Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has not yet released a public schedule for the day. NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio remains somewhere in the Western US on a family vacation.

At 10:15 a.m., NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will be a live guest on the Brian Lehrer Show, WNYC.

At 11 a.m., New York Lottery representative Yolanda Vega presents an oversized check representing a $5 million top prize in the “Cash X100″ scratch-off ticket game to a Harriman resident who worked as a city firefighter in Queens before retiring, and participated in efforts to respond to the 9/11 terrorist attacks; 15 Beaver St., Manhattan.

Also at 11 a.m., NYC Councilman Andy King and Bronx residents criticize plans by the city Administration for Children’s Services to open a secure juvenile detention facility as part of the agency’s “Close to Home” initiative, saying the facility would violate zoning regulations; 3030 Bruner Ave., the Bronx.

Also at 11 a.m., Valley Agriceuticals unveils its Origin Health Center Medical Cannabis Dispensary, 955 Senator Keating Blvd., Building E, Rochester.

Also at 11 a.m., Rep. Chris Gibson attends Sen. George Amedore’s office open house, Suite 100, 721 Broadway, Kingston. (The two GOP officials are sharing office space).

Also at 11 a.m., Albany city officials hold news conference announcing new broadband study, rotunda, Albany City Hall, 24 Eagle St., Albany.

At 11:30 a.m., Sen. Daniel Squadron and the US National Park Service will announce this weekend’s Independence Day festivities and mark the 250th Anniversary of the Stamp Act Congress with a special presentation, Federal Hall National Memorial, Rotunda, 26 Wall St., Manhattan.

At 1 p.m., Rep. Carolyn Maloney and business professionals criticize federal lawmakers for failing to renew the charter of the Export-Import Bank of the U.S., which expired Tuesday, June 30; Maloney’s district office, suite 311, 1651 Third Ave., Manhattan.

Also at 1 p.m., Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus, Sen. Bill Larkin, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, Assemblyman James Skoufis, Orange County Legislator Chris Eachus and town of New Windsor Supervisor George Green commemorate the reopening of Forge Hill Bridge in New Windsor with a ribbon cutting ceremony, 169 Forge Hill Bridge, New Windsor.

From 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane Williams and other demonstrators criticize potential deportations of residents of the Dominican Republic of Haitian descent, during a march and protest in NYC to coincide with similar “4-City March” events planned in Atlanta, Miami, Philadelphia and Port-au-Prince, Haiti; march begins at Union Square Park, University Place and 14th Street, Manhattan.

At 5 p.m., NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission CEO and Chairwoman Meera Joshi and Council members Margaret Chin and Peter Koo distribute materials to inform riders about unlicensed van services, Confucius Plaza (intersection of Division and Bowery streets), Manhattan.


Gov. Andrew Cuomo on NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s public criticism of him: “Everybody’s entitled to their own comments and their own feelings, and I’ll leave him to speak to his…I’ve known Bill, the mayor, a long time. I consider him a friend. He says what he says, I say what I say, and I’ll let him speak for himself.”

De Blasio and Cuomo stayed far away from each other yesterday, but turned to surrogates to fan the flames of their feud. The mayor’s aides not only reached out to supporters, but also provided them printed talking points to use, mayoral spokeswoman Karen Hinton confirmed.

Hinton, who became de Blasio’s press secretary in May, first worked for Cuomo when he was HUD secretary during the Clinton administration and is married to top former Cuomo aide Howard Glaser. She hasn’t been shy about issuing zingers at her former boss.

De Blasio’s decision to publicly vent his frustrations with Cuomo was “the culmination of months of private ire and careful strategizing at City Hall,” and a belief among the mayor’s advisors that the governor was “taking pleasure in blocking the city’s priorities in Albany.” Having tried everything else, de Blasio believed criticism was the last effective option.

Liberals who have long chafed under Cuomo’s centrist approach to governing were thrilled with de Blasio’s display. “Democrats are angry with a governor whose word is not trustworthy, and who pursues Republican policies,” said Zephyr Teachout, who challenged Cuomo in the 2014 Democratic primary. “This is a big moment for de Blasio. And for the state.”

Tom Precious: “The governor has a problem – a Democratic Party problem. And it goes far deeper than (de Blasio)…Once relegated to whispers, a growing number of Democrats no longer are afraid to publicly take on Cuomo.”

