Liz Benjamin

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Posts by Liz Benjamin


We’re calling it a day here on State of Politics, and wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving. Please be careful if you’re traveling today. If not, you’ll find some pre-turkey headlines below to peruse. Some programming notes: If you’re a CapTon viewer, there will be no show tomorrow night or Friday. As for the blog and morning memo, both will be on vacation tomorrow – unless something really huge happens – and will return (likely in a truncated form) Friday. Everything will be back on track next Monday.

Sandra Lee says she and Gov. Andrew Cuomo will get married “some day,” explaining: “It’s been nine years,” she says. “We talk about it. It’s not like we don’t know we’re going to do it.”

Efforts by the Cuomo administration to sack Dave Wick, executive director of the Lake George Park Commissioner, are apparently being pulled back. He’s returning to work Dec. 10.

The effort to remove Wick was not solely motivated by “gallonate,” but also had to do with his role in organizing a retirement party for Commissioner Tom Conerty, according to an IG letter.

The snow might be a headache for holiday travelers, but ski mountains are psyched.

Connecticut truckers, food stores and energy suppliers tried to get Cuomo to allow commercial vehicles carrying food, fuel and emergency supplies an exemption from his storm-related ban on trucks along I-84.

Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi said the governor’s office will assess the situation as conditions improve. “As you know, this is among the busiest travel days of the year and motorist safety remains our top priority,” he said.

The New York state pension fund lost $2 billion in the past fiscal quarter as shaky markets eroded some of its portfolio, state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli announced.

The Obama administration announced a long-delayed environmental regulation to curb emissions of ozone, a smog-causing pollutant linked to asthma, heart disease and premature death

Senate Finance Chairman John DeFrancisco backs the “Syracuse Billion.”

Carl Paladino’s snow-covered house was featured in Cuomo’s Facebook appeal for New Yorkers to remember people in need this holiday season.

A HUD audit found New York City officials improperly used some of $183 million in federal grants for hospital rebuilding after superstorm Sandy.

In advance of Black Friday, Cuomo is taking aim at three toys, including a Disney “Frozen” musical watch, which could be hazardous to children.

Rudy Giuliani’s law firm is considering an office in China after the size of its London practice doubled in a year on the strength of its energy work.

A lawyer for the parents of Michael Brown said “it was very hurtful” for them to hear Officer Darren Wilson say he had no regrets about his actions that ended with him shooting their son in Ferguson last August.

The Niagara Gazette doesn’t think much of Cuomo’s statewide weather prediction project. But the Buffalo News approves.

Hillary Clinton recently shared a table at a gala in New York City with the Olsen twins.

Few aspirants hoping to succeed President Obama – including Clinton – had much to say about Ferguson.

Obama did the traditional pre-Thanksgiving turkey pardon (of two birds dubbed “Mac” and “Cheese”), joking it would be his “most talked about executive action this month.”

The Buffalo Bills announced a sellout for their game at Ralph Wilson Stadium this Sunday against the Browns. Jim Kelly will make an appearance.

If Clinton runs for president again in 2016, who will her campaign manager be?

The family of Darryl Mount Jr., a man who died earlier this year from injuries sustained during a police foot chase in Saratoga Springs on Labor Day weekend 2013, has filed a lawsuit against the city.

Teacher pension costs are set to decline for school districts for the first time in five years, the state Teachers Retirement System said.

Mitt Romney, the Republican Party’s unsuccessful presidential nominee in 2012, leads the field for the 2016 election among Republican voters, according to a new Q poll.

House Ethics Defers On Grimm – Again

For the third time since 2012, the House Ethics Committee has deferred its investigation into Republican Rep. Michael Grimm’s fundraising at the request of the US Justice Department.

Grimm, a former FBI agent, continues to be under federal investigation despite the fact that he is facing a 20-count indictment that alleges he broke a bevvy of rules while running a Manhattan restaurant prior to his election to Congress in 2010.

