Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule.

Here in Charlotte, the Democrats will gavel in at 5 p.m. at the Time Warner Cable Arena to kick off the official business portion of their 2012 national convention.

Speakers of note tonight include: San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro, who will deliver the keynote address; First Lady Michelle Obama. They wil be speaking during prime time (in the 10 p.m. hour), as will Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who is widely seen as a likely Democratic presidential contender in 2016.

Also on the schedule: A Kennedy family tribute video, video addresses from Newark Mayor Cory Booker and former President Carter, and speeches by Lily Ledbetter, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, Craig Robinson (Michelle Obama’s brother) and Maya Soetoro-ng (President Obama’s sister).

Headlines…

Fear of what the Republicans might do if they won the White House, not a positive view of hope and change, is what unites Democrats gathered in Charlotte this week.

Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson decried a nasty remark Bill Clinton made about President Obama four years ago, but then said: “That was then, this is now.”

Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes admits “excitement is not as high” as it was in 2008.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo cancelled a Thursday lunch in Charlotte with a group of Obama’s big donors.

Members of the Iowa delegation are familiar with the name “Cuomo” – as in “Mario Cuomo.”

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, a likely Cuomo rival in 2016, has a prime time speaking slot at the convention tonight.

It’s the economy, stupid.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver spoke at length about the Assemblyman Vito Lopez sexual harassment mess, saying he asked Lopez to resign and was rebuffed by the embattled Brooklyn lawmaker.

“I felt what he did was wrong,” Silver said. “And I also felt that the sanctions that I had to impose on him would make him ineffective as a member, as a representative of his constituents, and I felt it would be best for him personally — and as a message for the institution of the Assembly – that he resign.”

Silver said he plans to explore “all legal avenues” to get rid of Lopez if he won’t bow to pressure and go on his own steam.

“Albany’s puppet master has gone too far,” writes Denise Jewell Gee.

While in Charlotte, Silver could not escape attorney Gloria Allred and her criticism of his handling of the Lopez mess.

The DN doesn’t approve of the frontrunner to replace Lopez as Brooklyn Democratic boss, former Assemblyman Frank Seddio.

State GOP Chairman Ed Cox said party volunteers will be traveling to the presidential battleground states of Pennsylvania and Ohio as volunteers as New Yorkers try to keep the convention excitement alive.

Yellow taxis in NYC may begin charging more on Tuesday, ushering in an approved fare increase for riders, whose rates have remained virtually unchanged since 2006.

Jobs Express, a website designed to help New Yorkers trying to find a job, has helped more than 44,000 individuals find work in the 10 months since its launch, according to Cuomo’s office.

Business organizations and labor unions are already working on state legislative races.

An analysis on the funding for New York’s community colleges is due out later this month.

With a decision expected soon on whether to allow hydraulic fracturing in New York, natural gas pipeline operators are already looking at setting up shop and opponents are predicting environmental damage, safety problems and land seizures through eminent domain.

The NYS Fair ended with lower than usual attendance overall.

Rep. Richard Hanna and his Democratic opponent, Dan Lamb, have agreed on a debate schedule, while Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle and her Democratic opponent, Dan Maffei, are still negotiating.

Sen. Neil Breslin and his primary opponent, Albany County Legislator Shawn Morse, debate tonight at Russell Sage.

Rep. Nan Hayworth touts her efforts to help the Hudson Valley recover from the damages of Irene and Lee.

Were you aware that there’s a global helium shortage? Me neither, but it’s being felt in Buffalo.