendum for a constitutional convention, has withdrawn his suit following the boards agreement to take steps to highlight the issue on the fall ballot.

According to a press release sent out earlier today by Davis, the state Board decided on Sept. 15 to advise county boards of elections that both sides of the ballot should contain text and a graphic, such as an arrow, that highlight to voters the need to turn the ballot over to locate the constitutional convention question.

In discussing this decision, two Board commissioner specifically referenced Davis’s lawsuit that challenged the con-con question placement, even though the suit was tossed out by a judge last month.

Davis declared himself satisfied by the Board’s actions, and therefore has decided to withdraw his appeal of the judge’s decision. In so doing, Davis avoids the possibility the case would not finally resolved in time for ballots to be printed for the November general election.

“The Board’s decision is an important victory for New York voters,” said Davis. “While the Convention Question won’t be on the front of the ballot where it should be, voters will at least be urged to turn the ballot over to vote on whether to hold a Constitutional Convention and on two Amendments proposed by the Legislature. For the future, a Convention can revise the Constitution to modernize the language of the Convention Question and require its prominent placement.”

Cuomo Releases Results Of Compliance Study For Campus Sexual Assault Law

A New York study of its colleges and universities has found most schools are “significantly compliant” with the state’s law to protect students from sexual assault on campus. The governor’s office however, said there a number of concerns many institutions still need to address to come into full compliance.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the “Enough is Enough” law in 2015, which he called the “nation’s most aggressive policy” on the issue. The review of more than 240 schools found about 39 percent in full compliance and another 49 percent to be significantly compliant.

According to the report, 29 institutions were non-compliant, meaning their policies were deficient on the majority of elements. Schools with issues are required to submit an action plan within 30 days and submit documentation of full compliance within 60 days of notification from the state Office of Campus Safety.

The governor noted the study comes in the aftermath of U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announcement she plans to revamp Obama administration guidelines regarding sexual assault and harassment.

“In New York, we know that sexual assault is a crime, and we will continue to hold our colleges and universities to the highest possible standards to ensure the safety of all New York students,” Cuomo said. “Regardless of the federal government’s dangerous actions to rescind Title IX protections, this state and this administration will continue to stand with and advocate for survivors, and we will not go backwards in the fight against sexual assault.”

The “Enough is Enough” law required colleges to adopt a uniform definition of affirmative consent, an amnesty policy to encourage students reporting sexual assaults, and comprehensive training for administrators, staff and students. The governor’s office said the study was just a preliminary review based on information the colleges and universities submitted.

A second phase, it said, will include an in-depth review of practices beyond documentation.

 

EnoughisEnoughPreliminaryReport_September192017 by Ryan Whalen on Scribd

Attorneys General Launch Multi-State Opioid Crisis Investigation

Attorneys general from 41 states across the country are working together on a comprehensive investigation into the opioid crisis. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced the coalition during a Tuesday press conference in New York City.

“We know that the system is broken but there’s never been as comprehensive an effort as the one we are launching now by a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general to get to the bottom of it,” Schneiderman said.

He said investigators have demanded information and documents from manufacturers and distributors to see if there were any illegal marketing or selling practices.

“Our subpoenas and letters seek to uncover whether or not there was deception involved, if manufacturers misled doctors and patients about the efficacy and addictive power of these drugs.”

So far the coalition has served subpoenas to four pharmaceutical companies; Endo International, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Teva Pharmaceuticals Industry and Allergan Inc. It has also demanded information from three other corporations that manage roughly 90 percent of the nation’s opioid distribution.

“There’s no doubt that there simply are too many prescriptions for too many opioids in America right now,” Schneiderman said.

The attorney general said the main goal of the investigation is to initiate change and some companies have already indicated willingness to cooperate.

“We hope that this will lead to some reforms by the industry itself. There may be cases to be brought if there’s any fraud or deception.”

Schneiderman said opioid distribution alone is a $500 billion business annually.

DiNapoli Audit Details Niagara Falls Financial Woes

The Office of the State Comptroller projects the city of Niagara Falls will deplete its available fund balance by the end of this year and will face a $12 million budget gap in 2019. According to a recent audit, released Friday but forwarded to the press Tuesday, the city has been using its fund balance and revenue from the Seneca Niagara Casino to balance its finances.

The Seneca funding source has currently run dry, with the Nation disputing whether its still required to pay a portion of its slot revenues under a compact with the state. The review assumed no additional revenue would be received although the state has begun an arbitration process.

“In our prior audit, we recommended the Mayor and Council develop realistic budgets and adopt a multiyear financial plan. Our prior audit also discussed the use of casino revenue to balance the budget. However, the City did not maintain a multiyear financial plan and has continued to rely on unreliable revenues and one-time funding sources,” OSC wrote.

The city council is responsible for initiating a corrective action plan. The comptroller’s recommendations include adopting a realistic budget funded by recurring revenues, and rebuilding the fund balance.

Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster, D, responded to the audit, saying he agreed that the city has room for improvement with regards to creation and implementation of its annual budget. He said the administration however, has already started reducing its reliance on casino revenue and does not anticipate any after 2023, the year the current compact between the Seneca Nation and the state concludes.

Dyster also expressed disappointment that a draft of the audit was “made public” prior to the official release Friday.

Niagara Falls Audit by Ryan Whalen on Scribd