Liz Benjamin

This user hasn't shared any biographical information


Posts by Liz Benjamin


Following reports that Hurricane Joaquin is likely to bypass New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office announced this afternoon the Democrat would be re-upping his plans to travel to Washington, D.C. and Baltimore tonight and tomorrow.

Defense lawyers for former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver have listed a virtual who’s who of Albany politics including Gov. Andrew Cuomo as potential witnesses or subjects of testimony at Silver’s upcoming corruption trial.

Following the shooting at Oregon’s Umpqua Community College, Hillary Clinton called for a “national movement” strong enough to rival the NRA, which she described as a “an intense, dedicated group” or gun lobbyists who “scare politicians and say, ‘We will vote against you.'”

President Obama said he plans to keep talking about gun control and “will politicize” the issue for the remainder of his time in office.

DACC has spent more money in recent months backing Assemblyman John Ceretto, a Republican who joined the Democratic conference this summer, than on each of this year’s three special elections combined.

Former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg is pushing back on suggestions that he is unhappy with his self-named company’s year-old hub for political coverage, Bloomberg Politics.

For anyone who’s spent a fall or winter day tailgating outside Ralph Wilson Stadium, Yahoo! Travel’s ranking of Buffalo as the NFL’s best tailgating city should not come as a surprise.

The Manhattan Municipal Building will be renamed for former NYC Mayor David Dinkins, the current mayor announced with his wife, NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray, whom he met while they both worked for the 106th mayor of New York.

After developers of the planned Lago casino resubmitted a 3,000-page environmental report, the host community of Tyre, Seneca County, has given the proposal an updated stamp of approval.

SolarCity executives downplayed a federal investigation into construction of their Buffalo factory, as well as the importance of state incentives in general.

Some Hillary Clinton donors are defecting to Vice President Joe Biden, resisting entreaties from the Democratic front-runner’s campaign to stand by her despite declining poll numbers.

The president of the state Correctional Officers Police Benevolent Association called the New York Times’ decision to identify a guard who, according to inmates, was involved in beatings that followed the June escape of two Clinton Correctional Facility inmates “troubling and irresponsible.”

Once again, Cuomo is asking state agencies to hold their spending flat as he prepares a budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year.

Appearing at an event in Schenectady, Cuomo’s girlfriend Sandra Lee said it’s too early to tell how breast cancer will change her life in the long term. She also said it would be an “irresponsible” decision to take a wait-and-see approach on treating the disease.

Two trade groups representing Chinese and Korean nail salon owners are seeking to block Cuomo’s requirement that they purchase bonds as security for unpaid wages.

Next week’s first hearing of the long-delayed JCOPE Review Commission has been cancelled. The panel, which is supposed to file its report by Nov. 1, will now hold only a single hearing, from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 14 at New York Law School in Manhattan, before submitting its findings.

The governor on MTA funding: “Everybody’s paying for this system. I’m paying $8 billion. If the city wants more control, then let them pay $8 billion. Then we’ll talk about more control.”

Short of a drastic turn in the weather forecast, the former Millard Fillmore Hospital at Gates Circle in Buffalo will be imploded about 7 a.m. tomorrow.

De Blasio, a Red Sox fan who grew up in the Boston area, whiffed when he tried to use famous a quote from Yankee great Yogi Berra quote in a radio interview this morning.

In the midst of a relatively tepid campaign season, Nassau Democratic legislative candidate Dean Hart continues to throw political bombs at incumbent Republicans.

Cuomo has no immediate planski to promote Troy Waffner, the acting director in charge of the past two fairs, to the top job permanently.

Turns out it’s punctuation, not size, that matters – at least on online dating sites.

New Session, New Look Furniture For The Senate

senate1From the Morning Memo:

Senators returning to Albany in January will find a surprise waiting for them at the LOB and in the Capitol, compliments of Majority Leader John Flanagan: Brand new office furniture.

