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Posts by Liz Benjamin
Dec 6th - 5:54 pm
Sen. Liz Krueger will introduce a bill to legalize recreational marijuana in New York, saying she sees it as a “starting point” for a conversation about “rational” pot policy.
The house Sen. Chuck Schumer shares with two fellow Democrats is a serious pit.
Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords has terminated her congressional campaign committee and has transferred the remaining funds to her political action committee.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver quietly slipped into Buffalo for a Sabers game and a hockey night fund-raiser.
The Federal Railroad Administration ordered Metro-North Railroad to modify its signal system to provide better safeguards against speeding in response to Sunday’s fatal derailment in New York City.
In his final days in office, Mayor Bloomberg is reaching out to the families of all 69 former city employees who died in the line of duty over the course of his 12 year term.
At least a dozen potential candidates have expressed interest in challenging Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei next year.
The pro-frackers are spending more on lobbyists than the anti-frackers, but to no avail. (So far).
As the dust settles from Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s two-day spree of administrative appointments, all eyes have now turned to his next big decision: who he’ll pick for New York City schools chancellor.
Bloomberg said those who criticize his admittedly halting Spanish should “get a life.”
The Obamas, the Clintons and the Bushes will all travel to South Africa to participate in memorial events honoring Nelson Mandela
Schumer is optimistic about the budget talks taking place in Washington.
Only one of the NYC Council speaker candidates – Brooklyn’s Jumaane Williams – has openly criticized de Blasio’s selection of Bill Bratton to return to the NYPD commissioner’s post.
Williams cited his church-going Caribbean roots and a traumatic personal experience involving a pregnancy in explaining his views on gay marriage and abortion.
A mid-level appeals court dismissed a challenge to New York’s participation in a regional cap-and-trade program for carbon emissions, ruling it was filed well outside the statute of limitations.
A new Nelson Mandela School for Social Justice will be located in Brooklyn’s Boys and Girls High School campus, in honor of the civil and human rights activist.
A controversial appointee of Governor Chris Christie has resigned from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
Dec 6th - 3:31 pm
Universal pre-K, which is widely accepted to be one of the best ways to improve student performance in the long term, has been in the news a lot these days, thanks to NYC Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s signature policy proposal to tax wealthy city residents to pay for the program for every student in the five boroughs.
Establishing full day pre-K was chief among the proposals released last December by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s education reform commission. Cuomo subsequently included $75 million in the 2013-14 budget for education reform initiatives – including about $25 million for the expansion of pre-K - with the money to be awarded through a competitive process.
The allocation of this money has been slow in coming, in part because only a fraction of the districts eligible for the cash have applied.
Now education advocates are talking about building on the momentum of de Blasio’s victory and pushing the governor and Legislature to expand pre-K statewide. The Citizens Budget Commission has estimated it would cost $4 billion to achieve that goal, which is $2 billion more than the entire surplus Cuomo has said he expects the state will see at the end of the current fiscal year if spending controls continue. (And he wants to use at least some of that for tax cuts).
Advocates and elected officials have been trying to expand pre-K for decades. But despite all the talk, state spending on this important program has actually gone down instead of up.
That’s according to a report conducted by Rutgers University’s National Institute for Early Education Research, whcih found 28 percent of America’s 4-year-olds were enrolled in a state-funded pre-school program in the 2011-2012 school year – about the same percentage as the year before. That stagnation was compunded by an unprecedented drop in funding of $500 million nationwide – the largest one-year drop in history.
The NIEE found that New York spent $5,306 per child enrolled in pre-K in 2002, but that figure plummeted to $3,707 in 2012.
There were 102,568 New York children enrolled in the 2011-2012 school year, representing approximately 44 percent of the state’s 4-year-olds - a decrease of approximately 1,000 students from the previous year. Approximately 75 percent of those kids attend half-day programs.
The good news for New York was that despite its drop in the number of students attending pre-K, it maintained its national ranking of 9th overall in terms of enrollment. And despite its flat funding, that state’s ranking improved from 24th in the nation to 21st in the nation in the per-child spending category, although in 2002, New York was 11th overall for resources per child.
The report did note the $25 million for pre-K included in the 2013-14 budget, which would allow for more full and half-day K slots across the state.
