Cuomo Declines To Say If He’d Take WFP Ballot Line

Which name appears before general election voters in November on the Working Families Party’s ballot line remains up in the air nearly two weeks after Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s victory over Cynthia Nixon in the Democratic primary.

Nixon retains the liberal organization’s ballot line this fall and a complicated legal maneuver would may be required to have her run for an Assembly seat. She has not actively campaigned since the primary ended.

Cuomo on Tuesday would not give an indication as to whether he’d take the line if offered or if he’s spoken with WFP officials.

“We haven’t gotten there yet,” Cuomo said. “I haven’t had any conversations with them and we’ll see how it goes.”

The WFP in April endorsed Nixon, an actress and public education advocate. At the time, the WFP indicated it would not want to play a spoiler role in the general election.

The endorsement of Nixon, however, once again put Cuomo at odds with the WFP — a contemptuous relationship that has seesawed over the years he has been governor.

But the party will need 50,000 votes to retain ballot status in the next election cycle and, in theory, a candidate who would actively campaign as the WFP standard bearer.

Cuomo did not give any indication as to which way he would lean if offered the line, but said the primary victory was a vindication of his own efforts as governor.

“I think what the primary demonstrated is New Yorkers know that this is the progressive capital of the nation, not just rhetorically, but by delivery,” he said. “You cannot be a progressive unless you have accomplished progress.

“You’re not going to sell dreams and visions to this electorate. They’ve heard it all before, it’s not going to happen. It’s about your performance and your performance then provides your credibility for your future performance.”

Cuomo Defends Sagging Population Upstate

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday defended the loss of population in parts of upstate New York, attributing the fall in part to the weather.

“More people are leaving upstate, net,” Cuomo told reporters after addressing the Business Council’s annual gathering in Bolton Landing. “People will make demographic choices about where they want to live. Some of them are climate based. Some of them are personal reasons. Leaving upstate is nothing new.”

Cuomo’s Republican opponent Marc Molinaro this week highlighted the population trend in upstate New York, blaming the governor’s track record on the economy for the declining and aging population.

But Cuomo in his speech to the Business Council defended his fiscal stewardship of the state during his two terms in office, pointing to a cap on property tax increases, a voluntary cap on spending hikes and an effort to attract new business.

In a gaggle with reporters, he noted people had fled the state before, but for economic reasons.

“That is no longer the case,” he said. “Someone wants to move to Florida, they want to move to Florida. God bless them. They want to fish, they want the warm weather, God bless them. But we were chasing people from this state. We are now attracting people to this state.”

New York’s population as a whole has not grown as fast as the rest of the country, a shift that has been seen over the last several decades and pre-dating Cuomo’s time in office. It’s likely New York will lose at least one congressional seat after the 2020 Census.

“That doesn’t change the fact that young people are moving to upstate New York, we have more jobs than ever, our taxes are lower than ever,” Cuomo said. “It doesn’t change any of that.”

After Cuomo’s remarks, his top economic development advisor, Howard Zemsky, issued a statement also blaming the weather, specifically the brutal northeast winters.

“For the first time in what feels like forever, millennials are staying, moving back and planting roots in communities across Upstate New York,” said Zemsky, the president of the Empire State Development Corp.

“We’re seeing it in areas like Buffalo and Rochester, where downtown and waterfront revitalization efforts are creating vibrant, inviting cities and attracting innovative companies that are generating the jobs of tomorrow. Unfortunately, after decades of outmigration and young people leaving Upstate, the region’s population is older and many choose warmer weather after retirement or otherwise depart from New York State. These factors must be taken into account when discussing population trends. We’re making tremendous progress, which is supported by the facts and data. It’s also true that this process will take time to repair many decades of damage and you shouldn’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise.”

Brooks Releases First TV Ad

From the Morning Memo:

Freshman Democratic Sen. John Brooks released his first TV ad of his re-election bid, a spot that highlights his work as a volunteer firefighter and support for more education funding for his Long Island district.

Brooks is considered one of the more vulnerable Democratic incumbents this year in what is otherwise expected to be a potential wave year for the party. Republicans hope to flip the seat this year as they seek to maintain their narrow majority in the chamber.

This year Brooks faces Massapequa Park Mayor Jeff Pravato.

Two years ago, Brooks won the seat held by Republican Michael Venditto, whose father faced corruption charges. The younger Venditto was never implicated.

The battle for control of the Senate this year is expected to take place in suburban districts like this one on Long Island and in the northern suburbs of the Hudson Valley, where Democrats also expect to make in-roads this year.

