Liz Benjamin

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Posts by Liz Benjamin

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City and Ulster County.

President Donald Trump is still in NYC for the UN General Assembly.

This morning, he’ll travel from Trump Tower to the Lotte New York Palace Hotel where he will participate in an expanded meeting with the King of Jordan.

Trump will then participate in an expanded meeting with the president of the Palestinian Authority.

In the afternoon, the president will attend a working lunch with African leaders, participate in an expanded meeting with the prime minister of the United Kingdom, and articipate in an expanded meeting with the president of Egypt, before returning to Trump Tower for the night.

In the morning, Vice President Mike Pence will deliver remarks at a UN Security Council high-level debate on reform of United Nations Peacekeeping Operations.

Later in the day, Pence will join Trump for the expanded meetings with the prime minister of the United Kingdom, and the president of Egypt.

Former President Bill Clinton is also in NYC. She’ll be the inaugural speaker at NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s Bloomberg Global Business forum at the Plaza Hotel.

At 8:30 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul headlines the CORE breakfast series for women entrepreneurs, Core Club, 66 East 55th St., Manhattan.

At 9 a.m., members of the Release Aging People in Prison/RAPP Campaign hold a press conference followed by a 10 a.m. NYC Council Hearing in support of The CARE Act, which establishes an interagency task force to examine the needs of older adults returning from incarceration, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

Also at 9 a.m., Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. speaks at the ceremony renaming the Morris Heights Post Office for Dr. Roscoe Brown, 2024 Jerome Ave., the Bronx.

At 9:30 a.m., Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Lorelei Salas releases the State of Workers’ Rights report, followed by a roundtable discussion with advocacy groups, worker organizations and labor unions, City Hall, Manhattan.

At 10:30 a.m., NYC independent mayoral candidate Bo Dietl holds a press conference with the Reform Party’s Curtis Sliwa and Frank Morano to discuss the campaign’s focus and real reform platform, outside City Hall, Manhattan.

Also at 10:30 a.m., Democratic Westchester County lawmakers, union leaders and women’s rights advocates introduce a bill to help ensure salaries will be based on job qualifications and the value of the job they are being hired to do, not what prospective employees made in the past, 148 Martine Ave., 8th Floor, White Plains.

At 11 a.m., Toxics Targeting Inc. holds a news conference releasing photos of algal blooms threatening the sources of public drinking water for residents of Syracuse, Auburn, Rochester, Ithaca and other communities across New York, state Capitol, third floor, adjoining to the LCA Press Room, Albany.

Also at 11 a.m., Rep. Brian Higgins announces federal funding for the Buffalo Community Food Hub Project, MAP Farmhouse, 389 Massachusetts Ave., Buffalo.

At 12:30 p.m., U.S. Climate Alliance Co-Chairs Cuomo, California Gov. Ed Brown, and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee make an announcement,
governor’s press room, 633 3rd Ave., 38th Fl., Manhattan.

Also at 12:30 p.m., GOP NYC mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis attends a press conference with Elmhurst United on the de Blasio administration’s housing of the homeless in hotels, Pan Am Hotel, 7900 Queens Blvd., Queens.

At 1:30 p.m., Binghamton mayoral candidate Tarik Abdelazim hosts a press conference to discuss the incumbent’s “inaction in the face of one of the greatest threats to neighborhood safety, housing values, and the local property tax base,” corner of Gaylord and Court streets, Binghamton.

At 2 p.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio makes an announcement about expanding electric vehicle accessibility, Whole Foods Market parking lot, 214 3rd St., Brooklyn.

Also at 2 p.m., the NYC Department of Transportation holds a public hearing, 55 Water St., ninth floor, Manhattan.

At 2:15 p.m., Cuomo makes an announcement, Bronx Museum of the Arts, 1040 Grand Concourse, the Bronx.

At 3 p.m., Malliotakis meets with CCBA members, Chinese Consolidated Benevolence Association, 62 Mott St., Manhattan.

