Liz Benjamin

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Posts by Liz Benjamin

Extras

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who agreed to throw his weight behind Senate Democrats in the fall elections, met quietly this week with the chamber’s top Republican, Senate co-leader Dean Skelos.

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley is planning to attend a gathering of Mississippi Democrats next month as he continues to mull a 2016 presidential bid.

Lyft, an app-driven car service planning to debut in New York City this evening, ran into another roadblock as AG Eric Schneiderman sought a court order to stop the company from operating in the state.

…The temporary restraining order was granted by a state Supreme Court justice, forcing Lyft to halt its operations at least until Monday of next week.

Carthage Area Hospital in Jefferson County reached a settlement connected to $750,000 it allegedly overcharged Medicare.

While NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is on a family trip to Italy, First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris will oversee and administer day-to-day functions of city government.

De Blasio had no public schedule today. According to Twitter, he spent some time playing beach volleyball with NYC Council members.

MTA chairman Tom Prendergast says the authority is “better prepared than we were in 1994″ for a potential LIRR strike.

The City Charter states that if the mayor is absent from the city for nine days, the public advocate may succeed him. Tish James says she’s available to assist Shorris if he needs her.

Republicans have submitted petitions for a potential challenger to Democratic Sen. George Latimer: Jean Maisano, director of public relations at The Guidance Center of Westchester.

A group of environmental organizations is going to court in opposition of state approval of a mine expansion in the North Country.

“I probably shouldn’t say this, but then again, I’m Joe Biden.”

There’s a Democratic primary battle in the 3rd Senate District, (which is being vacated by GOP Sen. Lee Zeldin, who’s running for Congress).

The second annual Adirondack Challenge rafting races will take place Sunday, July 20 in Indian Lake. It’s unclear whether Cuomo will attend.

Local news anchors in Colorado Springs, Colorado did not appreciate former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s recent comments about their district.

State Education Commissioner John King spoke at the department’s 20th Network Team Institute about his late uncle Haldane King, a member of the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II.

Sen. Martin Heinrich is adding his name to the roster of Senate supporters backing Hillary Clinton, serving as a draw for a New Mexico event for  the super PAC “Ready for Hillary.”

A state-funded study on possible new sites for a Buffalo Bills stadium continues and is expected to be presented by the end of the month.

Homeland Security Commissioner Jerry Hauer told CSX Transportation and the Canadian Pacific Railway Company that their required disclosures of rail routes can’t be exempted from FOIL.

Here and Now

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

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is also in the Big Apple with no public events scheduled.

At 8:45 a.m., state Education commissioner John King speaks at a professional development conference for teachers, Clark Auditorium, New York State Museum, Albany.

At 9:30 a.m., NYC Public Advocate Tish James and families call for city Department of Education officials to require school buses for children with disabilities to have air conditioning; steps, City Hall, Manhattan.

At 10:30 a.m., Westchester County Executive and GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino will be a guest on WNBF radio with host Bob Joseph. Listen here: http://wnbf.com/.

Also at 10:30 a.m., the Independent Budget office releases a report looking at the changing caseload and increasing collections by the NYC Office of Child Support Enforcement.

At 1:05 p.m., Astorino will be a guest on Long Island News Radio with host John Gomez. Listen here: http://linewsradio.com/.

At 5 p.m., Astorino will attend and deliver remarks at the Great Empire Walk For the Kickoff of Liberty Games, Colonie Center Mall, 131 Colonie Center, Albany.

At 6:45 p.m., Astorino will attend the Lake George Association annual dinner, Inn at Erlowest, 3178 Lake Shore Dr., Lake George.

Headlines…

After seven months on the job, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is taking a break from City Hall and hitting his ancestral homeland of Italy for 10 days with his family. They leave July 18 for what will be the longest vacation for any NYC mayor in recent memory.

Westcheter County Executive and GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino is reeling in about $30,000 a year as a consultant to a major media conglomerate. The pay is on top of his $160,000 annual public salary.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo lost the endorsement of a local Democratic club in Manhattan Thursday night after the group decided to back one of his primary opponents, Zephyr Teachout. The vote was 14 to 6.

