Aug 25th - 8:03 pm
The New York leadership team for the Donald Trump campaign has formally submitted its plans for the state moving forward. Honorary co-chair Carl Paladino said he expects the campaign to approve the plans in the next few days.
He said the document includes the framework for the campaign committee, the budget and field offices.
“It outlines some of the things we’re going to do, some of the places we’re going to open up field offices. This is all going to be done in the next 70 days,” he said.
Paladino said it also includes a request for the candidate to make appearances in Buffalo, Albany and Nassau county between now and early-October. He said the stops will most likely consist of a fundraiser and a public rally at each location.
“Donald Trump can’t wait to get to New York, let me tell ya,” Paladino said. “He likes it here. He’s always had a warm reception here and there’s no better place to show the respect that people have for him than right here in New York state.”
The reports (most recently one in the New York Post) that Trump plans to spend a significant amount of time in New York continue to be met by skepticism from both the media and politicos. Why would Trump spend any amount of time in a Democrat-dominated state, where Clinton has consistently led by double digits in the polls?
“Because you read the polls and we don’t.” Paladino said. “This is going to be another 1984, the last time a Republican candidate won the state of New York.”
On MSNBC Wednesday, new campaign manager Kellyanne Conway was non-committal when asked about New York and said the campaign will look at moving staff to competitive states.
Aug 25th - 5:02 pm
Hillary Clinton released a web video portraying Donald Trump as the candidate of the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and white supremacists, and warning “if Trump wins, they could be running the country.”
While Gov. Andrew Cuomo ponders legislation to sharply restrict advertising of Airbnb rentals, a new study from the data-based website FiveThirtyEight shows that at least a third of rentals are commercial—meaning entire homes or apartments are rented out for much of the time.
Rev. Franklin Graham was in Albany, saying: “I want to urge Christians to go the polls and vote, and I want to encourage Christians to also run for political office.”
According to Quote.com, Clinton’s grammar and language are geared toward an approximately eighth-grade audience. Trump, meanwhile, speaks at a level about comparable with a seventh-grade comprehension.
Former NYPD detective, media personality, business owner (and Nassau County resident) Bo Dietl wants to run for NYC mayor next year, challenging incumbent Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., often mentioned as a potential de Blasio primary challenger, received nearly $100,000 in donations connected to a Queens-based construction company that was later awarded $1.4 million from Diaz’s fiscal year 2011 capital budget.
Senate Health Committee Chairman Kemp Hannon has asked the state attorney general to investigate skyrocketing prices of epinephrine auto-injectors (EpiPens) by the drug’s manufacturer, saying the hikes occurred “without any justification.”
The U.S. Army has placed a $12.5 million order for radar components with Lockheed Martin’s plant in suburban Syracuse, according to Pentagon officials.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and officials representing IndyCar and Watkins Glen announced that an agreement has been reached to bring the series back to the track for at least the next two years.
Sen. Todd Kaminsky has endorsed Long Beach City Councilman Anthony Eramo for his former Assembly seat ahead of the Sept. 13 Democratic primary against former Nassau Legislator Jeff Toback.
A trial court in Rensselaer County has thrown out a union challenge to a pair of programs started by Cuomo — the Empire and Excelsior Service fellowships — that recruits young professionals and those just getting out of school, to work at high level jobs in state government for two year periods.
Queens Rep. Joe Crowley says he has no plans to support the TPP — despite his initial praise for the pact while it was in negotiation — and believes the “onus is on the Republicans” who currently control the House if they want to push it through before the year’s end.
Renovations on more than a dozen city schools will be completed largely by minorities, women and Syracuse city residents, according to the terms of a new labor agreement.
Aug 25th - 3:50 pm
Senate Democrats on Thursday blasted the chamber’s number two Republican after he signaled his support for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in a radio interview.
