Liz Benjamin

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SEIU Ad: Cuomo Continues Dad’s Liberal Legacy (UPDATED W/Video)

From the Morning Memo:

The powerful SEIU union, a longtime ally of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, has launched a TV ad praising his fast food wage board’s decision this week to hike that industry’s hourly pay to $15 an hour in New York, characterizing this as a move in keeping with his late father’s legacy as a liberal lion.

The ad, which hit NYC airwaves last night, is paid for by SEIU International, according to a source familiar with the effort. The buy is about $500,000. (Those familiar with the work of veteran political ad man Jimmy Siegel will recognize his signature touch here).

Here’s the script:

“They stand on the other side of the counter, but a world away from the American dream. Workers struggling to raise a family on $8 or $9 an hour. But they have a fighter on their side named Cuomo.”

“His father, Mario, used to say, ‘The best exercise for the heart is reaching down to lift someone up.’ Governor Cuomo is following that proud legacy by working to raise the minimum wage. Because working in fast food shouldn’t put you on the fast track to poverty.”

“It’s the fair thing. It’s the principled thing. And for a governor named ‘Cuomo’, it’s the only thing.”
Former Gov. Mario Cuomo, who had a close but complex relationship with his son, passed away at the beginning of the year. He is remembered as a champion of the left – a segment of the Democratic Party with which his son, the current governor, has had his differences.

SEIU 1199, which mainly represents healthcare workers in New York, has a long history of supporting Andrew Cuomo, and played a key role in helping him rebuild his political career and come back to win the state attorney general’s race in 2006 after his failed 2002 gubernatorial run.

The union has often stood behind the governor in a mutually beneficial relationship even as other members of the state’s labor community warred with him. Its leadership played a key role in pressuring the labor-backed Working Families Party to endorse the governor – not his far more liberal Democratic primary challenger, Fordham Law Prof. Zephyr Teachout – in last year’s election.

SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry was on hand for the post-wage board victory rally in New York City earlier this week, and she heaped praise on the governor for being a champion of the so-called “Fight for $15.”

The union has been a big player in the fast food worker wage movement, even though the effort has split its ranks – in part because the $15-an-hour increase will not (for the moment anyway) be directly impacting its members.

Some health care worker advocates have, in fact, expressed concern that raising the minimum wage in fast food will cause undue pressure in their industry, perhaps even sparking an exodus of home health aides seeking better pay elsewhere. (Though, to be clear, fast food workers still don’t have the right to unionize, nor do most receive benefits, both of which most healthcare workers already have).

But labor leaders looking at the big picture say the decision by New York’s fast food wage board could cause a cascade of similar actions across the nation – a rising-tide-lifts-all-boats approach.

The $15-an-hour recommendation is already having an impact on the 2016 presidential race. Several Democratic contenders – though not the frontrunner, Hillary Clinton – have expressed support for raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour at the federal level.

The fast food wage board and Cuomo’s pledge to continue pushing for a statewide boost in the minimum wage are part of a recent leftward shift by the governor that his labor allies hope will not be short lived.

This shift also includes an executive order naming the state AG a special prosecutor in unarmed civilian deaths at the hands of law enforcement, and an effort to protect nail salon workers after a New York Times expose revealed widespread abuses in that industry.

There have also been other initiatives by Cuomo that received less attention at the national level, like his push to eradicate AIDS in New York, and his establishment of a labor task force to look at potential abuses in industries dominated by undocumented workers.

Some segments of the left remain wary – if not downright pissed off – at the governor, especially public sector employees and public school teachers. They’re also still smarting from his never-fulfilled promise – made in return for the WFP’s endorsement last year – that he would push hard to help his fellow Democrats re-take control of the state Senate.

Democrat control in the upper house would, ostensibly, have made some of what Cuomo has been forced to achieve through executive orders (due to the opposition of Senate Republicans) more easily adoptable in the Legislature.

The Senate Democrats will get another crack at taking back the majority in 2016, and they are hopeful the presidential election – and the possible presence of hometown favorite Clinton at the top of the ticket – will vastly improve their chances.

It remains to be seen whether Cuomo will assist the effort this time around. If recent history is any guide, he’ll be loathe to let NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, whose progressive agenda the governor has complicated and/or usurped at every turn, take the lead role like he did last year.

Yesterday, Cuomo surprised Senate Democrats by coming out of the box early to voice support for his former DMV Commissioner Barbara Fiala to run for the seat of ex-Sen. Tom Libous after the Binghamton Republican was forced to vacate his seat after being convicted on a felony corruption charge.

Fiala, an ex-Broome County executive who’s currently serving as the interim chair of Cuomo’s Women’s Equality Party, has not even formally announced her candidacy yet. She says she plans to do so next week.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule. The 2015 season at the Saratoga Racetrack starts today. We’re still awaiting a decision in the corruption trial of former Senate Majority Leader John Sampson.

At 9:15 a.m. and 10:15 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio appears on CNN Newsroom.

At 11 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul and ESDC and local elected officials host a ribbon cutting for a major expansion, restaurant and arcade at the Holiday Inn Hotel in Niagara Falls, 114 Buffalo Ave.