The congressman won a third term this past fall despite his legal troubles, largely due to the incredibly flawed candidacy of his Democratic challenger, former NYC Councilman Domenic Recchia. Grimm, who beat Recchia by 13 percentage points, ran without any aid from his party, receiving support from his Republican base on Staten Island – Democrat-dominated NYC’s lone bastion of conservatism.

This past October, a judge delayed the start of Grimm’s trial on charges of wire and mail fraud until February. But prosecutors said that if Grimm’s attorneys seeks to dismiss three charges against him — two counts of perjury and one of obstruction — because they occurred outside the jurisdiction of the Brooklyn court, the U.S. government would reintroduce them in Manhattan.

House Ethics Committee again defers Rep. Grimm investigation. by liz_benjamin6490

Early Bird Lawmakers

From the Morning Memo:

If the Legislature does return to Albany for a special session, some newly-elected lawmakers may have a chance to get a jump on their fellow freshmen when it comes to voting.

Those lawmakers elected to fill seats that were vacant before the Nov. 4 elections can be certified as full fledged members of their respective houses prior to the start of the 2015 session in January.

The eight Assembly members – six Democrats and two Republicans – who fit into this category will be certified on Dec. 15, according to Assembly spokesman Mike Whyland, which means they will take the oath of office and can be seated that every day.

If a special session is called before Dec. 15, then a resolution could be passed to make those members eligible to vote.

This is important because every vote will count when it comes to a pay raise.

Downstate lawmakers likely have more cover than their upstate counterparts, since $79,500 is on the low side when it comes to average professional salaries in NYC and on Long Island.

In the Senate, there were two empty seats prior to the elections – one was vacated by Democrat Eric Adams, who left to become Brooklyn borough president; the other belonged to Long Island Republican Chuck Fuschillo, who resigned to take a private sector job.

Democrat Jesse Hamilton won Adams’ seat. There’s still some question about whether Hamilton will join the IDC when he arrives in Albany.

Republican Michael Venditto won Fuschillo’s seat. That race was pretty much a walk for the GOP after the Democratic candidate, Dave Denenberg, dropped out of the race (though his name remained on the ballot) after he was sued by members of his former law firm for allegedly bilking clients out of $2 million worth of services.

Technically speaking, outgoing lawmakers who did not seek re-election for whatever reason could resign tomorrow and whoever was elected to replace them could be sworn in and eligible to vote in a special session.

But that’s highly unlikely, because those lame duck votes come in handy when it’s time to vote on a pay raise. Lawmakers who aren’t returning to Albany don’t have worry about incurring the wrath of their constituents by voting “yes” on a big salary bump for their soon-to-be-former colleagues.

Here and Now

Good morning, happy day-before-Thanksgiving, the busiest travel day of the year, which is being complicated this year by a winter storm.

Due to the storm, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office has announced the following travel restrictions:

- Starting at 7 a.m., long tandem vehicles will be banned from the New York State Thruway on I-90, both directions from Interchange 32 (Westmoreland/Rome) to Interchange 24 (Exit 24) and on I-87, both directions from Interchange 24 (Albany) to the New York City line.

- Also at 7 a.m., commercial vehicles will be banned from Interstate 84, both directions, from the Pennsylvania border to the Connecticut border.

If you’re planning on taking I-84, considering seeking alternative routes or travel early. If you do choose to use I-84, use caution and call 5-1-1 to check road conditions before leaving.

The state has prepared 911 snow plows, more than 1,800 plow operators and more than 130,000 tons of road salt between New York City and Albany to respond to the storm.

This is becoming a bit of a (nasty) habit – Cuomo’s press shop has not yet released his public schedule for the day.

At 8:30 a.m., the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey’s aviation director, Thomas Bosco, discusses the agency’s preparations for Thanksgiving holiday travel; near the food court, departure level, Central Terminal Building, LaGuardia Airport, 23rd Avenue and Ditmars Boulevard, Queens.