Syracuse Sen. John DeFrancisco insisted he would vote for Trump in an interview with WCNY’s The Capitol Pressroom and, seemingly in a moment of impishness, entertained the discredited theory promoted by Trump that President Obama wasn’t born in the U.S.
“Well, there are some people who still believe,” he said in the interview before trailing off.
Senate Democratic spokesman Mike Murphy in a statement blasted DeFrancisco for being “extreme and out of touch” — yoking the broader conference to Trump comments.
“From passionately supporting Donald Trump’s divisive and incendiary campaign to defending dangerous and offensive conspiracy theories, the 2nd-most powerful Senate Republican showed us where his conference stands on these important issues,” Murphy said. “Senate Republicans do not share New Yorkers’ values and are more in-line with dangerous xenophobes and demagogues like Donald Trump.”
In response, Senate Republican spokesman Scott Reif called the comment a “baseless political attack.”
“While the Senate Democrats launch yet another baseless political attack that only Albany insiders will truly appreciate, we’re having a conversation with hardworking taxpayers and their families about what Senate Republicans have done to improve their lives – – like cutting middle-class income taxes by 20 percent, providing record levels of support for schools, taking aim at a heroin epidemic that has torn apart families, and ensuring every region of the state has the resources they need to create jobs and grow its economy,” he said. “Senate Democrats can sit around and listen to the Albany talk shows, we’re focused on growing our majority to do even more for the people of this state.”
What’s apparent, too, is that Democrats will continue to hammer the Senate GOP over Trump’s candidacy over the course of the fight for control of the narrowly divided chamber.
Democrats expect to make gains this election season, even beyond the mere scope of a presidential election cycle, given Trump being at the top of the ticket and the expectation he will lose badly to Hillary Clinton in New York this year.
Aug 25th - 3:20 pm
This can be a very touchy subject for Senate mainline Democrats, who can get a little Al Roker on you if you dare to bring it up. But something is happening this election cycle which is a stiff departure from two years ago. Primarily labor’s involvement.
Two years ago, with an assist from Mayor De Blasio, Democrats vowed to take back control of the State Senate. They failed in their efforts ( although one could argue that numerically speaking they actually succeeded but politics prevents a sitting Democratic Majority ). They also left a trail of bitter feelings among Republicans and the Independent Democratic Conference, whose members had to fight off primaries. This time around not a single IDC member has a primary opponent. The labor unions appear to be standing down. This is not a completely hands off approach, but the endorsements this year speak volumes.
In 2014 NYSUT backed a full slate of Democratic candidates including Dave Dennenberg, Adrienne Esposito, Justin Wagner, Terry Gipson, Elaine Altman, Cecilia Tkacyk and Johnny Destino all of whom lost. In 2016 it’s much more of a mixed bag with NYSUT backing mostly incumbents including IDC members and Republicans. The outliers are Adam Haber and Todd Kaminsky on Long Island who have the union’s backing, Chris Eachus, and Terry Gipson once again in the Hudson Valley ( not sure what it is with this guy, but everyone seems to love him ).
The AFL-CIO endorsements tell a similar story. In 2014 the union backed the unsuccessful candidacies of Dave Denenberg, Justin Wagner, Ted O’Brien, Elaine Altman, Cecilia Tkacyk and ( of course ) Terry Gipson. This year, the AFL-CIO is staying neutral in some races, but mostly endorsing incumbents from both parties. The exceptions are Adam Haber and ( it kinda goes without saying ) Terry Gipson. Obviously more endorsements could come out later, but for now they feel a lot less all-Democrats-all-the-time than they did in 2014. As one GOP insider put it, the takeaway here is that “if it’s a wash, that is actually a big win for Republicans.” The lack of strong backing from unions could lead to money problems for Dems, and we already know that 1199 is giving Republicans money to maintain control of the Senate.
