Oct 8th - 3:50 pm
Appearing with former Vice President Al Gore on Thursday at Columbia University, Gov. Andrew Cuomo pledged to make New York a leader on climate change initiatives, pushing a plan that says other states and Canada should follow.
“We can show the nation what is possible,” Cuomo said, pledging to “drive the national conversation” on the issue. “Let’s lead by example. It’s the only way to lead, it’s the New York way to lead.”
Cuomo joined California in signing on to the Under 2 MOU, an agreement between states, provinces and local governments across the world to cap the rising average temperature by the year 2100. The agreement requires the governments to limit greenhouse gas emissions, and New York already is pursuing a goal of reducing emissions by 40 percent by 2030 and 80 percent below 1990 levels by mid-century.
At the same time, Cuomo is pushing solar power for a combined 150,000 homes and businesses by 2020, while also pursuing renewable energy at SUNY campuses that same eyar.
The state will work with other governments in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative with determining how to link success carbon markets to cap emissions. More >
Oct 8th - 2:22 pm
Comptroller Tom DiNapoli in a radio interview on Thursday described his relationship with the office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office as “ongoing and positive” as the federal government investigates the contracting process for the “Buffalo Billion” economic development program.
DiNapoli wouldn’t say, however, whether he or his office has been issued a subpoena or turned over documents relating to Bharara’s investigation.
“I can’t comment directly on that question other than to say we have a very on going and positive relationship with Mr. Bharara’s office,” he said on Fred Dicker’s Talk-1300 radio show. “Certainly it’s a cooperative one. But I can’t comment without any specificity about those interactions.”
Bharara and DiNapoli were spotted last year breaking bread in lower Manhattan, a lunch that came after the federal prosecutor took possession of records generated by the Moreland Commission, an anti-corruption panel that folded earlier in 2014 following an agreement on ethics law changes in the state budget.
Attorney General Eric Schneideramn, along with DiNapoli, have also teamed up on various public integrity probes in recent years. More >
Oct 8th - 1:57 pm
Consulting firm The Advance Group on Thursday received a $25,800 fine by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and the New York City Campaign Finance Board joint investigation over the organization’s work during the 2013 elections in New York City.
The investigation by the AG’s office, along with the campaign finance board, found through its investigation that the Advance Group had worked for both city-based candidates as well as independent groups that had spending money to boost those candidates.
As per the terms of the settlement, none of the candidates who were clients of the group violated the law.
“New York voters deserve elections that are fair and free of coordination that distorts the democratic process,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “The law preventing coordination between candidates and advocacy campaigns is clear. Today’s agreement sends a clear message that campaign coordination is unacceptable in New York City and state politics.”
City campaign finance law limits the amount of contributions a campaign may receive from a single contributor, and those laws also apply to money spent by outside parities that are working on behalf or opposition to individual campaigns.
Spending done without the cooperation of a campaign is considered “independent” but that activity can include authorizing, requesting or suggesting the campaigns work together. More >
Oct 8th - 12:22 pm
Outgoing Democratic Committee Chairman David Paterson in a radio interview on Thursday said he didn’t know if the state party will aid the state Senate candidacy of Barbara Fiala in a Binghamton-area special election.
“I really don’t know,” Paterson said on WCNY’s The Capitol Pressroom when asked about whether the party will invest in Fiala’s bid. “I don’t know.”
Paterson, who in the coming weeks steps down from the chairmanship was appointed to 18 months ago, said in the interview that Fiala has the “fire in the belly” but the race remains an uphill one for any Democrat, given that it has been a “Republican stronghold” for decades.
“I was at the state party where I saw Barbara about a week and a half ago,” he said. “She still has the fire in the belly. But one person can’t do it alone. It’s going to take a lot of effort on behalf of the party to make this happen.”
Fiala has struggled to raise money compared to her Republican opponent, Fred Akshar, a Broome County undersheriff whose candidacy has been injected with hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Senate Republican Campaign Committee as well as rank-and-file state lawmakers.
Republicans hold a voter enrollment edge in the district. Fiala and Akshar are competing next month for a district held by former Sen. Tom Libous, who was ousted in July following a felony conviction on a charge of lying to the FBI.