At 9 a.m., Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade parade’s executive producer, Amy Kule, broadcaster and chef Sandra Lee, “Miss USA 2014″ pageant winner Nia Sanchez and Santa Claus ring the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange to publicize the parade, Exchange Place and Broad Street, Manhattan.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., an Amtrak representative offers interviews about Thanksgiving holiday travel; Pennsylvania Station, Pennsylvania Plaza, 234 W. 31st St., Manhattan.

From 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., NYC Councilman Andy King, law enforcement professionals including city police department Capt. James R. McGeown and religious officials discuss techniques to prevent identity theft during a seminar; auditorium, 135 Einstein Loop, the Bronx.

At 11 a.m., Kirsten John Foy, NAN’s Northeast Regional Director; to accompany Kimberly Michelle Ballinger, Akai Kareem Gurley’s domestic partner and mother of his two-year-old daughter, as she identifies Gurley’s body, Brooklyn Medical Examiner’s office, 599 Winthrop St., Brooklyn. (Press conference to follow at 11:45 a.m.)

At noon, the executive director of the West Side Campaign Against Hunger, Stewart Desmond, NYC Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal and representatives of religious organizations and schools distribute Thanksgiving food as part of the campaign’s fourth annual “Thousand Turkey Challenge”; basement level, 263 W. 86th St., Manhattan.

At 5 p.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will tour and deliver remarks at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon inflation, 77th Street and Central Park West, Manhattan.

At 5:20 p.m., NY1 reporter Zack Fink is a guest on WABC’s “The Ride Home with Pat Kiernan and Rita Cosby.”


Thousands of protesters marched through the streets of New York City for the second night, chanting loudly and blocking traffic on some of Manhattan’s busiest streets to express outrage over the decision not to indict Darren Wilson, a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo., in the death of an unarmed black man, Michael Brown. Some arrests were made.

“I have a clear conscience,” Wilson said to ABC ‘s George Stephanopolous, who talked with him for an hour and a half at an undisclosed location in St. Louis. “I know I did my job right.”

In Washington, St. Louis and Ferguson itself, an array of public officials, community leaders and clergy were deeply critical of one another as they sought to explain how protests over the grand jury’s decision had spun further out of control than the unrest that followed Brown’s death in August.

Peaceful rallies protesting the Ferguson decision took place in Buffalo and Albany.

Civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton said the grand jury system was misused in the Brown case. He urged a continued investigation by the federal government.

Albany County DA David Soares slammed St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch, calling him “tone deaf,” and accusing him of “mismanaging” the presentation of the grand jury’s decision.

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren’s Facebook comments about the Ferguson decision sparked controversy.

Chanting “Black lives matter!,” more than a dozen NYC Council members, led by Andy King, the co-chairman of the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus, interrupted a stated meeting yesterday soon after it began and marched out of the chamber to protest the Ferguson decision.

Former NYC Mayor and ex-US attorney Rudy Giuliani said he would prosecute some of the Ferguson grand jury witnesses for lying in their testimony against Wilson.

The suspect who threw fake blood on NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton during a Ferguson protest in NYC Monday night is a veteran of the Occupy Wall Street movement. He was arraigned last night and ordered held on $30,000 bond.

State officials will serve up scraper “shoes” to clear LIRR train rails, “storm fighting centers” and other strategies to keep public transportation mayhem to a minimum as a nor’easter visits the region on one of the biggest travel days of the year.

The Buffalo News remembers the lives of the 13 victims of last week’s massive lake effect storm.

Three anonymous WNY Thruway workers said in separate interviews they informed Authority supervisors that portions of Interstate 90 needed to be closed in the late evening hours of Nov. 17, but their warnings were ignored and the highway remained open until the following morning.

The exact cost and economic impact of the Buffalo storm remains unknown. Cuomo said that he suspected losses would surpass $27 million, the threshold for financial assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The State Department of Health is investigating the death of an elderly woman after she was evacuated from a nursing home outside Buffalo during the storm, a Health Department official said.

With the country in a recession, Democrats should have followed the 2009 economic stimulus bill with bills to help the middle class, then attempted to pass health care later in Obama’s presidency, US Sen. Chuck Schumer said. His comments irked fellow Democrats.