At noon, Hochul tours the Prospect Point Cafe and Cave of the Winds snack bar, Niagara Falls State Park, 333 Prospect St., Niagara Falls.

At 1:30 p.m., 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton delivers speech on “achieving long-term economic growth and lasting prosperity”, NYU Leonard N. Stern School of Business, 44 West 4th St., Manhattan.

Also at 1:30 p.m., Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney will have an open press tour of the Abilities First facility to mark the 25th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act, 70 Overocker Rd., Poughkeepsie.

At 6 p.m., the Hudson Union Society hosts former Director of Central Intelligence Agency James Woolsey, 45 Main St., #838, Manhattan.

At 7 p.m., Abrazo Dominicano in New York is held, Maestro’s Caterers, 1703 Bronxdale Ave., the Bronx.


Though it won its first round with NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, Uber isn’t out of the woods yet, with both the mayor and the governor saying the company should be regulated.

“I don’t care how much money they have,” de Blasio said of Uber. “There will be rules.” For now, though, a cap is not among them, and the administration’s about face on that issue has angered one of the mayor’s close political allies, NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

Greg David of Crain’s says the governor’s successful effort to raise the minimum wage of fast food workers in New York was “the product of a perfect storm of three related economic and political factors.”

“It started in New York City as what seemed a quixotic drive confined to fast-food workers. But the movement to raise the hourly minimum wage took root in other parts of the country, and is emerging as a significant, and divisive, element in the presidential campaign.”

Cuomo said the state would pay billions of dollars toward closing the vast gap in the MTA’s capital plan, but also said that New York City should significantly increase its contribution to as much as $3 billion – far more than the city has ever paid toward the capital costs of the transportation authority.

De Blasio insisted his current NYPD commissioner, Bill Bratton, 67, is “not too old” to serve a second four-year term – should the mayor be re-elected. Bratton said this week he has no plans to serve for 6 1/2 years, noting he would be 75 years old in the job if he did.

As he lamented the conviction of prominent Republican ex-Sen. Tom Libous, Cuomo endorsed his former DMV Commissioner Barbara Fiala, a Democrat and interim chair of the Women’s Equality Party, to run for the now-vacant Southern Tier seat that Libous occupied for 26 years.

Fiala said she plans to run, and will make a formal announcement of her candidacy next week. Among the potential Republican candidates for Libous’ seat are Binghamton Mayor Rich David and Jerry Marinich, the chair of the Broome County Legislature and a longtime Libous ally.

Cuomo and state leaders are vowing that a public-private partnership for the Institute for Manufacturing Innovation in Rochester would exceed a $625 million investment and create thousands of jobs over the next decade.

A day after Joseph Mascia acknowledged making racist comments about some of Buffalo’s African-American leaders, the Housing Authority commissioner and Common Council candidate was stripped of the Conservative line in the upcoming Council race. Also, the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority demanded that Mascia resign his BMHA seat. He refused.

More >


Barbara Fiala, the former head of the state Department of Motor Vehicles and Broome County executive, will announce her run for the state Senate seat vacated by Deputy Majority Leader Thomas Libous’ felony conviction next week.

In addition to making a LaGuardia Airport-related announcement with Cuomo in NYC Monday, VP Joe Biden will also join the governor in Rochester to formally reveal that the region won a nationwide competition as the site for an Institute for Manufacturing Innovation.

“This is just the opening salvo,” Sen. John DeFrancisco said of the wage board’s $15 an hour fast food industry proposal. “That doesn’t mean the Senate is going to go along with it,” he said.

Police arrested and charged Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind with disorderly conduct after he and other demonstrators obstructed the entrance to Sen. Charles Schumer’s Midtown office demanding that the senator commit to opposing the international agreement to drop sanctions against Iran.

Since his conviction on a felony corruption charge, former Sen. Tom Libous’ Senate webpage now reads: “This senator is currently inactive, and this content is provided to you by an archive.” Also, his name has been removed from his office door at the state Capitol.

Libous’ Southern Tier district has been in GOP control for decades and has a Republican enrollment advantage of more than 9,000 registered voters.

The Republicans are expressing confidence they’ll retain Libous’ seat, but they don’t yet have a candidate.

Donald Trump paid a visit to the Mexico border and predicted Hispanics would love him in the White House — “they already do” — because as president he’d grab jobs back from overseas and give more opportunity to those who live in the US legally.

NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito had some unusually harsh words for NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio regarding the Uber cap.

NYC Councilwoman Annabel Palma suffered third-degree burns on her legs during a Fourth of July barbecue at a friend’s house, according to NYC Councilwoman Inez Dickens.

The board of the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority unanimously passed a resolution calling on Joseph Mascia to resign his post as the tenant-elected commissioner in the wake of his admission that he had used a racial slur in referring to prominent local African-Americans.

A day after dozens of local leaders took a ceremonial swim in Onondaga Lake, Judith Enck, regional administrator for the EPA’s Region 2, said the water still isn’t safe for swimming, despite recent progress.

Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman announced that he has made permanent the task force he created in 2010 to highlight the unmet legal needs of low-income New Yorkers and to push for higher spending on civil legal services.

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton suggested today that he would not serve a full second term alongside de Blasio, if the mayor is re-elected in 2017.

Efforts to salvage two sunken tugboats on the St. Lawrence River will be temporarily postponed — a move that will allow the Bassmaster Elite fishing competition to take place as planned.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (and his daughter Taylor, 6) picked blueberries in Cazenovia as the Bronx Democrat continues his upstate tour.

A policy fissure is quickly opening in the Democratic primary over the minimum wage, with Hillary Clinton’s two main challengers taking advantage of her hesitancy to embrace the issue.

Rep. John Katko has introduced a bill that would prohibit the IRS from outsourcing audits to outside entities. He said outsourcing sensitive taxpayer examinations could compromise confidential information and is a waste of public funds.

If Bill Clinton decided to challenge his wife for the Democratic nomination – in an alternate universe America where term limits don’t exist – he would lose in a landslide, a Reuters/Ipsos poll found.

Thanks for the recognition, Metroland!

After Libous Conviction, AG Renews Ethics Reform Call

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, whose office had a hand in the investigation that led to the conviction yesterday of now former Sen. Tim Libous, called the Binghamton Republican’s political demise “sad,” and said it should reignite calls for additional ethics reform in Albany.

“These cases are always sad cases,” Schneiderman said of his former Senate colleague during a CapTon interview last night. “To have someone who is supposed to be in public service, swears to uphold the public trust, found to be guilty of a crime, it’s never happy.”

“And it really is, again, another reminder, in my view, that the structure in Albany has to be dramatically changed if you’re going to change the culture,” the AG continued.

“It’s really something that has been happening way too often, and it’s not going to stop. I proposed some very drastic reforms myself, proposed legislation. And I think either that or something like that has to happen, or people will continue to be investigated, and the public trust will be further eroded.”

In the wake of the corruption scandal that brought down former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver at the beginning of this year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed a package of ethics reform measures and vowed to force the Legislature’s hand in accepting it as part of this year’s budget deal – even if that meant shutting down the government.

In the end, however, Cuomo comprised on ethics reform.

He focused mostly on more disclosure of lawmakers’ outside income, got some – but not all – of what he wanted, and ended up with changes that good government advocates and others said were not significant enough to really address Albany’s pervasive corruption problem.

Schneiderman went considerably further in his ethics reform proposals, which included a call to ban moonlighting by state lawmakers and giving them a big pay raise to compensate for their lost outside income.

The AG called on Cuomo to stick to his guns on reform, saying a late budget would be a “small price to pay” for systemic change in Albany.

After Libous’ conviction of a single felony count of lying to the FBI about using his public post to get his son, Matthew, a job at a politically connected law firm – a decision that automatically ejected him from his Senate seat – six good government groups renewed their call for a special legislative session to address ethics reform.

The groups said the failure to address outstanding issues – like closing the LLC loophole in the campaign finance law, which is now the subject of a lawsuit by some of the same entities – is “indefensible” and “shockingly irresponsible”, and the governor should demand the Legislature’s speedy return to Albany.

Schneiderman declined to go quite that far.

“I think that there is a lot more support than people think in the Legislature itself for dramatic reforms,” the AG said. “A lot of the younger members in particular from the Senate and Assembly have said to me, ‘Yeah, we actually like this idea,’…we’ve got to hermetically seal them off, to the extent we can, from money in government and from money in politics.”

“…Albany has become a place where everyone drives 90 miles an hour, and if you pull them over, their first reaction is not, ‘Oh, I’m breaking the law,’ it’s, ‘Why are you pulling me over? Everyone here drives 90 miles an hour.’ It’s something that really has to be shaken up in a big way, and I think the sooner the better.”

The AG declined to criticize Cuomo for failing to wrest a more significant reform deal from the Legislature, saying the governor had a “lot of things on his plate” and an unusually difficult legislative session that saw the ouster of not one, but two conference leaders as a result of corruption scandals.

“I do think that support is building, and will continue to build,” Schneiderman said. “And this is going to end with a bigger reform movement, it’s going to end with some kind of comprehensive reform. Otherwise, this is going to keep happening.”

“And I tell this to my colleagues, most of whom are completely honorable public servants in the state Legislature: You’ve got to do something about this…this is the kind of stuff that makes people lose their confidence in government.”

Schneiderman defended himself – and Cuomo – for calling for closure of the LLC loophole and then turning around and using it to raise campaign cash by saying that unilateral disarmament is “not the right answer” and has “not worked traditionally.”

Here and Now

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

We’re still awaiting a verdict in former Senate Majority Leader John Sampson’s corruption trial.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie continues his upstate tour with stops in Utica.

At 8 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio appears live on on CBS This Morning.

At 9 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul convenes a tourism roundtable in Chautauqua County with local and regional representatives to promote Cuomo’s I Love NY initiative, 115 W. Lake Rd., Mayville. (The event is closed to members of the press, a media availability will follow).