Fiala, in a subsequent interview that followed Paterson on the radio show, shrugged off the lack of support from the state party, as well as Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who had quickly endorsed her candidacy and pledged to help her win the district back in July.
Oct 8th - 11:03 am
A report released Thursday by Comptroller Tom DiNapoli found the majority of those convicted of driving while intoxicated charges and required to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicles have failed to do so.
The report found the installation rate in New York City was 5 percent, while the statewide rate is about 26 percent.
A person convicted of a DWI in New York City are either monitored by the Queens DA’s office or New York City Probation. The audit examined those who are under the supervision of NYC Probation.
“Ignition interlocks won’t protect New Yorkers if DWI offenders can drive without installing the devices,” DiNapoli said. “My auditors found convicted drunk drivers routinely violated the terms of their sentences and did not install ignition interlocks without penalties or punishment. While efforts were made to strengthen Leandra’s Law, it is still too easy to circumvent the law. City officials must work harder to keep DWI offenders from harming others and prevent more senseless accidents and tragedies, but clearly there is work to be done statewide.”
Between Aug. 15, 2010 and Dec. 31, 2014, courts in New York ordered the installation of 2,166 ignition interlock devices under NYC Probations’ supervision. Of those, only 111 were actually installed. The report found little evidence that NYC Probation has followed up routinely with DWI offenders to ensure the devices have been properly installed.
The report recommended NYC Probation develop a process that ensures DWI offenders are installing the devices in required vehicles and require probation officers to document all DMV checks as well as home visits. At the same time, probation officers should follow up with the courts and prosecutors when those convicted of DWIs have not installed the devices.
Oct 8th - 8:29 am
From the Morning Memo:
While Gov. Andrew Cuomo shot down the potential for a special session to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15, Senate Republicans could meet to take a position on the issue as early as November.
“I don’t know where the conference stands,” said Sen. Patty Ritchie. “Sometime later in November we’re going to have a conference and I’m sure that’s one of the issues that’s going to be discussed.”
Cuomo on Wednesday in Albany said he had not heard of a special session — potentially in December — being a point of discussion.
But sources say a potential end-of-year session has been in the preliminary discussion phase for raising the minimum wage, potentially coupled with a tax cut for businesses.
The GOP conference is yet to take a formal position on increasing the state’s minimum wage to $15, but has expressed dissatisfaction with the fast-food minimum wage being hiked through a wage board. More >
Oct 8th - 8:21 am
Funding numbers from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority show New York City has, in the past, contributed double-digit percentages to the capital fund, according to MTA data.
Both Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio continued to spar this week over funding for the four-year capital projects fund at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Cuomo has sought to bolster his claim for the city to kick around 11 percent of the capital project funding, which he contends is closer to what de Blasio’s predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, contributed.
Numbers provided by the MTA show that between 1982 through 1991, New York City contributed 10.71 percent of the fund; 8.65 percent of the fund between 1992 and 1999; 2.49 percent between 2000 and 2004; and 12.06 between 2005 and 2009.
In the last project fund, the city paid in 2.48 percent.
New York state, meanwhile, has seen its share steadily increase from 17.28 percent between 1982 through 1991 to 33.69 between 2010 and 2014.
“You can look at the numbers. The 11 percent, Mayor Bloomberg invested about 11 percent of the capital budget, and we are asking the city to contribute about 11 percent into the capital budget,” Cuomo told reporters in Albany on Wednesday. “Now, this is a large capital budget, why, because the MTA in my opinion needs the investment. We want to buy 1,000 new subway cars, we want to buy 1,400 new buses. Anyone who rides the system knows that the system needs that kind of investment and repair.”
Cuomo and the MTA are pushing a plan to close the $9.8 billion gap in the $32 billion plan that would increase contributions from both the city and state.
Cuomo is backing a state plan to increase its capital program share by $7.3 billion. New York City, he believes, should add $3.2 billion — a $2.5 billion increase.
But the de Blasio administration contends the surplus Cuomo is claiming the city has is actually a balanced budget, while future city budget out years are showing modest gaps. More >
Oct 8th - 5:14 am
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City.
