Dec 6th - 12:12 pm
Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office plans to use its audit authority to review the reporting of hate crimes at the Division of Criminal Justice Services, according to a letter released Friday.
In statement, DiNapoli said the audit was spurred in part by a request from Manhattan Democratic Sen. Brad Hoylman, who issued a report earlier in the year raising concerns on whether law enforcement was giving proper identification to hate crimes as is required by state law.
The report also raised questions as to whether law enforcement officers were properly trained to ID and report crimes motivated by basis.
“Hate crime is a very serious issue and recent media reports indicate these heinous incidents are on the rise,” DiNapoli said in the statement. “Hatred against people because of their race, religion or sexual orientation has no place in a civil society. We need to make sure police departments across the state are reporting these incidents correctly and that they are being trained to handle the crimes properly and effectively.”
Dec 6th - 6:24 am
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule.
If you happen to see the governor, wish him a happy birthday. He was born Dec. 6, 1957, and as of today, he’s both the 56th governor of New York AND 56 years old.
NYC Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio is also in the city with no public schedule.
From 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Manhattan BP and NYC Comptroller-elect Scott Stringer and executives, philanthropic officials and scholars speak during the Citizens Budget Commission’s conference about budget and economic concerns of Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s administration; 58 E. 68th St., Manhattan.
At 8:30 a.m., Rep. Paul Tonko holds a fundraiser, 6 Colonial Green, Loudonville.
At 8:45 a.m., Mayor Bloomberg delivers remarks at the Partnership for New York City’s annual meeting, Barclays Center, 620 Atlantic Ave. at Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn.
At 10 a.m., four Assembly committees and the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus hold a public hearing on the state’s laws governing the age of criminal responsibility, Assembly Hearing Room, 250 Broadway, Room 1923, 19th Floor, Manhattan.
Also at 10 a.m., Tonko calls on the U.S. Senate to pass legislation to save money by exempting fire hydrants from EPA lead regulations in primary sources of drinking water, Latham Water Garage, 347 Old Niskayuna Road, Latham.
At 10:30 a.m., Rep. Joe Crowley is joined by elected officials, civic organizations, advocates and community members to announce the Silent Skies Act to address aircraft noise pollution in communities surrounding airports in Queens; LaGuardia Airport’s Marine Air Terminal Rotunda.
Also at 10:30 a.m., AARP NY holds press conference to announce major recommendations for state support for 4.1 million unpaid family caregivers, Lilly Apartments, 36 Arthur Ave., Blasdell.
At 6:30 p.m., New York City Councilwoman and Manhattan BP-elect Gale Brewer serves as a guest ringmaster at the Big Apple Circus, Damrosch Park, Lincoln Center, Manhattan.
From 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., there will be a candlelight vigil for Nelson Mandela outside the South African Consulate, at 333 East 38th St., Manhattan.
Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio on his new NYPD commissioner, Bill Bratton: ““I am choosing the best police leader in the United States of America. Plus (he’s) someone I trust on the philosophical level. We are kindred. We share the same beliefs.”
Although a man of modest background, Bratton, 66, has become part of a global law enforcement elite.
“Broadway Bill is gone. It’s Hollywood Bill whom de Blasio just hired.”
The job to which Bratton is returning is very different from the one he left. Crime is at all-time lows. New independent overseers will soon likely monitor the NYPD. Counterterrorism has become an important focus.
There’s skepticism that Bratton was the right pick to enable de Blasio to keep his pledge to reform stop-and-frisk.
People familiar with Bratton’s thinking said there would be significant changes in personnel, priorities and how the NYPD is organized and run.
Cuomo’s second tax commission is weighing a proposal with more than $1 billion in mostly property tax cuts, but debate over former Gov. George Pataki’s plan to slash the personal-income tax on the highest earners has helped delay the release of the group’s report.
It appears the commission will miss today’s deadline for issuing its report; members are now looking to next Tuesday.
Speaking at the Association for a Better New York’s breakfast at the Brooklyn Marriott, Mayor Bloomberg predicted New Yorkers will be living better for a long time due to his efforts on various fronts.
