Cuomo Acknowledges ‘More Work To Do’ In Southern Tier

upstatenyAs supporters of gun rights and hydrofracking push to have the Southern Tier region separate from New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday acknowledged “more work” is needed to help the area.

“We have other regions where we have more work to do and I will be the first to admit it. Parts of the Southern Tier — we have more work to do,” Cuomo said during a visit to the state fairgrounds outside of Syracuse. “We have more work in bringing back jobs. The state can only do so much, then it’s up to the localities. But Southern Tier, there’s more work to do, no doubt about it.”

The acknowledgement of the Southern Tier’s economic woes come as Cuomo, more broadly, has sought to assert his own efforts of helping the region which he says has been ignored by the rest of state government over the decades. More >

In Syracuse, Cuomo Praises Out-Gunned Upstate Lawmakers

cuomostatefairAs he touted a $50 million upgrade to the State Fair in Onondaga County on Tuesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo heaped praise on upstate lawmakers he said were outnumbered in Albany by New York City interests.

“Not only do they have to advocate and push, but they have to advocate and push for upstate New York, central New York, when the bulk of the Legislature is from downstate New York,” Cuomo said. “Each legislator has to do the work of 10 people. They’re really in the minority in the Legislature and that’s one of the reasons why upstate New York hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves.”

It’s a variation on a common theme for Cuomo lately, who has decried the influence of New York City elected officials in Albany, who he says has had more influence over policy and spending over the years to the detriment of upstate regions.

Attending the announcement at the fairgrounds included Republican Sen. John DeFrancisco, the deputy majority leader, and Democratic Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli. More >

Elia Draws A Line

testsFrom the Morning Memo:

Amid criticism from lawmakers and advocates for her comments regarding the opt-out movement, state Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia has softened her stance somewhat, but still insists it’s inappropriate for teachers and superintendents to advocate for students not to take state tests.

During a CapTon interview last night, Elia said there’s definitely an ethical “line” teachers should not cross when it comes to the third-through-eighth-grade English and math exams.

The commissioner said educators should not use the “pulpit” provided by their positions to reach out to parents and encourage them to opt out, but should feel free to answer questions about their personal position on the issue when asked – especially if those questions are posed outside the classroom.

“What I’m concerned about is taking a position and influencing children and families simply because they know their telephone number or someone might come in,” Elia said. More >

SD-52: Jones Yet To File Disclosure Reports

From the Morning Memo:

Denver Jones, the businessman and political activist who is considering a third-party bid to run in the 52nd Senate district, is yet to file a financial disclosure report despite having run for the seat in the past.

Jones launched a primary bid against then-incumbent Republican Tom Libous in 2014, but never filed a campaign finance disclosure report with the state Board of Elections.

Libous won, 7,563 votes to Jones’s 4,232 votes.

The threshold for reporting expenditures is $1,000 for a Senate campaign, but he would still be required to file a “no activity” statement during that time, which he did has not.

A message left for the Jones campaign on Monday was not returned. More >

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s press office has not yet released his public schedule.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie is continuing his tour of Democratic conference member districts outside the five boroughs with a visit to Nassau County, Long Island.

At 9 a.m., Heastie tours Kulanu Academy with Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky, 620 Central Ave., Cedarhurst, Long Island.

At 9:30 a.m., Heastie tours the Achiezer Community Center, 334 Central Ave., Cedarhurst, Long Island.

At 10:15 a.m., Heastie tours Bay Park, 3 North Blvd., East Rockaway.

At 11 a.m., Sen. Tony Avella demands better oversight of the Department of Transportation on sidewalks damaged by city-owned trees, 224-23 Davenport Ave., Queens Village, Queens.

Also at 11 a.m., Sen. David Carlucci joins Environment New York’s Clean Water Campaign and Riverkeeper for the release of a report entitled “Summer Fun Index,” Louis Engel Waterfront Park, Westerly Road, Ossining.