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner announced a $1 billion list of projects intended to address long-term infrastructure needs and vowed to aggressively lobby Cuomo and the Legislature for state support. More here.

More >


US Chuck Schumer said Democrats made a mistake by setting their sights on health care reform early in President Barack Obama’s first term, arguing that his party should have focused on fixing the economy first.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said he was “very sad” to see the violent response in Ferguson, Mo., after a grand jury’s decision declined to bring charges in the police shooting of an unarmed teen, and emphasized he believed peaceful protest could affect the change people were seeking.

In an exclusive interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, police officer Darren Wilson broke his silence about the shooting of Michael Brown.

More than a dozen NYC Council members walked out of their regularly-scheduled meeting today at City Hall, to protest the grand jury decision.

A day after NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton was hit with fake blood by a man protesting about Ferguson, the agency head made light of the incident and took a shot at the activist who hurled the stage prop.

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren is being criticized for the response to Ferguson that she posted on Facebook.

CNN’s Don Lemon is under fire for his coverage of the Ferguson protests.

Just in time for Christmas, state AG Eric Schneiderman is urging retailers like Walmart and Target to make sure the toys they sell do not contain toxic chemicals.

Cuomo’s refusal to take a position on climate change is getting some negative attention.

…that puts him at odds with the official position of his administration, (as per the DEC website).

De Blasio held a gathering at a Brooklyn public school last July that improperly barred the press, according to a joint investigation by his own Department of Investigation and the Special Commissioner of Investigation for the schools.

A Senate GOP spokesman bluntly rejected a de Blasio administration official’s call for a new real estate tax, arguing that creating a new revenue stream to fund the mayor’s affordable housing plan sends “the wrong message” to New York City.

Rockland Democratic Chairwoman Kristen Stavisky said Sen. David Carlucci’s decision to stick with the IDC will be viewed as a “betrayal” by local Democrats.

Whiteface Mountain Ski Center will begin daily operations tomorrow.

Buffalo Bills president Russ Brandon expects Ralph Wilson Stadium to be “100 percent operational” in time to host the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

North Country and Lake George residents closed ranks around embattled Lake George Park Commission Executive Director David Wick, urging commissioners to stand up to the Cuomo administration’s effort to oust him.

An argument in favor of holding the Democratic National Convention in Columbus, OH.

Buffalo’s Wise Guys Pizza stayed open during last week’s snow storm, and did a brisk business.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s press office has not yet released his public schedule. As of yesterday, he was still in Erie County monitoring storm response and clean-up efforts.

At 9 a.m., Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, and Catholic Charities representatives ring the opening bell of the NYSE to coincide with the Cardinal’s Committee for Charity’s annual “Wall Street Breakfast” fundraiser, Exchange Place and Broad Street, Manhattan.

Also at 10 a.m., NYC Council members and advocates for minority residents promote a legislative proposal that would require city agencies to allow residents to select multiple ethnicities on government documents, and a resolution calling for federal and state lawmakers to approve similar requirements; steps, City Hall, Manhattan.

Also at 10 a.m., Assembly Banking Committee Chair Annette Robinson and Subcommittee on Banking in Underserved Communities Chair David Weprin, hold a public hearing on a proposed “borrow and save” regional pilot program; Assembly Hearing Room, room 1923, 250 Broadway, Manhattan.

Also at 10 a.m., Joel Berg, executive director of the NYC Coalition Against Hunger, joins NYC HRA Commissioner Steven Banks and elected officials to release the group’s annual survey on demand at soup kitchens and food pantries and new findings on food insecurity, NYC Human Resources Administration SNAP Office. 12 W. 14th St., 5th Floor, Manhattan.

At 10:30 a.m., NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray participates in the commemoration of the International Day to End Violence Against Women, UN HQ, Economic and Social Council Chamber, Manhattan.

Also at 10:30 a.m., the Joint Commission on Public Ethics convenes, 540 Broadway, Albany.