At 10 a.m., de Blasio and NYC Transportation Commissioner Polly Polly Trottenberg will host a press conference to make an announcement related to Vision Zero, 61st Street and Queens Boulevard, Queens.

Also at 10 a.m., NYC Council members Carlos Menchaca, Helen Rosenthal and Margaret Chin hold a rally to support legislation to regulate tourist helicopters, Steps of City Hall, Manhattan.

At 10:30 a.m., the NYC Council Transportation Committee will hold a hearing to vote out Intro. 847-A, which requires a study on the impact of growth the taxi and for-hire vehicle industry, Committee Room, City Hall, Manhattan.

At 11 a.m., Sen. Terrence Murphy, co-chair of the Senate’s Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction, hosts a prescription drug drop off event tomorrow in partnership with the town of Yorktown, Yorktown Police Department and Alliance for Safe Kids, Jefferson Village Activities Center, 3500 Hill Blvd., Yorktown Heights.

Also at 11 a.m., Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks will be joined by project partners to cut the ribbon and announce the completion of the Energy Conservation Improvements Project, Civic Center Plaza, 99 Exchange Blvd., Rochester.

Also at 11 a.m., Assemblyman Dov Hikind calls on US Sen. Chuck Schumer to publicly oppose the recent Iran nuclear agreement, 780 Third Ave., Manhattan.

Also at 11 a.m., potential primary challenger Thomas Lopez-Pierre and NYC Council 7th District voters rally to demand NYC Councilman Mark Levine return a $1,000 contribution from Brooklyn landlord Yeshaya Wasserman, 500 W 141st St., Harlem.

At 11:30 a.m., Sen. Tony Avella, advocacy groups and community leaders hold a press conference about his bill to recognize Hindu, Sikh and Islamic faiths in the state’s religious incorporation law, 137-16 Northern Blvd, Queens.

At 1:30 p.m., the NYC Council holds its stated meeting, Council chambers, City Hall, Manhattan.

Also at 1:30 p.m., the Justice Committee and other advocates hold a press conference and youth speak out to demand the DOJ convene a grand jury and prosecute those responsible for Ramarley Graham’s death, 1 St. Andrews Plaza, Manhattan.

At 3 p.m., Hochul tours the Johnson Estate Winery to promote the WNY wine industry, 8419 West Main St., Westfield.

At 6 p.m., Bronx BP Ruben Diaz Jr. and Dominican Day Parade host a Dominican Heritage Celebration, honoring the newly formed 2015 National Dominican Day Parade and introducing the new committee for the Manhattan parade, Bronx County Building, 851 Grand Concourse, the Bronx.

Also at 6 p.m., Common Cause/New York, Consumers Union, and Manhattan BP Gale Brewer hold “Verizon FiOS:in New York: A Public Forum to Discuss the Verizon FiOS Rollout”, El Barrio Firehouse Community Media Center, 175 E. 104th St., Manhattan.

At 7:30 p.m., New York City Friends of Clearwater and the Campaign for a Cleaner Hudson sponsor a vigil for a cleaner Hudson, Pier 63, Hudson River Park, Manhattan.


Sen. Tom Libous, who became one of the most powerful lawmakers in Albany but had his life upended by cancer and a corruption case, was found guilty of lying to FBI agents who were examining his son’s hiring at a politically connected law firm. Libous forfeited his seat as a result of his conviction. He will be sentenced on Oct. 30 and faces up to five years in prison.

“Public corruption is a scourge,” US Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement. “…Libous’s lies have been exposed, his crime has been proven, and Albany will be the better for it.”

“Senator Libous and his entire family have been through a difficult ordeal and have faced numerous personal health challenges,” Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan said in a statement. “They will continue to be in our thoughts and prayers in the weeks and months ahead.” Flanagan said the GOP still controls the chamber and is “100 percent confident” it will hold Libous’ seat in a special election (if one is called).

Fast-food workers in New York working at national restaurant chains were all but ensured a major raise when a wage board appointed by the governor unanimously recommended increasing the minimum wage for them to $15 per hour by July 2010 statewide.

The wage for fast-food workers in New York City would be raised incrementally to $10.50 by Dec. 31, to $12 by Dec. 2016, to $13.50 by 2017 and to $15 by 2018. For the rest of the state, it would rise to $9.75 by Dec. 31, to $10.75 by December 2016, to $11.75 by 2017, to $12.75 by 2018, to $13.75 by 2019, to $14.50 by 2020 and to $15 by July 1, 2021.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo applauded his wage board’s recommendation, shrugging off claims by business groups that the pay increase will result in higher prices and lost jobs. “I think that’s just an idle threat,” he said.

In stark contrast to previous Cuomo administration efforts there was no pretense that the wage board was somehow separate from the governor, but his fellow Democrats didn’t necessarily link the accomplishment with him.

“I run the government,” Cuomo said yesterday in defense of his numerous executive orders to effect significant policy changes this year. “I am the executive and therefore I use executive power. And that’s why the executive is given the power.”