Also at 11 a.m., SUNY holds a special executive committee meeting, SUNY Global Center, 116 E. 55th St., Manhattan.

Also at 11 a.m., Heastie tours the Oceanside Fire Department, 65 Foxhurst Rd., Oceanside.

At 11:40 a.m., Heastie meets with African-American community leaders, Martin Luther King Community Center, 615 Riverside Blvd., Long Beach.

Also at 11:40 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will appear live on the Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC.

At noon, Heastie tours lifted homes rebuilt after Superstorm Sandy, 32 Dalton St., Long Beach.

At 12:30 p.m., Heastie tours the Long Beach Emergency Department, 325 East Bay Dr., Long Beach.

At 1 p.m., Heastie visits the Elmont Memoral Public Library with Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages, 700 Hempstead Turnpike, Elmont.

At 1:15 p.m., NYC Councilman Ruben Wills, city Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia and Assemblywoman Michelle Titus tour Liberty Avenue to educate local business owners about storefront maintenance, Liberty Avenue and Van Wyck Expressway, Queens.

At 2:30 p.m., state Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia will deliver keynote remarks to Cairo-Durham Central School District teachers during Superintendent’s Conference Day, Cairo-Durham High School, 1301 Route 145, Cairo.

At 3:25 p.m., Heastie visits the Sapienza Bakery, 1376 Hempstead Turnpike, Elmont.

At 4:05 p.m., Heastie tours the Cornell Ruffian Equine Center, 111 Plainfield Ave., Elmont.

At 4:25 p.m., Heastie tours the Belmont Park Train Station, 2150 Hempstead Ave., Elmont.

At 5:30 a.m., GOP presidential hopeful Sen. Lindsey Graham and former Sen. Joe Lieberman will be among the speakers at a “Stop Iran” rally held in front of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s NYC office, 780 3rd Ave., Manhattan.

Headlines…

A group of New York public officials led by Gov. Andrew Cuomo is scheduled to travel to Puerto Rico Sept. 7-8 for a whirlwind 24-hour trip featuring meetings on the island’s economic crisis.

Among those joining Cuomo on his trip will be NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, a native of Puerto Rico; NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer; AG Eric Schneiderman; Health Commissioner Howard Zucker; Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.; and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio was not invited to attend.

Columbia University President Lee Bollinger caused a stir by reportedly announcing that President Barack Obama will be coming to the New York-based campus in 2017. The university later clarified that Bollinger was not making a big reveal.

Survival expert Bear Grylls has bagged his biggest celebrity yet for a walk in the wilderness — Obama. NBC and the White House said the president will meet with Grylls during his visit to Alaska to discuss climate change, then spend some time in the wilderness.

A handful of House Democrats, including three from New York, said they would support Obama’s nuclear accord with Iran. Reps. Nydia Velazquez, Yvette Clarke and Gregory Meeks all backed the deal reached in Vienna in July imposes limits on Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for international sanctions relief.

De Blasio’s deputy mayor for health and human services, Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, will leave the administration at the end of September to chair the board of the city’s Health and Hospitals Corp.

Her departure marks the highest-ranking resignation in de Blasio’s administration during his 20 months in office and comes at a critical time in his tenure when he is being criticized for his handling of the city’s homelessness problem.

Barrios-Paoli, a former Catholic nun, is leaving a $222,182-a-year job to work for free.

De Blasio hosted his first – unannounced – Twitter chat, which featured some negative questioners.

Republican 2016 candidate Donald Trump has lost a battle in his fight against state Eric Schneiderman. The state ethics commission has decided against proceeding with a 2013 ethics complaint that the billionaire developer filed last year against the AG.

NYC Public Advocate Letitia “Tish” James, mentioned as a possible primary challenger to de Blasio in 2017, has joined the fight against his plan to bring 339 new units of affordable and luxury housing to Brooklyn Bridge Park.

An Upper East Side parochial school was closed for cleaning after tests found low levels of the legionella bacteria in a cooling tower.