At 4:30 p.m., Cuomo makes an announcement, Keegan Ales, 20 Saint James St., Kingston.

At 5:30 p.m., the NYC Commission on Human Rights hosts a panel to highlight the work of public servants of Afro-Caribbean descent, featuring Deputy Commissioner Brittny Saunders, state Sen. Roxanne Persaud and other city officials, Medgar Evers College’s Edison O. Jackson Auditorium, 1650 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn.

At 6:15 p.m., Hochul and Sen. Velmanette Montgomery host the state Women’s Suffrage Commission’s #TheNext100 film series featuring “Chisholm ’72: Unbought and Unbossed, Celebrating the Legacy of Shirley Chisholm,” BRIC House, 647 Fulton St., Brooklyn.

At 6:30 p.m., City Limits hosts its 2017 Gala, Pier A Harbor House, 22 Battery Place, Manhattan.

At 7 p.m., Malliotakis attends The Developers Forum, Keens Steakhouse, 72 West 36th St., Manhattan.

Headlines…

In his first address to the UN General Assembly, President Trump brought his confrontational style of leadership to the world’s most prominent stage, vowing to “totally destroy North Korea” if it threatened the U.S., and denouncing the nuclear agreement with Iran as “an embarrassment” that he may abandon.

Trump also urged world leaders to help restore “democracy and political freedoms” in Venezuela, singling out the South American country for some of his most blistering criticism. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro hit back by calling the U.S. president “the new Hitler” of international politics.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Trump’s UN address as a “bold and courageous” speech while, like the president, throwing barbs at an adversary and threatening to meet its provocations with maximum force.

NATO’s secretary-general welcomed Trump’s new strategy for the 16-year Afghan war and said the U.S. leader’s insistence that NATO members increase their defense spending is achieving positive results.

U.S. Senate Republicans, abandoning a key fiscal doctrine, agreed to move forward on a budget that would add to the federal deficit in order to pave the way for a $1.5 trillion tax cut over the next 10 years.

Senate Republicans and the White House pressed ahead with their suddenly resurgent effort to undo Obamacare, even as their attempt was dealt a setback when a bipartisan group of governors and several influential interest groups came out against the proposal.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said New York faces a potentially devastating loss of $2.5 billion worth of Medicaid funding on Oct. 1. if Congress does not intervene, which could grow significantly if the latest Obamacare repeal effort is successful.

After Bill and Hillary Clinton announced the end of their signature Clinton Global Initiative conference during last year’s presidential campaign, former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg has stepped unto the breach, hosting today a reorganized and rebranded Bloomberg Global Business Forum at the Plaza Hotel.

The former New York mayor is inheriting not a conference, but a platform for an alternative American diplomacy.

Hillary Clinton’s new memoir is No. 1 on Amazon’s best seller’s list beating out New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady’s “The TB12 Method: How to Achieve a Lifetime of Sustained Peak Performance,” (No. 2), and two novels from 1986: Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and Stephen King’s “It: A Novel.”

Clinton returned to late night TV for the first time since the election last night, telling “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert that Trump’s speech to the United Nations was “very dark” and “dangerous.”

An email from Trump’s campaign operation is advertising a chance for donors to win tickets to a “Trump Victory Dinner in New York City” next Tuesday.

FBI agents reportedly took an unusually tough approach in executing a search warrant, dealing with potential financial crimes by Trump’s former campaign chief, Paul Manafort, busting into his home – armed with guns – while he was asleep in bed.

U.S. Hecretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price took private jets on at least five separate flights last week in a stark departure from his predecessors under the Obama administration.

A former “Apprentice” contestant who claims Trump groped her has enlisted three attorneys who cleared a path for former President Clinton’s impeachment.

Hurricane Maria barreled toward Puerto Rico after wreaking widespread devastation on Dominica and leaving the small Caribbean island virtually incommunicado.

