Dec 7th - 5:03 pm
Donald Trump is TIME magazine’s person of the year – yet another title for which he beat out Hillary Clinton.
Actor Danny Glover said he’s “appalled” and “angry” about the magazine’s decision.
A bill released last night to fund the federal government through April contains $7 million to reimburse New York for the cost of protecting Trump – that’s just one fifth of the $35 million NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio requested.
Trump is planning to pick Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to run the EPA, putting one of the agency’s most hostile critics and a skeptic of climate change science at its helm.
Trump also has chosen retired Marine Gen. John Kelly, whose last command included oversight of the Guantanamo Bay detention center, to run the Department of Homeland Security, people close to the transition team said.
And yet another Trump administration nomination: WWE co-founder and onetime U.S. Senate contender Linda McMahon to serve as the administrator of the Small Business Administration, a cabinet-level position.
Trump’s interview style as he seeks to fill cabinet posts is (unlike his reality TV approach) direct but conversational, according to people who have sat opposite him.
U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, the incoming minority leader for his chamber, said Republicans will have to “own” the situation if they ditch the healthcare law but don’t immediately come up with a way to replace it, because Democrats won’t help them come up with a new plan.
Democrats already planning to block Trump’s Supreme Court picks in the same manner Republicans blocked Obama nominee Merrick Garland will be doing so at their own political peril, Rep. Chris Collins warned.
Senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett said she encouraged top Trump aide Kellyanne Conway to take a job in the president-elect’s administration.
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand makes CNBC’s list of 12 women who could break the glass ceiling in the future where Clinton failed.
The mayor of Middleburgh filed a federal lawsuit seeking to overturn New York’s taser ban, saying he wants to purchase one for his personal protection and feels it should be classified as a firearm – and therefore legal.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor will speak at the University at Albany, headlining the spring semester speaker series on April 4.
Hofstra University officials have asked Nassau County police to investigate allegations reported in the student newspaper that a fraternity had hazed its pledges.
Protestors opposed to taxpayer funded subsidies for upstate nuclear plants demonstrated outside Cuomo’s birthday fundraiser in Manhattan last night.
A Chinese company that is the world’s largest rail transportation equipment provider reportedly plans to set up operations at a 32-acre parcel within the Fort Edward Industrial Park.
In the coming days, the EPA will finalize a 2015 report that found no link between fracking and “widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water.”
Brace yourselves, New Yorkers, here comes the Snowpocalypse!
Dec 7th - 4:07 pm
Mainline Democrats in the state Senate on Wednesday defended the leadership of their conference as former Democratic Committee Executive Director Charlie King explicitly raises calls for their replacement.
“To me, it’s clear in the Senate we have strong Democratic leadership that’s work toward a majority,” said Sen. Daniel Squadron, a Democrat from Brooklyn. “I don’t think the circular firing squad helps.”
King on Wednesday at a news conference in New York City suggested a change in leadership of the conference — effectively having the mainline lawmakers in the conference dump Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and her deputy, Queens Sen. Mike Gianaris — could lead to a reunification of Democrats in the chamber.
The call came amid a growing side saga between the Senate Democrats and King, an ally of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The governor has been pushed in recent days to broker a unity effort in the state Senate that would enable Democrats to regain majority control, which they last held from 2008 to 2010.
King has emerged as a response vehicle of sorts for the governor, holding a counter news conference in Manhattan as protesters from an assortment of liberal groups demonstrated outside of the governor’s office. Cuomo’s office today disavowed King’s news conference in New York City, saying the first they heard about it was when he alerted the media.
Senate Democrats huddled on Wednesday at the Century House in suburban Albany, a catering hall and hotel venue, as they continue a push to gain a majority advantage in the chamber. It takes 32 members of the Senate to form a majority and, should John Brooks win a still-contested race on Long Island, they would have the numbers to do so.
But Democrats are divided, with the Independent Democratic Conference growing to seven members next month and Brooklyn Sen. Simcha Felder continuing to align himself with the Senate Republicans.
Senate Democrats, meanwhile, were quick to counter the call for Stewart-Cousins and Gianaris to step aside.