Disgraced former Assemblyman Vito Lopez’s “dying wish” is reportedly to elevate to Brooklyn Supreme Court the mother of a teen intern he has been accused of sexually harassing.

More >

Extras

When it comes to bagels, President Obama is a “big poppy seed guy,” and likes just a “schmear” of cream cheese. He also laments the closure of the iconic NYC bagel bakery H & H.

On Sept. 21, Kirsten Gillibrand will become the first US senator “to address a major cannabis industry event.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is reportedly expected to appoint former JCOPE chair, Republican-turned-Democrat Westchester District Attorney Janet DiFiore to the Appeals Court.

Ohio Governor and 2016 Republican candidate John Kasich, who last week secured the endorsement of former New York Sen. Al D’Amato, might soon have another Empire State Republican in his corner: former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Donald Trump continues to dominate the 2016 GOP field, but Dr. Ben Carson – more or less the anti-Trump – is consistently coming in second, and rising.

The total tab for the search for escaped Clinton Correctional Facility convicts David Sweat and Richard Matt has climbed to $12.6 million – up from the figure of about $11.6 million revealed by the state comptroller’s office. The extra million went for miscellaneous expenses like meals, supplies and travel.

State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia insisted her response to the opt-out movement does not entail threats. “I’m just trying to get information out there so people understand it,” she said.

The Manhattan site of an early 20th century slaughterhouse turned warehouse turned NYPD parking lot would become home to an affordable housing complex with other amenities under a de Blasio administration proposal.

The politically-themed sand sculpture at the State Fair includes likenesses of Cuomo and US Sens. Chuck Schumer and Gillibrand, among others.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio took questions on Twitter today – briefly.

The mayor and his wife, NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray, are hosting a fundraiser on Oct. 20 for the nonprofit that covers the costs of maintaining Gracie Mansion.

American Pharoah shared a plane home to Southern California with the horse who beat him in the Travers Stakes, Keen Ice.

A truck carrying thousands of heads of cabbage overturned in Rochester this morning, causing lane closures on a major regional highway.

Rep. Steve Israel has jury duty.

The top administrator for the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office is a twisted fetishist who wore a chastity belt to work and diapers and a horse tail during sexual foreplay, according to court papers filed by his estranged wife.

Bill Clinton was the “side dish” at a recent Hamptons fundraiser for Democratic 2016 hopeful Hillary Clinton, who was very accessible at the event, according to one attendee.

Republican Onondaga County Legislature Chairman Ryan McMahon wants the county to apply for a state permit to bait and kill the deer around his neighborhood on the far West Side of Syracuse and the town of Onondaga.

Attendance for the opening weekend of the New York State Fair is the best it’s been in at least five years. While Sunday’s attendance dipped slightly from last year’s figure, numbers was up Thursday, Friday and Saturday over last year. As of Sunday night, total fair attendance was 305,480.

Cortland College will investigate whether any students violated its code of conduct by airing a “Freshman Daughter Drop-Off” sign outside an off-campus house.

Kenne, NY made Country Living’s list of 50 small towns in the US with the best fall foliage.

Cuomo To Travel To Puerto Rico

cuomoboltonGov. Andrew Cuomo and a delegation of New York elected officials and cabinet advisors will travel to Puerto Rico for a 48-hour trip on Sept. 7.

The trip to Puerto Rico comes as its debt crisis continues to roil the island. The trip is meant to be a solidarity trip for Puerto Rico as officials in the mainland United States continued to call for federal assistance in order to manage its $72 billion debt.

This will be his first second trip to Puerto Rico since being elected governor (Cuomo traveled there last year during his re-election campaign).

“New York and Puerto Rico have a special relationship bound in heritage, history, culture and family – and when times are tough we stand side by side and offer whatever help we can,” Cuomo said in a statement. “The current situation in Puerto Rico has become unsustainable and is threatening the livelihoods of millions of people – many with strong connections to New York. This trip is about stepping up for Puerto Rico and its people, and I look forward to working together with our partners to help address this crisis.”