Hurricane José churned up the East Coast, creating dangerous rip currents and causing flooding along New Jersey and Long Island.

Based on what he’s hearing from riders, Cuomo asserted that NYC is already seeing the benefits of the MTA’s “emergency plan” to improve subway service, but statistics to prove his claim are still unavailable.

An expected visit later this week by Cuomo was postponed just hours after it was announced.

Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis could emerge from the NYC mayoral race as a contender for governor or other statewide office in 2018, GOP state Chairman Ed Cox said.

More >

Extras

If the United States is forced to defend itself or its allies, “we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea,” President Trump said in his address to the General Assembly.

Michael Cohen, a longtime attorney for the Trump Organization, is forcefully denying unverified allegations contained in a dossier compiled by a former British intelligence officer about the president’s activities and connections in Russia.

The Senate Intelligence Committee unexpectedly cancelled a session to interview Cohen, citing public statements he made prior to his scheduled testimony, despite requests that he not make any comments.

Billionaire Virgin founder Richard Branson blasted Trump for refusing to address climate change amid a string of powerful hurricanes that have lashed the United States, Caribbean and Virgin Islands in recent weeks.

Melania Trump’s choice for U.S. ambassador to her home country of Slovenia, Kelly Roberts, has reportedly withdrawn her name from consideration.

New York Times White House Correspondent Glenn Thrush has chosen to leave his Twitter account dormant as of midnight this morning, and said the social media platform is “too much of a distraction.”

NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and three members of Congress were arrested protesting outside Trump Tower for protections for young immigrants threatened by an order from the president.

This was to be a year of celebration for New York’s booming gambling industry, but like casinos themselves — where glitter often hides the grime — the reality has been far less glamorous, with underwhelming returns, evidence of industry cannibalization and a new, sharp-edged conflict between the state and a major tribal gambling operation.

The chairman of the Onondaga County Conservative Party abruptly resigned Friday, a week after he shocked fellow party leaders by working to defeat a Conservative candidate endorsed by the party.

The Rockefeller Institute of Government released its latest state and local governments fiscal report showing relatively strong growth in tax revenues in the first quarter of 2017, which is largely attributable to income tax growth in California and New York.

SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s real estate arm will get a $38.5 million grant from the state to help pay for its $324 million NanoFabX computer chip manufacturing research facility, after the aid package, was approved by the board of Empire State Development.

NY1’s Grace Rauh was a guest on the NY Slant podcast, where she talked about how NYC mayor Bill de Blasio doesn’t seem to be enjoying the job – or, at the very least, isn’t having very much fun.

Only one Long Islander – Nassau County Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs – appears to be included in Hillary Clinton’s more-than-a-page of single-spaced acknowledgments and “thank yous” in her new memoir, “What Happened.”

A University of Rochester student has been on a hunger strike since Thursday morning in protest of a tenured professor who has been accused of sexual harassment.

Drawing on data from the Budget Function Analysis and Mayor’s Management Report, the CBC’s new NYC Money Meter allows you to track spending by service line for 15 New York City agencies

After months of speculation and delays, the last parts of the old Kosciuszko Bridge that linked Maspeth and Greenpoint is set to be demolished this month.

The bank with the green flag is teaming up with Gang Green. M&T Bank announced a multiyear partnership with the New York Jets, making M&T the official community bank of the team. The dollar value and specific number of years of the deal were not disclosed.

Six months after being fired from Fox News, Bill O’Reilly returned to the small screen to deny the sexual harassment allegations that led to his departure from the network.

As of today, the new 838 area code has taken effect within the existing 518 area code

A former juvenile justice center in Cayuga County is one of four sites New York plans to repurpose and reuse existing facilities to house youth offenders.

Happy 10th anniversary Morning Joe.

Davis Declares Con-Con Victory, Withdraws Lawsuit

Evan Davis, a former counsel to Gov. Mario Cuomo who had been pursuing legal action against the state Board of Elections over placement of a referendum for a constitutional convention, has withdrawn his suit following the boards agreement to take steps to highlight the issue on the fall ballot.