At 11 a.m. central time (noon here), the Rev. Al Sharpton joins the parents of Michael Brown at a press conference, Greater St. Marks Missionary Baptist Church, 9950 Glen Owen Dr., St Louis, MO.

At 11:30 a.m., AG Eric Schneiderman will detail preventive measures to protect children and parents during the upcoming holiday shopping season, 120 Broadway, 25th Floor, Manhattan. (NYC Public Advocate and NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer will also attend).

At 11:45 p.m., SBA Administrator Maria Contreras Sweet will be joined by NYC Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, NYC Small Business Commissioner Maria Torres Spring and off-Broadway Actress & Entrepreneur Catherine Russell to discuss the state of small business and amplify Small Business Saturday, BOGOTA Latin Bistro, 141 5th Ave., Park Slope, Brooklyn.

Also at noon, Sharpton’s National Action Network holds “hands up for justice” rallies in front of federal buildings across the nations. A list of locations is here:

Also at noon, OGS Deputy Commissioner Gail Hammond hosts a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new gift shop and visitor center at the north end of the Empire State Plaza Concourse, Albany.

Also at noon, community, faith, and labor leaders gather at the state Capitol to call on lawmakers to raise the minimum wage before giving themselves a pay hike, third floor, outside the Senate chamber, Albany.

At 12:30 p.m., NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito hosts a press conference prior to the Council’s stated meeting, Red Room, City Hall, Manhattan. (Council meeting starts at 1 p.m., Council chambers).

At 12:45 p.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and McCray greet volunteers and distribute food, PATHHSEO Soup Kitchen, basement of Caldwell AME Zion Church, 1281 Chisholm St., the Bronx.

At 1 p.m., parents of charter school students call for NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina to apologize for recent comments about charter school recruitment efforts, during a news conference sponsored by charter school advocacy organization Families for Excellent Schools; steps, City Hall, Manhattan.


Darren Wilson, the white Ferguson, MO police officer who avoided a grand jury indictment for shooting unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, testified before the panel that he feared for his life first while fending off punches and then seconds later after a brief pursuit was reversed.

After it was announced the St. Louis County grand jury had brought no charges against Wilson, set off a new wave of anger among hundreds who had gathered outside the Ferguson Police Department. Police officers in riot gear stood in a line as demonstrators chanted and threw signs and other objects toward them as the news spread.

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said the protests that followed the announcement were “probably much worse than the worst night we ever had in August” after Brown was killed.

While reporting on the Ferguson protests, CNN’s Chris Cuomo (brother of Gov. Andrew Cuomo) was tear gassed on the street.

At least 1,000 people marched from Union Square to upper Manhattan to protest the grand jury’s decision. A man was arrested at Times Square when he threw what appeared to be red paint toward police officers and officials, including NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton.

The NYC protestors snarled traffic and temporarily shut down three bridges.

In NYC, the chief medical examiner called the death of an unarmed man, Akai Gurley, 28, at the hands of rookie cop Peter Liang, 27, a homicide.

Liang knew he was in deep trouble as soon as he discharged his gun — telling his partner, “I think I’m going to get fired,” even before learning he had hit the innocent man.

The issue of rookies patrolling with rookies came up yesterday at a meeting between Brooklyn DA Kenneth Thompson and Melissa Butler, a friend of Akai Gurley who is the sole civilian witness to the shooting.

The Democratic National Committee has narrowed its list of possible convention sites in 2016 to Columbus, Ohio; New York City; and Philadelphia. The committee had previously been considering Birmingham, Ala., and Phoenix as well. A winner will be announced early next year.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and top Brooklyn pols held a major cheerleading session after the DNC announcement, proclaiming that Gotham should take the prize because “Brooklyn’s story is America’s story.”

More >


The St. Louis grand jury considering the shooting of Ferguson teenager Michael Brown has completed its deliberations. A public announcement of the decision is scheduled for tonight.

What do former US Sen. Rick Santorum and Cuomo have in common? Both have falsely criticized the National Weather Service of bad predictions.