The trip will conclude the same day officials have scheduled a “negotiated moratorium” for its debt load.

More >

Reps. Velazquez, Meeks Will Vote ‘Yes” on Iran Deal

Two more members of New York’s congressional delegation announced their support for the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran today, bringing the total number of “yes” votes in the state (so far) to six.

Reps. Nydia Velazquez, of Brooklyn; and Gregory Meeks, of Queens; both announced their respective decisions via press release. (The congresswoman will be a guest on “Inside City Hall” on our sister station NY1 tonight to discuss her position further with host Errol Louis).

“In analyzing this agreement, my fundamental and primary concern was ensuring we stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon,” Velazquez said. “An Iran with a nuclear bomb would present an existential threat to Israel, be a destabilizing game changer for the entire region and directly threaten and undermine U.S. security interests. It is a scenario that the world absolutely must avoid.”

Meeks said:

“This is not a perfect deal. There has never been a perfect deal or one that gives the parties to it everything they want. Despite the risks, the agreement has the support of the United Nations Security Council and most countries world-wide. Critically, key partners in the Middle East region and most of our allies consider the JCPOA an important next step after years of coordinated sanctions and diplomatic efforts to push Iran to the negotiating table.”

“… If this plan fails because Iran violates the deal, sanctions will snap back into place. If it succeeds, Iran’s break out time to acquire a nuclear weapon would be significantly extended from the current two to three months to at least oneyear (and this would be 10 years from now at the earliest). Its stockpile of enriched uranium would be reduced by ninety eight percent, and there would be more information about Iran’s program than ever before.”

Prior to these announcements, just four of New York’s House members – Reps. Jose Serrano, of the Bronx; Jerry Nadler, of Manhattan (the lone Jewish member in this column); Paul Tonko, of Amsterdam; and Louise Slaughter, of Rochester – said they supported the deal, while 14 oppose it and the remainder have not yet expressed a position.

The deal has also divided New York’s two US senators, with Chuck Schumer opposed and Kirsten Gillibrand supporting.

It’s possible the House and US Senate could pass a resolution blocking the president from lifting sanctions on Iran, but it appears unlikely they could muster the two-third vote in both chambers necessary to override the veto he has pledged will be forthcoming if they go that route.

Stewart-Cousins Sidesteps Tkaczyk’s WEP Push

womensequalitySenate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins in a radio interview Monday sidestepped a question about former Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk’s efforts to install alternative rules to the Women’s Equality Party, a ballot line formed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo during last year’s election.

In an interview on WCNY’s The Capitol Pressroom, the Yonkers Democrat said it is “good that women are involved” in the party, which achieved ballot status through the current election cycle after Cuomo and his running mate, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, received more than 50,000 votes on the line.

“If we’re going to have a Women’s Equality Party, I think it’s good that women are involved,” Stewart-Cousins said in the interview. “I think it’s good that we support the broadest possible issues in terms of women’s equality and bolstering our opportunities in this state.”

Tkaczyk last week submitted alternative rules to be considered for the fledgling party, whose interim chairwoman is Barbara Fiala, a former Cuomo administration cabinet member now running for Senate in the Southern Tier. More >

Fiala Transfers $144K To Senate Campaign

fialaIn a little-noticed move last week, Democrat Barbara Fiala transferred the balance from her old county executive campaign to a new account aimed at winning a state Senate.

Filings posted on the Board of Elections website show Fiala transferred $144,733 from a previously established account for her Broome County executive campaign to the new Senate race on Aug. 23.

Fiala, a former commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles, faces Republican Fred Akshar in the race to replace ousted Sen. Tom Libous. Records also show that Fiala in April spent $3,000 on polling, months after she left the governor’s cabinet and before Libous’s corruption trial started.  More >