According to a press release sent out earlier today by Davis, the state Board decided on Sept. 15 to advise county boards of elections that both sides of the ballot should contain text and a graphic, such as an arrow, that highlight to voters the need to turn the ballot over to locate the constitutional convention question.

In discussing this decision, two Board commissioner specifically referenced Davis’s lawsuit that challenged the con-con question placement, even though the suit was tossed out by a judge last month.

Davis declared himself satisfied by the Board’s actions, and therefore has decided to withdraw his appeal of the judge’s decision. In so doing, Davis avoids the possibility the case would not finally resolved in time for ballots to be printed for the November general election.

“The Board’s decision is an important victory for New York voters,” said Davis. “While the Convention Question won’t be on the front of the ballot where it should be, voters will at least be urged to turn the ballot over to vote on whether to hold a Constitutional Convention and on two Amendments proposed by the Legislature. For the future, a Convention can revise the Constitution to modernize the language of the Convention Question and require its prominent placement.”

Schneiderman Makes Post-Equifax Scandal Data Inquiries

Elected officials are rushing to respond to the Equifax data hacking scandal in which the personal details of up to 143 million Americans was exposed – potentially one of the biggest data breaches in U.S. history.

Yesterday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the state Department of Financial Services, one of the nation’s toughest banking regulators, would extend its reach to include overseeing credit-reporting firms.

AG Eric Schneiderman has already opened an investigation into the Equifax breach – an effort in which he is not alone, as Congress is also looking into the incident.

Today, the AG went a step further, announcing his office has sent has sent formal inquiries regarding data security to Experian and TransUnion, the two other major credit reporting agencies.

Specifically, Schneiderman has asked the companies to detail the security measures that were in place before they learned of the Equifax breach, as well as steps they have taken since learning of the latest hacking mess to ensure that they haven’t already suffered similar intrusions and won’t experience breaches moving forward.

The AG also wants to know how the companies plan to assist consumers in protecting their personal information going forward.

“The Equifax breach has left millions of New Yorkers vulnerable to identity theft and major financial issues,” Schneiderman said in a press release.

“Credit reporting agencies have a fundamental responsibility to protect the personal information they’re entrusted with. As we continue our investigation into the Equifax breach, it’s vital to ensure that consumer data at the other major credit reporting agencies is safe.”

Schneiderman reminded New Yorkers to take action to protect themselves post-Equifax breach by checking their credit reports for activity that could indicate identity theft at annualcreditreport.com, monitoring accounts closely for unauthorized charges, and considering placing a credit freeze on their files.

At least one member of the state Legislature is also looking to get in on the Equifax response. State Sen. David Carlucci, chair of his chamber’s Consumer Protection Committee, announced he plans to hold a public hearing on cyber security later this month, and has invited the head of Equifax to attend.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City and on Long Island to discuss healthcare and storm prep, respectively.

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are in NYC for the UN General Assembly.

At 10:30 a.m., Trump gives his first address to the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly. He will then participate in an expanded meeting with the secretary general of the UN, followed by a luncheon hosted by the secretary general.

Trump will participate in an expanded meeting with the president of the UN General Assembly, and then head to the Lotte New York Palace Hotel, where he will participate in an expanded meeting with the Amir of Qatar.

In the evening, Trump will participate in a photo opportunity with leaders of the UN member state, and give remarks at a diplomatic reception he’s hosting with First Lady Melania Trump, before returning for the evening to Trump Tower.

This morning Pence will participate in a meeting with High Representative of the European Union Federica Mogherini.

He will then return to Washington, DC to participate in the Senate Republican Policy Lunch. Following the lunch, the VP will fly back to NY to participate in a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi of Pakistan.

In the evening, Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence will attend the diplomatic reception hosted by the president and first lady.

The state GOP is holding a reorganization meeting in Albany.