3407 Families Hopeful For FAA Reauthorization

From the Morning Memo:

A congressional vote to reauthorize FAA programs for five years could come as soon as tomorrow, according to Western New York Rep. Brian Higgin’s office.

The move comes as welcome progress to families of the victims of Flight 3407, who have, for the better part of a decade, been back and forth to Washington, D.C. fighting for new safety standards and then, once that was achieved, making sure those standards remained in place.

Prior to the Flight 3407 crash in 2009, pilots with as few as 250 hours of flight time were qualified to fly commercial airliners. Thanks to the lobbying efforts of the victims’ families, the training requirement was increased to 1,500 hours.

“It’ll be nice to relax a bit. We’re always vigilant. We will never stop watching. We hold people accountable. It will be nice though to know we don’t have to go every week,” said Susan Bourque, whose sister Beverly Eckert died in the crash.

Higgins said he’s confident, but cautiously so, about the vote. He pointed out the victims have had to work tirelessly just to get temporary reauthorizations in the past, and it usually comes down to the 11th hour.

“Without continued vigilance, we risk an unraveling of the great progress made in flight safety for all passengers thanks to the tireless advocacy by the families of Flight 3407,” Higgins said. “We are pushing for the final bill approved this week to maintain the flight safety standards these families fought for and protect the flying public for years to come.”

The bill has bipartisan support in Western New York, at least. Republican Rep. Tom Reed has supported the effort along with Higgins, a Democrat.

“We will always remember the tragedy which took the lives of so many in the crash of Flight 3407 and will continue to honor their memory and stand with their family and friends to fight to ensure these enhanced flight safety regulations are reauthorized,” Reed said. “We must not back down and lessen these important reforms.”

The deadline for reauthorization is Sept. 30th, and the measure must pass through the U.S. Senate too.

Molinaro’s MTA Pick Causes Stir

From the Morning Memo:

Republican gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro’s appointee to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority voted in New York City up until November 2016, records with the Board of Elections show.

James Vitiello was selected by the Duchess County executive earlier that year to represent Dutchess County on the regional transportation authority’s board.

But the pick has come under scrutiny in recent days after The Daily News reported Vitiello was Molinaro’s best man at his wedding in November 2015 and was a donor to Molinaro’s county executive and gubernatorial campaigns.

Records show Vitiello had been registered to vote in New York City and voted there until that November while also owning a residence in Dutchess County since 2004. Vitiello was appointed by Molinaro to the board in June of that year to cast a vote with Orange, Putnam, and Rockland counties representatives.

He was later purged from the rolls in August 2017 after he registered to vote in Dutchess County.

“The MTA needs strong leadership, especially in suburban counties that pay for the MTA but get shortchanged by its decisions, but Marc Molinaro chose to place a friend and donor with no transportation experience as Dutchess County representative on the MTA Board. Suburban counties deserve real representation, but Marc Molinaro chose political patronage over our needs,” said Democratic state Sen. Shelley Mayer, a Democrat from Westchester County and an ally of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is seeking a third term this year.

Cuomo’s own MTA representative, Larry Schwartz, was criticized this month after it was reported he had viewed a mailer linking Democratic primary challenger Cynthia Nixon to a rise in anti-Semitism. Schwartz has insisted he did not view the side of the mailer critical of Nixon.

“Andrew Cuomo’s MTA pick and right-hand-man Larry Schwartz just got caught crafting disgusting mail wrongly accusing Cynthia Nixon of being anti-Semitic,” said Molinaro spokeswoman Katy Delgado. “Does he really think a cheap shot quote from a surrogate will distract from that. Go fish, Andrew.”

Unshackle Upstate Releases Legislative Scorecard

From the Morning Memo:

The pro-business Unshackle Upstate on Tuesday will release its 2017-18 scorecard assessing legislative votes.

“As we head toward another critical Election Day, Upstate voters deserve to know which state lawmakers are actually working to strengthen our economy,” said Michael Kracker, the group’s executive director.

“Our new Legislative Scorecards set the record straight for voters by grading legislators based on their actions in Albany over the last two years. Voters who are concerned about jobs, taxes and the future of their community should take a long, hard look at their legislators’ grades before they head to the polls his November.”

The scorecard assessed a range of measures, votes, sponsorships and budget votes including regulatory measures, tax bills and mandates.

Nine Republicans in the state Senate received rankings of 100, while two Republicans and a Democrat — Assemblyman Robin Schimminger — received perfect scores.