According to a memo sent to all senators – Democrats and Republicans alike – last month, Flanagan has decided it’s time for an upgrade of the outdated couches, chairs, desks and other trappings of lawmakers’ offices, which, apparently, have not been replaced for some time.

“As most of you know, the Empire State Plaza just celebrated its 50th anniversary. What most of you may not know, however, is that much of our furniture was purchased at the same time,” the memo, sent on Sept. 22, reads.

“Unfortunately, the furnishings are not faring quite as well as the Plaza has. Our staff has done an amazing job with the upkeep of these outdated items. However, there comes a point when it is more expensive to repair or re-upholster items then it is to replace them.”

“You may have also noticed that as manufacturers have discontinued many fabrics and textiles, it has left us with pieces that no longer match each other.”

According to the memo, the new furniture – select pieces in a “timeless and classic” style – will be purchased from a state contract issued by the Office of General Services. Delivery is to start next month, and should be complete by the end of the year. More >

Poloncarz Touts A WNY Turnaround In First Ad

From the Morning Memo:

Incumbent Democratic Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz is considered a likely bet for re-election in the November general election, in which he’ll be facing off against Republican Assemblyman Ray Walter.

But Poloncarz isn’t leaving anything to chance. Thanks to a wide fundraising edge over his opponent, he is able to hit the airwaves early – a full month before Election Day.

The county executive released his first TV ad, entitled “Steel City”, yesterday. The spot, which was emailed to Poloncarz supporters, focuses on the redevelopment of the Bethlehem Steel site in Lackawanna – an issue particularly close to the candidate’s heart, since his dad, Charlie, worked at the plant back in the day.

The ad features the story of Welded Tube, a Canadian company, that opened a USA-based manufacturing facility on 40 acres of “wasteland” at the old steel plant location. The company’s Robert Pike, who narrates the ad, notes that the plant used to employ some 22,000 people, but had been vacant since 1983.

Welded Tube USA manufacturers steel pipe, and is “flourishing” and “growing,” Pike says. The company hired 90 full-time employees from “right here in Erie County.” That’s nowhere near 22,000, but it’s a start. More >

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule. Ditto, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was supposed to be in Washington, D.C. to keynote the American Family Voices conference but cancelled the trip due to Hurricane Joaquin.

At 7:30 a.m.m Assemblyman David Buchwald participates in the “Fire Ops 101” firefighter training program. Westchester Fire Training Center, 4 Dana Road, Valhalla.

At 9 a.m., Manhattan DA Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., and NYPD Deputy Commissioner Dermot Shea participate in “Intelligence Revolution” discussion moderated by Yahoo News at the 2015 Concordia Summit; Grand Hyatt New York, 109 E. 42nd Street, Manhattan.

Also at 9 a.m., Rep. Chris Gibson will deliver remarks and meet with local educators at the Council of Educational Associations annual meeting, Century House, Latham.

At 10 a.m., Rep. Nydia Velázquez visits NYCHA’s Sandy Recovery open house, 90 Church St., 5th Floor, Manhattan.

At 10:30 a.m., Vance hosts a roundtable on “Ending Sex Trafficking in New York” at the 2015 Concordia Summit; Grand Hyatt New York, 109 E. 42nd Street, Manhattan.

Also at 10:30 a.m., Rep. Elise Stefanik visits Big Cross Elementary School, 15 Big Cross St., Glens Falls.

11 a.m., Velázquez joins the Economic Development Authority and other local officials to tour the Brooklyn Navy Yard in celebration of National Manufacturing Day and make an announcement about the largest project underway at the Yard, Building 77, Brooklyn.

Also at 11 a.m., Gibson, a Siena College graduate, will help celebrate the inauguration of Brother F. Edward Coughlin, 11th President of Siena College, Alumni Recreation Center, Siena College, Colonie.

At 11:30 a.m., Velázquez joins City Councilman Antonio Reynoso in visiting the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Center, 50 Humboldt, 80 Seigal Street, Brooklyn.