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

Headlines…

Gov. Andrew Cuomo became the latest potential 2020 presidential candidate to come out in support of a federal single-payer health care system, saying: “I think that would be a good idea.”

The governor said he supports the concept of a state-level single payer plan, but thinks the issue is “a federal play,” adding: “Our funding system basically relies on Medicaid from the feds. If they turn off that valve or slow that valve, there is no way we’re going to be able to make that up in this state no matter what.”

President Donald Trump, the apostle of America First who has heaped scorn on global institutions, ripped up international agreements and quarreled even with allies, offered a subdued and largely friendly performance on the opening day of his inaugural visit to the United Nations.

Trump said he’s looking into staging a display of American military might in a Fourth of July parade down Pennsylvania Avenue.

President Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., has reportedly ditched his Secret Service detail for good.

Special counsel Robert Mueller and his team of prosecutors have been employing aggressive tactics in the four months since taking over the Justice Department’s investigation into Russia’s attempts to disrupt last year’s election.

Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was reportedly under surveillance both before and after the 2016 election and prosecutors have told him he will be indicted.

In the face of Republicans’ last, best chance of toppling Obamacare, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is employing a strategy that is partly an appeal to GOP conscience and partly about running out the clock.

Cuomo’s administration proposed a new rule that would require credit reporting agencies to register with the state, subjecting them to strict cybersecurity standards in the wake of the recent Equifax hack.

This comes as federal authorities have opened a criminal probe into stock sales by three Equifax Inc executives before the company disclosed the massive data breach, news that has weighed heavily on the stock price.

The governor reversed his position on NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s re-election bid, and endorsed his fellow Democrat – but not with much enthusiasm.

“The mayor won the Democratic primary, I am a Democrat, I support Democrats,” Cuomo said. “And I’ll support Mayor de Blasio in the general.” Pressed, the governor added: “I think in this contest, he is the better person to serve the City of New York as mayor. Period.”

Hillary Clinton opened the door to possibly questioning whether Trump was legitimately elected president, depending on the outcome of investigations into Russia’s role in the 2016 campaign.

In an interview with Fresh Air’s Terry Gross about her new memoir, What Happened, Clinton acknowledges that such a challenge would be unprecedented and that “I just don’t think we have a mechanism” for it.

These are the books Clinton said helped her recover from – and forget about – her big loss.

Kate McKinnon’s portrayal of Clinton on “Saturday Night Live” won her an Emmy Award Sunday night and a shoutout in the former Democratic nominee’s new book.

Former President Barack Obama is coming to Wall Street less than a year after leaving the White House, following a path that’s well trod and well paid.

Cuomo and de Blasio were facing criticism for taking part in a rally supporting striking cable workers, with some saying the politicians are ignoring customer complaints.

De Blasio joined the mayors of Paris, Melbourne, Durban and other international cities in pledging to uphold the clean energy standards outlined in the Paris climate accord, which Trump pulled back from earlier this year.

NYC jails have grown more dangerous every year under de Blasio, according to figures released yesterday.

Republican NYC mayoral contender Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis says she’ll be a better manager than de Blasio — but she was fuzzy on the details of the minimum wage and police-involved shooting investigations, both of which were issues decided in Albany.

More >

Cole Ends Short-Lived Challenge to Collins

Erin Cole, a Democrat and U.S. Army veteran who announced a 2018 challenge to Buffalo-area Republican Rep. Chris Collins in July, has already decided to terminate her campaign, announcing the decision in a brief press release late this afternoon that did not provide any specific reasons for her departure from the political arena.

“As a proud American, veteran and public servant, I believe it is time to replace partisan Republican Congressman Chris Collins,” Cole said. “Collins is currently facing an ethics investigation for alleged insider trading and he refuses to meet with us regarding our needs.”

“After exploring this race for the last two months, I have decided to end my campaign. I will support a strong Democratic challenge to Collins while continuing my work promoting economic development and supporting fellow veterans.”