Dec 6th - 2:48 pm
In the wake of last Sunday’s deadly Metro-North derailment, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is directing the MTA to “explore what new measures” to improve train safety.
Cuomo’s office released a letter the governor sent today to MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas Prendergast, in which he makes clear that he believes the actions of engineer William Rockefeller, whom federal investigators determined was doing 82 miles per hour heading into a sharp 30 mile per hour curve, “were the initiating cause of this tragic accident.”
“Various state and national agencies are now examining Mr. Rockefeller’s conduct,” Cuomo wrote. “I am sure that the MTA is also taking the necessary disciplinary measures.”
Cuomo has already said he thinks Rockefeller could face criminal charges for his conduct, but legal experts aren’t so sure. Rockefeller has been suspended without pay, and the MTA is reportedly preparing disciplinary charges that could result in his dismissal, though he could appeal that ruling.
In his letter, Cuomo also reiterated his call for the MTA to expedite automated speed control for vulnerable track locations across the Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road systems, and he said installation of positive train control should be “accelerated,” though he acknowledged that to do so will be “challenging” (presumably due to cost contraints). And the governor did not stop there.
“Furthermore, I am requesting you to confer with all relevant personnel and experts to identify what actions can be taken before PTC is installed, and design recommendations to address hazards revealed in Sunday’s derailment in the immediate and long-term future,” Cuomo wrote.
Specifically, please consider and evaluate the following:
- Implementing regular safety stand-downs to reinforce a safety culture among MTA employees, similar to the immediate safety stand-downs I previously directed you to conduct this week.
- Participating in the Federal Railroad Administration’s Confidential Close Call Reporting System, which provides a way for front-line employees to anonymously warn of potential safety hazards without fear of retribution.
- Identifying technical solutions to enforce speed control, compliance with operating rules, engineer alertness and any other measures that can improve safety for New York commuters.”
Train safety is going to be a focus for some time as a result of this accident, and it’s a safe bet there will be numerous proposals on the subject from elected officials at many levels of government.
Dec 6th - 6:24 am
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule.
If you happen to see the governor, wish him a happy birthday. He was born Dec. 6, 1957, and as of today, he’s both the 56th governor of New York AND 56 years old.
NYC Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio is also in the city with no public schedule.
From 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Manhattan BP and NYC Comptroller-elect Scott Stringer and executives, philanthropic officials and scholars speak during the Citizens Budget Commission’s conference about budget and economic concerns of Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s administration; 58 E. 68th St., Manhattan.
At 8:30 a.m., Rep. Paul Tonko holds a fundraiser, 6 Colonial Green, Loudonville.
At 8:45 a.m., Mayor Bloomberg delivers remarks at the Partnership for New York City’s annual meeting, Barclays Center, 620 Atlantic Ave. at Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn.
At 10 a.m., four Assembly committees and the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus hold a public hearing on the state’s laws governing the age of criminal responsibility, Assembly Hearing Room, 250 Broadway, Room 1923, 19th Floor, Manhattan.
Also at 10 a.m., Tonko calls on the U.S. Senate to pass legislation to save money by exempting fire hydrants from EPA lead regulations in primary sources of drinking water, Latham Water Garage, 347 Old Niskayuna Road, Latham.
At 10:30 a.m., Rep. Joe Crowley is joined by elected officials, civic organizations, advocates and community members to announce the Silent Skies Act to address aircraft noise pollution in communities surrounding airports in Queens; LaGuardia Airport’s Marine Air Terminal Rotunda.
Also at 10:30 a.m., AARP NY holds press conference to announce major recommendations for state support for 4.1 million unpaid family caregivers, Lilly Apartments, 36 Arthur Ave., Blasdell.
At 6:30 p.m., New York City Councilwoman and Manhattan BP-elect Gale Brewer serves as a guest ringmaster at the Big Apple Circus, Damrosch Park, Lincoln Center, Manhattan.
From 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., there will be a candlelight vigil for Nelson Mandela outside the South African Consulate, at 333 East 38th St., Manhattan.
Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio on his new NYPD commissioner, Bill Bratton: ““I am choosing the best police leader in the United States of America. Plus (he’s) someone I trust on the philosophical level. We are kindred. We share the same beliefs.”