A Democratic Westchester County legislator accused Astorino of having something to do with the Journal News story about the under-assessed home shared by Sandra Lee and Cuomo.

Cuomo said he believes the damages caused by tornadoes in Madison County, where four people were killed, and in other Central New York communities will not qualify for federal disaster aid. If that’s the case, the state will step in.

Paving the way for half a million undocumented immigrants living in New York City to obtain identification, de Blasio signed legislation to create a municipal ID card. It’s scheduled to launch in January.

There are still questions about how the ambitious ID program will work.

Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Zephyr Teachout said she had gathered more than 45,000 signatures to get on the September primary ballot, and raised some $200,000 from 600 donors.

Queens Councilman Paul Vallone is drafting legislation to combat the “rampant proliferation” of illegal drones buzzing around New York City.

Former Queens Councilman Dan Halloran allegedly tried to get a developer to give him $15,000 by saying the man would “co-own” a congressional seat (when and if Halloran won it, that is, which he did not).

A draft report shows city owned buildings and parkland in Buffalo require up to $607 million in repairs and updates over the next decade.

More >

Extras

Greg David does some poll comparisons and finds Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s gains over the past four years have come largely among Republicans, while his standing among liberals has suffered.

The New York Public Library announced that Iris Weinshall, US Sen. Chuck Schumer’s wife, will serve as its chief operating officer, starting Sept. 1.

Plumbers Union Local 1 endorsed Sen. Tony Avella.

Sen. Ted O’Brien is calling on the state Education Department to rework its contract with a London-based education company to allow for standardized tests to be released publicly.

…some questions have been released, but SED officials say the full tests are kept private to ensure some questions can be used on future tests.

Former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg said some disparaging things about rural Colorado.

A municipal identification card meant to ease access to New York City services for illegal immigrants and others faces numerous challenges.

AG Eric Schneiderman says “buffer zone” laws designed to prevent harassment at abortion clinics remain in effect in NY despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s McCullen v. Coakley decision.

Justin Timberlake gave a shout-out to the late Bills owner Ralph Wilson while playing a concert in Buffalo.

The Brooklyn and Staten Island Democratic chairs slammed a Staten Island GOP official for what they called “outrageous bigotry” in a fundraising e-mail sent on behalf of Rep. Michael Grimm.

A Brooklyn blogger made cookies on a baking sheet that used to belong to the de Blasios.

Conservatives are giving Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney a hard time for his “extravagant” wedding video, which features footage captured by a drone.

Former Manhattan Councilman Robert Jackson, a primary challenger to Sen. Adriano Espaillat, is a fan of Zephyr Teachout.

A panel of Manhattan appeals court justices nixed back pay for 1,300 state judges who claim 12 years of low salaries violated New York’s constitution.

The 9/11 Memorial & Museum cafe opening this month has dropped booze and gourmet food for bread and coffee.

Longtime New York City labor operative and activist Camille Rivera has joined the de Blasio administration.

The FCC began its review of the proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger today by putting out a public notice seeking comments on the deal.

Hillary Clinton’s book has been replaced at the top of the New York Times best sellers list by an expose of the Clintons’ rocky relationship with President Obama.

DSCC, DCCC Team Up In NY

From the morning memo:

It’s a big year in New York for both state and national Democrats, with a handful of must-win contested state Senate and congressional races developing from Long Island to Buffalo.

A number of these races overlap. And in some cases, one congressional district with an active general election contest encompasses several state Senate districts where Democrats and Republicans are fighting for dominance.

On Long Island, for example, there are two high-profile House races – the fight for retiring Rep. Carolyn McCarthy’s seat, in which Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice is battling Republican Bruce Blakeman; and yet another effort by the Republicans (this time with state Sen. Lee Zeldin as the challenger) to unseat veteran Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop.

Within those two congressional districts are three contested state Senate races.

