Liz Benjamin

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Posts by Liz Benjamin


US Sen. Chuck Schumer thinks Hillary Clinton would be “so, so happy” if the 2016 Democratic National Convention is in Brooklyn.

NJ Gov. Chris Christie, head of the Republican Governors Association, says he does support Rob Astorino’s challenge to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, but won’t be sending the Westchester County executive financial support any time soon. (If the race gets closer, he’ll “consider” investing).

Top Cuomo aide Larry Schwartz was subpoenaed in a case involving a contract that was taken away from a seasoned Western New York construction company that is alleging the state won’t take the blame in an election-year for delays in a high profile development in Buffalo.

Twenty donors poured more than $10,000 each into Democratic LG Kathy Hochul’s campaign, providing more than half of her $523,130 total haul.

Is Cuomo “bulletproof“? (Politically speaking).


The HillaryPac commissioned Taos, NM artist Kimberly Webber to paint a portrait of the former secretary of state and potential 2016 presidential contender.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders may or may not run for president in 2016, but he doesn’t want a political process “in which we anoint” a candidate.

The seemingly ever-growing Buzzfeed received a $50 million investment from blue chip venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, which values the company at $850 million.

De Blasio, who has been fairly sparing with his endorsements, is backing Democrat Rodneyse Bichotte, a Flatbush district leader vying to succeed outgoing Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs.

Steven Cohen, executive director of Columbia University’s Earth Institute, is disappointed both Cuomo and de Blasio “see the environment as a secondary policy arena.”

Federal officials are hoping for a psychiatric evaluation of a Rochester man who allegedly made online threats to President Obama, Cuomo and LG Bob Duffy.

NBC’s White House correspondent Chuck Todd is reportedly the likely replacement for David Gregory as host of “Meet the Press”, though nothing is set in stone.

A new report on Pennsylvania’s failures in regulating fracking underscores the concerns of Southern Tier opponents and proponents of the natural gas drilling technique.

Nearly one-third of Syracuse-area residents aren’t paying all of their bills and haven’t in quite some time, according to a new report.

A judge has ruled that prosecutorscan pursue one of two criminal charges against Robert Wiesner, husband of Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks, in a local development corporation controversy.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s right hand man, Dan Doctoroff, sold his upscale Upper West Side townhouse for $11.25 million. He paid just $1 million for the limestone mansion in 1993.

David Weigel was surprised by the anti-Common Core sentiment in today’s Siena poll results. “When independents break against something by a 14-point margin, politicians generally look awkwardly for the escape hatches.”

Maureen Dowd is joining the staff of The New York Times Magazine – a move that brings some fresh star power to the glossy Sunday supplement.

Today was the funeral for one of Gov. Mario Cuomo’s closest advisers during his administration from 1983 to 1994, Fabian Palomino.

Are WFP Case Subpoenas Legal?

From today’s Morning Memo:

A key union affiliate of the Working Families Party is questioning the legality of the latest round of subpoenas issued by a special prosecutor investigating the labor-backed organization’s 2009 campaign activities.

In an Aug. 5 letter to the special prosecutor, Roger Adler, the attorney for political action committee of the Communications Workers of America noted that by sending a July 1 subpoena to the union’s political arm, Adler was “proceeding as if that were a valid grand jury subpoena.”

But in an Aug. 4 interview with Capital New York, Adler said “Grand Jury Number Two” in this long-standing case would not be impaneled until Friday, Sept. 5.

That was consistent with a claim made in an email to the CWA PAC attorney, James Reif, of Gladstein Reif and Meginniss, in which, Reif wrote to Adler, “you stated that the Richmond County Grand Jury will begin taking testimony on September 5, 2014.”

“Both of these statements following a July 18, 2014 email in which you stated that a grand jury would be impaneled on August 20, 2014,” Reif continued in his letter, which appears after the jump.

“Your statement to the press and your July 18 and July 31 emails suggest that, in early July, there was no grand jury then impaneled which was investigating the 2009 campaign activities of the Working Families Party. In such a case, the subpoena to the CWA PAC dated July 1 and returnable July 8 is without legal authority.”