Although a man of modest background, Bratton, 66, has become part of a global law enforcement elite.
“Broadway Bill is gone. It’s Hollywood Bill whom de Blasio just hired.”
The job to which Bratton is returning is very different from the one he left. Crime is at all-time lows. New independent overseers will soon likely monitor the NYPD. Counterterrorism has become an important focus.
There’s skepticism that Bratton was the right pick to enable de Blasio to keep his pledge to reform stop-and-frisk.
People familiar with Bratton’s thinking said there would be significant changes in personnel, priorities and how the NYPD is organized and run.
Cuomo’s second tax commission is weighing a proposal with more than $1 billion in mostly property tax cuts, but debate over former Gov. George Pataki’s plan to slash the personal-income tax on the highest earners has helped delay the release of the group’s report.
It appears the commission will miss today’s deadline for issuing its report; members are now looking to next Tuesday.
Speaking at the Association for a Better New York’s breakfast at the Brooklyn Marriott, Mayor Bloomberg predicted New Yorkers will be living better for a long time due to his efforts on various fronts.
“The biggest risk we face…is the risk of failing to stay true to the values that made our city great, the values that make New York New York,” said Bloomberg, who was uncharacteristically emotion during his speech.
According to documents and interviews, state, local and federal officials had been aware for years that the crucial maps of flood risks were inaccurate; some feared they understated the dangers in New York City’s low-lying areas.
Dec 5th - 5:37 pm
Gov. Andrew Cuomo heads to Washington on Monday to raise hundreds of thousands more dollars – this time from some of the most wired lobbyists in the nation’s capital.
“Three press aides to the governor could not immediately confirm the event; his 2014 campaign office and the Washington lobbying firm hosting the fundraiser did not return calls for comment.”
Cuomo’s second tax commission is divided over former Gov. George Pataki’s push to recommend an income tax cut, and it may not issue a report tomorrow as planned.
In a rare display of public emotion, Mayor Bloomberg choked up when talking about his unborn grandson and the city that he hopes to leave for him
Chris Smith: “After all that talk about Sandinistas, Bill de Blasio may turn out to be a closet conservative.”
The Rev. Al Sharpton isn’t 100 percent on board with de Blasio’s pick of Bill Bratton to return to his old job as NYPD commissioner.
With this new job, Bratton’s role as an analyst at NBC News will be ending.
In the deeply divided Senate, 30 Republicans have opposed public campaign financing, as well as two Democrats. That leaves the measure one vote short heading into the January legislative session
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was not pressed to weigh in on the most pressuring international current events of the day at a foreign policy forum last night.
Donald Trump cut two checks totalling $15,000 to Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino’s successful re-election campaign this year.
Mayor Stephanie Miner said the Detroit bankruptcy case – and the ruling on pension rights in particular – might influence union contract talks in Syracuse, even though there’s little chance the city will enter bankruptcy.
Former Gov. George Pataki will headline a $1,000 a head fundraiser for Republican Congressional contender George Demos next week.
A new TV ad from Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns appears to show a gunman walking into a school at the same time Adam Lanza entered Sandy Hook.
Rep. Pete King is heading back to New Hampshire.
Bill Clinton is a doodler.
De Blasio has trouble being on time.
Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand were in Central New York today.
Former Daily Gazette reporter Dave Lombardo and former Record city editor Jim Franco are teaming up to anchor a Sunday morning public affairs talk show on WGDJ-1300 AM.
Dec 5th - 3:56 pm
Carl Paladino, who is mulling a re-match against Gov. Andrew Cuomo next fall, is still angry about an incident during his failed 2010 bid during which he stood with Orthodox Jewish leaders in Brooklyn and pledged to “oppose the homosexual agenda” – especially same-sex marriage – and said children should not be “brainwashed” into believing that being gay is acceptable.
The Buffalo businessman was roundly condemned for his comments, sopme of which were written for him by Rabbi Yehuda Levin, who endorsed Paladino’s run for governor and advised him in his effort to woo conservative Jewish voters.