“We’ve had a leadership that has moved us forward and put us on the edge of power. We’re about to take the power in New York state,” said Sen. James Sanders. “At the end of the day, it’s the Democrats who are sitting in the room who will make that decision to change the leaders. If there are Democrats who believe there should be a different leadership, I encourage them to come on home. But in order to do that we need to be in the same room.”
He added: “Can’t we all just get along?”
For her part, Stewart-Cousins, who would be the first African-American woman to lead a majority conference in state government, indicated she has no plans to step aside, saying such calls are an effort to sidetrack from the real issue at hand.
“I’m surprised that the question of bringing Democrats together would just bring people out to challenge the fact that this could be a unified party,” she said. “That’s the only conversation we’re having. I think we can all work together to implement the will of the majority.”
Dec 7th - 1:45 pm
Senate Democrats on Wednesday criticized an ally of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, pointing to his firms ties to a super PAC that backed Senate Republicans.
The latest broadside comes as mainline Senate Democrats and liberal groups are pushing Cuomo to unite the party’s various factions in the chamber to achieve a working and governing majority.
After several days of statements, former New York Democratic Executive Director Charlie King responded by questioning the leadership strength of Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.
King has been close with Cuomo, having run with him for lieutenant governor and, before that, working with him at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Today, King held a counter news conference near Cuomo’s New York City office as protesters demonstrated for Cuomo to back the Democratic cause in the chamber.
In response to that, Senate Democrats pointed to the public relations and political consulting firm that employs King, Mercury LLC, and the work done for a GOP-backing super PAC.
“It’s ironic that an operative whose firm has received millions of dollars to keep the Senate in Republican control is speaking for the Democratic Governor about a Democratic Senate,” said Senate Democratic spokesman Mike Murphy. “When is winning a majority of members enough? Democrats have won a majority of the Senate three times in the past four years, yet we have been blocked from governing. That fact, and today’s chaos in the Party are perfect examples of why we need the Governor to step up and unite the Democrats.”
Dec 7th - 1:10 pm
Lawmakers in the Democratic conference in the Assembly have been told to keep next week open for a potential special session in Albany.
There’s no firm word either way, however, whether such a session — which could pave the way for the first legislative pay increase since 1998 — will actually occur.
The conference spent several days at the Capitol this week huddling, renominating Bronx Democrat Carl Heastie for the speakership in the chamber.
Heastie over the last several days has said he is unsure if a special session will be held and the conference has raised issues with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s call for term limits and a full-time Legislature that bans outside income.
Cuomo has called on lawmakers to also approve funding for affordable housing and a hate crimes task force as well as back changes to the state’s oversight of the procurement process.
Dec 7th - 10:48 am
After receiving an unprecedented number of voter complaints during the state’s April presidential primaries, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has released a plan to overhaul what he says is a byzantine and antiquated system that produces questionable results and depresses participation.
Schneiderman said he does not believe his reform plan, which is not currently under consideration as part of any special session deal, would have changed the outcome of the presidential primaries. But in close legislative races – at least one of which on Long Island remains an open question – these changes could potentially make a big difference.
The AG also discussed his relationship with President-elect Trump, and said he stands ready to bring litigation against the incoming administration is it violates any New York laws. We sat down with Schneiderman in his office for a wide-ranging discussion.
Watch the interview here.
Dec 7th - 6:15 am
From the Morning Memo:
At his birthday fundraiser before a production of “A Bronx Tale: The Musical” on Tuesday evening, Gov. Andrew Cuomo offered a diagnosis on the results of last month’s presidential election and the upset victory of Republican Donald Trump.
“There was a lesson for us,” Cuomo said during his 12-minute remarks before the performance.
“I don’t believe Trump won, I believe we lost that election. I think what it said to the Democratic Party is there is a middle class that we have not been attentive to and there is a middle class that has been suffering for a long time.”
Cuomo celebrated his 59th birthday at the Broadway theater last night along with actors Robert DeNiro and Chazz Palminteri (Introducing the legendary actor who helped bring Palminteri’s one-man show to the big screen in 1993, Cuomo razzed him with a brief Taxi Driver-inspired “you-talkin-to-me?” impression).
While Cuomo touted his own successes in New York — private sector job growth and gains on “social progress” like a $15 minimum wage and paid family leave — the election results were “devastating,” he said.