“Before my client takes further steps to respond to the subpoena, please confirm whether, as the foregoing statement and emails suggest, there was no grand jury impaneled in July in respect to the above-described investigation to properly authorize issuance thereof,” Reif concluded.

As of close of business Friday, Adler had not responded to Reif’s letter, according to a source with knowledge of this case.

Adler did not return a message left by CapTon at his office Friday afternoon seeking comment.

The CWA PAC is not the only entity to receive subpoenas from Adler, though he has repeatedly refused to confirm exactly to whom he sent them.

SEIU 1199 political director Kevin Finnegan, in that same Aug. 4 Capital NY report, confirmed the union had also received a subpoena from Adler, had retained counsel and would be “cooperating fully.”

An attorney for Staten Island Councilwoman Debi Rose confirmed to The Staten Island Advance on Aug. 5 that Rose had also received a subpoena, is not a target of Adler’s investigation and would also be “cooperating fully” with the special prosecutor.

According to the Advance, Adler had also issued subpoenas to the WFP itself, the NYC Campaign Finance Board, 32 BJ SEIU, and District Council 37.

Adler told the Advance that the grand jury would meet on Wednesdays and Fridays of each week, and that he expected it to last until sometime in November.

“I just want to make sure we have more than enough time,” Adler told the Advance. “At the end of October, we’ll have a better idea how deep into November we’re going to have to go.”

Adler previously served subpoenas on WFP officials in 2013.

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Here and Now

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

A state Supreme Court justice in Brooklyn is expected to rule today on Cuomo’s residency challenge to his would-be Democratic gubernatorial primary challenger, Fordham Law Prof. Zephyr Teachout.

At 7:30 a.m., the Senate Republican Campaign Committee holds its 2014 Golf Invitational, Schuyler Meadows Country Club, 17 Schuyler Meadows Road, Loudonville.

At 10 a.m., state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli hosts his annual golf outing, The Comptroller’s Cup Golf Outing, Mill River Club, Upper Brookville.

At 11 a.m., NYC Public Advocate Tish James and advocates hold a news conference to call for NYPD officers to wear cameras as part of a pilot program, and to the release of a report with recommendations for such a program; steps, City Hall, Manhattan.

Also at 11 a.m., a 20-member New York DEC firefighting crew that traveled to Washington State to assist in the containment of the Chiwaukum Creek Complex wildfire will return home, Saratoga Tree Nursery, 2369 Route 50 South, Saratoga Springs.

At 11:45 a.m., de Blasio administration officials, NYC elected officials, US Sen. Charles Schumer and business leaders, host a media availability to kick off the Democratic National Committee’s visit to New York City as it considers Brooklyn for the 2016 convention; Barclays Center, Daily News Plaza, 620 Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn.

At noon, there will be a “photo spray” from NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s hosting of US Conference of Mayors “Cities of Opportunity Task Force” members Gracie Mansion, ballroom, 88th Street and East End Avenue, Manhattan. A media availability with the mayor will follow at 12:30 p.m.

At 1 p.m., Brooklyn DA Kenneth Thompson distributes around $25,000 in restitution checks to about 100 Chinese immigrant families who had made tuition deposits for their children to attend one of three English schools operated by a Brooklyn couple arrested in Syracuse; Brooklyn Chinese-American Association, 5000 Eighth Ave., Brooklyn.

Also at 1 p.m., the state Senate Committee on Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities and the Assembly Committee on Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities hold a hearing on Olmstead implementation and the future of supports and services for individuals with developmental disabilities, Suffern Free Library, 210 Lafayette Ave., Suffern.

At 1:15 p.m., US Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Rep. Grace Meng, Assemblywoman Nily Rozic, state Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky and Queens entrepreneurs promote a proposal to increase the number of federal government contracts awarded to women-owned small businesses; Data Conversion Laboratory Inc., suite 205, 61-18 190th St., Queens.

At 2 p.m., Rep. Paul Tonko joins local healthcare leaders at an Affordable Care Act roundtable, New York Oncology Hematology, Amsterdam Cancer Center, 1700 Riverfront Center, Amsterdam.

At 3 p.m., LG candidate Kathy Hochul tours the “Taste NY Tent” at the Wegmans LPGA Championship, Monroe Golf Club, 55 Golf Ave., Pittsford.