The Weather Channel’s Sam Champion invited experts on his show to dispute Cuomo’s claims, saying there is “no question whatsoever” that the Buffalo NWS office put out an accurate forecast for the storm.

“Today” show weatherman Al Roker vs. Cuomo, take II.

A NWS spokesman said the state system Cuomo is creating “would not have made significant improvements to the already accurate forecasts provided for the two lake effect snow storms last week.”

DEC Commissioner Joe Martens is unclogging sewer drains in WNY.

The DEC is shooting down a rumor that soon-to-be-former Sen. Mark Grisanti is poised to replace Martens as DEC commissioner.

White Plains residents pay the highest property taxes per capita among cities in New York, while Binghamton has the highest effective property-tax rate in the state.

US Sen. Cory Booker lost his sixth director of communications over the last seven years – Beth DeFalco, who left her job as City Hall reporter for the New York Post in June of this year to join his staff.

Albany has the highest property tax rates of any of the five larges cities outside of New York City.

Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani defended his comments about Ferguson from over the weekend, saying he “saved more black lives” than any previous mayor.

The NYC Conflicts of Interest Board slammed a former Board of Elections commissioner with a $5,500 fine for helping her sister get a job.

A coalition of groups opposed to the controversial waste transfer station on the Upper East Side have spent $50,000 for a new television spot featuring public housing residents speaking out against NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s decision to greenlight the project.

Foxwoods Resort Casino has indefinitely postponed Bill Cosby’s concert appearance that was scheduled for January.

Georgina Bloomberg’s 10-year-old Chihuahua once experienced “explosive diarrhea all over the front hall of Gracie Mansion” on Thanksgiving. Ex-Mayor Bloomberg held the culprit while his daughter cleaned up.

Voters are very supportive of President Obama’s executive order on immigration, according to a new poll from an organization aligned with Democrats.

A grand jury impaneled by Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance has found widespread fraud and abuse among contractors purporting to work with minority- and women-owned business enterprises — amounting to $10 million of money diverted in just two cases.

The de Blasio administration is still hoping to raise revenue through new taxes next year, despite Senate Republican opposition unfriendly to his progressive agenda.

Hillary Clinton has a sizable lead over her potential Democratic presidential primary rivals in New Hampshire, a new poll shows. But Mitt Romney could give her a run for her money – if he runs again.

Members of the Syracuse City Council overwhelmingly voted down a law that would have fined people $50 for failing to shovel their sidewalks.

Roman Catholic leaders in Philadelphia are predicting as many as 2 million people could turn out next September to see Pope Frances during his first US visit as pontiff.

Gillibrand Bids Hagel Goodbye

US Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said she’s looking forward to working with whoever succeeds US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, whose resignation was announced by President Obama earlier today.

New York’s junior senator clashed with Hagel over her push to have sexual assault cases in the military removed from the chain of command and turned over to independent military prosecutors. (Hagel, not surprisingly, preferred the status quo, saying the problem of sexual assaults could not be fixed without keeping the command staff involved in order to provide “accountability”).

In a statement issued after Obama’s announcement, Gillibrand acknowledged – without offering any specifics – that she had not agreed with Hagel “on a number of issues. However, she thanked him for his public service, and “his dedication to our men and women in uniform.”

“I look forward to working with his successor on issues where we must do better such as ending the scourge of sexual assaults in our military, integrating women into combat roles and finally getting our troops home from Afghanistan,” the senator concluded.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has not yet released a public schedule. He has spent the past five days in Erie County, monitoring storm response and clean-up efforts.

All WNY state offices in areas forced to close due to the storm will be open today.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will host a meeting with local elected officials and community members at City Hall as part of ongoing efforts to build more support for his administration’s bid for the 2016 Democratic National Convention. The meeting is closed to the press.

At 8 a.m., Food Bank For New York City officials, the president of CUNY’s Hunter College, Jennifer J. Raab, and city officials discuss a report about local hunger during the food bank’s “Legislative Breakfast”; Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College, 47-49 E. 65th St., Manhattan.