“Don’t underestimate how devastating this campaign was to this country,” he said. “It didn’t end on Election Day. It spread an anger and a fear and a hatred that is now resonating all across this country.”
The fundraiser was for Cuomo’s 2018 re-election bid as he seeks a third term. But he has been considered a potential candidate for the Democratic nomination in 2020, even has he insists he’s focused on remaining governor.
After initially suggesting Trump’s victory would be a “bonus” for New York given the president-elect’s desire to spend on infrastructure projects, Cuomo has railed against bias crimes and graffiti that have been under scrutiny following the election.
“When you sow fear you will then reap anger and hatred,” Cuomo said Tuesday night. “That’s exactly what’s happening after this campaign. New York’s role is going to be more important than ever before because we have to stand up against what we’re seeing and what we’re hearing.
There is a tide of negativity and we have to stand up and remind this nation what true values is all about.”
Dec 7th - 6:00 am
From the Morning Memo:
Former Rochester TV reporter and anchor Rachel Barnhart broke the news herself on Twitter earlier this week: She’s exploring a run for mayor next year.
That’s about all she’s saying right now. When I reached out to Barnhart for more details, she sent me the same statement she had already posted on social media.
“I’m a lifelong city resident and graduate of city schools and I built my career around covering issues in the city that are important to residents,” she said. “Our city is struggling with poverty and a lack of economic opportunity. There are problems we need to solve. Right now, they’re not being adequately addressed.”
Barnhart did tell me she plans to make a decision by February, and said whether or not incumbent Democratic Mayor Lovely Warren seeks re-election will not impact her own calculus.
This past fall, Barnhart entered the political arena as a candidate for the first time, unsuccessfully challenging three-term incumbent Assemblyman Harry Bronson in a Democratic primary. Bronson not only held on in a close race, but went on to win the November general election, too.
Throughout the campaign, Barnhart expressed disappointment about the treatment she received both from Bronson supporters and the media. Post-election, she wrote and published a book called “Broad,Casted” about her campaign and the sexism she said she faced as a female candidate.
I asked Barnhart if she believed she will face the same biases if she runs for mayor. She said she wasn’t sure.
As for what she learned from the Assembly run, she suggested I read the book.
Dec 7th - 4:51 am
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City and Albany with no public schedule.
At 7:45 a.m., Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane Williams appears on “Democracy Now” to discuss Ben Carson’s nomination as HUD Secretary.
At 9 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul highlights state investment in a design and hardware tech incubator, NYDesigns, LaGuardia Community College, 29-10 Thomson Ave., 7th Floor, Long Island City, Queens.
Also at 9 a.m., homeless New Yorkers, community groups and advocates from the Campaign 4 NY/NY Housing rally to call on Cuomo and legislative leaders to sign a MOU to release $1.9 billion allocated the state’s budget to supportive and affordable housing, Cuomo’s New York City office, 633 Third Ave., Manhattan.
At 10 a.m., Hochul tours a re-entry workforce and development program, The Fortune Society, 29-76 Northern Blvd., Long Island City, Queens.
Also at 10 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will appear live on WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show, and will take questions from listeners.
Also at 10 a.m., Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, Erie County Veterans’ Services Agency Director David J. Shenk and representatives of the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park host a ceremony remembering the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park, 1 Naval Park Cove, Buffalo.
At 10:30 a.m., Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams unveils more than $6 million in fiscal year 2017 funds from Brooklyn Borough Hall to advance economic development initiatives across the borough, BioBAT, Brooklyn Army Terminal, Building A, 140 58th St., Brooklyn.
At 10:45 a.m., Win, NYC’s largest homeless shelter and service provider for women and families, hosts an event for new and expecting mothers living in their 11 citywide shelters, Harlem Win facility, Manhattan.
At 11 a.m., Sen. David Carlucci is joined by seniors to announce a newly-enacted law that gives seniors and consumers tools to fight aggressive telemarketers, Nanuet Library, 149 Church St., Nanuet.
At noon, the CUNY Rising Alliance and supporters call on de Blasio and Cuomo to fully fund the City University of New York, City Hall steps, Manhattan.
Also at noon, Finger Lakes vineyard owners, business owners and supporters hold a rally to call on Cuomo to reject Crestwood LP’s gas storage proposal in the Finger Lakes, LCA Room, Legislative Office Building, Albany.