At 5 p.m., GOP LG candidate and Chemung County Sheriff Chris Moss attends the Delaware County Fair, Fair Street, Walton.

At 6:30 p.m., NYC Councilman Mark Levine hosts a forum on chronic rat and pest problems in northern Manhattan, Ryan Center, 110 W. 97th St., Manhattan.

At 7:30 p.m., NYSUT holds a rally themed “public education, NOT private profits,” steps of the state Education Department, 89 Washington Ave., Albany. (Green Party LG candidate Brian Jones will attend).


Assemblyman Steve Katz says there’s a 99 “percent” chance the licensing process for medical marijuana in New York will be corrupt unless qualifying growers are selected at random.

Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal has become the first Republican governor to defy NJ Gov. and RGA head Chris Christie by helping cash-strapped GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino raise funds to challenge Cuomo.

National pro-gun groups have largely holstered their checkbooks since the passage of Cuomo’s tough gun control law, the SAFE Act, early last year.

Barneys has agreed to pay $525,000 to settle allegations that the upscale retailer deliberately targeted minorities entering its Madison Ave. flagship store.

Howard Milstein, the billionaire chairman of the state Thruway Authority, does not appear to have filed a publicly available financial disclosure form, even though he is legally required to do so.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and about 40 of his peers will release a report today showing that the income gap between the wealthiest Americans and middle and low-income households continues to widen — a trend with no signs of slowing down without policies to shrink the disparity.

Cuomo and a delegation of state legislative leaders are scheduled to fly to Israel Tuesday in the governor’s first international trip since taking office in 2011.

A spokeswoman for Cuomo said she could not immediately comment on how the trip to Israel would be financed. A spokesman for Senate GOP Leader Dean Skelos said no taxpayer funds would be used.

POLITICO’s Jeff Smith says the Moreland mess has Cuomo in “serious trouble” and is “far more serious than some people believe.”

Residential construction in New York City has been slow to rebound after the recession, posing an obstacle to the de Blasio administration’s goal to leverage the real-estate market to build 80,000 apartments for low- and middle-income families.

A little-noted part of a recent compromise in Albany means that for the coming two years, potentially thousands of New York teachers whose students foundered on state tests won’t get intensive help to improve.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo was a star of this year’s Dominican Day Parade, flanked by two powerful politicians who are pitching for him — state Sen. Adriano Espaillat and NYC Councilman Guillermo Linares, both of Dominican descent.

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The Weekend That Was

The Rev. Al Sharpton announced his planned Aug. 23 march across the Verrazano Bridge to protest Eric Garner’s chokehold-inspired death while in NYPD custody will instead be a bus caravan to an event on Staten Island.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio reportedly personally pleaded with Sharpton to cancel the threatened march, fearing it “would tear the city apart.”

De Blasio will not attend the rally, which will also mark the 25th anniversary of the murder of Yusuf Hawkins – the 16-year-old black teen shot to death by one youth in a marauding gang of bat-wielding whites after coming to Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, to look at a used car.

Cuomo signed a bill into law that allows New York City districts to lower the default speed limit from 30 miles per hour to 25.

Asked how his residency challenge to his would-be primary opponent Zephyr Teachout is good for small-d democracy, Cuomo replied: “The Democratic Party is a party of primaries and we are a nation and state of laws, right?”

Larry Schwartz, “the most powerful state official most New Yorkers have never heard of.”

The NFL is stepping up its push for a new stadium in Western New York to host the Buffalo Bills, which league officials say is necessary to provide fans a better experience and to give the team and the league a shot of new revenue.

Over one million people are thought to use marijuana to treat ailments, but there are few studies on its effectiveness. A major reason: government restrictions on research.

Carl Paladino has purchased the Fort Erie Race Track, and he plans to keep the track open while developing the adjacent vacant property.

Gartner Inc., the consulting firm hired for de Blasio’s municipal ID card plan was flagged for “questionable spending and dubious time sheets” on another city tech project.

President Obama began a nearly two-week vacation on Saturday, when he and his family left Washington for Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts.

Tony Stewart pulled out of the NASCAR race at Watkins Glen Sunday – 12 hours after the three-time champion struck and killed a sprint car driver who had climbed from his car and was on the darkened dirt track trying to confront Stewart during a race in upstate New York.