Newsday: “Of all the ways to settle the battle in New York over the minimum wage, it’s hard to imagine a worse solution than having an unelected board bypass the State Legislature to advocate a sharp increase to $15 an hour statewide and limit the increase to just fast-food workers.”

In 2013, McDonald’s Corp. described a future where customers could order Big Macs on a smartphone. Almost two years later that vision remains far off, even though fast-food apps have become commonplace in much of the industry.

In a stunning turnaround less than 24 hours before an expected NYC Council vote, the de Blasio administration backed down on its controversial plan to cap Uber’s growth while it studied the app’s impact on congestion.

More >


Senate Republicans no longer have an elected majority after Deputy Majority Leader Tom Libous was convicted today on a federal corruption charge, leaving the GOP one vote short of the 32 needed to control the chamber – if, for some reason, Sen. Simcha Felder, a Brooklyn Democrat, decides to defect, and the IDC refuses to step in to assist.

Libous’ fellow Binghamton-area lawmaker, Democratic Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, on his conviction: “This is a sad ending to a long career serving our community.”

The de Blasio administration has backed away from its fight with the app company Uber, agreeing to drop for now its plan to place a cap on the number of vehicles operated by Uber in New York City.

De Blasio’s 2013 campaign spent $1,643 using Uber 52 times and spent $11,652.63 taking another company that offers e-hails – Legend Car Service—291 times. A spokesman for the mayor’s campaign said de Blasio did not personally take any of the Uber rides.

CSEA President Danny Donohue’s statement on the $15/hour fast food wage board decision is decidedly anti-Cuomo in tone.

Rochester has won a nationwide competition as the site for an Institute for Manufacturing Innovation focusing on the increasingly important field of integrated photonics, used in telecommunications and lasers.

Republican 2016 candidate Donald Trump’s disclosure filing with the FEC is 92 pages long and starts with the 515 entities where he has a title – from the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust to Trump World Publications LLC to Trump Ocean Manager Inc. to DT Dubai II Golf Manager LLC.

The Donald also earns income from more than 150 separate deals and was paid $1.75 million to deliver seven speeches last year.

GOP 2016 contender Lindsey Graham ceremoniously destroyed his cell phone today – just a day after Trump infamously announced the South Carolina senator’s digits during a nationally televised campaign rally.

Syracuse will get $10 million from the state Assembly this year to jump start Syracuse’s efforts to fix its crumbling water system, Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli announced.

Rep. Kathleen Rice, a Long Island Democrat, wants to require all new cars sold in the United States to include technology that would serve as the equivalent of a breathalyzer.

Forty-five state attorneys general, including New York AG Eric Schneiderman, want phone users to be able to block calls they don’t want.

Around 1,000 security officers, baggage handlers and wheelchair attendants employed by a subcontractor to airlines opted not to go ahead with a job action at JFK and La Guardia airports today because they reached a settlement with the company.

So-called “ghost” campaign committees are still a thing.

At the Vatican, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio talked about the importance of cities making efforts to combat climate change.

Congestion pricing is back!

New York will shorten its fall turkey hunting season because of a declining turkey population, the DEC said.

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que will have a prominent presence at Ralph Wilson Stadium, the Buffalo Bills announced.

NYCLU Hints At Legal Action Against Schools

From the Morning Memo:

The state Education Department this week issued guidelines to school districts across New York about how to handle transgender and gender nonconforming students.

This comes just weeks after a NYCLU report detailed “serious pervasive discrimination and harassment” faced by these youngsters, and highlighted districts’ failure to conform with the requirements of the 2010 Dignity for All Students Act.

While NYCLU is applauding the state’s new guidelines, the organization is also not ruling out the possibility of legal action against districts related to some of the anecdotes detailed in its June report.

“All options are on the table in terms of the NYLCU and our commitment in terms of advocating on behalf of our clients,” said Lauren Frederico, an organizer and author of the NYCLU “Dignity for All?” report.

“The reports of discrimination have been coming from students for the past five years,” Frederico said. “I think the number of students who had the courage to reach out to a stranger over the phone and tell them about the most intimate details of their life, tell them about some of the challenges they were facing in school, that continues to inspire me.”

“The students who were brave enough to speak out against these policies and the treatment they were facing really are an inspiration for all of us.”

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule. NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is in Italy, scheduled to return this evening.

The fates of Sens. John Sampson and Tom Libous, both fighting federal corruption charges, are in the hands of juries in Brooklyn and White Plains, respectively.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie’s upstate tour continues in St. Lawrence and Jefferson counties.

At 8:15 a.m., Shema Kolainu holds its annual legislative breakfast, Renaissance Ballroom, 5902 14th Ave., Brooklyn.

At 8:25 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul delivers remarks at the Women’s Business Center Success Stimulus Conference, Canisius College, Science Hall, 2001 Main St., Buffalo.

At 8:30 a.m., the NYC Campaign Finance Board and the Brennan Center for Justice host a forum on restoring voters’ faith in elections featuring Ann Ravel, chair of the Federal Election Commission, NYU School of Law, 40 Washington Square S., Greenberg Lounge, Manhattan.

