Liz Benjamin

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Posts by Liz Benjamin

The Weekend That Was

The Common Core was introduced with the overwhelming support of Republican governors, but has since incited intense resistance on the right and prompted some in the party to reverse field and join colleagues who believe it will lead to a federal takeover of schools.

“At a time when many New Yorkers are confused or dismayed by the rapid pace of change in the public schools, (GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob) Astorino has a chance to shape an education platform that might appeal to diverse groups of Common Core critics.”

Brands including Barbie, iPod, Mug Root Beer and Life Savers showed up on the Common Core tests more than a million students in grades 3 through 8 took this month, leading to speculation it was some form of product placement advertising. Education officials insist this isn’t the case.

The U.S. energy boom is blurring the traditional political battle lines across the country. Democrats are split between environmentalists and business and labor groups, with the proposed Canada-to-Texas oil pipeline a major wedge.

Federal officials are considering spending more than $1 billion of the remaining $3.6 billion of rebuilding aid on disasters other than superstorm Sandy – money that New York and New Jersey are banking on to finish repairs to thousands of homes and complete major infrastructure projects.

Self-professed gearhead Gov. Andrew Cuomo opened up the New York Auto Show to the public on Saturday.

Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly will be fielding offers to join an ownership group for the Buffalo Bills while he continues his treatment for sinus cancer at a Buffalo hospital.

Much of the work that remains for the Legislature when it returns to Albany later this month falls in the so-called “progressive” category, and puts the focus on the bipartisan Senate leadership coalition.

Michael Hennessy, a primary challenger to veteran Assemblyman Bill Magee, said he has has gained new momentum in the race after landing the endorsement of Democrats from the incumbent’s home turf — Madison County.

Animal lovers rallied outside actor Liam Neeson’s Upper West Side apartment to oppose his loud support for the horse carriages in Central Park.

Bill O’Reilly doesn’t agree with the National Popular Vote bill that passed the Legislature and was signed into law by Cuomo.

Developer David Flaum once said a Catskills casino was the only gambling facility he planned to build in New York. It turns out this is not the case.

Some of the embattled Port Authority’s most formidable watchdogs were invited to its Manhattan headquarters on Monday to air their criticisms during a first-of-its-kind public discussion.

Bob McCarthy: “If Donald Trump’s “very serious” effort to buy the Buffalo Bills eventually succeeds, he might chalk it up to his not-so-serious flirtation with running for governor this year.”

A day after the MTA offered its workers a new contract with retroactive pay, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio insisted the deal doesn’t set a precedent for the city’s ongoing negotiations with its unions.

Security is tight in Boston as the city prepares for the first marathon one year after the deadly finish line bombing.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams responded to the Toronto Raptors’ trash-talking with a little trash-talking of his own.

The Dante de Blasio college tour stayed local Saturday, with NYC’s first family checking out Columbia University.

The State Police kept secret an evidence-handling scandal that erupted in 2011 at a bustling barracks in Westchester County in which drugs and other evidence were lost, leading to botched prosecutions, the retirement of two senior investigators and the forced resignation of a trooper accused of lying to internal affairs investigators.

Extras

The Obama administration says it is indefinitely extending its long-awaited  review of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Jennifer Rainville, a former TV news reporter who knows what it’s like to be at the center of a “media firestorm,” will be the IDC’s new spokeswoman.

Sen. James Sanders is open to the idea of IDC Leader Jeff Klein returning to the Democratic fold and assuming a leadership – though not THE leadership – post.

Klein reiterated that he has no plans to try to rejoin with the Senate Democratic conference. “I’m not looking to make any political deals,” he said.

The de Blasio administration employs more than 50 drivers who are responsible for chauffeuring top New York City government officials.

More ruminations on how being a grandmother will – or won’t – impact Hillary Clinton’s possible 2016 run.

Clinton’s soon-to-be-published memoir of her time as U.S. secretary of state now has a title, Hard Choices.

Clinton’s favorability rating has hit a six-year low, according to a new Fox  News poll.

The Clinton White House kept a dossier on what Hillary Clinton once called the “vast right-wing conspiracy.”

GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino: “People think it’s New York City that determines this race. It’s not.”

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, a frequent critic of tax credits, praised the state’s current system of film tax credits and vowed to grow the city’s production industry.

Bob McCarthy considers the political evolution of Sen. Mark Grisanti.