“The biggest risk we face…is the risk of failing to stay true to the values that made our city great, the values that make New York New York,” said Bloomberg, who was uncharacteristically emotion during his speech.
According to documents and interviews, state, local and federal officials had been aware for years that the crucial maps of flood risks were inaccurate; some feared they understated the dangers in New York City’s low-lying areas.
Dec 5th - 11:54 pm
Carl Paladino may have a powerful ally in his quest to oust the current Republican Leadership in both houses of the New York State Legislature. During a book a signing in Paladino’s hometown Thursday night, well known political operative Roger Stone seemed to back Paladino’s efforts.
“I think it’s unlikely the legislative leaders will step down from their incredibly lucrative positions where they don’t have to disclose their outside income. Although I agree with Carl Paladino, they certainly should be forced to do that,” said Stone.
Stone was in Williamsville signing copies of his book “The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJ.” The event was not only held at a building owned by Paladino’s Ellicott Development, Paladino was on the guest list.
Paladino has been luke warm about the prospects of mounting another run for Governor in 2014. But he’s made it clear he’ll challenge the Republican endorsed candidate on the Conservative line if they don’t join his efforts to remove Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos and Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb.
“I think Carl is healthy in that he keeps the party honest. He’s kind of the party’s conservative anchor and you can’t win with just the conservatives, but you can’t win without the conservatives,” Stone said.
While Paladino continues to mull a run for Governor, several of his political allies are trying to recruit one of Stone’s friends, another big name businessman, to challenge Andrew Cuomo. Two Western New York Assemblymen were part of group of Republicans who met with Donald Trump in New York City, Wednesday.
“I know some people over there. In fact, Roger (Stone) helped me make the meeting and it turned out to be a lot more than we expected,” said Political Strategist Michael Caputo.
Caputo, Stone’s protégé, ran Paladino’s campaign for Governor in 2010. Even after the meeting Caputo admitted convincing the real estate mogul to run for Governor will be a tough sell.
“I do believe the notion of Trump running for Governor is still more of a fantasy than a reality, but it’s something he’s strongly considering. I think he was firmly in the no column when we asked for the meeting and yesterday, he told us after the meeting, he was in the maybe column. I’m not sure we’re going to get him to the yes column, but it’s a long drawn out process and something he has to talk to his family about over the holidays,” Caputo said.
Stone, who said he wasn’t directly involved in Wednesday’s meeting, believes Trump has his eye on something bigger. Stone did applaud the recruitment efforts though.
“I think Mr. Trump has made it pretty clear that he’s not interested in running for Governor although he has been a critic of the current administration. He’s certainly a proponent for fracking. He’s a proponent for tax reduction and job creation,” Stone said.
Whether or not a Republican candidate for Governor would abide by Paladino’s demands remains to be seen, but Stone seemed to suggest they should at least listen.
“The party’s regular wing and the Tea Party wing have to come together. A divided Republican party, particularly in a blue state like this, would have no prospect.”
No matter who faces Cuomo in 2014, even Stone knows they’ll be facing an uphill battle.
“I would have to concede that Governor Cuomo looks very strong right now. He’s got $30 Million in the bank,” Stone added.
Dec 5th - 5:37 pm
Gov. Andrew Cuomo heads to Washington on Monday to raise hundreds of thousands more dollars – this time from some of the most wired lobbyists in the nation’s capital.
“Three press aides to the governor could not immediately confirm the event; his 2014 campaign office and the Washington lobbying firm hosting the fundraiser did not return calls for comment.”
Cuomo’s second tax commission is divided over former Gov. George Pataki’s push to recommend an income tax cut, and it may not issue a report tomorrow as planned.
In a rare display of public emotion, Mayor Bloomberg choked up when talking about his unborn grandson and the city that he hopes to leave for him
Chris Smith: “After all that talk about Sandinistas, Bill de Blasio may turn out to be a closet conservative.”
The Rev. Al Sharpton isn’t 100 percent on board with de Blasio’s pick of Bill Bratton to return to his old job as NYPD commissioner.
With this new job, Bratton’s role as an analyst at NBC News will be ending.