“We encourage all voters across the Southern Tier to review Unshackle Upstate’s Legislative Scorecards before they step into the voting booth this year,” said Jennifer Conway, president and CEO of the Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce.

2018 UU Scorecard Assembly Ranking by Nick Reisman on Scribd

2018 UU Scorecard Senate Ranking by Nick Reisman on Scribd

PEF Endorses Murphy For Senate

From the Morning Memo:

The Public Employees Federation on Monday endorsed Republican Sen. Terrence Murphy’s re-election bid.

“PEF represents a diverse workforce from nurses to engineers to accountants,” said Murphy, who represents a district in the northern New York City suburbs. “They are highly skilled and trained in their respective fields.”

PEF is the state’s second-largest public workers union. Murphy faces Democrat Peter Harckham this year.

“We are proud to announce that our union is endorsing State Senator Terrence Murphy for this year’s election,” said PEF President Wayne Spence. “We know that he appreciates and values the work performed by public employees in his district and around the state. He also understands the needs of working men and women and their families and supports the programs and services that address these needs.”

Here and Now

It’s National Voter Registration Day. If you’re not already registered, today’s a good opportunity to change that.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Albany and Warren County, where he’ll attend the NYS Business Council’s annual meeting and delivers remarks at 10 a.m.

President Donald Trump speaks this morning at the UN General Assembly in Manhattan.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Manhattan, where he participates in the high-level week of the General Assembly and holds bilateral meetings on the margins.

At 8:45 a.m., Rockefeller Institute of Government President Jim Malatras and the organization’s Assistant Director for Policy and Research Katie Zuber discuss the opioid epidemic in rural New York, Conference of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Providers of New York State, Oncenter, 800 South State St., Syracuse.

At 9:30 a.m. the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission holds a public hearing, Landmarks Preservation Commission, 1 Centre St., ninth floor, Manhattan.

At 10 a.m., “The Brian Lehrer Show” features NYC Councilman Ritchie Torres and others, WNYC.

At 10:30 a.m., Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. speaks at the Linden Tree Elementary Technology & Family Homework Lab ribbon-cutting, 1560 Purdy St., Bronx.

Also at 10:30 a.m., NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray delivers remarks at the Mayor’s Fund board of directors meeting, City Hall, Manhattan.

At 11 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul announces the winners of 76 West Awards, Doubletree by Hilton, Grand Ballroom, 225 Water St., Binghamton.

Also at 11 a.m., NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer joins tenants and affordable housing advocates to release a report on the rent affordability crisis and solutions to address it, 1 Centre St., 10th Floor, Manhattan.

At 11:15 a.m., Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, the GOP gubernatorial candidate, holds a press conference, David Homes New Home Construction
Cross Creek Subdivision, 53 Tranquility Trail, Lancaster.

At 1 p.m., Hochul announces a “significant economic investment” in the Southern Tier, Koffman Southern Tier Incubator, 120 Hawley St., Binghamton.

Also at 1 p.m., the state Court Officers Association holds a press conference to highlight staffing shortage in the courts, security lapses and an unfinished $35 million training academy, 320 Jay St., Brooklyn.

At 1:30 p.m., Molinaro holds another press conference at a yet-to-be-determined location in Rochester.

Also at 1:30 p.m., NYC Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza will celebrate National Voter Registration Day by joining City-As-School students and student activists David Hogg, Delaney Tarr, and Ramon Contreras to discuss civic engagement and activism, 16 Clarkson St., Manhattan.

At 3:30 p.m., Molinaro holds a third press conference, United Auto Supply, 1200 State Fair Blvd., Syracuse.

At 5:15 p.m., Hochul delivers remarks at the DNC Women’s Leadership Forum event, 237 W. 35th St., Manhattan.

At 5:30 p.m., Assembly members Patricia Fahy, John McDonald, Angelo Santabarbara, Phil Steck, Mary Beth Walsh as well as state Sen. James Tedisco and others rally on behalf of direct support professionals to receive a living wage, Robb Alley at Proctor’s Theatre, 432 State St., Schenectady.

At 6 p.m., a pre-taped interview with NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio appears on Roland Martin Unfiltered

At 7 p.m., Diaz presents an award at the Waterfront Alliance’s Heroes on the Harbor Gala, Pier 61, The Lighthouse, Chelsea Piers, Manhattan.

At 7 p.m. and 11 p.m., “Inside City Hall” features a special town hall on NYCHA’s public housing crisis, NY1.

De Blasio holds a closed-press dinner for business and civic leaders at Gracie Mansion, East Side, Manhattan.