Basil Paterson’s death means Rep. Charlie Rangel needs to find a new campaign treasurer.

Eric Schneiderman’s little-noticed move this week to replace the head of his Conviction Review Bureau was not without some controversy.

Former Obama campaign staffer Michael Blake is running for the Bronx Assembly seat vacated by Eric Stevenson after he was found guilty of corruption charges.

Former LG Dick Ravitch was in Detroit today for a courtroom interview on the city’s bankruptcy.

Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk will host a forum Tuesday on leveraging the Albany nanocollege’s ties in Utica to boost economic development and job creation.

Motorists who repeatedly speed through New York toll booths without paying would see their vehicle registrations suspended under a bill being considered by state lawmakers.

Here and Now

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

From 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., NYU Steinhardt Panel Discussion on “Testing and Policy: What’s Best for Our City and Our Nation?”; NYU’s Kimmel Center for University Life, Rosenthal Pavilion, 60 Washington Square South, 10th Floor, at LaGuardia Place, Manhattan.

At 9 a.m., the state Department of Financial Services holds a daylong availability to assist homeowners facing foreclosure, Baldwin Public Library, 2385 Grand Ave., Baldwin.

At noon, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio tours the stage at at Steiner Studios, Steiner Studios – Stage 3, 15 Washington Ave., Brooklyn. A press conference will immediately follow at Stage 11.

Headlines…

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner insists she left her post as state Democratic Party co-chair on her own volition and wasn’t pushed out by the governor. “If he were going to push me out for speaking out against him, it could have happened a lot earlier than now.”

Miner’s formal resignation letter did not include her reasons for leaving the post to which she was appointed by Cuomo in 2012.

Rep. Dan Maffei said he believes Miner stepped down as co-chair of the state’s Democratic Party so she can focus on running Syracuse, saying he has no reason to think she was pushed out.

IDC spokesman Eric Soufer is leaving the public payroll to take a job with Risa Heller Communications, which draws its name from the former spokeswoman for US Sen. Chuck Schumer and former Gov. David Paterson.

With an assist from Cuomo, a contract agreement struck by the MTA and its largest union, the TWU, fell short of the agency’s stated goal of no net increases in labor costs, but officials said the pact won’t result in fare increases or alter plans for service or capital projects.

Asked why the transit workers merited raises, Cuomo pointed to the state’s improved finances compared with conditions when he took office in 2011.

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren remained hospitalized last night after being admitted for flu-like symptoms and dehydration late Wednesday.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio reportedly will appoint Cynthia Lopez to be commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre & Broadcasting today.

De Blasio and his wife, Chirlane McCray, will appear on “The View” next week – their first joint TV sit down since the mayor took office in January.

De Blasio’s campaign will return more than $15,000 in cash raised by Sant Singh Chatwal, the hotel magnate and prolific national fund-raiser who pleaded guilty to federal campaign finance fraud.

A group of ministers, led by the Rev. Dennis Dillon of the Brooklyn Christian Center, took to City Hall’s steps to demand that de Blasio appoint more African-Americans to high-ranking positions.

Does the fact that Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child impact Hillary Clinton’s thinking on whether to run for president again in 2016?

UN Ambassador Samantha Power, a former advisor to President Obama who called Hillary Clinton a “monster” during the 2008 campaign, has had a change of heart about the ex-secretary of state.

Clinton has been focusing on women voters for months.

De Blasio’s effort to get rid of the city’s horse-drawn carriages in Central Park is stuck in neutral, hindered by opposition in the NYC Council.

Amid a pitched debate over the fate the carriages, a potential successor, known as the “Horseless eCarriage,” debuted at the New York International Auto Show.

More >

Extras

Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child.

Needless to say, Hillary Clinton is very happy.

President Obama and VP Joe Biden took a selfie, and the Internet has been going wild with the photoshopping ever since.

Thre well-known current or former Democratic spokesmen – Glen Caplin, Blake Zeff and Max Young – reportedly turned down a job as de Blasio’s communications director.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a tentative contract agreement between the MTA and TWU that gives subway and bus workers raises after five years and lays the groundwork for a similar deal for LIRR workers.

The governor’s race has divided John Catsimatidis, who’s backing Cuomo, and his son, who’s helping GOP candidate Rob Astorino raise money.

For the second time, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio held a Sandy-related event on Staten Island, and for the second time, Rep. Michael Grimm did not attend.