Also at 8:30 a.m., Crain’s hosts a panel on the Business of Cybersecurity, John Jay College Criminal Justice, 524 W. 59th St., Manhattan.

Also at 8:30 a.m., Bronx BP Ruben Diaz Jr. speaks at the Bronx Affordable Housing Forum, Hostos Café, 475 Grand Concourse, the Bronx.

At 9 a.m., NYC Deputy Mayor Richard Buery meets with students from Charter High School for Law and Social Justice, City Hall, Manhattan.

At 9:25 a.m., Hochul tours Canisius College to highlight Cuomo’s Start-Up NY program and women-owned businesses, Demerly Hall, next to Tri-Main Building, 2365 Main St., Buffalo.

At 9:30 a.m., Heastie and Assemblywoman Addie Russell tour the Ansen Corporation, 100 Chimney Point Dr., Ogdensburg.

At 10 a.m. Italy time/4 a.m. NYC time, de Blasio delivers remarks at the Symposium on Cities and Sustainable Development, Casia Pio IV, Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Vatican City, Italy.

Also at 10 a.m., airport workers subcontracted out by Delta will put up a picket line and launch strike, JFK Airport Terminal 7 arrivals, Queens.

At 10:30 a.m., Heastie tours the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority, 1 Bridge Plaza, Ogdensburg.

At 11 a.m., Sens. Tom O’Mara and Jim Seward host a roundtable discussion focusing on rural concerns raised over the state takeover of the management of local Medicaid, Non-Emergency Medical Transportation, Cooperstown Library, 22 Main St., Cooperstown.

Also at 11 a.m., a “Fight for $15″ fast food wage board-related press conference will be held outside a McDonald’s, 35 Old Country Rd., Westbury, Long Island.

At noon, Heastie meets with Thousand Islands Bridge Authority Executive Director Robert Horr, 43530 Interstate 81, Collins Landing, Alexandria Bay.

At 12:45 p.m., Heastie tours Boldt Castle, 43530 Interstate 81, Collins Landing, Alexandria Bay.

At 1 p.m., the audit committee of the State University Construction Fund Board of Trustees holds a meeting, the State University Plaza, 353 Broadway, federal building, small courtroom, Albany.

Also at 1 p.m., SUNY and CUNY faculty and students hold press conference to call on Cuomo to sign bill strengthening state’s commitment to public higher education, LOB Press Room 130, Albany and Baruch College Vertical Campus, E. 25th St. and Lexington Ave., Manhattan.

At 2 p.m., Heastie meets with Fort Drum officials to receive briefing and tours the installation, Fort Drum, Watertown.

At 2:30 p.m., the governor’s fast food wage board meets, Department of Health, 90 Church St., Manhattan.

Also at 2:30 p.m., fast food workers and allies gather to watch the wage board decision’s at a public “watch party” where the meeting will be live-streamed; a rally and press conference will be held immediately after the fact, Barclay Street, between W. Broadway & Church Street, Manhattan. (A similar event will be held in Albany at 94 Central Ave.)

At 3 p.m., healthcare workers at Sprain Brook Manor will hold an informational picket outside the nursing home, 77 Jackson Ave., Scarsdale.

At 3:15 p.m., Hochul joins fast food workers, elected officials and labor advocates at a press conference following the wage board meeting, City Hall steps, Buffalo.

At 3:30 p.m., a “Fight for $15″ fast food wage board-related press conference will be held outside a McDonald’s, 820 Culver Rd.< Rochester.

At 4:30 p.m., Heastie tours NY AirBrake, 748 Starbuck Ave., Watertown.

At 5:30 p.m., the Three Parks Independent Democratic Club holds it annual picnic, Central Park, enter at 103rd and Central Park West, Manhattan.


On the morning of the day the governor's fast food wage board is expected to call for raising the industry’s hourly pay to $15, NYS Business Council CEO and President Heather Briccetti warns in a NY Post OpEd that to do so will cost the state jobs.

The only business community representative on the fast food wage board moved part of his operations in 2010 from Brooklyn to Kentucky — where the minimum is $7.25.

The son of Sen. Dean Skelos allegedly put in just one hour of work during his first week at a new job that his powerful father secured for him and later threatened to “smash in” the head of a supervisor who complained, according to an expanded federal criminal indictment released yesterday.

Adam Skelos allegedly threatened to “smash in” his boss’s head when the supervisor dared to question why the senator’s son hadn’t been showing up to work. He then told the supervisor at the malpractice insurance company that he would never amount to anything, and that guys like him could not even shine his shoes.

The superseding indictment added two new charges of bribery and extortion to the six corruption counts the Skeloses already faced. Attorneys representing the senator and his son did not respond to requests for comment.

Queens Councilman Eric Ulrich, a Republican, wants Donald Trump’s name stripped from a pavilion at Jamaica Hospital after his smears against the war record of Sen. John McCain.

Trump took aim at two more of his fellow GOP 2016 hopefuls – South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry — and even gave out Graham’s personal cell phone number to hundreds of people at a rally in the senator’s home state of South Carolina.