In the deeply divided Senate, 30 Republicans have opposed public campaign financing, as well as two Democrats. That leaves the measure one vote short heading into the January legislative session
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was not pressed to weigh in on the most pressuring international current events of the day at a foreign policy forum last night.
Donald Trump cut two checks totalling $15,000 to Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino’s successful re-election campaign this year.
Mayor Stephanie Miner said the Detroit bankruptcy case – and the ruling on pension rights in particular – might influence union contract talks in Syracuse, even though there’s little chance the city will enter bankruptcy.
Former Gov. George Pataki will headline a $1,000 a head fundraiser for Republican Congressional contender George Demos next week.
A new TV ad from Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns appears to show a gunman walking into a school at the same time Adam Lanza entered Sandy Hook.
Rep. Pete King is heading back to New Hampshire.
Bill Clinton is a doodler.
De Blasio has trouble being on time.
Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand were in Central New York today.
Former Daily Gazette reporter Dave Lombardo and former Record city editor Jim Franco are teaming up to anchor a Sunday morning public affairs talk show on WGDJ-1300 AM.
Dec 5th - 4:40 pm
Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is joining a coalition of investors to push corporate sponsors of the 2014 winter Olympic Games to use their influence and have Russian officials crack down on anti-LGBT activity and legislation in the country.
“The Russian government’s discriminatory laws have cast a shadow over the Olympics,” DiNapoli said. “We call upon these corporate sponsors to stand up for the respect and equality enshrined in the Olympic movement, advocate for human rights and confront abuses. Taking a stand against these prejudicial laws and policies is not just the right thing to do, it protects shareholder interests and corporate reputations.”
The coalition includes the state’s $160 billion pension fund, as well as the combined power of the city comptroller’s office and 19 investment firms as well.
The letters, sent to Olympic sponsors AtoS, Coca-Cola, Dow Chemical, General Electric, Omega (Swatch), McDonalds, Panasonic, Proctor & Gamble, Samsung and Visa, said they companies have a “reputational risk” of being associated with the Olympics in Russia if they fail signal they oppose the country’s anti-LGBT laws.
Here’s the letter:
Dec 5th - 3:56 pm
Carl Paladino, who is mulling a re-match against Gov. Andrew Cuomo next fall, is still angry about an incident during his failed 2010 bid during which he stood with Orthodox Jewish leaders in Brooklyn and pledged to “oppose the homosexual agenda” – especially same-sex marriage – and said children should not be “brainwashed” into believing that being gay is acceptable.
The Buffalo businessman was roundly condemned for his comments, sopme of which were written for him by Rabbi Yehuda Levin, who endorsed Paladino’s run for governor and advised him in his effort to woo conservative Jewish voters.
The incident came up when Paladino was interviewed on Dec. 2 on 100.7 FM WUTQ, and the hosts suggested the erstwhile candidate had been wrongly portrayed by the “liberal media” as anti-gay.
“Wait a minute,” Paladino retorted. “I got set up by the Hasidics in New York. They set me up on that. I never had a problem with a gay person in my life. That’s total, God-damned nonsense, and I don’t put up with that, all right? They’ll paint me as not politically correct, and they’re perfectly right.”
Paladino went on to say that he had made “mistakes” during his campaign, and considered his reading of Levin’s prepared remarks one of them. He didn’t apologize outright, but did say he felt “terrible” about the incident.
“…Listen, I was a big boy,” Paladino said. “I knew it was a very blue state. I went up there and I laid out values, all right? They wanted to bring me down on social values. And I, being the first time I ever ran for anything, I made a lot of mistakes. And one of them was reading that stupid paper drafted by those Hasidics without having it properly vetted by my campaign manager.”
“That was a terrible, terrible thing. And I felt terrible about it. And I certainly am not anti-gay and I’m not a racist, OK? I will say whatever I please, OK, to anybody who I think is wrong, and then when you want to play the anti-gay and you want to play the racist cards, that’s what they do when devoid of any other excuse for their bad behavior.”
Paladino’s position on social issues will no doubt be back in the spotlight if he chooses to go forward with another run for governor, though this time he has said he will only seek the Conservative line and not participate in the GOP primary.