Another anti-Cuomo column by Harold Meyerson – this time arguing the governor has driven a wedge between himself and the Democratic primary electorate.

Former Mount Vernon Mayor Clinton Young is being summoned to court by creditors alleging that he has defaulted on at least $23,000 in loans.

In time for his third run in NY-21, Republican Matt Doheny has finally settled some old campaign debts.

AG Eric Schneiderman appointed Gail Heatherly to lead his Conviction Review Bureau.

New York ranks 33rd in the nation for the percentage of women holding state Legislature seats at 21 percent. The national average is 24 percent.

Mike Bloomberg’s new gun control push relies on getting women involved, but the ex-mayor’s bombastic approach might turn some of them off.

Beau Biden won’t seek a third term as Delaware’s attorney general in November, opting instead to focus on an election two years away for governor.

The NRCC bumped GOP NY-24 candidate John Katko to “On the Radar” status, the first of three tiers for its “Young Guns” program.

Days after a POLITICO report highlighted Sean Eldridge’s less-than-stellar relationship with the media, the NY-19 hopeful is looking to hire a communications director.

A hotel executive who has supported Hillary Clinton, Sen. Harry Reid and other top Democrats pleaded guilty to witness tampering and conspiracy to evade campaign finance laws.

An effort to revive the dormant Empire State Games through a non-profit group has fizzled out.

SCOTUSblog has been denied a US Senate press pass, which in turn means it cannot be issued a press credential for the Supreme Court

EJ McMahon parses today’s jobs numbers.

GOP Tries To Push Maffei Off the WFP Line

The incomparable Bill Carey reports that Democratic incumbent Rep. Dan Maffei could lose a key spot on the November ballot if Republican leaders win a new court battle.

Maffei has the endorsement of Democrats for his re-election bid in NY-24. He also has the support of the labor-backed Working Families Party – but the GOP is trying to change that.

The Republicans filed an order to show cause today that seeks to invalidate Maffei’s WFP petitions, claiming a staffer of the congressman who witnessed requirement signatures on the petitions is not properly registered to vote in New York.

The GOP claims William Miller is registered in two other states – North Carolina and Georgia – and they raise questions over the validity of his registration here. Of just over 170 signatures gathered for the petitions, Miller was the witness for 117.

Maffei’s Republican opponent, former prosecutor John Katko, has the GOP, Conservative and Independence Party lines. If this challenge to Maffei’s WFP line is successful, the congressman would only have one line in November – the Democrats’ Row A. (Theoretically, that is, unless he creates a new, independent line to run on).

WFP State Director Bill Lipton blasted Katko and his “Tea Party allies” for filing this suit, which he said “has no merit and is simply an effort to disenfranchise voters.”

“Maffei’s campaign has the endorsement of the Working Families Party and the qualifications necessary to circulate and collect Working Families Party signatures,” Lipton said.

Frank Hoare, an Albany-based Election Law attorney representing Maffei’s campaign, called the challenge “a political stunt” designed to “distract Central New Yorkers from the fact that Katko won’t take a position on tough issues and doesn’t have a plan to create jobs in Central New York.”

“Representatives from the Friends of Dan Maffei Campaign followed the letter and spirit of the law and had the proper qualifications to circulate and collect the requisite signatures to qualify and appear on the ballot,” Hoare said.

A state Supreme Court justice has ordered a show cause hearing on the matter for May 5th.

Republicans try to push Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei off the WFP line. by liz_benjamin6490

Mayor Miner Steps Down From Democratic Party Post (Updated)

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, who has made headlines by publicly opposing Gov. Andrew Cuomo on a number of high-profile policy issues, today submitted her resignation from the position of state Democratic Party co-chair – a post for which Cuomo hand-selected her two years ago.

It has been speculated for some time that Cuomo would force Miner out of her political position, thanks to her criticisms of key elements of his agenda – especially where financially ailing upstate cities are concerned. But Miner insisted during a brief phone interview this afternoon that she was not pressured to depart.

“It’s time,” the mayor said. “I want to give them a chance to put somebody in there who can help them with a full slate of elections moving forward. It was my decision.”

But a Democratic source insisted that had Miner not resigned, she would not have received sufficient votes at the state party convention in Melville next month to be re-elected along with her fellow co-chair, Manhattan Assemblyman Keith Wright. UPDATE: Miner told Gannett’s Joe Spector that she won’t be attending the convention at all. Instead, she’ll attend a conference on cities in Boston.