The Democrats are hoping to oust GOP Sen. Jack Martins with their candidate, Adam Haber; and Democrat Dave Denenberg is fighting Republican Nassau County Legislator Michael Venditto for the seat of retired GOP Sen. Chuck Fuschillo.

Also, Zeldin’s victory over George Demos in the June GOP congressional primary leaves his Senate seat open. Adrienne Esposito, director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment, is the Democratic candidate, while the Republicans have put up Conservative Anthony Senft, a freshman Islip Town board member.

Similar situations in which contested congressional races overlap with hot state Senate contests exist in the Hudson Valley, the Rochester area and the Capital Region.

In some cases, according to DSCC Chairman Mike Gianaris, the Senate districts represent up to one-third of the voting universe within a congressional district.

So, the D.C. and New York Democrats are trying to coordinate their efforts in hopes of maximizing their resources and boosting turnout.

With that in mind, Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Gianaris traveled to Washington Tuesday to meet with DCCC Chairman Steve Israel, who is also a Long Island congressman.

Rep. Joe Crowley, the influential Queens Democratic chairman, co-hosted the sit-down.

The meeting was also attended by several other members of the New York congressional delegation, including: Reps. Sean Patrick Maloney (who is fighting a re-match with Nan Hayworth, the Republican he ousted in 2012), Paul Tonko, Eliot Engel, Charlie Rangel (who just won a bruising primary battle), Hakeem Jeffries, Grace Meng and Yvette Clarke.

The state and federal party leaders and elected officials discussed campaign coordination, Gianaris said, which may include everything from potential joint appearances and palm cards to data sharing and GOTV efforts.

“Israel made it clear that their path to victory in November runs through New York – they need to win here in order to have overall success,” Gianaris said. “So they have a great interest in what we’re doing.”

“…This is yet another important piece of the puzzle as we build a coalition to ensure a Democratic majority in the Senate,” Gianaris continued.

“For the first time in recent memory, all of the forces within the Democratic Party and all the progressive interests are pulling in the same direction.”

Both sides face challenges.

The Senate Democrats are trying to win enough new seats – and defend at least three vulnerable incumbents – to realize their quest of re-taking the majority.

The IDC has agreed, in theory, to drop its power-sharing deal with the Republicans and strike a similar agreement with the so-called “regular” Democrats. But in order for that to work, the Democrats need to be successful in the November elections.

As for the House, it is increasingly clear that the Republicans are likely to maintain the majority, and perhaps even pick up some seats, thanks to the fact that this is not a presidential election year.

There are a handful of potential pick-ups in New York for the DCCC, but a Wall Street Journal/NBC 4 New York/Marist poll released today shows the Republicans have an edge here when it comes to voter enthusiasm.

There’s also the danger that by coordinating with the DCCC, the Senate Democrats provide fodder to the Republicans as they try to tie their opponents to ultra-liberal forces (in this case, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, of California).

But Gianaris called the GOP effort to cast the Democrats as too liberal – especially to represent upstate – a “sham,” adding:

“Almost all of last 40 years they’ve been in control, and during that time upstate has declined.”

“So how much worse could it get other than what the Senate Republicans have already done to upstate? It’s time to give someone else a try.”

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is New York City and Onondaga County.

At 10 a.m., members of the NYC Campaign Finance Board hold a public meeting; boardroom, 12th floor, 100 Church St., Manhattan.

Also at 10 a.m., state Senate candidate and former NYC Comptroller John Liu makes an announcement regarding the MTA-LIRR union negotiation breakdown, outside of Bayside LIRR Station, 213th Street and 41st Avenue, Queens.

At 10:30 a.m., GOP LG candidate and Chemung County Sheriff Chris Moss holds a joint news conference with GOP state comptroller candidate and Onondaga County Comptroller Bob Antonacci on the “Stop Common Core” ballot initiative, Clinton Square (corner of Erie Blvd. West and N. Salina St.), Syracuse.