So what is going on here? For starters, the unions got a lot of what they wanted this year with the GOP-IDC coalition in control of the Senate. That includes a robust paid family leave program, and a path to a $15 minimum wage. These two things were unthinkable as recently as last year. For working people both of these new policies will make a huge difference in their lives. And they got it without a Democratic majority, or as one observer keenly noted, the unions “got what they wanted without having what they were told they needed.”
Secondly, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan has made a real push to court the unions. For example at the NYSUT convention at the Desmond in Albany last week, Flanagan spoke to the members first, then hung around and took their questions for roughly two and half hours. Presumably in that soft spoken, mild mannered way of his. Flanagan is a lot more in the weeds when it comes to policy than his predecessor Dean Skelos. And as the former Chair of the Education Committee, Flanagan can speak to teachers in a language they understand. Part of this is self preservation and survival. Flanagan can read the polls like anybody else which warn of an anti-Trump tsunami at the ballot box this fall. He knows that down ballot races could be impacted should the anti-Trump vote materialize in the way liberals insist that it will. And that gets us to the final point, which is Flanagan’s relationship with IDC Leader Jeff Klein. People close to both men say it’s very strong. I used to think of Klein and Skelos as something like this, but the reality was actually far different. Both known for their flaring tempers, Skelos and Klein would sometimes yell past each other. But Klein respects Flanagan’s policy knowledge and the way he handles the conference.
Democratic sources seem confident that if they win enough seats, a reconciliation between the two Democratic factions will commence. I’m told that “talks are already underway.” However, GOP sources say they too “feel as though they are in a good spot” with the IDC, meaning the coalition could continue. If recent history is any guide, Senate Democrats have always picked up seats in Presidential election years. That’s likely to happen again this year, but the IDC decision on who to work with could still be critical to who controls the Senate. Democrats are telling people to expect a Democratic majority, but some in labor at least, appear to be hedging their bets.
Aug 25th - 2:54 pm
After good-government groups criticized the ethics legislation he signed into law this week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday acknowledged more work needed to be done the issue.
Speaking with reporters at the State Fairgrounds outside of Syracuse, Cuomo touted the new disclosure requirements in the measure as a major step forward in regulating shadowy money in politics.
But he also indicated he wanted to do more on the issue after approving the fourth ethics law in the more than five years he has been governor.
“The ethics bill is a major step forward,” Cuomo said. “Is it everything? No. Ethics in many ways is like other activities in life, right? That old line — you can never be too rich, you can never be too thin. Well, you can never be too ethical. So, you get everything done that you can get done. But you stay at it and you work at. More and more disclosure, more trust.”
Cuomo approved what was widely considered to be the ethics bill of the legislative session, a measure designed to address the Citizens United era of super PAC political spending, as well new requirements for lobbyists and consultants.
Good-government advocates have blasted the measure, saying it would unduly impact non-profit organizations who may have a difficult time complying with the law.
At the same time, the ethics watchdogs criticized Cuomo, who proposed the initial measure in June, for not going far enough on reform measures in Albany in the wake of a series of corruption scandals and arrests that have plagued the Legislature.
Both the former Assembly speaker and Senate majority leader were ousted in the last year following corruption convictions that rocked the Capitol.
“Albany certainly had a bad year in terms of trust,” Cuomo said. “They needed an ethics reform so people knew they could trust Albany and this is a great first step.”
Aug 25th - 2:18 pm
Disgraced former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver will remain free until at least Oct. 27 as he seeks bail pending appeal of his November 2015 conviction on corruption charges.
Federal Judge Valerie Caproni on Thursday ruled that Silver, due to report to prison on Aug. 31, will have two weeks to start paying fines and other forfeiture fines as part of his conviction and later report to prison should his motion for bail be denied.
If Silver is to appeal that decision, the date he must report to prison is moved back another 14 days from when that court rules, or Oct. 27, whichever is later.
Silver in may was sentenced to 12 years in and prison and owes nearly $7 million in civil penalties stemming from his conviction late last year on corruption, fraud and self-dealing charges.