At 8:30 a.m., NYC Commissioner of Department of Consumer Affairs Julie Menin addresses the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, 1375 Broadway, Manhattan.
At 9 a.m., Google and Assemblymembers Latoya Joyner and Marco Crespo will bring the “Let’s Put Our Cities on the Map” program to New York City, Bronx Museum of the Arts, 1040 Grand Concourse, the Bronx.
Also at 9 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul makes a workforce development announcement at SUNY Adirondack, 640 Bay Rd., outside Building C (Regional Higher Education Center), Queensbury.
At 10 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton will deliver remarks at the NYPD Swearing-In Ceremony of 750 new police officers, Police Academy, 28-11 28 Ave., Queens. (A media availability will immediately follow).
At 10:30 a.m., the Assembly will hold a public hearing on the state’s Medicaid Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Waiver Program and the issues relating to the transition of the program to managed care, Hearing Room C, LOB, Albany.
Also at 10:30 a.m., Sens. Joseph Griffo and Anthony Brindisi host a press conference at the Whitesboro Fire Department to urge the passage of legislation that would grant volunteer firefighters presumptive cancer coverage, outside the Whitesboro Fire Department, 171 Oriskany Blvd., Whitesboro.
At noon, Hochul addresses students and faculty at Marist College about the Enough is Enough effort to combat sexual assault on college campuses, Student Center, Room 30101, 3399 North Rd., Poughkeepsie.
Also at noon, the AARP unveils its “High Anxiety” survey showing New York City Asian-American Generation X and Baby Boomer voters’ struggles with financial and retirement preparedness and security, The Library @ Joe’s Pub, 425 Lafayette Street/Astor Place, Manhattan.
At 12:30 p.m., former Chief Judge Judith Kay, Assembly Education Chair Cathy Nolan, the Urban Youth Collaborative, Make The Road New York, Sistas and Brothas United, parent activists and youth leaders, AQE, and Citizen Action celebrate the introduction of Act 8396, legislation aimed at reducing classroom disruptions and making schools safer, Tweed Courthouse, 52 Chambers St., Manhattan.
At 12:45 p.m., AG Eric Schneiderman will make remarks at the National Summit of Human Trafficking and The State Courts, hosted by Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, New York Marriott Downtown, 3rd Floor Grand Ballroom, 85 West St., Manhattan.
At 1:30 p.m., Hochul and state Division of Veterans’ Affairs Director Eric Hesse hold a veterans outreach event, Montrose Veteran Home, 2090 Albany Post Rd., Montrose.
At 2:30 a.m., Cuomo and former Vice President Al Gore make an announcement, Roone Arledge Auditorium , Alfred Lerner Hall , Columbia University , 2920 Broadway, Manhattan.
At 5 p.m., a labor advocacy award will be presented to Vincent Pitta, managing member, Pitta Bishop Del Giorno & Giblin LLC, for his efforts as an advocate and mediator in the labor community, EmblemHealth, 55 Water St., Manhattan.
At 6 p.m., state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli hosts his annual Hispanic Heritage Month reception, 32BJ SEIU, 25 W. 18th St., Manhattan.
At 6:45 p.m., de Blasio delivers remarks at an at Italian Heritage ceremony, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 5th Ave., Manhattan.
East Ramapo school superintendent Joel Klein has resigned, effective on Halloween. The announcement drew strong applause and cheers from the several dozen people attending a special Board of Education meeting last night.
Klein will be succeeded by Deborah Wortham, an African-American woman who most recently served as superintendent in the Roosevelt school district on Long Island, which was under state control for a dozen years. Her interim appointment lasts until June 29, 2016.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he has not been subpoenaed by federal prosecutors who are looking into the awarding of his administration’s Buffalo Billion contracts. The governor, however, did not clearly state that he has not been questioned by investigators from the offices of US Attorney Preet Bharara.
A Cuomo spokesman later clarified that neither Cuomo nor his staff have been either subpoenaed or questioned by Bharara’s office about the initiative.
Alain Kaloyeros, president of SUNY Poly and the man behind the Buffalo Billion, told the Gotham Gazette he faces “the threat of jail” if he discusses Bharara’s probe. He also invited the publication on a tour of his Albany campus, and then abruptly cancelled it with no explanation.