At 9 a.m., One day before the NYC Council is scheduled to give its final approval of the controversial Astoria Cove development, dozens of tenants and allies of the Brooklyn Jewish Hospital Complex will stage a rally and sit-in at Alma Realty’s corporate headquarters, 28-18 31st St., Suite 201, Astoria, Queens.

At 10 a.m., Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder and US Rep. Gregory Meeks outline legislative proposals intended to reverse the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s requests for the return of some Hurricane Sandy financial assistance; Belle Harbor Manor, 209 Beach 125th St., Queens.

Also at 10 a.m., former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion Jr. and executives and employees from residential real estate developer Stagg Group. distribute free Thanksgiving turkeys to low-income Bronx families, veterans and others; next to the MTA’s Nereid Avenue subway station, 4453 White Plains Rd., the Bronx.

Also at 10 a.m., NYC Campaign Finance Board members hold a public hearing about proposed minimum requirements for text message campaign contributions to be eligible for public matching funds; boardroom, 12th floor, 100 Church St., Manhattan.

Also at 10 a.m., members of the NYC Council’s Committee on Transportation are scheduled to vote on whether to advance legislation that would double a requirement that the city Department of Transportation install 25 “Accessible Pedestrian Signals” annually to 50 per year beginning in 2015; Committee Room, City Hall, Manhattan.

At 11 a.m., health care advocates announce the formation of the New York State Palliative Care Collaborative, LCA Press Room 120, Legislative Office Building, Albany.

Also at 11 a.m., members of the NYC Council’s Committee on General Welfare hold an oversight hearing on “Hunger in the City,” where witnesses will testify about the city’s Emergency Food Assistance Program and related issues; committee room, 14th floor, 250 Broadway, Manhattan.

Also at 11 a.m., Rep. Paul Tonko, faith groups, low-income residents and anti-hunger groups gather for the annual Thanksgiving Action Against Hunger to call for food to be treated as a human right, Emmanuel Baptist Church, 275 State St., Albany.

At 1 p.m., the state Gaming Commission meets, (the winners of the upstate casino license hunt will not be announced), ESDC, 37th Floor conference room, 633 Third Ave., Manhattan. The meeting will be webcast at

At 2 p.m., US Rep. Michael Grimm and the Rev. Erick Salgado distribute Thanksgiving turkeys to low-income residents near a fire-damaged church; near Iglesia Jovenes Cristianos, 144 Bennett St., Staten Island.

At 4 p.m., the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, alongside the cities of Buffalo and Niagara Falls and counties of Erie and Niagara, will unveil the 2015 Regional Agenda items, Pettibones Grille at Coca-Cola Field, 272 Washington St., Buffalo.

Updated: This event has been postponed.


Officials at the National Weather Service’s Buffalo office declined to comment on the Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s criticism of the WNY snow storm forecast, but agency officials at the national level disputed his suggestion that its predictions were in any way faulty.

In a statement, the NWS said: “The National Weather Service issued time and accurate forecasts for not just one, but two heavy lake-effect snow events for the Buffalo area.”

Forecasters predicted Monday that Erie County could receive 3 feet of snow, then doubled the amount in their forecast by Tuesday morning. They estimated 3-to-5 inches would fall per hour, for a total of 5-to-6 feet Tuesday — plus an additional fall of up-to-2 feet Wednesday night through Thursday. But state officials only planned for 3 feet of snow from a briefing they received Monday and got a late start plowing out the region.

Cuomo, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown called on residents in flood-prone areas, in particular, to pack an emergency bag, collect important papers related to their homes and their lives, and be ready to leave if necessary.

“It sounds relatively harmless. It comes up, and it goes down,” Cuomo said. “But it’s not water. It’s a toxic brew. It has sewage in it. It has all sorts of runoff in it and it does tremendous damage with whatever it hits. So flooding is nothing to take lightly, and I’ve learned that lesson the hard way.”