At noon, the New York City Council Committee on Parks and Recreation meets, 250 Broadway, Committee Room, 16th Floor, Manhattan.

At 12:30 p.m., LG Kathy Hochul delivers remarks and moderates a panel at Cuomo’s MWBE Forum, Empire State Plaza, Meeting Room 6, Albany.

At 2 p.m., Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney will detail measures and resources for emergency preparedness in advance of potential landfall by Hurricane Joaquin during a press conference, Orange County Emergency Services Center, 22 Wells Farm Rd., Goshen.


A clearly frustrated President Barack Obama, in what he said has become “routine,” addressed the nation in response to the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College and urged the American public and lawmakers around the country to take action.

In a filing unsealed yesterday federal prosecutors revealed that they subpoenaed all eight Long Island Republican Senate colleagues of Sen. Dean Skelos in the course of building their corruption case against the former majority leader.

Federal prosecutors​ ​​reaped a​ ​​windfall ​when they subpoenaed a real-estate development firm, Glenwood Management, last year​ ​as part of their investigation into then-Assembly ​S​peaker Sheldon Silver​ ​and it turned up incriminating material about Skelos,​ ​new court papers state.

Remembering Sandy, Irene and Lee, New Yorkers and New Jersey residents prepared for the potential coming of Hurricane Joaquin early next week, even though the National Hurricane Center says the East Coast will likely be spared a direct hit.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and top administration officials said the state is doing everything it can to prepare for the possible New York landfall of the storm, which was barreling through the Bahamas yesterday.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency as the region braces for dangerous weather. So far, Cuomo has not followed suit.

The NYC subway system is better prepared to withstand hurricanes than it was when superstorm Sandy battered the Northeast three years ago, transportation officials said, but it still needs billions of dollars of work in the coming years to effectively prevent storm damage.

The 15 water-cooling towers that were found to be contaminated this week amid a new cluster of Legionnaires’ disease cases had been disinfected less than two months ago, New York City officials said, raising questions about how successful the city can be in containing the disease.

It’s been two months since the executive director of the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, Letizia Tagliafierro, resigned from the position to take a job at the Department of Taxation and Finance. Yet there’s little public indication so far that the panel is casting a wide net in the search for her successor, as leadership of the ethics and lobbying watchdog panel has promised.

The federal transportation secretary said that officials were taking important initial steps to accelerate long-stalled plans to build a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River. Anthony Foxx revealed New Jersey Transit had agreed to lead the project’s environmental study and that Amtrak would oversee engineering work.

Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman wants to overhaul the state’s bail system — and he is starting in New York City. The judge said 40 percent of the jail population in New York City is being detained before trial only because the defendants lack the money to afford bail. He argued that for many defendants, a pre-trial bail of $2,500 might as well be $25 million.

Lippman said the judiciary could no longer wait for lawmakers to act to address a system he said punishes people for being poor. He said he would take several steps within the current legal framework to urge judges to set bail low enough that defendants could await trial at home, or to use alternatives to cash bail, like electronic monitoring.

More >


Gov. Andrew Cuomo made a late add to his public schedule: A 6:30 p.m. appearance at a fundraiser for the Brooklyn Democratic Party.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is firing back against Donald Trump’s presidential campaign slogan with a baseball hat of his own. The progressive Democrat wore a hat that says “Make America Fair Again” during an interview this morning on CNN.

De Blasio also took to the radio airwaves to address everything from the incoming hurricane to quality of life in the city, topless panhandlers and his upcoming trip to Iowa and Baltimore.

Joaquin, the hurricane potentially barreling toward New York could force de Blasio to scuttle his plans to travel to Washington, D.C. and Baltimore this weekend.

New York City’s subway faces billions of dollars and years of work to repair damage wrought by Superstorm Sandy three years ago – and to fortify the system against hurricanes like Joaquin.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie has filed his own amicus brief in the Evenwel redistricting case pending before the US Supreme Court.