“I have greatly appreciated the support and encouragement of so many wonderful people in WNY and the Finger Lakes. Together, we must elect a representative who puts this district first, not himself.”

Cole, who has worked for both state and federal governments, most recently as the international division leader for Global New York at ESDC, acknowledged during a Capital Tonight interview that her quest to oust Collins from the most Republican-dominated House district in the state was a longshot. But she said she always had a desire to “contribute to the greater good,” citing her military experience as proof that she has long been interested in public service.

In that same interview, Cole said she first considered running for Congress in 2016, but the timing wasn’t right. But a year later, she felt “ready” to take on the congressman, who has become an outspoken defender of, and frequent surrogate for, President Donald Trump.

Ryan Whalen reached out to Erie County Democratic Chairman Jeremy Zellner, who said the party did not receive a heads up from Cole about her decision to drop out of the race, but also did not seem terribly worried about it. Zellner told Ryan he’s currently focused on the November elections, which he expects will set the tone for next year’s congressional midterm contests.

Several months ago, party leaders interviewed 10 candidates who are interested in taking on Collins, and have not yet made any endorsement decisions, the chairman said.

“We were working closely with all the grassroots leaders and the eight other county chairs working together to turn NY-27 blue,” Zellner said. “We always knew that there were other potential candidates out there. Nothing was set in stone. It’s still very early. There’s a lot of energy in that district to unseat Chris Collins and we’re still very excited about our prospects there.”

Extras

President Trump used his inaugural address at the United Nations to criticize the world body for not living up to its “potential” because of bureaucracy and urged member nations to reject “business as usual” and take “bold stands.”

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his leadership team are seriously considering voting on a bill that would scale back the federal government’s role in the health care system and instead provide block grants to states.

A group of angry illegal immigrants disrupted House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s press conference today and chanted that Democrats are a “deportation machine” that must help push for legal protections for 11 million people who are now living illegally in the country.

The family of former Trump administration national security adviser Michael Flynn has set up a legal defense fund to defray expenses connected to the investigations into Russian election meddling.

Eric Schneiderman, part of a bipartisan coalition of 37 attorneys general, today urged health insurance companies to examine financial incentives in their payment and coverage policies that contribute to the opioid epidemic.

Six immigrants brought to the U.S. by their parents illegally as children have sued the Trump administration over its decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program.

Former White House Communications Director Sean Spicer “donned a disguise,” which might have included fake facial hair, when he left Washington D.C. on Saturday to head west for the Emmys.

J.C. Polanco, the GOP NYC public advocate candidate, released his first TV ad, (running only on the web at the moment), which both focuses on his life story and takes a brief swipe at his opponent, incumbent Democrat Tish James.

Eric Garner’s still-grieving mom met with the city agency that investigates police misconduct and called on local officials to stop taking a backseat to the White House and Department of Justice when it comes to disciplining the officer who used a banned chokehold on her son before his death on a Staten Island sidewalk three years ago.

Xerox is laying off again, with approximately 100 employees in three states losing their jobs effectively immediately – including in the Rochester area.

The ratings for the 2017 Emmys may be the lowest in the award show’s nearly seven decade history. Is this year’s Trump-bashing to blame?

Paul Newell, stinging over losing the Democratic nod for the 26th state Senate special election to Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh, said the former occupant of that seat, former Sen. Daniel Squadron, “has brought shame” to his legacy as a reformer.

Three people died and more than a dozen others were injured when a charter bus from a company with a bad history blew through a red light and smashed into the tail of an MTA bus in a Queens intersection this morning, according to officials and video.

The Department of Agriculture and Markets and OGS are now directing all state agencies to submit better reporting of their purchases of New York produced foods, according to an audit released today by state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli found numerous problems.

The de Blasio administration today released the Mayor’s Management Report for fiscal year 2017, an analysis of city agencies’ performance from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017.

Scenic Hudson joined local leaders and business owners at Shadows Marina on the Poughkeepsie waterfront to continue pushing for an expanded cleanup of the river, touting not only the environmental need for the economic importance of the Hudson’s health.