Initially scheduled to report to prison on July 1, Silver’s appeal has gained some ground in recent weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the case of ex-Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell that narrowed the definition of an official quid pro quo in public corruption cases.
That same decision is also at the heart of the appeal of Silver’s former colleague, ex-Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, who is also appealing his conviction from earlier this year. Both Skelos and his son Adam are free pending their appeal.
Aug 25th - 1:56 pm
The political action committee formed to back candidates who support the Child Victims Act has endorsed Democratic Senate hopeful Amber Small.
The Fighting For Children PAC, founded by businessman and child abuse survivor Gary Greenberg, was formed earlier this year as the measure, which would make it easier for lawsuits to be filed by victims, has languished in the Legislature.
“We are proud to endorse Amber Small and applaud her commitment to reforming the state’s statute of limitations when it comes to child sex abuse to better protect the children of New York,” Greenberg said.
“The number of child sexual abuse victims in the state is stunning, where about one out of five kids are abused. With the help of independent candidates like Amber we are working together to make this statistic a thing of the past.”
Small is running for the Buffalo-area Senate seat that’s being vacated by Democratic Sen. Marc Panepinto. She faces Republican Chris Jacobs in the fall.
“As a lifelong community activist, I’m determined to pass the Child Victims Act and stand up for families in Albany,” Small said. “The status quo is failing New Yorkers who have experienced sexual abuse, and it is time to offer the survivors of these crimes opportunities for closure. Working together, we can overcome the decades-long impasse that has prevented meaningful change.”
Aug 25th - 1:07 pm
Republican Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan on Thursday announced the appointment of fellow Long Island lawmaker Phil Boyle to the Regional Economic Development Council.
Boyle, a Republican elected in 2012, is replacing Sen. Jack Martins on the Long Island council as he departs for a congressional run in third district, as the Senate representative on the panel.
“As current chair of the Senate’s Commerce, Economic Development, and Small Business Committee, Senator Phil Boyle is a natural fit to succeed in this important role,” Flanagan said in a statement.
“A life-long resident of the region and dedicated public servant, Phil brings enormous experience to this position and I’m confident he will be a strong asset to achieve our goals for economic growth and job creation here on Long Island.”
The regional economic development councils were formed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration as a way of applying for grants and other economic incentives from the state. The Long Island panel is led by Hostra University President Stuart Rabinowitz and Long Island Association President Kevin Law.
Aug 25th - 12:18 pm
Republican John Faso’s congressional campaign on Thursday released its second TV ad of the general election campaign that focuses on the candidate’s economic platform.
The 30-second ad, which comes days after the first spot which highlighted a softer touch on the candidate’s frugality, sought to shine a light on Fasos’s push to back tax and regulatory reform and his endorsement from the National Federation of Independent Business, announced earlier in the day.
“He knows the challenges forcing our young people to leave, as families and small businesses struggle,” the ad’s narrator states. “John will work to keep the jobs we have and get the economy growing.”
Faso is running for the 19th congressional district, which is being vacated by Rep. Chris Gibson. He faces Democratic candidate Zephyr Teachout.
Aug 25th - 12:00 pm
A legal challenge by the state’s Public Employees Federation challenging the legality of a fellowship program created Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration was rejected on Thursday by a state Supreme Court.
PEF, a labor groups of mostly white-collar workers, filed the legal challenge against the Empire Fellowship Program, a temporary 24-month program launched in 2015 that was aimed at bringing young people into government and introducing them to policy making.
But the union saw the fellowship program as a circumvention of the state’s civil service requirements that public workers must adhere to. The union filed an Article 78 challenge to the program, charging it discriminated against older and more experienced employees.
In the ruling by Supreme Court Justice Richard McNally tossing the suit, the challenge was deemed “arbitrary and capricious” while requiring a competitive civil service examination for the fellowship program was called impractical, given that it only lasts for two years.