Both Bill and Hillary Clinton are said to be encouraging NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s efforts to bring the convention back to the Big Apple - this time to Brooklyn.

In his bid to land the DNC for Brooklyn, de Blasio will woo party officials in New York next week.

Hillary Clinton is not yet a declared presidential candidate, but the group of reporters dedicated full-time by news outlets to follow her and report on her keeps growing every month.

A $150 million redevelopment of one of Niagara Falls’ most famous “white elephants” was announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo as part of the Buffalo Billion initiative.

Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani said it was a “big mistake” for de Blasio to invite the Rev. Al Sharpton into City Hall and allow him to rip into the NYPD.

Former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik said the department has been “crucified” and “thrown under the bus” by de Blasio.

Current NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said de Blasio is “very pro-cop.”

Facing growing concern over logistics of a planned protest march across the Varrazano-Narrows Bridge on Aug. 23, Sharpton is reportedly considering an alternate route.

Longtime NewsChannel 13 reporter Bill Lambdin is stepping down later this month after a four-decade career spent mainly in the Capital Region.

GOP NY-21 candidate Elise Stefanik participated in the ALS “ice bucket challenge”, and challenged her opponents and Watertown Mayor Jeff Graham to do the same.

NYSUT members will shred standardized tests Monday night in Albany to protest testing giant Pearson and attempts to “privatize – and profit from - public education.”

A state judge approved a joint motion by the de Blasio administration, the NYC Council and two labor unions to end a Bloomberg-era lawsuit against the city’s prevailing wage law

The long-awaited elevator from the Poughkeepsie waterfront to the Walkway Over the Hudson will open at 1 p.m. Thursday.

Cuomo’s campaign reported $10,000 spent on defense attorney Elkan Abramowitz as an “outstanding liability/loan” with $1,000 still outstanding.

De Blasio and Vogue editrix Anna Wintour are on a first name basis.

Larry Sabato moved NY-19 to “leans Republican,” and NY-4 to “safe Democratic.”

State Police are investigating damage done to a sculpture on the Empire State Plaza.

Rep. Chris Gibson condemned the action the United States is taking against Iraq.

The teachers’ union-allied education group AQE released a report portraying Campbell Brown as an elitist right-wing puppet for Wall Street tycoons.

CNN Picks Up Cuomo-Moreland Story

Media critics have noted the dearth of national TV attention to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Moreland mess – especially compared to the wall-to-wall coverage of NJ Gov. Chris Christie’s “Bridgegate” scandal.

To be fair, there have been several brief news stories on the now-defunct commission and the US attorney’s investigation. Amd the members of the “Morning Joe” roundtable discussed the subject several days in a row, with co-hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough lambasting Cuomo’s handling of the situation, and political reporter Mark Halperin suggesting this mess was even worse for Cuomo than Bridgegate has been (so far anyway) for Christie.

Brzezinski revealed on the air that Cuomo had called her for a mostly off-the-record chat in an attempt to push back “hard” against allegations that he had meddling with the commission.

CNN, however, has not given any coverage to Moreland, causing some raised eyebrows due to the fact that Cuomo’s brother, Chris, is an anchor on the network. But CNN has now decided the story is worthy of coverage, as the RNC gleefully pointed out in an “ICYMI” email sent this afternoon.

The email from the RNC’s Michael Short focused both on Cuomo and Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice, one of the three former commission co-chairs who resigned that position in January when she decided to run for the House seatg being vacated by retiring Democratic Rep. Carolyn McCarthy.

Rice is under fire from her GOP opponent, former Nassau County Legislator Bruce Blakeman, who is slamming her for refusing to talk about the Moreland scandal – a decision her spokesman says is out of respect for the US attorney’s investigation.

“It’s clear Cuomo and Rice have something to hide, refusing to answer pressing questions as federal prosecutors probe whether the governor shut down his own anti-corruption unit to protect his friends and improperly interfered with its investigations when they hit too close to home,” Short wrote. “The governor campaigned on transparency and fighting corruption, but it’s looking more and more like Cuomo and Rice are just part of the problem.”