Dec 5th - 2:24 pm
Republican Chairman Ed Cox says he hasn’t spoken to Donald Trump about a potential run for governor, though in an interview he continued to praise him for being “an astute observer” of the political scene.
“No, he hasn’t contacted me,” Cox said.
In an interview with Phil Reisman of The Journal News (who, disclosure, is my father), Cox said he hadn’t contact with the real-estate mogul, who emerged from a meeting with Republican lawmakers on Wednesday not dispelling any word he’s interested in running for governor next year against Andrew Cuomo.
A Republican official told Capital that a Trump aide initially reached out to state GOP officials about running for governor.
After the chairman made some demands involving putting Trump’s assets in a blind trust and dumping a few million into a campaign account, which Trump did not follow through on, Capital reported.
Cox was also asked to attend the meeting on Wednesday in New York City, but declined.
Instead, Cox said in the interview he would meet on Thursday with Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, a potential candidate for governor who has not determined if he’ll run next year.
As for Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino and his potential candidacy on the Conservative Party line, Cox offered this compliment: “He’s doing a great job out in western New York.”
Dec 5th - 1:21 pm
An executive at a New York City non-profit organization has been arrested and charged with stealing $373,000 in both state and federal funds, according to a joint announcement from Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Comptroller Tom DiNapoli and city Department of Investigation Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn.
Law enforcement officials allege Dorothy Ogundu pocketed the funds initially directed to her non-profit organization Angeldocs, Inc.
Ogundu, in turn, is accused of usingthe money to pay mortgages on commercial property she owned, make improvements on the property to increase its value and even ship vehicles to Nigeria while also making other personal purchases and for her for-profit operation.
The organization has received a dozen state, city and federal grants, with Ogundu accused of skimming portions from all 12: approximately $91,000 from the City of New York, approximately $87,000 from the State of New York and approximately $195,000 from the federal government.
“Dorothy Ogundu pocketed hundreds of thousands of city, state and federal taxpayer dollars intended to help those who need it most with their health care costs,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “City, state and federal funds intended to serve New Yorkers in need should not be used to line the pockets of people running charities. Working together with Comptroller DiNapoli, we will use every tool at our disposal to crack down on anyone abusing the public trust.”
Ogundu was charged with several felonies, including second-degree grand larceny, second-degree forgery and first-degree falsifying business records.
In addition to the city and state investigation, officials say the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Housing and Urban Development Department played a role in the probe.
Dec 5th - 12:29 pm
Remember those TV ads featuring kids who consume Pediasure and somehow become better soccer players than kids who eat french fries and doughnuts?
It turns out that was a misleading ad, leading to the company Abbott Laboratories to reach a settlement with the state attorney general’s office to no longer show the spot or claim the drink provides a boost in performance for a child.
“False and misleading advertising aimed at our children and their parents is exploitative, illegal and may even contribute to the obesity crisis in our communities,” Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statment. “My office will prosecute false claims by companies who seek to hawk their products on New York parents who are trying to provide the best for their kids.”
Pediasure — which the TV ad contends is healthier than junk food for child athletes — is actually a sugary drink that does actually contain fruit despite pictures of raspberries, blueberries and blackberries on the label.
The company has agreed to take down in its advertising images of fruits unless the phrase “No Fruit Juice” appears above the nutritional facts panel as required by federal law.
Dec 5th - 12:05 pm
Nearly 400 local taxing districts and municipalities plan to override the state’s cap on property taxes, according to the most recent data from the state comptroller’s office.
The vast majority — 1,004 local governments — plan to budget within the cap, however.
Last month, 206 local governments submitted budgets that would override the cap; that number has grown to 387.
Increasing local property taxes is limited to the rate of inflation or 2 percent, whichever is lower. Some narrow exemptions are made for the growth in tax base and pension costs.
This is the second year local municipalities are budgeting with the cap in place.
Among the state’s county governments, 12 have plans to override the cap, which requires a 60 percent majority of the governing board.
Below is a database of which local governments plan to override the cap, which plan to live within it. A “Y” denotes plans to override the cap.