The Real Estate Board of New York is suing the de Blasio administration over legislation curtailing the conversion of hotels into other uses.

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton is trying to stay one step ahead of the numerous oversight bodies he has repeatedly said he has had to contend with since returning in 2014 for a second stint as commissioner.

Updated breast cancer statistics from the Susan G. Komen organization show the incidence and deaths from the disease in Western New York remain above state and national averages.

Inmates at the Clinton Correctional Facility said the guards who beat them in the days after a brazen escape in June wore no name badges and did not identify themselves. But one guard stood out. He had a large tattoo of the American flag down his left arm and was known around the prison as Captain America.

GE says it shouldn’t be blamed for the parameters of the nearly completed Hudson River dredging project, because they were set by the EPA, which has declined requests to extend them.

Josh Tyrangiel, the editor of Bloomberg Businessweek and a rising star at the news organization, is departing, becoming the latest prominent name to leave the company in recent months as it is reshaped under the leadership of its founder, ex-NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg.

Cuomo said there’s no federal investigation “that I know of” into any nano facilities in the Syracuse area.

Federal campaign filings show a political action committee taking early aim at congressional candidate John Faso has been funded largely by his potential Republican primary opponent for Rep. Chris Gibson’s seat, Dutchess County businessman Andrew Heaney.

The multi-county, multi-court fight over the Women’s Equality Party is continuing, and there’s now a wrinkle – military ballots, for service members who are New Yorkers but who are stationed overseas, are supposed to go out tomorrow or “soon thereafter.”

State Sen. Joseph Griffo, a Republican, and Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, a Democrat, will be sending out a joint mailer to their constituents and “bringing bipartisanship to a new level.”

One Seneca Tower, Buffalo’s tallest office building, has been sold for $28 million to the firm that held its mortgage, LNR Partners, which was widely expected to win the auction, because it is owed $91 million for the 850,000-square-foot building that is 95 percent empty.

An FBI agent says he believes former Syracuse University assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine tried to molest him 34 years ago.

The Bloomberg-for-president push lives.

The Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation hit the ground running this morning at Roswell Park with its first donation of $4.2 million pegged to improve quality-of-life programs for patients receiving treatment at the cancer institute.

With the New York Mets set to play the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first round of the National League Division series this month, the bet is on and the stakes are predictably high: bagels and popcorn.

Here and Now

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

At 8 a.m., CUNY faculty and professional staff, members of the Professional Staff Congress/CUNY, students, labor and community allies hold a protest in defense of quality education and deliver “a wake-up call” to Chancellor James Milliken at his Upper East Side home, 215 E. 68th St., Manhattan.

At 8:15 a.m., Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman makes an announcement regarding bail reform at the Criminal Justice Policy Forum hosted by the Citizens Crime Commission, Sea Level Cafe, 6 East 43rd St., Manhattan.

At 9 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul convenes a meeting of the Capital Region Regional Economic Development Council, McDonough Field House and Sports Complex, HVCC, 80 Vandenburgh Ave., Troy.

At 10:30 a.m., the DOI’s OIG-NYPD releases its comprehensive review and analysis of the department’s use of force policies and procedures, 80 Maiden Lane, Manhattan.

At 11 a.m., Hochul attends the opening of Cuomo’s MWBE Forum, Hart Theater, Empire State Plaza, Albany.

Also at 11 a.m., the Richard R. Green Middle School 113 Campus will receive $500,000 in city funding from NYC Councilman Andy King during a check presentation, 3710 Barnes Ave., Bronx.

At 11:45 a.m., Hochul speaks to veteran entrepreneurs attending the Boots to Business Reboot Program, Watervliet Arsenal, 44 Dalliba Ave. Watervliet.

At noon, AARP unveils “High Anxiety” survey showing New York City Hispanic Generation X and baby boomer voters’ struggle with financial and retirement preparedness and security, Pampano Restaurant, 209 E. 49th St., Manhattan.