The RNC’s clip of the CNN report appears below. Oddly, it cuts off early – apparently just before the subject turned to Cuomo’s GOP challenger, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, and the fact that he’s badly trailing the governor in the polls. The full CNN report can be viewed here. (Thanks, Jon Campbell).

Preet’s Embarrassment Campaign?

ICYMI, this was Item I from today’s Morning Memo:

There’s some fascinating stuff at the very bottom of today’s Wall Street Journal story on the latest in the Moreland mess, which offers some insight into what US Attorney Preet Bharara hopes to get out of this quest.

Consider the following:

“Mr. Bharara’s probe into the actions of the Cuomo administration with respect to interfering with the commission, dissolving it and the aftermath of that decision is now a top focus of prosecutors, according to people familiar with the probe.

“While it is unclear whether he could make a criminal case on that front, Mr. Bharara views the enterprise as a victory even if it doesn’t ultimately lead to charges against anyone in the administration, according to a person briefed on the investigation.”

“If his office brings one case that the Moreland Commission failed to refer for prosecution, the investigation will be worth it, the person said.”

There has been considerable speculation about what – if anything – Bharara might actually charge the governor, or anyone connected to him, with in connection with the administration’s interference with the now-defunct commission.

The governor’s efforts after the New York Times story to solicit supportive statements from former commission members while Bharara’s investigation was ongoing gave the US attorney some fuel. Bharara responded by warning the governor – in a letter that quickly leaked – against witness tampering and obstruction of justice.

But even those possible charges seem a little weak when you consider the enormity of the fallout if the US attorney actually charged a top gubernatorial aide, or, worse yet, the governor himself – especially this close to the fall elections.

Now, if the person “briefed” on Bharara’s investigation and sharing insights with the WSJ is to be believed, it appears the US attorney will be satisfied with merely having embarrassed the governor – especially if his office manages to bring some charges against a lawmaker or two that the commission declined to pursue, perhaps, as this story suggests, at the administration’s request.

This a rather dangerous and high-stakes game that Bharara is pursuing, as New York magazine’s Chris Smith pointed out this week.

“Given the governor’s muscular public-relations efforts, Bharara has little choice but to push back hard in public,” Smith wrote.

“Maybe the publicity-friendly strategy is also because Bharara suspects he won’t have the facts to send anyone to jail – and that to truly change the culture of state government, punishment is less effective than embarrassment, anyway.”

“But by so overtly confronting Andrew Cuomo, Preet Bharara is taking a risk, too: He has raised expectations that he’s going to deliver something more than another exposé of the Albany sausage-making machinery.”

And not only that, but Bharara has undoubtedly earned himself a very powerful enemy for a very long time.

Despite Moreland and its fallout (at least what we’ve seen to date) no one (except maybe Rob Astorino and Zephyr Teachout) really believes Cuomo is in danger of losing his re-election bid this fall.

So, the governor will return to office to deal with the Legislature in a brave new, post-Moreland world, which – thanks to Bharara – seems to have reduced the governor’s so-called “fear factor” somewhat and emboldened lawmakers just a tad.

Cuomo can’t possibly be happy about that. And if he’s looking for someone to blame, he won’t have to look much further than Lower Manhattan. Now, you could argue that Cuomo can’t do anything to hurt Bharara, who is a presidential appointee. And that is part of the reason why the US attorney is engaged in this crusade.

But who knows what Bharara’s next move will be? The political life is long and filled with many acts, downfalls and comebacks.

Perhaps no one is more aware of that fact than Cuomo himself.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo will be in New York City and Niagara County today.

At 10 a.m., Cuomo’s residency challenge to get his Democratic primary opponent, Zephyr Teachout, thrown off the September ballot continues, Brooklyn Supreme Room 775, before Judge Walker.

At 10:30 a.m., former NYC Councilman and state Senate candidate John Liu will unveil his transportation plan, outlining priorities for access-a-ride and expanding express bus service, Cross Island Parkway’s north service road near Cryders Lane and 154th Street, Queens.