The Donald’s controversial turn in the national spotlight has highlighted his feud with media mogul Rupert Murdoch.

Eight years ago, Hillary Clinton’s first presidential campaign downplayed any focus on running as a woman. But Democrats say gender is not only a plus this time, but also crucial to Clinton’s strategy for winning a general election where she will need to boost the turnout of female voters, who are more likely to vote Democratic.

The 42 state legislators who are lawyers pulled in as much as $4.2 million last year from their “outside jobs,” according to a report from the Lawsuit Reform Alliance.

Uber says records show it’s not driving gridlock – even as NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio this week blamed the company’s surging growth and for-hire cars for straining Manhattan’s congested grid.

The battle over Uber and other car services intensified as de Blasio’s aides worked to build support for a proposed cap on the for-hire fleet and New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer urged the City Council to delay a vote on the bill.

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“Buffalo is the land that Taco Bell forgot.”

Former Gov. George Pataki says his fellow 2016 Republican contender Donald Trump “is not going to be president.”

Ohio Gov. John Kasich officially announced his presidential run, telling a crowd at Ohio State University that “the sun is rising” in America again. He’s the 16th Republican vying for the party’s nod to run in 2016.

House Speaker John Boehner has accepted an invitation from the Oneida Indian Nation to attend a golf fundraiser in his honor next month at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino. (He has not taken a public position on the Redskins controversy, which is a top priority for his host, Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter).

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio didn’t get to talk to the pope during his visit to the Vatican, but said it was “fun even to be close to him.”

Campaign disclosures show state Sen. David Carlucci’s political arm spent another $15,922 on attorney fees in March, but a spokeswoman for the senator says the lawyers are no longer on retainer.

Area code 680 will become the second area code in Central New York in about 18 months, joining 315 in an 18-county area stretching from south of Syracuse to the Canadian border.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie brought a “secret weapon” to his meeting with Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner Tuesday morning: His 5-year-old daughter, Taylor.

While in Syracuse, Heastie joined two local assemblymen – Bill Magnarelli and Al Stirpe – to announce $400,000 in funding for Crouse Hospital’s opiate and heroin abuse prevention and treatment program.

Albany County DA David Soares said his office would do nothing to investigate a civilian death at the hands of police because he believes the governor’s special prosecutor executive order has usurped his authority.

A former Marine attempting to open a second gun-shop in Arlington, Virginia, has canceled his plans amid community protest and outrage, which he said has been fueled by anti-gun activist and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association is circulating flyers attacking the highest-ranking uniformed official at the Department of Correction, accusing him of a lack of leadership and blaming him for an increase in inmate attacks on officers under his tenure.

Cash-strapped Nassau District Attorney candidate Michael Scotto is looking for a new elections lawyer — while trying to raise enough money to pay for one.

De Blasio lost a key ally in his fight against Uber when New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer said he wanted a delay on a vote on legislation that would cap the company’s growth in the city.

A former Niagara County corrections officer who is also the stepson of Niagara County Legislature Chair William Ross suffered a “catastrophic injury” to his lower leg when he tried to make a homemade explosive device in the garage at his home in the Town of Wheatfield.

The ESDC has approved the payout of almost $17 million in development grants around the state — including $1 million that went to the production of the touring production of the musical “Newsies.”

Artist Hanna Liden has created an installation of giant bagels, on display in Hudson River Park and a plaza on Sixth Avenue, as part of “Everything,” a public-art project for the Art Production Fund.

In which NT2 makes up with Fred Dicker.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule. NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is in Italy to attend Pope Francis’ event “Modern Slavery and Climate Change: The Commitment of The Cities.” He’s scheduled to return to NYC tonight.

We’re awaiting verdicts in the corruption trials of former Senate Majority Leader John Sampson in Brooklyn and Deputy Senate Majority Leader Tom Libous in White Plains.

President Obama is in NYC today.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie kicks off his upstate tour in Central New York with an aggressive 11-event schedule. (His full itinerary appears at the end of this post).

At 7:15 a.m., former New York Governor and 2016 GOP contender George Pataki appears on Mornings with Maria, Fox Business.

At 9:30 a.m., security officers, baggage handlers, elected officials and others hold press conference to announce results of airport worker’s strike vote and detail plans for a strike, 32BJ Auditorium at 25 West 18th St., Manhattan.

Also at 9:30 a.m., the NYC Regional Economic Development Council holds a public meeting to discuss round five of the REDC initiative, the 2015 Priority Project process and the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, Borough of Manhattan Community College, 199 Chambers St., Manhattan.

At 10 a.m., de Blasio will deliver remarks at the New Synod Hall, Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Vatican City, Italy.

Also at 10 a.m., Rep. Carolyn Maloney and gun safety advocates from New Yorkers Against Gun Violence and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence will outline the ways the NRA undermines existing gun laws, and will call on the gun-lobby’s allies in Congress to fully fund law enforcement agencies charged with stopping gun violence, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

Also at 10 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul and Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter tour the Enterprise Park at Calverton (EPCAL), 962 Burman Blvd., Calverton.