Headlines…

Embattled U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh claimed he couldn’t have sexually assaulted any of his accusers because he was a virgin “many years” into college — but none of his alleged victims have made claims of rape or sexual penetration.

Kavanaugh and his wife, Ashley, sat down for an interview with Fox News Channel’s “The Story with Martha MacCallum” after a second woman accused him of sexual misconduct, and the judge insisted: “I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone.”

With President Trump publicly backing him, and senior Senate Republicans closing ranks around him, Kavanaugh pledged to “defend my integrity, my lifelong record.”

“Even the toughest Supreme Court confirmation battles never quite came to this: a grim-faced nominee, stoic wife at his side, going on national television and describing when, approximately, he lost his virginity.”

Kavanaugh’s high school yearbook page offers a glimpse into his teenage years, including a boast of a conquest with a student at a nearby girls Catholic school. The woman in question, who signed a letter in support of Kavanaugh before she knew of the yearbook mention, said it was “horrible, hurtful and simply untrue.”

New Yorker writers Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer pushed back against the New York Times’ coverage of the latest allegations against Kavanaugh.

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is calling for Kavanaugh’s nomination to be withdrawn.

Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz got run out of a restaurant in Washington last night by a group of activists, who shouted “We believe survivors” in protest of Kavanaugh and his Supreme Court bid.

When Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, headed to the White House yesterday morning, he was ready to resign and convinced — wrongly, it turned out — that Trump was about to fire him. He safe until at least Thursday, when the two are set to meet.

A federal judge said he’s leaning toward dismissing Stormy Daniels’ defamation lawsuit against Trump.

Trump raised hopes at the United Nations that a second meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un could occur “quite soon,” striking a conciliatory tone one year after he used his debut at the U.N. to deride the autocrat as “Little Rocket Man” and threaten to “totally destroy North Korea.”

The co-founders of Instagram are resigning their positions with the social media company.

Instagram Chief Executive Kevin Systrom said in a statement that he and Mike Krieger plan to leave the company in the next few weeks, and there was no immediate word as to why.

After endorsing Gov. Andrew Cuomo twice in the last eight years, the state’s business leaders are considering whether to offer their blessing for a third term after the governor tacked left to win a Democratic primary.

Hopeful that he might have a shot at the Council’s endorsement this year, Republican gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro pitched its members on his property tax relief plan, which he says would reduce taxes by 30 percent over five years, though he declined to share specifics.

Molinaro called for a complete state takeover of Medicaid, and also said he would make permanent the 2 percent property tax cap imposed Cuomo in 2011 — and expand it to New York City, which is currently exempt.

A neo-Nazi group founded in 2016 is distributing anti-Cuomo flyers, and says on its website that it is fighting back against a probe it claims the governorordered this summer into the usage of Identity Evropa posters that were placed at “dozens of public universities and public places in New York and New Jersey.”

The United Nations General Assembly has become an annual headache for drivers as security surrounding the weeklong event in Manhattan creates gridlock nightmares. But this year ferry riders and bicyclists have suffered their own traffic woes.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio bobbed and weaved and declined to comment about his role in City Hall compiling a secret dossier on a city watchdog who’s issued multiple critical reports of the mayor’s administration.

NY-21 Democrat Tedra Cobb’s campaign is requesting that television stations pull an attack ad from Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik that claims Cobb is a “Cuomo clone” on the grounds that it is inaccurate.

More >

Extras

As he was whisked through Manhattan for meetings with world leaders, events in Washington yanked the president back into domestic concerns – facing questions about the future of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and new sexual misconduct allegations against his Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh.

“Judge Kavanaugh is an outstanding person and I am with him all the way,” Trump said, adding that he believes the allegations against the nominee are “totally political.”

Kavanaugh’s refusal to step aside — backed by Trump and key Senate Republicans — sets up a blockbuster hearing Thursday that will determine whether the appeals court judge can be elevated to the nation’s highest court.

Trump will meet with Rosenstein on Thursday to discuss reports that he talked about invoking the 25th Amendment to remove the president from office.

The announcement came just hours after reports that Rosenstein was considering resigning, which set off a flurry of speculation about who would replace him at the Justice Department, where he oversees the Russia investigation.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, accused Democrats of mounting a “smear campaign” against Kavanaugh, who is facing a second sexual misconduct allegation.

“I will not be intimidated into withdrawing from this process,” Kavanaugh said in a statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee. “The coordinated effort to destroy my good name will not drive me out. The vile threats of violence against my family will not drive me out. The last minute character assassination will not succeed.”