At 10:45 a.m., First Lady Michelle Obama nonprofit visits Global Kids Inc. to learn about its global education and digital media programs, 37 E 25th St., Manhattan.

At 11 a.m., funeral services and procession scheduled for a 40-year-old city firefighter, Lt. Gordon M. Ambelas, killed during a fire in Brooklyn on Saturday, July 5; The Church of St. Clare, 110 Nelson Ave., Staten Island. (NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will speak).

At noon, LIRR union officials meet with MTA representatives to continue contract negotiations, 11 Times Square, Manhattan.

At 1 p.m., Michelle Obama delivers remarks at the 85th annual LULAC convention and highlights the role education plays in cultivating successful individuals and communities, New York Hilton, 335 Ave. of the Americas, Manhattan.

At 2 p.m., U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and other officials participate in a ceremony to repatriate fossils to Mongolia’s government from nine dinosaur skeletons, seized as part of an investigation; Ted Weiss Federal Building, 290 Broadway, Manhattan.

At 2:30 p.m., Sen. Tony Avella holds press conference to call for passage of the “Comfort Women” bill, 38-50 Bell Blvd., Queens.

At 3 p.m., Moss tours Fort Drumm and discusses its impact on the North Country economy.

Also at 3 p.m., de Blasio signs Intro 253-A to create a municipal ID card, Outdoor Plaza, Brooklyn Central Library, 10 Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn.

At 3:45 p.m., Cuomo attends the Syracuse Inner Harbor groundbreaking, 302 West Kirkpatrick St., (corner of West Kirkpatrick and Solar Street), Syracuse.

At 5 p.m., Moss appears at meet-and-greet event with Jefferson County Sheriff candidate John Bocciolott, Savory Downtown Restaurant, 300 Washington St., Watertown.

At 5:30 p.m., Cuomo attends a fund-raiser to benefit his re-election campaign co-hosted by Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney at the Skaneateles home of Michael Falcone, a Republican and a Syracuse-area developer, 3074 West Lake Rd.

At 7 p.m., Moss attends a “Bob Antonacci for State Comptroller” fundraiser, The Limp Lizard Bar and Grill, 4628 Onondaga Blvd., Syracuse.

At 9 p.m., Fordham Law Prof. Zephyr Teachout and Columbia Law Prof. Tim Wu and campaign supporters mail petition signatures to the state Board of Elections in order to appear on the Democratic gubernatorial and LG primary ballot; U.S. Postal Service’s James A. Farley Post Office Building, 421 Eighth Ave., Manhattan.

Headlines…

The Cuomo administration is weighing a travel schedule that would send the governor to locations including Israel and Puerto Rico – an itinerary that would mark the first time he has left the country since he took office in 2011.

New York Republicans are more energized heading into the November midterm elections than Democrats, with more than a quarter saying they are “very enthusiastic” heading into November, according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC 4 New York/Marist survey.

At least 11 school districts that originally planned to apply for state pre-K grants won’t seek the funding, and it’s likely more will decide against participating as local administrators struggle with the timing and reimbursement structure of the program.

Less than two weeks after leaving the public sector, former top Cuomo aide Howard Glaser has been hired by a travel restaurant and boutique operator doing business at both of New York City’s major airports.

The company, OTG Management, said Glaser “will not be involved in any state overhaul of the New York airports and/or any interaction with the Port Authority.”

More >

Extras

A meteorology lesson for Gov. Andrew Cuomo: New York does, in fact, have tornadoes. Lots of them.

Cuomo’s former top aide Howard Glaser has a new job in the airport redevelopment business.

Rich Wall of the Buffalo Niagara Film Office confirmed that scenes for “Sharknado 2: The Second One” were shot in the Queen City.

Like her mother and father, Chelsea Clinton is also delivering paid speeches, (she says to benefit the family foundation), and earning up to $75,000 a pop.

Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was sentenced to 10 years in prison for bribery, money laundering and other corruption that spanned his two terms as mayor.

The restaurant where ex-Bronx GOP Chairman Jay Savino is cleaning bathrooms belongs to his mother-in-law.