Calling it a day when “you can actually feel the energy change” for Western New York, Cuomo announced that a Massachusetts solar energy company plans to build a plant in Genesee County that is projected to employ at least 600 people within the next five years.
As the executive director of the JCOPE departed for a job in the Cuomo administration in July, she hired three former Cuomo aides to prominent positions within the commission. A majority of the 14 JCOPE board members yesterday approved a motion revoking the ability of the ethics and lobbying watchdog’s staff to make new hires without the commissioners’ consent.
The de Blasio administration is now offering more than $2 billion for the MTA five-year capital plan, ramping up its initial proposal of $657 million – as long as the state meets certain conditions – in an attempt to end a fight that has dragged on for months.
Eva Moskowitz, the outspoken charter school leader who galvanized critics of the de Blasio administration, has signaled to close allies that she is leaning against a bid for mayor of New York in 2017. She’s planning an announcement about her political future this morning.
Hours after a blast tore through a three-story Brooklyn building Saturday, killing two women, authorities said they suspected the removal of a high-end gas stove was to blame. Now investigators are less certain about that theory.
An NYPD officer used excessive force during an altercation with retired tennis star James Blake, and a second officer abused his authority in connection with the incident, the Civilian Complaint Review Board has found.
Attorneys for disgraced ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said they’re being “gamed” by prosecutors less than a month before the start of his corruption trial – an allegation the US attorney’s office, denies.
The ousted Columbia University doctor embroiled in Silver’s corruption scandal has gotten his job back — for now. But the school wants to make him pay for the privilege as it continues to seek his ouster.
Oct 7th - 11:56 pm
The same day Governor Cuomo announced a Massachusetts-based solar company was investing $700 million and bringing up to 1,000 new jobs to Batavia, he continued to face questions over another solar-based project in Buffalo. This, as several Buffalo-based community groups are planning to protest, claiming minority hiring goals on the construction project were lowered.
“I never heard that and I don’t believe that’s right,” Cuomo told reporters in Batavia on Wednesday.
Buffalo’s Investigative Post was the first to report state officials had agreed to lower the goals from 25 to 15 percent. Up to 1,500 construction workers were expected to be working by this fall to get the multi-million dollar solar panel manufacturing plant up and running by next year.
“We have what’s called an MWBE (Minority and Women Business Enterprises) quota requirement on projects and I’ve never heard that the Solar City one hasn’t met that,” Cuomo added.
Several groups including B.U.I.L.D. of Buffalo, We Are Women Warriors, and Concerned Clergy of WNY are planning a protest Friday morning in front of SolarCity’s South Park Avenue construction site. Their stated goal is to “get answers from L.P. Ciminelli and the building trades unions.”
The Governor’s office did not offer any further comment on reports the minority hiring goals were lowered. The protest is scheduled for Friday at 10:30a.m.
Oct 7th - 7:43 pm
The former Legislative staffer accusing Western New York Assemblywoman Angela Wozniak of sexual harassment has hired an attorney. It’s the same attorney who represented six women who raised similar complaints against Wozniak’s predecessor, former Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak.
Time Warner Cable News Reporter Ryan Whalen has learned Wozniak’s accuser, Elias Farah, hired Niagara Falls-based attorney John Bartolomei. Bartolomei represented all but one of Gabryszak’s accusers, many of them former staffers, in 2013.
Gabryszak retired soon after the accusations came to light. That cleared the way for Wozniak, a Republican, to win the Democratic-leaning Cheektowaga-based Assembly seat, last November.
In the Gabryszak case, Bartolomei’s clients sought an astounding total of more than $2.6 billion in damages from the former Assemblyman, his Chief of Staff, the State Assembly and others. Bartolomei has not responded to several requests for comment on the Wozniak complaint.
As Whalen first reported last month, Farah’s claims are being reviewed by the Assembly Ethics Committee. Wozniak was scheduled to be the last person interviewed by an outside law professor brought in to conduct a preliminary investigation.
Wozniak is represented by Buffalo-based attorney Steven Cohen. Cohen has spoken to several media sources denouncing the claims against his client, but has since has since been advised by the Ethics Committee to keep the proceedings confidential.