New York’s former top pension investment officer, Vicki Fuller, was appointed to the board of a natural gas conglomerate after the pension system bought up the company’s bonds, rejected demands to divest from fossil fuels and supported multimillion-dollar pay packages for the company’s executives after the firm’s stock price had dropped.

A white supremacist group is distributing fliers across the state hitting Gov. Andrew Cuomo for attacking their right to free speech.

Cuomo won’t touch eels, because they remind him of snakes, which he doesn’t like.

An arbitrator has ruled in favor of the Buffalo Teachers Federation in the City Honors dispute. The union says the arbitrator ruled that the Buffalo School District retaliated against teachers at City Honors by “eliminating 5.5 teacher positions to fund teacher aides.”

If Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney had resigned last week or before, there would have been a special election to pick her replacement. Instead, it will be up to the Onondaga County Legislature to choose who will manage the county for the next year.

Mahoney will work primarily at SUNY ESF and will also serve as a special advisor to SUNY Upstate Medical University. There are a number of messes that are awaiting her at her new job, including…

…The former president of Upstate Medical University in Syracuse pleaded guilty to three counts of official misconduct, admitting that he had secretly boosted his annual pay by nearly $29,000 and used unauthorized expenses to increase his $5,000-a-month housing allowance.

Within hours of Mahoney’s announcement she would resign, Legislature Chairman Ryan McMahon, 38, had locked up enough support to succeed her. He could be in office in a matter of weeks.

It appears NY-27 Republican Rep. Chris Collins didn’t leave his own picture on his first TV campaign ad for the required full four seconds. As a result, his Democratic opponent, Nate McMurray, contends the ad violates federal rules.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro said he has a plan to cut local property taxes 30 percent over years, primarily through capping state spending and having the state take over the Medicaid bill from counties.

New York state will soon make it illegal to finance the purchase of dogs, cats or other companion animals through lease-to-own schemes.

Cuomo has signed into law a bill to allow medical marijuana to be used as an alternative to opioids for pain management.

An Ithaca company is accused of turning a blind eye to pervasive sexual harassment and blatant racism in the workplace.

Mark Richardson, former president of the Carolina Panthers football team, has expanded his real estate portfolio to the Northeast, purchasing a 3-acre retail shopping center at one of the busiest intersections in Queensbury.

As more governments allow and even encourage their employees to use their own cellphones and computers for work, the line between private and public communication has blurred.

Molinaro Unveils Tax Cut Plan

Cutting New York’s sky-high property taxes by 30 percent is the goal of the tax plan unveiled Monday by Republican gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro. Speaking at an annual gathering of the Business Council, Molinaro framed the tax cut plan as a way of preventing more people from leaving the state.

“Over one million New Yorkers have left our state over the last decade,” Molinaro said at the retreat in Bolton Landing. “The out migration from New York is a particular crisis upstate where we’re witnessing entire communities hollow out.”
Molinaro’s plan would

-Make the state’s cap on property taxes permanent and it extend it to New York City
-Shift Medicaid costs from the county governments to the state
-Require a supermajority of the Legislature to increase taxes
-Cap spending on the state level

“The goal will be to control growth,” he said. “We know this is possible. Not to mention, I’m tired of Albany pretending as if serving poor people isn’t there responsibility.”

But the plan could be a costly one for the state budget. Molinaro says more details will be released.

“We’ll have the full details,” Molinaro said. “In fact, we’ll be releasing some of it today. I’m telling you right now, we have a detailed plan to pay for it. We don’t have to increase taxes to pay for it.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s campaign also blasted the proposal, pointing to the federal tax cut measure of 2017 the capped state and local government tax deductions at $10,000. Molinaro has opposed that provision in the tax law.

“His so-called ‘plan’ to cut taxes is heavy on rhetoric and light on details,” said spokeswoman Abbey Collins. “Maybe he doesn’t want to admit that instead of providing relief to hardworking New Yorkers his ‘plan’ would slash spending on vital services like education, health care, and public safety. New Yorkers won’t be fooled by this latest gimmick.”

Both in 2010 and 2014, the Business Council endorsed Cuomo. But Molinaro says he’d welcome the group’s endorsement, he doesn’t not believe it is as key to his victory.

“I leave that to them. I’m not going to put anybody in an awkward position of anything,” Molinaro said. “I’m here to earn the support of business leaders, but as importantly, I’m here to earn the support of New Yorkers.”

Cuomo is seeking a third term this November.