Zephyr Teachout expects to file more than 40,000 signatures late tomorrow to obtain a place on the September Democratic gubernatorial primary.

Real people = not reporters.”

Brooklyn Assemblyman Karim Camara met with Cuomo’s running mate Kathy Hochul and came away “comfortable” with her stances on firearms and immigration issues.

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said the city is prepared to defend any officers who might be sued for pursuing marijuana arrests in Brooklyn.

The balance on New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s new 2017 campaign account was roughly $11,500 as of last week.

Rep. Steve Israel said it’s “unlikely” the GOP-controlled House would intervene to stop a potential LIRR strike.

The Public Authorities Control Board is set to vote next week on a controversial $511 million loan for the Tappan Zee Bridge project, according to an agenda posted today.

The replacement of the I-81 viaduct through downtown Syracuse could be delayed due to gridlock in Congress over the expiring federal Highway Trust Fund, US Sen. Chuck Schumer warned.

Operating expenses at the state’s public authorities soared nearly 18 percent over the past five years, but the number of jobs created hasn’t kept pace, the Authorities Budget Office found.

If New York cities were high school students.

Astorino to Cuomo: Be Like Truman, Avoid LIRR Strike

Westchester County Executive and GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino is slamming Gov. Andrew Cuomo for refusing to get involved in ongoing contract dispute between the MTA and the LIRR, which could lead to a crippling strike of the commuter railroad’s employees.

Cuomo said yesterday that the idea of a strike causes “so much anxiety I don’t even like to think about it,” adding: “There is no good alternative to the LIRR on Long Island. The commute would be horrendous, however we do it.”

But the governor also shrugged off calls from local elected officials for him to insert himself into the contract talks in an effort to resolve the impasse before the July 20 deadline, saying this is a mess that Congress needs to clean up. That’s not holding water with Astorino, who said in a video today:

“As the clock ticks down on a looming Long Island Railroad strike, Mr. Cuomo is washing his hands of the matter,” Astorino said. “He’s telling New Yorkers to call their member of congress, call their senators, email the White House – do anything, but for god’s sake don’t bother him. He’s not responsible. But when the very same negotiating team working on the Long Island Railroad issue successfully negotiated an MTA settlement, guess who took credit? You guessed it, Andrew Cuomo.”

Cuomo does have a track record of successful intervention in union contract disputes. In April, as Astorino noted, he got involved in a 2-year-old contract dispute between the MTA and New York City transit workers. The result was a five-year deal.

In September 2012, Cuomo jumped in to mediate between the Communications Workers of America and Verizon Communications after 13 months of stalled talks. And, in July of that year, the governor stepped in to end a nearly four-week lockout of 8,000 Utility Workers Union of America employees at ConEd.

Astorino opened his video monologue with a refernce to President Truman, who kept a sign on his White House desk that read: “The buck stops here.”

“There’s a major railroad strike coming that will affect hundreds of thousands of lives. You have to get involved. It’s gut check time, governor. Just ask yourself, ‘What would Harry Truman do?’”

Talks between the LIRR and the union broke down yesterday. MTA Chairman Tom Prendergast is meeting with lawmakers on Capitol Hill today to push for an intervention should a strike develop. Federal mediators have agreed to join the negotiations. The unionized worked are seeking a 17 percent raise over six years and no changes to either work rules or pension contributions.

So far, the MTA has not released a contingency plan for commuters who rely on the LIRR, constituting some 330,000 rides a day.

Today, the MTA started what it called a “communications blitz” aimed at alerting New Yorkers to the potential for a service disruption.

“We continue to hope that we can avoid a work stoppage at the bargaining table,” said Prendergast. “But nevertheless, we want LIRR customers and all Long Island residents to be aware that there is a potential for a disruption of service and what that might mean.”

Print ads are appearing in seven daily newspapers, and radio ads are airing on 11 stations. Updated information is also available on the MTA’s website.