At 1 p.m., advocates from AQE, ALIGN-NY, Citizen Action of New York, Community Voices Heard, Make the Road Action, New York Communities for Change, Strong Economy for All, and VOCAL-NY rally to call on Cuomo to bring the state Senate under the control of a Democratic majority, Cuomo’s New York City office, 633 Third Ave., Manhattan.
At 6:30 p.m., NYC Council members Donovan Richards, I. Daneek Miller and Ruben Wills, and New York City Department of Environmental Protection Acting Commissioner Vincent Sapienza provide an update on infrastructure projects in Southeast Queens, Birch Family Services, 145-02 Farmers Blvd., Queens.
At 7 p.m., Sen. Terrence Murphy will present 19-year-old hero Cullen Malzo with a New York State Liberty Medal, Carmel Town Hall, 60 McAlpin Ave., Mahopac.
In a national security speech delivered just weeks before he leaves the White House, President Barack Obama defended his strategy for combating terrorism, despite the emergence on his watch of the Islamic State group and the expansion of the conflict in Syria.
Vice president-elect Mike Pence claimed that President-elect Donald Trump has a “mandate” to lead the country, as he ticked through a long list of conservative priorities for the new administration in what he vowed would be a busy first few months in office.
Debra Wong Yang, a former Los Angeles U.S. attorney with close ties to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, is under consideration for nomination by Trump as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Chuck Jones, president of the United Steelworkers 1999, which represents Carrier employees, accuses the president-elect of lying about about the terms and size of the deal to prevent the company from moving some jobs from Indiana to Mexico.
Generally speaking, however, the Carrier deal is earning high marks from American voters, a Politico/Morning Consult poll shows.
Trump fired one of his transition team’s staff members, Michael G. Flynn, the son of the president-elect’s choice for national security adviser, for using Twitter to spread a fake news story about Hillary Clinton that led to an armed confrontation in a pizza restaurant in Washington.
At a fund-raiser celebrating his 59th birthday last night, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Trump did not win the presidential election, the Democrats lost it by ignoring the middle class.
AG Eric Schneiderman said flawed election procedures and laws led to what he called an unprecedented number of voting complaints during the state’s April presidential primary.
Schneiderman proposed a host of reforms to overhaul the state’s voting system.
The state intends to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over a plan to set up a new dredging disposal site in the Long Island Sound.
The state comptroller has rejected a non-bid contract by the state police to buy a $12.5 million helicopter that could also be used to ferry Cuomo around New York.
A U.S. Coast Guard plan to allow floating barges full of crude oil to anchor for long periods of time on the lower Hudson River is not “an acceptable solution,” a top state official wrote.
Sen. Brad Hoylman, a Manhattan Democrat, is behind the Tax Returns Uniformly Made Public, otherwise abbreviated as the TRUMP act, which would require future presidential candidates to release their tax returns in order to appear on the ballot in New York.
The count of paper ballots in the 8th State Senate District on Long Island inched forward yesterday with Democratic candidate John Brooks continuing to hold a narrow lead over incumbent GOP State Sen. Michael Venditto as the case moved back to the Nassau County Board of Elections.
The race for the 46th state Senate District, which which incumbent GOP Sen. George Amedore survived a challenge from Democrat Sara Niccoli, cost more than $1.25 million – about $13 a vote.
As the state launches an investigation into alleged bias in its prison system, Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda, a Bronx Democrat, says he will re-introduce in 2017 legislation that would require the state Parole Board to detail demographic information about those considered for parole in its annual report on its actions.
Former Albany Bishop Howard Hubbard, as a representative of the state’s Catholic churches, is among a broad coalition of groups with members of all political stripes who are pleading with Cuomo to sign legislation not yet on his desk that would phase-in a state takeover of funding for indigent legal services.
NYC lawmakers want to require employers to offer their workers more predictable schedules and opportunities for more hours. The six bills are aimed at helping nudge thousands of fast-food, retail and other service workers closer to earning a living wage.
Dec 6th - 5:03 pm
Six weeks from taking office, Donald Trump says he wants the government to cut some costs by canceling its order with Boeing for a new Air Force One, the plane that carries presidents around the globe.