The incident came up when Paladino was interviewed on Dec. 2 on 100.7 FM WUTQ, and the hosts suggested the erstwhile candidate had been wrongly portrayed by the “liberal media” as anti-gay.
“Wait a minute,” Paladino retorted. “I got set up by the Hasidics in New York. They set me up on that. I never had a problem with a gay person in my life. That’s total, God-damned nonsense, and I don’t put up with that, all right? They’ll paint me as not politically correct, and they’re perfectly right.”
Paladino went on to say that he had made “mistakes” during his campaign, and considered his reading of Levin’s prepared remarks one of them. He didn’t apologize outright, but did say he felt “terrible” about the incident.
“…Listen, I was a big boy,” Paladino said. “I knew it was a very blue state. I went up there and I laid out values, all right? They wanted to bring me down on social values. And I, being the first time I ever ran for anything, I made a lot of mistakes. And one of them was reading that stupid paper drafted by those Hasidics without having it properly vetted by my campaign manager.”
“That was a terrible, terrible thing. And I felt terrible about it. And I certainly am not anti-gay and I’m not a racist, OK? I will say whatever I please, OK, to anybody who I think is wrong, and then when you want to play the anti-gay and you want to play the racist cards, that’s what they do when devoid of any other excuse for their bad behavior.”
Paladino’s position on social issues will no doubt be back in the spotlight if he chooses to go forward with another run for governor, though this time he has said he will only seek the Conservative line and not participate in the GOP primary.
Dec 5th - 6:55 am
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule.
From 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., during demonstrations planned nationwide, activists, fast-food workers and union members and officials call for increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour and prohibiting employers from interfering with efforts by workers to join unions.
From 9 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., officials from Newtown, Conn., the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, over 80 area private and public schools and security firms speak during a seminar presented by the Center on Private Security and Safety at The City University of New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice; room 4302, North Hall, 445 W. 59th St., Manhattan.
At 8 a.m., Mayor Bloomberg speaks at his final ABNY breakfast, the New York Marriot at the Brooklyn Bridge, Grand Ballroom, 2nd floor, 333 Adams St., Brooklyn.
Also at 8 a.m., there will be an oral argument on a motion filed by attorneys for Sen. Malcolm Smith to dismiss the corruption charges filed against him, Courtroom 521, U.S. District Court, 300 Quarropas St., White Plains.
At 10 a.m., NYC Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio makes an announcement at the Red Hook Justice Community Center, 88 Visitation Place, Brooklyn.
Also at 10 a.m., the Assembly Health Committee holds a public hearing on medical marijuana legislation, Common Council Chambers, Buffalo City Hall, 13th Floor, 65 Niagara Square, Buffalo.
At 10:30 a.m., the Assembly Banking Committee and Subcommittee on Banking in Underserved Communities hold a public hearing on the state’s Community Reinvestment Act, Roosevelt Hearing Room C, Legislative Office Building, 2nd Floor, Albany.
Also at 10:30 a.m., Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney will host a congressional field hearing on the need for comprehensive immigration reform, Neighbors Link Northern Westchester, 27 Columbus Ave., Mt. Kisco.
At 11 a.m., the Assembly Transportation Committee holds a public hearing on the impact of the 2013-14 budget on upstate transit systems, Hamilton Hearing Room B, Legislative Office Building, 2nd Floor, Albany.
Also at 11 a.m., the Assembly and Senate committees on Children and Families and the Assembly Oversight and Investigations Committee hold a public hearing on NYC child protective practices, Assembly Hearing Room, 250 Broadway, Room 1923, 19th Floor, Manhattan.
At 12:30 p.m., AG Eric Schneiderman will appear on MSNBC’s Now with Alex Wagner to talk about the recent $13 billion settlement with JP Morgan. (This was rescheduled from yesterday).
At 1:30 p.m., the Appellate Division hears oral arguments on the appeal filed by the NY Lawyers for the Public Interest for South Bronx Unite challenging the environmental review performed for the proposed relocation of Fresh Direct from Long Island City to the South Bronx, 27 Madison Ave., Manhattan.
At 3 p.m., Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick joins Department of Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, and Gene Sperling, director of the President Obama’s National Economic Council to attend the “Mayors Manufacturing Summit” at the White House, Washington, D.C.