At 12:15 p.m., NYC Public Advocate Tish James joins the New York Immigration Coalition to call on the Department of Education to provide translation and interpretation as part of new New York City school support system, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

At 2 p.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio holds photo spray with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Blue Room, City Hall, Manhattan.

At 4 p.m., VP Joe Biden will deliver remarks at the 5th Annual Concordia Summit, 109 East 42nd St., Manhattan.

At 5:30 p.m., Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan presents the 2016 budget to the Albany Common Council, rotunda of Albany City Hall, 24 Eagle St., Albany.

At 6:30 p.m., the New New York Activists hold a forum entitled “Living City, Living Wage,” Museum of the City of New York, 1220 Fifth Ave., Manhattan.

At 7:30 p.m., the Queens Republican Club holds its annual Columbus Day dinner, among attendees will be announced 2017 NYC mayoral candidate the Rev. Michael Faulkner, Nancy’s Restaurant, 25541 Jericho Tpke., Floral Park, Queens.

Also at 7:30 p.m., Ambassador Dennis Ross, a former American diplomat who helped shape policy in the Middle East, will speak at a free event open to the public, Temple Adath Yeshurun, 450 Kimber Rd., DeWitt.

At 8 p.m., there will be a Bronx Town Hall on Legionnaires’ disease hosted by NYC Councilman James Vacca, Maestros’ Caterers, 1703 Bronxdale Ave., the Bronx.


Gov. Andrew Cuomo is paying tribute to his slain aide Carey Gabay with new fellowship and scholarship programs. The Carey Gabay Fellowship within the governor’s counsel’s office will be awarded every two years to an attorney who will work on anti-violence initiatives.

Cuomo defended the money the state has doled out to Buffalo amid subpoenas issued by federal prosecutors seeking details about the contracts for the Buffalo Billion project, saying the project has been a “phenomenal success.”

The governor repeatedly said that any questions about the U.S. attorney’s probe of the Buffalo Billion should be directed not to him, but to the U.S. attorney, Preet Bharara.

The Cuomo administration agreed to lower affirmative action hiring goals for the construction of the SolarCity plant – part of the Buffalo Billion initiative – from 25 to 15 percent and has sat by silently while contractors hired a workforce that is only 6 percent minority.

State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan said he wouldn’t mind if the Legislature discussed different ways to handle the state contract procurement process, but also stressed that the Buffalo Billion – and other economic development projects – are being run by “the executive branch.”

Speaking during a Crain’s breakfast forum in Manhattan, Flanagan expressed reservations about Cuomo’s push to raise the state minimum wage to $15 an hour, but didn’t rule out its adoption.

Flanagan also said he and his fellow Senate Republicans want to grill NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio before re-upping mayoral control of the city school system, but insisted this is not payback for the mayor’s support of the Senate Democrats in 2014.

The majority leader also echoed calls from the state’s business community for the governor to appoint a judge with a business background to the Court of Appeals, which currently has two vacancies.

One person has died from Legionnaires’s disease amid a new outbreak cluster in the East Bronx, the New York City Health Department said. In all, 13 people – all of whom have underlying health problems – have contracted the illness this time around. Of those, 11 have been hospitalized and one has been discharged.

Legionella bacteria has been found in the cooling towers at both Smithtown East and Smithtown West high schools, the district said, though there have been no reports of the disease.

For the first time in its modern history, the NYPD is establishing explicit guidelines — backed by a sweeping new tracking system — for using and documenting force. Every police officer will have to detail virtually every instance when force is used not only in an arrest but also in other encounters with the public.

With New York’s bail system facing criticism that it unfairly leaves poor people incarcerated for long periods over minor offenses, Democratic Sen. Mike Gianaris plans to propose legislation that would eliminate bail entirely.

The New York Military Academy, a 126-year-old boarding school whose graduates include the Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, was bought for close to $16 million at a bankruptcy auction by a nonprofit group controlled by Chinese investors, who told academy officials that they would keep it open as a high school.