Alexander Burns and Thomas Kaplan write: “The mayor’s remarks this week, accusing Mr. Cuomo of governing through vengeance and fear, are likely to further embolden Democrats who have long chafed at what they characterized as Mr. Cuomo’s ironhanded methods and imperious personality.”

Publicly, most Democratic elected officials are declining to choose sides in the Cuomo vs. de Blasio spat. But Rep. Nydia Velazquez has a message for the top leaders of her party: “They need to put their high-level testosterone aside and get to the issues that are important to our state and our city. Come on. Grow up.”

The New York Times: “The immediate analysis focused not on the truth of what the mayor said, but on whether he was a fool and a noob for saying it, or whining, or showing weakness at playing Albany chess against a grandmaster. The important point is that everything he said is true.”

Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani recalls when he was warring with then-Gov. George Pataki, a fellow Republican. He suggests de Blasio try diplomacy in dealing with Cuomo. “(S)it down and talk to him. Publicly attacking him? You’re not going to gain anything doing that. You’re going to lose that battle.”

Bob McManus: “Folks looking for a strong leader to stand up to Cuomo — and there are a lot of them, mostly from the extreme left wing of an already firm-left party — aren’t likely to be inspired by de Blasio’s blink-of-an-eye disappearance.”

“This is not about the difference between a wide-eyed idealist and a clear-eyed pragmatist. This is the difference between someone who is not a psychopath and someone who is,” an unnamed Democrat tells DN columnist Harry Siegel.

More >


Former Gov. George Pataki does not think it was “particularly smart” of NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio to publicly tee off on Gov. Andrew Cuomo. “There are always personal battles. You keep them behind the scenes.”

Liberal donor Bill Samuels, a frequent Cuomo critic, disagreed, saying: “It’s the only way to win, with Cuomo—is to attack.”

Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer told jurors she felt “uncomfortable” with the relationship between Sen. John Sampson and Edul Ahmad, a real-estate mogul who pled guilty to mortgage fraud and is the government’s key witness in Sampson’s federal trial in Brooklyn.

With the mass amount of road travel that typically occurs during the holiday weekend, Cuomo has paused construction to speed traffic on its way around the state.

Elected officials – including President Obama – weighed in on Twitter against the NYT suggestion that we all put peas in our guacamole.

Suzan Johnson Cook, a pastor and former Clinton Administration official, announced her candidacy to succeed outgoing Rep. Charles Rangel, adding her name to a growing field of Democrats seeking to replace the veteran Harlem congressman.

Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign raised at least $45 million during its first quarter – a figure that would mark a record start to presidential fund-raising.

A photo of escaped prisoner Richard Matt’s lifeless body was revealed last night by Buffalo TV station WIVB. The grisly image shows his bloody corpse in a wooded area near Lake Titus, where a resident reported shots fired at an RV.

The other escapee, David Sweat, who is still recovering from his gunshot wounds at Albany Med, claims to have been the mastermind of the duo’s prison break.

The short-term Big Ugly deal on 421-a has real estate developers gearing up for the next round of negotiations.

Rep. Pete King will not be seeking the 2016 GOP nomination.

Macy’s dumped The Donald, and is far from alone.

De Blasio, who is on vacation with his family, released this statement: “We are reviewing Trump contracts with the City. Donald Trump’s remarks were disgusting and offensive, and this hateful language has no place in our city. Trump’s comments do not represent the values of inclusion and openness that define us as New Yorkers. Our Mexican brothers and sisters make up an essential part of this city’s vibrant and diverse community, and we will continue to celebrate and support New Yorkers of every background.”

De Blasio spent the first morning of his vacation having breakfast with Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry, talking as “dads and husbands and public servants.”

John Dunleavy, the longtime chairman of the group that organizes the NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade, was ousted during a board meeting last night due to his opposition to letting gay groups participate.

Staten Island Councilman Steven Matteo was voted the NYC Council’s new Republican minority leader today.

Many residents of the New York City area were jolted awake by an emergency weather alert on their cellphones early this morning, prompting a flood of social media complaints.

Cue the selfies! The Obama administration ended the near 40-year ban on cameras and photos on the White House public tour.