At 11 a.m., NYC moms, and public officials – including Sen. Liz Krueger – rally in support of breastfeeding and celebrate the 20th Anniversary of a state civil rights law allowing women to breastfeed in public, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

Also at 11 a.m., Green Party gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins holds a news conference “to contrast his positions on schools, desegregation, and affordable housing with that of Republican Rob Astorino and Democrat Andrew Cuomo,” entrance to the County Office Bldg., 148 Martine Ave., White Plains.

At 11:30 a.m., GOP AG candidate John Cahill holds a meet-and-greet with local business and community leaders, The Pillars, 13800 W. County House Rd., Albion.

From noon to 4 p.m., Sen. Malcolm Smith hosts a BBQ, 111-55 167 St. and Sayres Avenue, Queens.

At 1 p.m., Cahill, joined by Orleans County Sheriff Scott Hess, will continue to push AG Eric Schneiderman to speak publicly about his role in the Moreland mess, 400 Public Safety Building, 13925 State Route 31, Albion.

At 1 p.m., National Action Network officials publicize a planned Aug. 23 march across the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge following a noon private meeting with officials from the city Department of Investigation to discuss criticisms by NYPD union officials; Eric Garner’s death, and other incidents; 80 Maiden Ln., Manhattan.

At 2:30 p.m., Cuomo makes an announcement, Niagara Falls State Park, Goat Island.

At 4:30 p.m., BEW Local 2109 Picnic, Joseph Davis State Park, Lewiston.

At 7 p.m., Rep. Chris Gibson will march in the Pawling Firemen’s Parade and meet with constituents.

At 8 p.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio visits the Ingersoll Community Center, where kids will be participating in “skate night” and dance classes, 177 Myrtle Ave., Brooklyn.


The NYT Eleanor Randolph: “…if (Zephyr Teachout) is such a trifle, then why has (Cuomo) hired one of the best elections experts in the state to pore over her records and find ways to get her off the ballot?”

“I think what it shows is that in the wake of a real scandal, and the missteps of the Moreland Commission, Andrew Cuomo is scared, and he would rather that I’m not on the ballot,” Teachout said before testifying in her residency case.

Teachout started crying on the stand when her own lawyer asked about the city apartment she shared in 2010 with a woman who died of cancer. “I still miss her,” she said.

Whether Teachout survives this legal challenge, Cuomo will still have a primary that allows him to raise even more money than he has, because he hasn’t challenged the petitions of comedian/activist Randy Credico.

Sources tell the Wall Street Journal federal prosecutors are examining whether Cuomo or his staff directed the Moreland Commission to not refer cases to district attorneys for prosecution. This is one part of what is now a three-tiered investigation.

Rep. Charlie Rangel defended Cuomo’s use of outside counsel to represent the executive chamber as the US attorney’s Moreland investigation continues.

The chair of the Hudson City Democratic Party organized an event for Teachout this Sunday. He said Cuomo has been an “utter disappointment” and he can’t support him for re-election.

Rescue New York Inc. recently registered as a campaign committee with the state Board of Elections, and is planning to spend money in the final months of the gubernatorial election to assist GOP candidate Rob Astorino.

Rescue New York’s treasurer, Lisa Lisker, has ties to some of the nation’s most prominent Republicans. There are at least three outside interest groups planning on helping GOP candidates (in the state Senate and AG hopeful John Cahill) this cycle.

Education advocates want the governor and legislative leaders to use the surplus to (finally) meet the CFE settlement requirements and end GEA, which total $5.9 billion.

The final autopsy report in the death of Eric Garner revealed that the illegal cigarette dealer was not high on drugs or alcohol when he died after being put in a chokehold by an NYPD officer.

More >


Zephyr Teachout wrote on her 2009 tax return that she lived”zero” months in New York City. In court today, she called that “a mistake.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi gave an in-person endorsement to Democratic LG candidate Kathy Hochul. (She backed the governor via phone during the Democratic convention).

“A Good Way to Wreck the Local Economy: Build Casinos.”

Hillary Clinton praises Kirsten Gillibrand as a “great senator” and a “great  friend” in a three-page foreword to the New York Democrat’s soon-to-be-published memoir.

New York’s four major good-government groups are set to do battle with one another over the redistricting constitutional amendment.

Teachout will meet with fracktivists in Ithaca this weekend.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has signed Avonte’s Law - legislation aimed at making schools safer for students with special needs.