More >


If the MTA doesn’t get billions more from state and city governments, travelers will likely pay through higher fares and cuts in service, state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli warned.

Interstate 81 and Onondaga Lake are among the topics on tomorrow’s agenda as Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his top commissioners come to town for an all-day focus on Central New York. But it’s unclear how many members of the public will be able to attend these “Capital for a Day” events.

James Knickman, founding president and CEO of the New York State Health Foundation, has announced his resignation and plans to leave during the first half of 2016 to take a job at NYU.

A 3.0 magnitude earthquake rattled the area around the Gilboa dam and reservoir complex in Schoharie County late Saturday but officials from NYPA, which operates a hydro plant there, said there was no damage.

The best time to plan for the next double lake-effect snowstorm is on a 70- or 80-degree day in August or September, according to new DOT Commissioner Matthew Driscoll.

Democratic US Sen. Chuck Schumer is in talks with Republican Rep. Paul Ryan on a major tax and infrastructure deal.

EJ McMahon says Long Island towns’ complaints about getting squeezed by the tax cap and warning they could be forced to cut services as a result “just won’t hold water.”

Hundreds of Planned Parenthood supporters clad in pink rallied in Manhattan this afternoon, taking aim at Republicans in Congress who are threatening to cut federal funds to the reproductive healthcare provider.

Current and former New York Yankees players joined Yogi Berra’s family and friends at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in New Jersey to remember the former catcher, who died on Sept. 22 of natural causes at the age of 90.

Two federal agencies requested that the Obama administration postpone General Electric’s plan to end its cleanup of the Hudson River without removing all the related pollution.

A month before the winners are selected for this year’s 43North business plan competition, the contest received the bulk of the funding it needs to hold the entrepreneurial event again next year.

Judge Pamela Chen granted
class action status to a federal lawsuit in which the NYPD’s 911 operators allege they were subjected to discriminatory, racially-motivated work rules.

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren said the state Legislature should consider increasing the minimum penalty for illegal gun possession as part of a larger antidote to persistent urban gun violence.

Attorney generals across the nation today released a letter to the US Food and Drug Administration urging it to take enforcement against the growing use of liquid nicotine among youth.

Air quality sensors will be installed in some New York City nail salons to monitor for hazardous health conditions.

The US has failed to stop the flow of Americans to join the “largest global convergence of jihadists in history,” and New York and New Jersey rank among the top suppliers of aspiring fighters, according to a six-month congressional investigation.

The US Labor Department is funneling $1.55 million to help state and local governments explore paid leave policies.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule. VP Joe Biden is scheduled to be in NYC to hold bilateral meetings with foreign leaders and chair the leaders’ summit on countering ISIL and violent extremism at the UN along with President Obama.

Obama is scheduled participate in separate bilateral meetings with President Raul Castro of Cuba and President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan. He and Biden and First Lady Michelle Obama are due to return to Washington, D.C. this afternoon/evening.

The Clinton Global Initiative’s annual meeting continues in NYC. Participants today include former President Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, Xerox Chairman and CEO Ursula Burns, African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina, Alibaba Executive Chairman Jack Ma, actors Edward Norton and Freida Pinto, UN Foundation President and CEO Kathy Calvin, and Save the Children President and CEO Carolyn Miles.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie continues his tour of majority conference members’ districts with a visit to Long Island.

It’s National Coffee Day. Look for free and/or discounted coffee offers at your local neighborhood java joint. (Mostly chains are participating).

A full calendar of the day’s events appears at the end of this post.


A task force created by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to review the state’s controversial Common Core standards will include a Buffalo parent advocate who was an early supporter of the learning benchmarks. Samuel Radford III is one of 15 people who will serve on the new panel, which is scheduled to report its findings in time for the governor’s State of the State address in January.

Cuomo also called for fewer standardized exams, but gave no sign of rolling back his controversial initiative to tie test scores to school closings and teacher evaluations.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is headed back to Washington, D.C. to address a conference of business and labor leaders and other progressive politicians aimed at promoting national changes in economic policy.