More >

The Weekend That Was

As snowplows and trucks continue to clear streets around the greater Buffalo area after a historic snowstorm, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced preparations are being made for the area’s next big challenge: flooding.

Interstate 90 exits 46 through 61 from the Rochester area to the Pennsylvania state line have reopened, Thruway officials said.

Cuomo said the National Weather Service got the Buffalo storm forecast wrong, and as a result, the state will be getting its own weather predicting equipment.

According to the governor, the Weather Service did not indicate that the heavy snow bands would remain stationary and blast South Buffalo and the Southtowns with the incredible rate of snowfall.

Needless to say, National Weather Service meteorologists did not take kindly to Cuomo’s comments.

During a morning news conference, Mayor Byron Brown said “significant progress” has been made on city streets and 80,000 tons of snow has been removed so far from Buffalo streets.

Brown announced an end to the driving ban there today, leaving Lackawanna as the only community still with a ban.

Mark Monmonier, who wrote a book on lake effect snow in 2012, said it’s unlikely that any 24-hour period in Buffalo exceeded 49 inches, which is the New York state record held by Watertown.

AG Eric Schneiderman has begun legal action against businesses accused of price gouging to take advantage of people’s desperation during this past week’s debilitating snowstorm.

US Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Chris Collins both toured the snow-struck area on Saturday, promising to marshal all their forces in an effort to obtain Federal Emergency Management Agency money.

Marion Barry Jr., a fiery civil rights activist who rose to prominence as a mayor of Washington, D.C., only to fall in disgrace when he was arrested for smoking crack cocaine, died early this morning at the age of 78.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said the response to the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., has been misdirected.

President Obama shot down Republican criticism of the controversial executive actions he announced last week that will suspend millions of deportations.

Obama, acknowledging he’s been battered by political “dings,” said he doesn’t expect Hillary Clinton will tap him for campaign appearances in a potential 2016 run.

Ken Tingley: “If Gov. Andrew Cuomo pursued corruption in Albany with the same zeal he has Dave Wick, the state would be a better place.”

The Lake George Park Commission voted unanimously Friday to keep Wick, its executive director, on paid administrative leave while it investigates claims brought against him by the Cuomo administration.

Early support is building for state oversight of the East Ramapo school district, but pressure is on Rockland County’s legislative delegation to craft a plan that New York’s most inscrutable politicians will get behind.

The GOP-led House investigation that cleared the White House of wrong-doing in its response to the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was “full of crap,” a top Senator said.

PEF’s endorsement of failed gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout is emerging as an issue for a group organized to challenge Susan Kent for the presidency of the union, which has elections scheduled for June.

A fight for the future of charter schools is brewing in Albany involving New York’s top political leaders and well-financed lobbyists.

After a two month delay, Cuomo will announce the distribution of the state’s annual economic development funding on Dec. 10 in Albany.

The NYC Department of Education has told principals it plans this year to enroll 2,350 migrant children from Central America who crossed into the United States unaccompanied — with many more to come.

Most Long Island Rail Road retirees who had their disability benefits terminated because they were examined by doctors later convicted of fraud have gotten their benefits back.

The Syracuse Post-Standard finds proof that one of former Rep. Dan Maffei’s negative ads attacking Congressman-elect John Katko was false.

Assemblyman John McDonald of Cohoes and state Sen. Neil Breslin of Bethlehem sent a letter to Cuomo pressing for the Rensselaer casino proposal to be one of the possible four to receive licenses from the state.

Schumer says recent near misses between aerial drones and aircraft at New York City’s Kennedy Airport show the need for federal regulations on the small, remote controlled aircraft.

NYC paid a record $530.2 million in fees to pension investment firms last fiscal year, despite Comptroller Scott Stringer’s vow to rein in the escalating costs.

Dozens rallied in Garden City today for the second week in a row to oppose Nassau County’s school zone speed cameras, once again calling for an end to the controversial program.

NYC’s 5,000 school cleaners and handy ​men reached a nine-year $211.1 million contract last week, which includes a $1,000 bonus and 18 percent raises.