UPDATE2: Miner spoke briefly with TWC’s Bill Carey, who told her about the Democratic source’s comment. Her response: “That’s laughable.”

Miner tendered her letter of resignation (which appears below) to Cuomo and members of the state Democratic Committee this afternoon. In it, she pledged to “do all I can to ensure Democrats continue to get elected to office this year and going forward.”

Miner and Wright were tapped by Cuomo to co-chair the party in May 2012. They replaced Nassau County Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs, who was a holdover from the era of former Gov. David Paterson. (Incidentally, Jacobs also insisted that he wasn’t forced to give up his state post, but rather had decided that the time was right after three years on the job for him to move on).

Miner was elected mayor of Syracuse – the first woman to hold the position – in 2009. She was re-elected to a second four-year term in 2013, and is barred by term limits from running again.

Last spring, Miner made headlines when she publicly questioned Cuomo’s plan – or lack thereof – to address the fiscal problems faced by cities like hers. She also penned an OpEd criticizing the governor’s proposal to let municipalities borrow to offset ballooning pension costs, calling that idea ”an acconuting gimmick.” A modified version of the plan did end up in the 2013-14 budget.

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner’s resigns from NYS Democratic Party co-chairmanship. by liz_benjamin6490

Maloney Raises Off Ryan Contribution to Hayworth

The DCCC is using Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget, passed last week by the GOP-controlled House, as political fodder against incumbent Republicans seeking re-election and GOP challengers trying to unseat incumbent Democrats.

It’s a bit of a stretch to tie candidates who didn’t actually cast a vote on the budget to the document, especially if – like Sen. Lee Zeldin, who is running in NY-1 – they side step the issue by refusing to endorse anything they haven’t yet read.

But Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney has something concrete to link his GOP opponent, former Rep. Nan Hayworth, to Ryan: A $5,000 contribution from the former VP candidate’s political action committee, “Prosperity PAC.”

Maloney today sent a fundraising email to supporters with the subject line “Paul Ryan’s gift to Nan Hayworth,” noting that the former congresswoman “spent years actively supporting Ryan’s budget, disastrous cuts to Medicare and all.”

“Then just last week she goes so far as to DELETE Facebook messages from New Yorkers demanding she drop her support,” Maloney wrote. “And now her reward: campaign cash from Ryan – and I’m sure more to come from the special interests that support his policies.”

“It’s pretty simple from here – we either match them dollar for dollar, or we lose this seat to the Tea Party. So I need your help….When the attacks start (and it will happen soon), they can’t go unanswered. That’s a recipe for disaster. Thanks for helping me fight back against bad policy and the billionaires who back it.”

Over the next 24 hours, Maloney is trying to match the $5,000 Ryan gave to Hayworth.

The congressman has continued to out-fundraise Hayworth, who is launching a re-match against the Democrat after he ousted her from power two years ago.

According to the latest FEC filings, Maloney raised a little more than $472,000 this past quarter. After expenses, Maloney was left with about $1.5 million in the bank. Hayworth raised nearly $282,000. She has about $663,000 cash on hand.

Of note: Trying to generate a sense of urgency, Maloney’s email claims the State of Politics report on Ryan’s contribution to Hayworth “just” came out, which is technically not true. Michael Scotto filed that report several days ago.

Here and Now

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

At 8:50 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio appears on HOT 97.

At 9 a.m., SUNY hosts a green infrastructure summit, with representatives from the EPA and the DEC, SUNY Plaza, 353 Broadway, Albany.

At 10 a.m., NYC Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez, NYC DOT Commissioner Trottenberg and others make a traffic safety announcement at East 183rd Street and Grand Concourse, the Bronx.

At 10:30 a.m., NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray reads to children at Kings County Hospital Pediatric Center, Kings County Hospital Center, Building E, 541 Clarkson Ave., Brooklyn.

Also at 10:30 a.m., EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck, state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Deputy Commissioner Tom Alworth and Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan host “#NatureSelfie” photo project demonstration, by tulip beds along Madison Avenue, Washington Park, Albany.

At 11 a.m., Sen. Tony Avella hosts press conference to announce a tax relief program for homeowners, renters, co-op and condo owners in the 2014-15 state budget, Glen Oaks Co-Op, 70-33 260th St., Queens.

At noon, Enck delivers a keynote address at SUNY’s green infrastructure summit, SUNY Plaza, 353 Broadway, Albany.