Reinvent Albany tallied up oversight hearing held during the 2016 legislative session and found that the NYC Council held 111 compared to the State Assembly’s 29, and the State Senate’s 15.

The NYCLU released a report that details how far New York police departments go to keep information from the public on the use of force, stops and detentions, complaints about misconduct, racial profiling and the use of surveillance equipment.

While Skaneateles Lake has sustained the worst toxic algae outbreak long-time residents can remember, tests show the algae’s toxins have not reached the city of Syracuse’s drinking water.

The Empire Center: “New York State’s “Indigent Care Pool” doles out more than $1 billion a year in grants to hospitals, ostensibly to reimburse them for providing free care to the poor and uninsured. But most of the time, how much money a hospital receives bears no relation to how much charity care it delivers.”

Michael Isaacson, an adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, was placed on administrative leave for tweeting his excitement over the opportunity to teach “future dead cops.”

Weinstein to Succeed Farrell as Ways and Means Chair

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie has tapped the first woman to serve as chair of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, selecting Brooklyn’s Helene Weinstein to succeed retired Assemblyman Harman “Denny” Farrell Jr., of Manhattan, in the post.

“One of the longest-serving members of the Assembly, Helene has made immeasurable contributions to the residents of New York state,” said Heastie in a press release. “Her vast experience in the People’s House and extensive knowledge of the state budget process will guide the Assembly majority as we continue to pursue our Families First agenda.”

With this selection, the chairs of the budget oversight committees of both the Senate and Assembly are now headed by women. The Senate Republicans were the first to break the glass ceiling when they elevated Sen. Cathy Young, of Olean, to chair the Finance Committee in January 2016. Young also heads the political fundraising arm of her conference, the Senate Republican Campaign Committee, or SRCC.

The ranking Senate Democrat on the Finance Committee is Liz Krueger, of Manhattan. She has held that position since 2011, taking over when its former occupant, ex-Sen. Carl Kruger, also of Brooklyn, was indicted on corruption charges.

Weinstein, who was first elected to the Assembly in 1980, was also the first woman to chair the chamber’s Judiciary Committee, a position she has held since 1994. At the time, she was the first woman of any legislative conference to take their party’s top spot on the Finance Committee.

Weinstein said she is “humbled by the historic opportunity to lend new perspective and solutions to the needs facing our families and communities,” adding:

“I have always believed that diversity in leadership is critical to achieving a government that is both inclusive and responsive to today’s challenges. Working together over the years, the Assembly has made tremendous strides in improving the quality of life and economic opportunities for all New Yorkers and I know that we have much more to do.”

“I am proud that I have been chosen to succeed former Assemblyman Denny Farrell, a true legend who guided the Assembly Ways and Means Committee for many years with great skill. I want to thank Speaker Heastie for this honor and I look forward to working with all my Assembly colleagues and partners in government in this new role.”

Weinstein has been a Ways and Means Committee member since 1993, so she has inside knowledge of how it operates. A lot of senior Democrats were interested in this post, since the committee more or less holds the purse strings for everything budget related. Also, the committee has jurisdiction over all legislation introduced in the Assembly that would impact spending or revenues at the State or local level.

Another perk: The Ways and Means Committee chairmanship carries a pretty hefty stipend, known as a lulu in Albany parlance, of $34,000. (That’s just $500 behind what Majority Leader Joe Morelle gets for his leadership post). The job also has a sizable staff – bigger than any other Assembly committee chair.

Heastie joked during my last interview with him that pretty much every member of the conference wanted the job, though Assembly Health Committee Chair Dick Gottfried, the longest-serving member of the Assembly, insisted that he’s perfectly happy where he has been for the past 30 years. Also mentioned, due to his seniority, was Brooklyn Assemblyman Joe Lenthol, who heads the Codes Committee.