At 6:30 p.m., GOP dirty trickster and author Roger Stone will “have drinks and talk politics,” Wyndham Garden Amherst, 5195 Main St., Williamsville.
At 7 p.m., LG Bob Duffy attends a ceremony to honor the retiring president of the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, SUNY ESF Gateway Center, 1 Forestry Dr., Syracuse.
Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio named Anthony Shorris as his first deputy mayor and second-in-command, tasking the former Port Authority executive director with putting his progressive agenda into action in city government.
In a DN OpEd, Avi Schick, a former deputy state attorney general and president of the Empire State Development Corp., praises de Blasio for selecting Shorris. Schick and Shorris worked together during the Spitzer administration, and didn’t always get along.
De Blasio also tapped Dominic Williams, 31, his chief of staff in the public advocate’s office, to serve as Shorris’s chief of staff. He named Emma Wolfe, 34, his deputy campaign manager and close confidante, as director of intergovernmental affairs.
“Four years ago, the city’s political world barely knew Emma Wolfe. Now the road to City Hall runs through her.”
Cuomo defended the scope of the Moreland Commission’s investigation, saying: “The whole point here is, there has been evidence of corruption in the Legislature, and that is an undeniable fact.”
The commission’s co-chair, Onondaga County DA William Fitzpatrick says he can’t fathom why state lawmakers, facing a cloud of public suspicion over corruption, aren’t lining up to embrace the proposals in the commission’s report.
The Buffalo News: “(L)awmakers should embrace the report and work to make wholesale changes in a system that is steeped in a tradition of pervasive corruption, whether through political gerrymandering or outright crimes.”
Federal investigators said they are leaning toward blaming operator error in Sunday’s fatal train crash in the Bronx, but legal experts said it isn’t clear that the engineer, who admitted to losing focus and speeding into the sharp curve, will face criminal charges.
The wreck could be a case of “highway hypnosis.”
The Metro-North Railroad train that derailed included a system designed to warn an operator of a potential accident. But such an “alerter,” which can automatically apply the brakes if an operator is unresponsive, was not in the cab where the engineer sits.
Dec 4th - 5:59 pm
Joel also reportedly gave the governor a T-shirt that said “I’m Too Sexy for this Job.”
Fred Dicker: “To many observers, the contrast between the new Moreland Commission’s findings on public corruption and Gov. Cuomo’s actions is nothing short of breathtaking.”
WNYC is seeking tips to ID the nonprofit name checked in the Moreland report.
NYC Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio announced his first appointments, including Anthony E. Shorris, a former Port Authority executive director and Koch administration commissioner, as his top deputy.
“I want everyone to know where the buck stops in all those other situations,” said de Blasio. “It stops with Tony Shorris.”
Lots of speculation as to who else will be joining de Blasio in City Hall.
WNY GOP operative Michael Caputo organized a long-shot meeting between party leaders and Donald Trump in hopes of convincing the real estate mogul to change his mind about running for governor.
Many of the problems highlighted in the Moreland Commission report have been red-flagged before by the media.
Munir Avery, an attorney with close ties to Queens County politics, is planning to challenge embattled Sen. Malcolm Smith next year.
Jim Kennedy, a veteran of the Clinton White House, has been appointed chief communications officer of News Corp.
NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly will stay on through the end of Bloomberg’s administration – at least, he hasn’t told the mayor any different.
NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn won among write-in voters in the NYC mayor’s race.
The Buffalo News OpEds in favor of medical marijuana, which will be the subject of an Assembly hearing in the Queens City tomorrow.
In November alone, Hillary Clinton attended at least 16 star-studded award ceremonies and speaking engagements.
Sen. Mike Gianaris, a confirmed foodie, Tweeted a photo of his octopus lunch.
New York Farm Bureau members shot down a proposal to oppose hydrofracking.
Martin Bashir has resigned from MSNBC.
State Commissioner John King and Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch are finally bringing their Common Core tour to New York City.
Bloomberg will celebrate his final weeks in office at a number of parties.
An upstate federal court will allow a prominent GOP lawyer from Georgia join in an effort by a conservative group to strike down contribution limits for PACs.