Former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo explain why cities will be “vital players” at the Paris climate talks.

Outgoing DEC Commissioner Joe Martens wanted to see fracking through to the end, and held out on departing the Cuomo administration until that occurred.

A young Republican activist from Great Neck who volunteered for Republican president candidates Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney in 2012 filed papers for a super PAC called “Second Chance” a week ago – from a federal prison in New Jersey.

A new audit by NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer on the troubled New York City Housing Authority reveals that more than 2,000 pubic-housing apartments remain vacant because of pending repairs.

Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer is going to China.

A fifth person has entered this year’s race for Niagara Falls mayor. Robert Pascoal, president of the Landlords Association of Greater Niagara, will be seeking the Republican line

An agreement last October for IBM to transfer its semiconductor manufacturing facilities in East Fishkill and Vermont to GlobalFoundries officially closed today, the companies announced.

In Letter To GOP Field, Pataki Calls Trump’s Comments ‘Unacceptable’

Former New York Gov. George Pataki on Wednesday released a letter to the declared and soon-to-declare Republican candidates for president blasting mogul Donald Trump’s controversial comments on Mexicans and immigration.

“One hundred years ago, when Irish immigrants were coming to America, my grandmother among them, they were too often characterized as “drunks.” A few years later it was the Italian immigrants, my grandfather among them, who were called “mobsters” or worse, “dagos.” This type of divisive rhetoric is just wrong. It was wrong 100 years ago and it’s wrong today,” Pataki wrote in the letter, which included a “cc” to Trump himself.

“Yet here we are in 2015 and a leading candidate for the GOP nomination for president is calling Mexicans criminals, rapists and drug dealers,” the letter states. “This is unacceptable.”

Trump, who declared in June he would launch a presidential campaign, has been criticized for the controversial remarks, and both NBCUniversal and department store chain Macy’s has severed ties with him in the wake of the controversy.

The letter also helps Pataki, who has polled consistently low in the crowded Republican presidential field, gain some press as Trump’s comments continue to reverberate during a comparatively slow week in national politics.

Pataki, who has urged his fellow Republicans to de-emphasize social issues like same-sex marriage in the campaign, called on his fellow candidates to join him in denouncing Trump.

“Join me,” Pataki wrote. “Stand up now. Denounce his comments today.”

DOCCS Names New Superintendent At Clinton

State corrections officials on Wednesday announced a new superintendent would assume control at Clinton Correctional Facility following the escape of two convicted killers from the Dannemora prison.

Michael Kirkpatrick, most recently the first deputy superintendent of the Elmira Correctional Facility, will take charge after the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision placed 12 prison employees on administrative leave after the resolution of the three-week manhunt for David Sweat and Richard Matt.

The FBI, along with the state inspector general, are investigating both the circumstances of the escape, security protocols at the prison and potentially broader corruption at the facility.

Along with his appointment, Kirkpatrick will be charged with helping implement interim security protocols that have been in place since June 6 at the prison, which includes eliminating the so-called “honor block” where Sweat and Matt lived.

New rules are being put in place that would require securing job boxes of contractors in a locked trailer that inmates cannot receive access to.

Security gates are also being installed in the facility’s tunnels, which Matt and Sweat used to escape after gaining access to power tools.

Matt was shot dead on Friday, while Sweat was taken into custody by State Police on Sunday after he was wounded by Sgt. Jay Cook.

Former prison employee Joyce Mitchell is being charged with providing help to the men, while Corrections Officer Gene Palmer is being investigated for also providing support to Matt and Sweat.

Cuomo Signs 29 Bills Into Law

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday approved 29 bills, many of which focus on local government tax and bond issues.

The bills range from authorizing the New York Zoological Society to provide free one-day admission tickets to its parks to creating a presumption when it comes certain lung disabilities incurred by volunteer firefighters.

On the local level, there are bills relating to bonds for the cities of Yonkers, Buffalo and New York as well as the sale of municipal obligations for Erie County.

The measures are just the tip of a very large iceberg the governor is due to consider between now and the end of the year.

The full list of approved laws can be found after the jump. More >

Retired Colonel Eyes North Country House Seat

A retired Army colonel and former Republican is launching a bid to unseat freshman GOP Rep. Elise Stefanik, he announced in a statement on Wednesday.