What Would Truman Do? from Rob Astorino on Vimeo.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City and the New York City “area” with no public schedule.

At 10 a.m., the NYC Civilian Complaint Review Board holds its regularly scheduled monthly public board meeting, 100 Church St., 10th Floor Board Room, Manhattan.

Also at 10 a.m., NY-24 GOP candidate John Katko holds a press conference, Onondaga County War Memorial, corner of Montgomery and Madison Streets, Syracuse.

At 11 a.m., NYC Council members, community and minority advocates, state lawmakers and union officials participate in a rally to promote a legislative proposal intended to reduce racial disparities in arrests for marijuana possession; steps, City Hall, Manhattan.

Also at 11 a.m. Green Party gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins holds a press conference on political corruption and hydrofracking, 92 Court St., Binghamton.

At 11:06 a.m., Westchester County Executive and GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino appears on WABC’s Geraldo Rivera Show.

At 11:30 a.m., IDC Leader Jeff Klein joins elected officials, the Bronx Chamber of Commerce and others to announce Bronx H.I.R.E., Building 9 Community Room at the Amalgamated Houses, Gale Place off of Orloff Avenue, the Bronx.

At noon, avocates hold a press conference to push for a higher minimum wage for tipped workers, LCA Room (130), Legislative Office Building, Albany.

At 1 p.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks at the NYPD swearing-in ceremony, Colden Auditorium, Queens College, 65-30 Kissena Blvd., Queens.

At 2 p.m., de Blasio speaks at the 2014 NYC Service Summit, Roosevelt House, Hunter College, 47-49 East 65th St., Manhattan.

At 3 p.m., GOP LG candidate and Chemung County Sheriff Chris Moss tours and talks about the challenges of doing business in New York at local manufacturer Sportsfield Specialties, 41155 State Highway 10, Delhi.

At 3:30 p.m., de Blasio holds a public hearing on Intro 253-A and Intro 388, City Council Chambers, City Hall, Manhattan.

At 4:15 p.m., Moss meets with local elected officials to discuss their concerns about state government, Delhi.

At 5:30 p.m., Moss visits Big Dog Arms Sporting Goods Store to discuss the SAFE Act, 49-B Stewart Ave., Roscoe.

At 5:50 p.m., LG Bob Duffy speaks at Medved Running & Walking Outfitters’ 30th Anniversary Celebration, 3400 Monroe Ave., Rochester.

At 6 p.m., former Gov. George Pataki and a group of his ex-aides host a fund-raiser for GOP AG candidate John Cahill, Riverfront Bar & Grill, 51 Erie Blvd., Albany.

At 6:30 p.m., former Rep. Gabby Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly headline a fundraiser for AG Eric Schneiderman, The Empire Hotel Rooftop, 44 West 63rd St., Manhattan.

At 7 p.m., Moss attends and and speaks at the Sullivan County Sportsmen’s Federation, Kauneonga Lake Firehouse, Route 55, Kauneonga Lake.

Headlines…

Gov. Andrew Cuomo holds a commanding 35-point lead over his Republican challenger, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, in this fall’s general election, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC 4 New York/Marist poll—the first since the conclusion of the legislative session and the start of campaign season.

State Senate candidate John Liu called Asotrino’s Malaysian Airlines joke in connection with LG candidate Kathy Hochul’s low-key campaigning “offensive and insensitive.”

Hochul, according to her Twitter account, enjoyed a “home-cooked meal” at the home of Brooklyn Democratic Chairman Frank Seddio in Canarsie.

Astorino hopes his new “Stop Common Core” ballot line will draw Democratic votes.

Despite the fact that he has voiced support for the controversial new standards, GOP AG candidate John Cahill will run on the Common Core line – assuming Astorino and his allies are successful in collecting enough signatures to create it.

AG Eric Schneiderman will announce a settlement today with EmblemHealth Inc. that requires the health-insurance company to change the way that it deals with behavioral-health and substance-abuse claims.

MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast penned a letter to US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner asking them to say what role Congress would play if 5,400 workers walk off the job on July 20.