Also at noon, black clergy members call on de Blasio to appoint more members of color in his administration, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

At 12:45 p.m., de Blasio holds a press conference to make an announcement, Build It Back Center
1976 Hylan Blvd., Staten Island.

At 1 p.m., Assemblyman Karim Camara, foster care and workforce development agencies and foster youth hold a roundtable at The Children’s Aid Society, Next Generation Center, 1522 Southern Blvd., the Bronx.

At 1:30 p.m., Westchester County Executive and gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino will be a guest on the John Gomez Show, Long Island News Radio 103.9.

At 3 p.m., IDC Leader Jeff Klein and Assemblyman Marcos Crespo unveil legislation to put the brakes on “boozy and out of control underage party buses,” Villa Barone Manor, 737 Throggs Neck Expressway, the Bronx.

At 6 p.m., de Blasio speaks at Speakers on the Square, NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, 566 LaGuardia Pl., Manhattan.

Also at 6 p.m., Astorino will address the NYU College Republicans, Kimmel Center for University Life, 60 Washington Square S., Manhattan.

At 6:30 p.m., AG Eric Schneiderman’s office and Assemblyman Brian Curran host a public forum on consumer protection from fraud, Malverne Public Library, 61 St. Thomas Place, Malverne.

At 7:30 p.m., Astorino will attend a fundraiser hosted by New York County GOP Chairman Dan Isaacs, Dorrian’s, 1616 Second Ave., Manhattan.

At 9 p.m., Astorino will attend another fundraiser hosted by Isaacs, Ricardo Steak House, 2145 Second Ave., Manhattan.

Headlines…

Basil Paterson, New York’s first black state secretary of state, a former senator, “Gang of Four” member and father of ex-Gov. David Paterson, has died at the age of 87 – 11 days shy of his 88th birthday.

The Paterson family released this statement shortly after midnight:

“Basil was well known throughout the community as a man of action, as someone who set his mind to accomplishment and always met those goals. He was a selfless leader and he dedicated his life to making sure others lives were better.”

“Throughout his life, he was known as a pillar of strength by so many throughout New York. For that, we know he was grateful.”

“While he dedicated his life to public service, his great love was his family. We will remember him most of all as a man of conviction, a man of courage and a man of integrity. He will be greatly missed.”

TWU Local 100 wants Cuomo to “personally intervene” in its contract negotiations with the MTA where “significant stumbling blocks remain.”

The NYT reports the TWU and MTA appear close to a contract deal two years after the last contract expired. Workers are expected to receive a sizable wage to avoid an election-year strike.

Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee wants Cuomo to intervene in the East Ramapo School District dispute. She has been trying for years to get the state to take over the school board, which is mainly controlled by Orthodox and Hasidic Jews, despite the fact that their children predominantly attend private, religious schools.

The Washington Post’s Harold Meyerson finds Cuomo insufficiently liberal for New York’s Democrats, and asks “why on earth” they would want to re-elect him.

More >

Extras

NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina and First Lady Chirlane McCray appear in a PSA encourging parents to sign up for pre-K. (Deadline: April 23).

The DCCC raised $10.3 million in March – a sizable haul due in part to President Obama’s help.

Ex-NYC Mayor Bloomberg on his $50 million battle with the NRA: “This is not a battle of dollars. This is a battle for the hearts and minds of  America so that we can protect our children, protect innocent people.”

A potential problem for Hillary Clinton in 2016: Much of what she labored on as secretary of state is either unfinished or has gone awry since she left.

The Syracuse Teachers Association sued the state Education Department over its teacher evaluation system, arguing that the system unfairly penalizes teachers of disadvantaged students.

Cheektowaga area Republicans have chosen Councilwoman Angela Wozniak to run this fall for former Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak’s seat.

Former NYC Council speaker and mayoral candidate Christine Quinn, who has avoided the public eye since leaving office last year, will appear on Bill Maher’s show on April 25.

Republicans in Buffalo’s North and Niagara districts have unanimously backed Sen. Mark J. Grisanti for re-election.

Sen. Daniel Squadron, Manhattan BP Gale Brewer and Assemblywoman Nily Rozic unveiled a new “fair wage” bill that would require large employers to pay far more than minimum wage.

State Department of Financial Services Ben Lawsky will attend a White House meeting tomorrow to discuss the Affordable Care Act.

AG Eric Schneiderman had to pay $9,620 to the federal government and $2,585 to the state in taxes, according to his 2013 returns.