De Blasio called a new TWU TV ad campaign blaming him for the underfunding of New York City’s state-controlled mass transit system “absolutely misleading” and a “pitiful attempt to disguise where the real responsibility for the MTA lies.”

Amid a probe by US Attorney Preet Bharara’s office of the Buffalo Billion, one of the initiative’s signature projects, a SolarCity factory, is set to ramp up its hiring in a big way.

Municipal officials across Long Island will delay critical infrastructure and public safety projects – from adding five more police officers in Southold to building a parking garage in Huntington’s busy downtown – as they struggle to stick to the lowest state property tax cap in history.

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano agreed to accept the recommendations of a panel he named to review the county contracting process, including an anti-“pay to play” law that would cap vendors’ political contributions.

The owner of Grand Central Terminal filed a $1.1 billion lawsuit in US District Court in Manhattan that argued that the de Blasio administration, the NYC Council and SL Green Realty Corp. had deprived him of his property rights when the city gave SL Green permission to build a 1,501-foot tall office tower, without having to buy any air rights from him.

Democrat Frank A. Sedita III and Republican Emilio Colaiacovo are assured election to two state Supreme Court seats in November, following the unanimous votes in favor of cross endorsement deals at the Erie County Republican convention and near unanimous at the Democratic conclave.

Joyce Mitchell, a former prison employee who admitted to helping two convicted killers escape from Clinton Correctional Facility, leading to one of the largest manhunts in New York history, was sentenced to at least two years and four months in prison. “You did terrible things,” Judge Kevin K. Ryan told her. “At any time, you could have stopped the escape from happening.”

Seven people in the Morris Park section of the Bronx have Legionnaires’ disease, officials said, spurring an investigation into the potential source.

Clarkstown Supervisor and former Assemblyman Alexander Gromack was paid about $10,000 to refer customers to Richard Brega Jr. — a local businessman who runs the county’s bus system — but failed to report the work on his Rockland County ethics forms. The arrangement is being reviewed by a federal grand jury, after it subpoenaed Gromack’s county ethics filings from the Rockland Board of Ethics.

More >


Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday will “move” the state’s business to Onondaga County as part of his “Capital for a Day” program.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is making another trip to Washington, D.C., to push his progressive agenda.

Former Nassau County Legislator and one-time state Senate candidate David Denenberg, who pleaded guilty to bilking a law firm client out of $2.3 million, has been officially stripped of his law license.

Joyce Mitchell, the prison seamstress who helped inmates David Sweat and Richard Matt break out of Clinton Correctional Facility in June, cried in court as she was sentenced to up to seven years in prison.

Health officials are investigating a cluster of seven Legionnaires’ disease cases in one Bronx neighborhood, but the cluster is not related to the outbreak that sickened more than 120 people, killing 12 of them, in the borough over the summer.

The Syracuse City Council voted 5-4 today to pursue litigation aimed at forcing Mayor Stephanie Miner to turn on the computers of the city clerk and several city councilors who have refused to sign a new computer use policy.

State forest rangers are battling a growing wild fire in the eastern Adirondack woods that has scorched about 100 acres since an unattended campfire sparked the blaze over the weekend.

The Nassau County Democratic Committee has re-elected Chairman Jay Jacobs to his eighth term. Jacobs ran unopposed for the chairmanship and was elected unanimously during last Monday night’s committee meeting at the Chateaubriand in Carle Place.

Citing a “critical juncture” and a “historic opportunity” to achieve change, the NYC Bar Association has announced the formation of a Task Force on Mass Incarceration. More here.

Bloomberg is Trump without the crazy.”

De Blasio announced the official launch of the NYC Retrofit Accelerator, which will provide free technical assistance and advisory services for building owners to go green through critical energy efficiency, water conservation, and clean energy upgrades.