At 10:15 a.m., Rep. Louise Slaughter will provide an update on her effort to secure a federal photonics manufacturing institute for the Rochester area – a decision in the federal competition is expected in the coming weeks, Greater Rochester International Airport, Observation Area (far right side of main lobby area), 1200 Brooks Ave., Rochester.

At 10:45 a.m., Hochul tours the Satur Farms Cold Facility, 4195 Middle County Rd., Calverton.

At 11 a.m., SUNY and CUNY faculty and staff hold press conference to call on Cuomo to sign bill strengthening state’s commitment to public higher education, LOB Press Room 130, Albany and Baruch College Vertical Campus, E. 25th St. and Lexington Ave., Manhattan.

Also at 11 a.m., Sens. Tom O’Mara and Jim Seward will host a roundtable discussion focusing on rural concerns raised over the state takeover of the management of local Medicaid Non-Emergency Medical Transportation, Village Library of Cooperstown, 22 Main St., Cooperstown. (UPDATE: This event is taking place tomorrow, Wednesday, July 22).

At 11:30 a.m., Hochul tours Grapes and Greens to showcase New York wineries and “grown on Long Island” products, 2711 South Ave., Calverton.

At noon, women elected officials supporting the campaign of Democrat Barry Grodenchik, who is running to replace former Queens Councilman Mark Weprin, hold a press conference, under the Clock Tower, Bell Boulevard and 50th Avenue, Bayside Hills, Queens.

At 12:30 p.m., Hochul tours Palmer Vineyards, 5120 Sound Ave., Route 48, Riverhead.

At 2:20 p.m., President Obama arrives at Kennedy Airport, Queens.

At 3 p.m., over 100 Sprain Brook Manor employees – all 1199 SEIU members – will hold an informational picket in front of the nursing home, 77 Jackson Ave., Scarsdale.

At 3:15 p.m., Hochul tours Hofstra University’s School of Engineering Robotics Laboratory and Big Data Center, Hempstead.

At 3:35 p.m., Obama tapes an appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Manhattan.

At 5 p.m., de Blasio attends a papal audience, New Synod Hall, Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Vatican City, Italy.

At 6 p.m., de Blasio hosts a media availability, after which he will attend a (closed press) dinner organized by the Vatican, Room 6, Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Vatican City, Italy.

At 6:15 p.m., the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce will honor recently completed construction and renovation projects that improve the borough’s diverse neighborhoods and economy, Kings Theatre, 1027 Flatbush Ave., Brooklyn.

At 6:20 p.m., Obama delivers remarks and takes questions at a DSCC fundraising event, private residence, Manhattan.

At 6:30 p.m., Hochul delivers opening remarks at the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce Building Brooklyn Awards Ceremony, Kings Theatre, 1027 Flatbush Ave., Brooklyn.


Recaptured convict David Sweat has given investigators a detailed account of his breakout from Clinton Correctional Facility last month with Richard Matt – an event made possible both by the prisoners own patiences, ingenuity and luck and the lax oversight of those charged with monitoring them.

The state Education Department released guidelines on how school districts should accommodate transgender students. Schools should use the pronouns students prefer, for example, and encourage administrators to be receptive of the gender identities of the young people in their charge.

AG Eric Schneiderman’s office has accused the Brooklyn-based National Children’s Leukemia Foundation of fraud, and is seeking both to shut the organization down and to recover money that was allegedly raised illegally.

Freshman Sen. Marc Panepinto, a Buffalo Democrat, is facing his first political firestorm after local Republicans demanded he “come clean” on efforts to lobby a state agency for policy changes that critics say could benefit his private law practice.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 125-station weather monitoring system received construction approval from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for its first 19 sites, with the other 106 expected to be sited and constructed by 2016.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s battle with Uber has escalated considerably, with the company lambasting his efforts to cap its growth in TV ads, mailers and app features, and City Hall fighting back by characterizing the car-hailing entity as a corporate behemoth like Wal-Mart.

De Blasio said that his city may not be able to break its business contracts with Donald Trump but will avoid future deals with the 2016 GOP contender.

Meghan McCain, the daughter of US Sen. John McCain, blasted Trump’s attacks on her father’s military service on the campaign trail Saturday. “Horrified. Disgusted. There are no words,” she tweeted.

The upstate tour of state Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, which kicks off today in Syracuse, will include stops tomorrow in the city of Watertown and at nearby Fort Drum.

US District Court Judge Thomas McAvoy – the sole character witness called upon to testify for Deputy Senate Majority Leader Tom Libous during his federal corruption trial – admitted he and the Binghamton Republican aren’t actually friends. “I ran into him in a restaurant once in Albany, a long time ago.”

It’s a lucrative time in Albany to be a white-collar lawyer. More than $1.9 million worth of campaign cash was spent on attorneys’ fees by some of the state’s most prominent elected officials between January and July, state Board of Elections filings show.

Schneiderman will keep more than $31,000 in recent campaign donations from a medical malpractice insurance firm whose name surfaced in federal corruption allegations against former Republican Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos.

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