The Green Party’s Ursula Rozum will not be a candidate in the NY-24 election again, and the party has no plans to challenge Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei in November.

Judging from his contributions, Denver software entrepreneur Tim Gill would like to see Clinton occupying the Oval Office.

The NYC Department of Education has wasted no time shedding a slew of top Bloomberg-era officials, offering signs of the school system’s new priorities under Chancellor Carmen Fariña.

Ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner has terminated his federal campaign account.

Weiner doesn’t think Rep. Charlie Rangel will survive the June primary.

The campaign manager for Rich Funke, Republican candidate for the state Senate’s 55th District, posted potentially offensive tweets on his personal Twitter account.

GOP state Senate candidate Jim Coughlan has suspended a personal Twitter account because some of his retweets were considered inappropriate.

Activist, comedian and gubernatorial contender Randy Credico engaged in a little performance art at the Capitol today.

Cicero’s loss is Buffalo’s gain with Albany Molecular.

Here and Now

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

At 8 a.m., Rep. Chris Gibson tours UPS’ Kingston operations, UPS Customer Center, 300 Memorial Dr., Kingston.

At 8:30 a.m., NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Council members hand out fliers encouraging parents to sign up their kids for pre-K, (the deadline for enrollment is 4/23), 116th Street and Third Avenue, Manhattan.

At 10 a.m., Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer joins a rally announcing Sen. Daniel Squadron’s fair wage bill, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

At 1 p.m., EPA regional administrator Judith Enck leads a discussion about women in environmental politics, Bush Memorial Center, Sage College, Troy.

Also at 1 p.m., Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand will hold an economic development roundtable, SUNY Adirondack, Scoville Learning Center, Bishop Conference Room, Room 305, 640 Bay Rd., Queensbury.

At 5:30 p.m., NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña delivers keynote speech at St. John’s University Carol Gresser Forum. The Great Hall, The Cooper Union, 7 East 7th St., Manhattan.

At 6:30 p.m., Capital Gaming LLC holds a public meeting to discuss a proposed casino, Giffen Memorial Elementary School, 274 South Pearl St., Albany.

At 8 p.m., GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino speaks at the Northeast Queens Republican Club’s April general meeting, Clearview Golf Course Clubhouse, 202-12 Willets Point Blvd., Queens.

At 8:45 p.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks at 2014 Carwash Assembly, Guttman Community College – Auditorium, 50 West 40th St., Manhattan.

Headlines…

Former NYC Mayor Bloomberg, making his first major political investment since leaving office, plans to spend $50 million this year building a nationwide grass-roots gun control network to rival the NRA.

Bloomberg: “I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close.”

The Pine Bush schools chief told state officials that fundraising for her district’s summer enrichment program is down $30-$40,000 over last year — because of negative publicity over a still unproven lawsuit charging the district tolerated anti-Semitism.

Former LG Richard Ravitch’s memoir paints a picture of Albany that includes political back-stabbing that undermined the Paterson administration and then-AG Cuomo working behind the scenes on his way to becoming governor.

Cuomo nearly doubled his income in 2013 after receiving a $188,333 book advance, according to tax returns his office made available to reporters. The book, for which the governor has no ghost writer, is due out in August.

The publication date of the unauthorized biography of Cuomo that Vanity Fair scribe Michael Shnayerson is writing for the Hachette Book Group has been pushed back several months until after the November election. The tome also now has a new title.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio made $165,047 last year, including $52,200 in rental income from property he owns in Brooklyn, according to his 2013 tax filings.

De Blasio and his wife, Chirlane McCray, gave over $5,500 to charity last year.

The de Blasios’ income is set to go up: Mr. de Blasio will be paid a $225,000 salary as mayor.

Cuomo signed legislation to enter New York in an interstate agreement to award its electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the majority of the popular vote.

Juan Gonzalez: “Legendary Harlem Congressman Charles Rangel is nearing the end of his political career.” Also, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer is expected to join the Democrats abandoning Rangel for his primary opponent, Sen. Adriano Espaillat.

The $1 million sale of the Yonkers City Jail to a NYC couple well known in the art world is part of Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano’s ambitious plans to develop the waterfront and make it a place where young people want to live.

The NYPD has abandoned its controversial and secretive surveillance program that sent plainclothes police officers into Muslim neighborhoods for the purposes of gathering information on possible terrorist plots. More here.

More >