Boeing issued a statement clarifying that it is currently under contract for $170 million to determine the capabilities of the new aircraft – not more than $4 billion as Trump erroneously claimed in a tweet.
State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli rejected the no-bid purchase of a $12.5 million helicopter intended for the State Police but also to ferry Cuomo around the state. Cuomo administration officials, however, insisted that the purchase effort for the Sikorsky S76-D is still underway.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara applauded a new Supreme Court decision on insider trading, after the court found that a trading tip “gift” can be used by a secondary person and still be considered an illegal use of that information for personal benefit.
Clinton ally and liberal Super PAC operator David Brock told reporters that he plans to create a new outlet designed to serve as a counterpoint to alt-right website Breitbart.
Trump sold all his shares in companies in June, his spokesman said, a move that could have created a cash windfall as he ramped up to begin a costly general election presidential campaign that at the time he claimed he would personally support with “major contributions.”
Fox News’ Megyn Kelly named Trump’s social media director as the reason she’s had to hire armed guards for herself and her family for months.
Cuomo today announced $6.7 million to create Empire Corps, a state-funded team of AmeriCorps volunteers to be deployed to city halls and public service agencies statewide.
A number of elected officials and/or their family members – including the governor’s brother, Chris, his late father, Mario, and mother, Matilda – have unclaimed funds, according to the state comptroller’s office.
In his sharpest critique yet of scofflaw landlords, Mayor Bill de Blasio said it’s “outrageous” that thousands of New York City property owners accepted tax benefits from the city in exchange for limiting rent increases but did not live up to their obligations.
In another twist in the Cuomo administration’s Competitive Power Ventures scandal, the pipeline company building a nearly eight-mile natural gas line to the proposed CPV plant is suing the state for what it claims is an unlawful delay of the project.
The 2017 Erie County budget earmarks more money than ever to crack down on property owners who repeatedly fail to pay their county taxes. And that money will enable the county to pursue foreclosure action against more delinquent property tax payers, overall, than it has in the past 15 years.
State officials say a retired New York trooper-turned-town judge shouldn’t have kept media from covering the arraignment of a suspect who’s a state police major’s daughter.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s poll numbers are historically bad.
Lydia Polgreen, a New York Times associate masthead editor and editorial director of NYT Global, has been named editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post.
Upstate New York’s second casino, Schenectady’s Rivers project, is getting its first shipment of slot machines with a Feb. 8 opening in mind.
Rep. John Katko delivered remarks on the floor of the House to honor the tremendous legacy of Ruth Colvin, a pioneer in the adult literacy movement, who is celebrating her 100th birthday this month.
A bill before the NYC Council that would put restrictions on the use of flushable wipes is drawing opposition from industry officials who say the legislation is misdirected.
The Nassau County attorney has informed the Hempstead Town Industrial Development Agency that it has until Monday to comply with subpoenas issued by the county comptroller for an audit into tax breaks for Green Acres Mall.
RIP Marv Cermak, veteran Times Union columnist and a one-of-a-kind, old-school newsman.
Dec 6th - 4:22 pm
Assembly Democrats met for the second straight day in Albany on Tuesday, but there was still no word on whether the full Legislature will convene later this month in a session that could clear the way for a legislative pay increase.
“The governor and I communicate quite frequently. Senator Flanagan, I didn’t speak to yesterday, but we continue to talk,” Heastie said. “But I don’t know about the prospects of a special session.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is prodding lawmakers to back first passage of a pair of constitutional amendments that would set term limits for state elected officials and create a full-time Legislature that bans outside income.
Cuomo also wants lawmakers to take up a series of issues that range from funding affordable housing and a hate crimes task force to overhauling how procurement procedures are conducted.
The latter issue is potentially a tricky one of the Assembly: Lawmakers in the wake of charges in a bid rigging and bribery case that has ensnared a former close aide to the governor, Joe Percoco, sought changes to procurement that would restore some of the power of the state comptroller, who has been at odds with Cuomo.
The governor, meanwhile, wants to create a chief procurement officer within his own office to oversee contracting.
“Some things are best left until the entire body is here so we can look at these things and procurement is one of those things that we need to look at when the entire Legislature is on hand,” Heastie said.