Weinstein’s elevation means the Judiciary Committee job is open, and that sparks a process known as “churn,” in which various lower ranked Assembly chairs jockey for position and move up the leadership ladder.

Fellow Assembly Dems Help Brindisi Raise Congressional Cash

They may be sorry to see him go, assuming he’s able to defeat incumbent Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney next year, but Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi’s Democratic colleagues are lining up to help raise cash for what’s expected to be an expensive and divisive race.

Assemblyman John McDonald, a Cohoes Democrat, forwarded his supporters an invitation to a Sept. 26 event being hosted for Brindisi by a number of upstaters – including Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, who is fresh off a Democratic primary victory that all but assures her a second four-year term in November.

“I rarely send this type of email, however I am doing so today because of the respect I have for my colleague Anthony Brindisi who is running for Congress in an area adjacent to ours,” McDonald wrote.

“He is smart, young and hard working. He is a true advocate for both education and the hard-working middle class. Please consider supporting Anthony. He will be a great asset to the New York delegation in Washington.”

The event, which will take place at the Albany Center Gallery on Broadway, costs between $35 (for young professionals) to $2,700 (the maximum contribution) to attend. Members of the host committee, which is still in formation, include a number of other Assembly Democrats from both upstate and NYC.

The invitation describes Brindisi as a “top pick-up opportunity for the Democrats in NY-22.”

Though the race only recently got underway, it’s already taken a negative turn, which Brindisi and Tenney, who also used to be a member of the Assembly, trading barbs on everything from Brindisi’s father’s legal representation of mobsters to a town hall the congressman is scheduled to hold this coming Tuesday.

Tenney is already seeking to use Brindisi’s ties to fellow Democrats – including Gov. Andrew Cuomo – against him, calling him a “slick politician” who “pretends to be a moderate.”

Though Brindisi has insisted that he will shy away form “name calling,” his allies and outside interests seeking to assist him in ousting Tenney, will no doubt spend considerable time – and cash – playing up her steadfast support for President Donald Trump.

They will surely seek to paint her as too right wing for a district that was previously represented by a moderate Republican, Richard Hanna, who refused to endorse Tenney in the 2016 election cycle after she tried unsuccessfully to beat him in the 2014 GOP primary.

Andrea Catsimatidis Poised to Chair Manhattan GOP

Andrea Catsimatidis, daughter of supermarket, real estate and gas station mogul and longtime political donor/player John Catsimatidis, is poised to take the healm of the Manhattan Republican Party tonight.

Party members are scheduled to gather at the Metropolitan Club from 6 to 7 p.m. for a vote. Andrea Catsimatidis is running unopposed after John Burnett, a Republican commentator and onetime NYC comptroller candidate, decided not to seek the post.

Andrea Catsimatidis would be replacing outgoing Chair Adele Malpass, who is stepping down to move to Washington, with her husband David Malpass, a onetime U.S. Senate candidate, (he lost a 2010 primary to face off against Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand), and the newly confirmed undersecretary for international affairs in President Donald Trump’s Treasury Department.

Andrea Catsimatidis has never held elected office, but she grew up around politics, thanks to her father, a Democrat-turned-Republican who regularly contributes to elected officials on both sides of the aisle, and has unsuccessfully run himself for mayor of NYC.

In a recent interview with Crain’s, John Catsimatidis called his daughter “very qualified” to run the Manhattan GOP.

The party doesn’t hold much sway in Democrat-dominated NYC, and hasn’t managed to elect anyone to a city or state post for decades, but it is nevertheless prominent in Republican circles, since the city is a must-stop for candidates from all over the nation who are trying to raise campaign cash.

Andrea Catsimatidis’ expected election comes the day before Republicans from all over the state will gather in Albany for a reorganizational meeting at which state GOP Chair Ed Cox is expected to be re-elected to a fifth term. (Unlike in years past, he has no opposition).

Andrea Catsimatidis was once married to Cox’s son, Christopher Nixon Cox. The couple split in 2014.