NY-21 Green Party candidate Matt Funiciello believes the reason his Democratic opponent, documentary filmmaker Aaron Woolf, is running is to “make a movie.”

The NYPD’s resident beekeeper is retiring.

The Buffalo Bills’ trust has begun making in-person presentations to prospective buyers, with as many as eight scheduled over the next three weeks.

A Republican activist filed an ethics complaint against Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney for the congressman’s hiring of a drone to videotape his recent wedding.

The Rev. Al Sharpton said critics of his plan to march across the Verrazano Bridge to protest Eric Garner’s death haven’t bothered to ask what that plan is.

A trial court judge has ruled in favor of Cuomo’s cap on at least part of the top salaries at non-profits such as those that provide disability services.

Cazenovia College has reportedly had more forcible sex offenses reported per student than any other college in the New York state. (See the Post-Standard’s database, here).

Bill and Hillary Clinton will reportedly pay a total $100,000 for a three-week Hamptons rental.

Some poor guy in the Rochester area – also named Joe – has a phone number so close to Assemblyman Joe Morelle’s that he fields calls intended for the assemblyman several times a week.

UFT President Mike Mulgrew, at an AFT conference in LA last month: “…You sick people need to deal with us and the children we teach. Thank you very much!”

GOP state comptroller candidate Bob Antonacci launches his statewide minor league baseball park tour in Auburn tonight.

The NYS AFL-CIO gave an early endorsement to Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky’s re-election bid.

A leading Canadian member of the Peace Bridge Authority spoke out against comments made by its chair, Sam Hoyt, about public relations around a state project to connect the bridge to the highway.

Planned Parenthood Slams Amedore On WEA

Planned Parenthood Advocates of New York is taking former Assemblyman and second-time state Senate candidate George Amedore to task for his comments during a Capital Tonight interview last night, saying he misrepresented both his voting record on women’s rights and the abortion-rights portion of the governor’s 10-point Women’s Equality Act.

During our conversation, Amedore emphatically declared himself to be “pro-life,” and said he could not vote for the Women’s Equality Act if it contained the abortion-rights plank. Though supporters insist that plank merely codifies the existing rights laid out in the US Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, opponents say it would dramatically expand both access to and performance of abortions in New York.

Amedore said the measure “puts New York state women and their lives at risk,” which Planned Parenthood President Tracey Brooks deemed “just another recent example of ultra-conservative politics – extreme views which disingenuously claim to protect women’s health.”

“This is a part of troubling nationwide trend where politicians believe they are better positioned to make health care decisions than women and their physician,” Brooks continued in a statement released this afternoon. “Wildly inaccurate claims like Amedore’s play politics with women’s health decisions and are what truly put women’s lives at risk. It is clear that Amedore is out of touch with the women of New York State.”

Brooks also said that Amedore glossed over his own voting record during his three terms in the Assembly minority, where he voted against pay equity (another plank of the WEA) “every time he had the opportunity.”

“New York State women deserve better – they deserve representation that respects them and all of their constitutional rights,” Brooks concluded. “We stand against George Amedore this November.”

This shouldn’t come as any big surprise. Planned Parenthood is among the organizations that is committed to flipping the Senate into Democratic hands in hopes of seeing the WEA passed in that chamber.

In 2012, it supported the Democrat who defeated Amedore, now-Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk, by 18 votes, winning despite the fact that the district was specifially drawn by the Senate GOP with Amedore in mind.

Amedore is now running against Tkaczyk a second time, and said last night that he feels confident in his chances – especially since this isn’t a presidential election year that will boost Democratic turnout. Also, the 2012 race was dominated by spending (some $500,000 ) by outside interests trying to make Tkaczyk into the poster child for public campaign financing. So far, no outside spending has materialized in this race, but Amedore said he fully expects it will as Election Day draws closer.

Amedore’s timing could have perhaps been better, given the fact that Democratic LG Kathy Hochul has two events today – both on Long Island – launching the Women’s Equality Party that Gov. Andrew Cuomo is trying to create for the November elections. As Nick pointed out earlier, the Hochul events come as the governor’s legal challenge to the residency of his female Democratic challenger, Fordham Law Prof. Zephyr Teachout, is in court for the first time today.