Mike Derrick’s entry into the race comes a day after Democrat Aaron Woolf announced he would not make a second attempt in the 21st congressional district.

“After spending nearly 30 years serving our country in the military, I’m excited to be home again,” Derrick said in a statement. “I’m running for Congress to make sure that my hometown of Peru and all of the communities in New York’s 21st District have the opportunity to thrive and grow. Unfortunately, with the paralysis and stagnation in Congress right now, that’s not happening. Politicians are more concerned with their own political interests than the interests of the people they represent. I’m going to change that.”

A resident of the town of Peru, Derrick’s entry into the race had been months in the making after he met with county Democratic officials around the sprawling North Country House district.

Stefanik won the seat in 2014, defeating Woolf in what was part of a broader Republican wave year.

Her victory made her the youngest woman ever elected to Congress as well as helped flip the seat for the GOP. Democratic incumbent Bill Owens retired last year instead of running for another term after first winning the seat in a 2009 special election.

Already, the National Republican Campaign Committee launched an attack against Derrick, linking him both President Obama and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

“We look forward to seeing which policies of Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi that Mike Derrick actually thinks have been good for the North Country,” NRCC spokesman Chris Pack said in a statement. “While Derrick is busy defending the failed policies of Obama and Pelosi, Elise Stefanik will continue focusing on protecting Fort Drum, strengthening our national defense, and growing the North Country economy.”

Gibson Feted By League Of Conservation Voters

The environmental group League of Conservation Voters on Wednesday launched a $20,000 digital ad campaign thanking GOP Rep. Chris Gibson for opposing a bill the organization said would have hindered the EPA’s clean power regulations.

“At a time when all too many Members of Congress are sticking their heads in the sand, Congressman Chris Gibson is calling for action to address climate change and backing up his words with his votes,” said Gene Karpinski, President of LCV. “In particular his recent vote against H.R. 2042, a bill that attempts to gut the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, should be commended. We appreciate Congressman Gibson’s willingness to confront the climate challenge and look forward to continue working with him.”

Republican Long Island Rep. Lee Zeldin, meanwhile, voted in favor of the proposal and is being, in turn, criticized by the group.

Gibson, who represents a Hudson Valley district, is due to retire at the end of the current term in 2016 as he considers gearing up for a statewide run for office.

The campaign is being featured in digital ads posted to Facebook and sent in alerts to LCV members.

Malcolm Smith Sentenced To 7 Years

Malcolm Smith, the Democratic former Senate majority leader who was convicted of trying to bribe his way onto the New York City Republican mayoral ballot, was sentenced on Wednesday to seven years in federal prison.

Smith is due to surrender to authorities on Sept. 21.

Smith was convicted earlier this year on charges that he sought to arrange bribes for various Republican officials in New York City in order to obtain a Wilson-Pakula waiver so he would qualify for the GOP ballot in the 2013 race for mayor.

Smith briefly served as majority leader of the Senate during a tumultuous time and was forced to step aside following the resolution of a leadership coup in 2009.

Brooklyn Sen. John Sampson replaced Smith as the Democratic conference leader in the aftermath of the coup. Sampson currently faces charges that he siphoned money from an escrow account he controlled in order to fund his campaign for district attorney.

Smith’s arrest in 2013 led to Gov. Andrew Cuomo calling for a package of ethics legislation, including an end to the Wilson-Pakula waiver and other reforms, that state lawmakers declined to adopt.

Cuomo, in turn, would later appoint a subpoena-empowered Moreland Commission that July in order to investigate the intersection of money and public influence in the Legislature.

Less than a year later, the panel was shuttered following an agreement in the state budget for new ethics measures, such as an independent enforcement counsel at the state Board of Elections.

The work generated by the commission, as well as the decision to shut it down, is now being investigated by the U.S. attorney’s office.

De Blasio’s Friend In WNY

From the Morning Memo:

During a wide-ranging CapTon interview last night, Buffalo Sen. Marc Panepinto unleashed on the governor, saying he had “lined up with the Senate Republicans against the mayor of New York City” during the end of the 2015 session.

“Poor Mayor de Blasio,” Panepinto said. “There wasn’t one thing that the governor agreed with him on, even though they share a party affiliation.”