More >

Extras

Would-be Democratic LG candidate Tim Wu called on his potential primary opponent, ex-Rep. Kathy Hochul, to “come out of hiding and face the voters of New York State.”

Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei’s campaign says the congressman raised $426,753 in the second quarter - nearly $100,000 more than his GOP challenger John Katko.

The RNC’s selection of Cleveland, OH for its 2016 convention could improve New York’s chances of landing the Democratic confab.

Disgraced lawyer Joseph “Jay” Savino said he is now cleaning bathrooms in a Rockland restaurant after pleading guilty to taking bribes to influence the New York City mayor’s race.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio vowed to act soon on two of his undelivered promises: banning carriage horses from Central Park and expanding the city’s living-wage law.

NY1 is FOILing for information about the de Blasio administration’s pitch to the DNC to hold the convention in Brooklyn.

The Syracuse Housing Authority plans to ease the residents of its 2,600 apartments into a smoke-free home.

Vito Lopez and Micah Kellner – both ex-assemblymen felled by sex-related scandals – are running for political posts this fall.

Anndrea Starzak, the former Vestal town supervisor who plans to challenge GOP Sen. Tom Libous, was in NYC today meeting with DSCC Chair Mike Gianaris.

The “Benjamin Lawsky Bridge“?!

NY-3 GOP candidate Grant Lally declared himself the winner of last month’s primary, but the state Board of Elections says it has no role in certifying the results.

M.T.A. chairman and chief executive Thomas Prendergast asked Congress to intervene in the ongoing Long Island Rail Road labor dispute.

Forty-one New York City superintendents will have to reapply for their jobs this year under a new policy announced by Chancellor Carmen Fariña.

NYSUT’s spokesman says union members won’t be fooled into voting for Astorino on the “Stop Common Core” ballot line.

BuzzFeed editor Ben Smith and ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner helped judge a “best bagel” in NYC contest.

The federal government is considering a site in Syracuse to temporarily house children from Central America who crossed the border illegally and are awaiting deportation hearings.

DEC Commissioner Joe Martens defended the controversial $511 million Tappan Zee Bridge loan to EPA administrator Judtih Enck.

Cuomo says his request to President Obama for a major disaster declaration for all those affected by the devastating floods last May has been approved.

Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson announced his office will stop prosecuting most low-level marijuana possession cases – especially for first-time offenders.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund has decided to withdraw support for the current version of the ENDA because of its “too-broad religious expemtion.”

Pataki And Former Aides Unite for Cahill

A veritable bevy of former Pataki administration members – from the former governor himself on down – will gather in Albany tomorrow night to host a fund-raiser for their onetime colleague, John Cahill, who is running for state attorney general against the Democratic incumbent, Eric Schneiderman.

The invite really does read like a “who’s who” of ex-Pataki aides, of which Cahill, of course, is one. He first served as DEC commissioner and chaired the Environmental Facilities Corp., and later moved to the second floor, where he eventually rose to the position of Pataki’s chief of staff.

Cahill and Pataki are still working together at the law firm of Chadbourne and Parke. They also co-founded the Pataki-Cahill Group, a strategic consulting firm that focuses on the economic and policy implications of domestic energy needs.

This event is taking place at The Barge down on the Corning Preserve. Tickets start at $200, with co-hosts paying $1,000. The fund-raiser is taking place just before the latest round of financial reports are due to the state Board of Elections (on July 15).

This will be the first time Cahill has filed a fundraising report, since he officially announced his candidacy in May, and whatever he has managed to raise – or failed to raise, as the case may be – will be viewed as a testament to the strength – or lack thereof – of his campaign.

As of mid-January, Schneiderman had $5.98 million on hand. Though public opinion polls have shown the majority of New Yorkers have no idea who Schneiderman is, despite the fact that he has held statewide office since 2010, he enjoys a strong double-digit lead over Cahill.

John Cahill Event at the Albany Barge by liz_benjamin6490