Danny Hakim, former NYT Albany Bureau chief, had a tough time transporting his family’s dog, Harley, to his new assignment in London.
Dec 4th - 5:54 pm
It turns out Assemblyman Keith Wright was correct when he said earlier this week that veteran Harlem Rep. Charlie Rangel will be making an announcement “sooner rather than later” about whether he’ll seek yet another 23rd term in 2014.
What Wright was not (ahem) right about, however, is that Rangel has already made a decision about running. Not only is the congressman still considering retirement, but he has also started to meet with potential successors.
“I had thought about retirement very, very seriously and it’s not off the table,” Rangel told our Washington, D.C. Bureau reported Michael Scotto today.
“But the truth of the matter is I have to give people that want to aspire to fill the vacancy – which it would be if I retired – time to raise the money and get known throughout the district, and I meet every week on this issue with different candidates, and those I haven’t met with I’m meeting with this weekend.”
“…I’m talking with some people seeing whether or not there can be some coalition around a candidate as it has been for the last 43 years,” Rangel continued. “But before Christmas I’ll have to make some decision.”
Wright, who chairs the Manhattan Democratic Party and co-chairs the state Democratic Party, is frequently mentioned as a potential successor to Rangel. The assemblyman unequivocally told the New York Post that the congressman “is running,” adding: “You can’t keep a war horse down.”
While speaking to Scotto, he shied away from saying he is seeking his own replacement, but did hint that somebody – and he refused to name names – around whom he thought a coalition could be built recently decided they’re no longer interested in the job.
“That person decided that they have other political ambitions, and I had worked with that person for a number of years, but I have to respect their decision,” the congressman said. “I say all of that to say that I was left without a possible successor that had already done these things – knowing all the community leaders.”
Despite being censured for ethics violations in 2010, Rangel won a hotly contested Democratic primary in 2012. His toughest challenger was Sen. Adriano Espaillat, who is widely expected to run again next year.
Dec 4th - 8:48 am
(A shortened version of this morning’s Memo – with video).
We already knew there were divisions among the 25 Moreland Commission members, thanks to the seven-member dissent on public campaign financing included in the preliminary report released Monday.
But that disagreement morphed into open warfare yesterday as Commission Co-Chair Kathleen Rice lashed out at one of the dissenters, Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney, all but accusing her of lying when it comes to the commission’s ability – and willingness – to include anyone other than state legislators in its public corruption probe.
Rice’s comments came during a Capital Tonight interview last night, and were in response to Mahoney’s appearance on the show Monday evening, in which the Republican Onondaga County executive said it would be a “mockery” for the commission to “pretend” it would investigate the governor.
To do so, Mahoney said, would be a conflict of interest, since the commission was appointed by Cuomo and then deputized by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. (She did not address the fact that a Moreland Commission, by definition, is supposed to restrict its efforts to executive agencies).
Mahoney also said there had been “no conversations” within the commission to look at anything other than legislative corruption.
With very little prompting on my part last night, Rice, who is also a Democrat and the district attorney of Nassau County, insisted that Mahoney “doesn’t speak for the commission,” adding: “I think some of the things she said were just out-and-out not true.”
“In fact, the governor and the attorney general have made statements in direct contradiction to what commissioner Mahoney said about the ability to look into the governor,” Rice continued.
“The governor made it very clear and the commission has made it very clear that this commission’s mission is to follow the money where ever it goes without fear or favor.”
Rice also played down the dissent over public campaign financing, saying: “We had more than a majority of people saying (that) was the way to go.”
I asked her about reports that the Cuomo administration had actually encouraged this dissent, in hopes of providing cover for the governor if he fails to get a deal with the Senate Republicans, who have dug in their heels against the idea of using taxpayer dollars to fuel the ambitions of aspiring elected officials.
(Cuomo actually fueled that belied himself yesterday by initially saying leaders should focus on getting a deal on the reform measures where agreement already exists, and then walking that back by issuing – through a spokeswoman – a statement reiterating his strong support for creation of a publicly financed system).
Rice stuck to the administration’s talking points, saying it’s “very clear” where the governor stands on public financing. “We felt it was important for the dissent to be able to be heard,” she said, “and they were.”
You can watch my entire interview with Rice here.