The senator’s comments echoed the mayor’s very public venting of his frustrations with the governor over the past six months, which included an accusation that the Senate Republicans were under Cuomo’s “control” when it came to thwarting NYC’s agenda.

Panepinto insisted he has a “great deal of respect for the governor, but he wants to rule the Democratic Party with an iron fist.”

“We’re a party of inclusion we’re a party of discussion…and it’s been my impression during my short time in state government that Governor Cuomo often doesn’t like those debates,” the senator said.

“I’ve been on the receiving end of some of those comments in private meetings, and I’m just hoping the governor learns from this legislative process that really we all are public servants..and there are other ideas that are also workable. His aren’t the only right ideas.”

The senator declined to elaborate on any private discussions he has had with the governor, though he did note that he’s a “labor guy” and an “economic populist” doesn’t believe Cuomo has “liked some of the things that I have to say.”

Panepinto was not endorsed by Cuomo last fall, and his victory against now-former GOP Sen. Mark Grisanti was one of the few bright spots for the Senate Democrats in their failed quest to re-take the majority – in which they received considerable assistance from de Blasio, but not much from the governor (despite his promises to the contrary).

Cuomo stayed out of the race because he felt he owed as much to Grisanti, the last of four GOP senators who voted “yes” on gay marriage to still be sitting in the chamber last fall. Grisanti ended up losing the GOP primary, and ran in the general election solely on the Independence Party line.

Grisanti has since been appointed by Cuomo, and confirmed by the Senate, to a judgeship.

“Senator Grisanti did very well,” Panepinto quipped. “He got an $84,000 raise, and he’s got a shorter commute right now…I think that was the governor paying him back…I don’t have a problem with the governor taking care of someone who was loyal to him.”

Families Continue To Pressure Cuomo On Special Prosecutor

From the Morning Memo:

Advocates and the families of individuals killed by law enforcement are not satisfied with the Big Ugly compromise struck by the governor and legislative leaders after the Senate and Assembly failed to pass Cuomo’s proposed criminal justice reforms.

In the absence of a deal, the governor reluctantly agreed to heed AG Eric Schneiderman’s call that he be appointed to serve as a special prosecutor in incidents that result in civilian deaths at the hands of law enforcement – but only for one year, and only for a narrow subset of cases.

As part of a larger criminal justice reform package proposed following the Eric Garner case on Staten Island and Michael Brown case in Ferguson, Missouri, Cuomo had wanted to create a monitor who would review the records of cases in which grand juries decided not to indict officers of wrongdoing and make recommendations as to whether a special prosecutor should be appointed.

The family members and advocates didn’t like that plan, and after meeting with Cuomo at the Capitol, extracted a promise from him that if it did not pass muster with state lawmakers, he would use his executive powers to appoint the AG to serve as a special prosecutor to handle these cases.

After the meeting, they launched a lobbying effort to convince lawmakers to reject the governor’s reform proposal, which would – they believed – result in them getting what they wanted by default.

Their effort was successful, and lawmakers failed to reach an agreement before the clock ran out on the 2015 session.

Cuomo subsequently said the one-year appointment of Schneiderman fulfills his promise to the family members, which include Eric Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr; and Constance Malcolm, mother of Ramarley Graham, a Bronx teenager who was shot and killed by NYPD Officer Richard Haste in 2012.

Haste was initially indicted by the Bronx DA for manslaughter, but a judge threw out the case on a legal technicality.

But the family members are not happy with the one-year limit on the AG’s special prosecutor duties, saying it calls into question what will happen to cases that fall outside that timeframe. Also, they want all police abuse cases included in the AG’s purview, and believe the scope Cuomo has outlined is too narrow.

The advocates have launched a series of videos calling on Cuomo to keep his commitment to them. One, which is running on NY1, features Carr. Another, provided exclusively to SoP, stars Malcolm who says straight to the camera:

“Governor Cuomo, I thought we had an understanding for you signing an executive order for a special prosecutor for all police killings, not for one year.”

“…Governor Cuomo keep the commitment you made to me and other New York families who have lost loved ones to police killing,” Malcolm continues. “Don’t backtrack. Be a national leader and advance equal justice. Cuomo do not backtrack. Keep your word to the families.