The son of famously lenient Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Bruce Wright — nicknamed “Cut ’Em Loose Bruce” for setting low bails on violent criminals — appears to be picking up where his dad left off. (Manhattan Civil Justice Geoffrey Wright is also Assemblyman Keith Wright’s brother).

Assemblyman Wright called for the state to boost its investment in the chain of reproductive health centers if national Republicans succeed in stopping the flow of funds from the nation’s capital.

Democrat and Republican attorneys have until tomorrow to file their briefs in a case over whether the Women’s Equality Party will appear on Rensselaer County ballots this November.

JetBlue Airways will expand its service from Syracuse to Florida, adding daily nonstop flights to Fort Lauderdale starting next year, US Sen. Charles Schumer said.

Robert Williams, executive director of the Gaming Commission, told the commission’s board that the agency expects to have its review completed by year’s end for the casinos in Tyre, Seneca County; Thompson, Sullivan County; and Schenectady.

Who will take the place of Judge Joseph Fahey after Onondaga County’s longest-serving criminal judge retires at the end of this year?

The Juilliard School is teaming up with Chinese partners to open a branch in Tianjin, a busy port city in northern China.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule. Pope Francis has departed NYC, but don’t expect traffic to ease as a result, because now President Obama is in town. Meanwhile, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie continues his upstate tour in Sullivan County.

A full calendar of today’s events appears at the end of this post.


As he follows the scent of corruption in state government, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is examining the bidding practices applied in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “Buffalo Billion” revitalization program, including its largest undertaking, the SolarCity factory rising along a bend in the Buffalo River.

Federal investigators are looking at how government-funded projects were awarded, and whether state elected officials played a role in choosing who would benefit from the major infusion of funds. Cuomo’s ESDC has been subpoenaed, along with SUNY Poly.

The ex-wife of Charles Dorego, the senior vice president and general counsel of Glenwood Management and a common denominator in the corruption scandals that felled two legislative leaders this year, funded a shadowy lobbying campaign that has attempted to undermine efforts by New York City to lessen the disproportionate burden faced by poor minority communities in removing the city’s trash.

Cuomo’s office is in discussions with the White House about providing free tuitions at New York’s community colleges, which are among some of the costliest to attend in the nation.

Pope Francis urged hundreds of thousands of people gathered Sunday in Philadelphia for the biggest event of his U.S. visit to be open to “miracles of love,” closing out his six-day tour with a message of hope for families, consolation for victims of child sexual abuse and a warning to America’s bishops.

In an ad running in the Daily News and other publications today, the Transport Workers Union Local 100 depicts NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio riding a relic of old New York — a tagged-up train — with the caption, “Where are you taking us?”

As the sale of Buffalo-based First Niagara Financial Group looms, only one WNYer sits on the board that will decide the fate of one of the region’s most important corporate headquarters.

It’s for only a small number of village governments in New York, but the property-tax cap for them is dropping again: to 0.45 percent for the fiscal year that starts March 1. It’s the lowest rate ever enacted for local governments or schools.

As de Blasio struggles to control rising homelessness in New York, the city plans to hire more lawyers to help financially stressed residents avoid eviction – especially in neighborhoods that are quickly gentrifying.

Former Clinton Correctional Facility employee Joyce Mitchell will learn her sentence today for her role in the escape of convicted murderers David Sweat and Richard Matt. She pleaded guilty in July to promoting prison contraband, a felony, and facilitating criminal activity, a misdemeanor. She’ll appear before a judge in Clinton County Court in Plattsburgh.

Rep. Chris Gibson questioned how his potential 2018 rival for the GOP gubernatorial nod, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, can consider another run for governor a year after he’ll likely seek re-election to his local post.

Disgraced former state Senate majority Leader Malcolm Smith was scheduled to turn himself in last week so he could begin his seven-year jail sentence on corruption charges, but he got his surrender date pushed back more than six weeks by claiming that he must be checked for prostate cancer by his own doctor before prison.

More >