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Posts by Liz Benjamin
Nov 12th - 5:47 pm
A draft lawsuit from a pro-drilling landowners group claims Gov. Andrew Cuomo has arbitrarily delayed a fracking decision for no “valid, rational or legally defensible reason.”
Former President Clinton weighed in on Obamacare, further complicating things for President Obama.
Former Gov. George Pataki says there’s a “self-insurance loophole” in Obamacare for businesses and individuals.
Time Magazine named Dante de Blasio one of the 16 most influential teens of the year.
Former Bronx GOP Chairman Jay Savino pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges.
“I want to apologize to anybody that believed in me, and I hope that I and my family will be able to move on from here,” Savino said.
The state Health Department announced that nearly 50,000 New Yorkers have enrolled in health insurance plans since Oct. 1, and nearly half signed up for Medicaid.
Mayor Bloomberg bemoaned his lack of privacy at the voting booth this past Election Day.
The Ready for Hillary PAC held its first major confab in NYC.
The state today awarded $4 million for 68 local governments to study consolidations and way to streamline operations.
Media writer Brian Stelter is heading to CNN, and the New York Times doesn’t have a replacement for him yet.
Sarah Palin called NJ Gov. Chris Christie’s appearance (in other words, his weight) “extreme.”
Christie spent this past weekend touting his big Election Day win on national TV.
US District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin’s comments on the appeals court stop-and-frisk ruling have puzzled even her own lawyer.
A group of upstate independent power producers is opposing proposals to convert coal-fired power plants in Dunkirk and Tompkins County to natural gas, warning that doing so would cause their plants to close.
One of the largest groups of American Indian tribes opposes deals like the one struck between the Oneida and Cuomo in May that would give the CNY tribe a 10-county monopoly on casinos
Nov 12th - 6:43 am
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule.
At 9 a.m., AARP NY holds panel discussion on the importance and benefits of hiring older workers, and presents an award to the YMCA of Greater Rochester for its success in hiring and retaining older workers, Strathallan 550 East Ave., Rochester.
Also at 9 a.m., Mayor Bloomberg speaks at the Flight 587 12th Anniversary Memorial Service, Beach 116th St. at Rockaway Beach Boulevard, Queens.
At 10 a.m., Rep. Jerrold Nadler and other elected officials launch an 11-mile pilgrimage and a three-day fast and vigil outside Rep. Michael Grimm’s office to push for immigration reform, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, 460 Madison Ave., Manhattan.
At 11 a.m., the NYS PTA holds a conference call with reporters to call on the state Education Department to improve its implementation of the Common Core academic standards, cut back on testing and improve teacher training.
At noon, Grimm and Polish officials will posthumously present Staff Sergeant Michael H. Ollis of Staten Island with the “Afghanistan Star” of the President of the Republic of Poland and “Army Gold Medal” of Poland’s Minister of Defense, Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in New York City, 233 Madison Ave., Manhattan.
At 3:30 p.m., Sen. David Carlucci and Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee call on Cuomo to sign legislation allowing millions of dollars in accelerated aid to the East Ramapo Central School District, 110 Bethune Blvd., Spring Valley.
From 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Former Gov. Mario Cuomo speaks at the Teachers College 125th Anniversary Celebration Gala and Campaign Launch, Apollo Theater, 253 W. 125th Street, Manhattan.
At 7 p.m., Assembly Members Joe Borelli and Nicole Malliotakis join educators, officials and parents at a New York State Assembly Minority Forum on Education, Intermediate School 24, 225 Cleveland Ave., Staten Island.
Also at 7 p.m., NYC Councilwoman and Public Advocate-elect Letitia James participates in a community forum on stop-and-frisk, Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church, 85 S. Oxford St., Brooklyn.
At 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., NY1′s “Road To City Hall” features filmmaker Ken Burns.
The Cuomo administration has quietly agreed to pay a Rochester-area company $20.6 million for “talent acquisition services” to help the governor fulfill his pledge to hire the “best and brightest” to work in state government.
Carl Paladino said he’d be willing to run for governor in 2014 on the Conservative Party line if the state GOP failed to nominate someone with sufficient conservative credentials.
Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino is framing a potential gubernatorial run around the need for Albany to curb state-mandated costs on local governments, saying: “If business as usual continues at the state level, a fiscally responsible executive has to step up.”
The Buffalo Public Schools’ top administrator in charge of school turnaround plans, Debra S. Sykes, has been forced to resign a day after state officials told district leaders about serious problems in instruction, leadership and Central Office support at three underachieving schools.
In a new TV ad, Republican Connecticut gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley tells New York taxpayers and businesses upset by Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s policies to consider relocating to his state.
Foley trashes the mayor-elect in his ad by using The NY Post’s Nov. 4 front page, which highlighted de Blasio’s 1980s trip to the communist Soviet Union under the headline “Back in the USSR.”
Nicole Gelinas writes: “Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio says he wants to keep crime down. The bloodshed in Bryant Park on Saturday night should remind him how hard that could be to do, unless he’s willing to break with his anti-policing allies.”
The lack of a contract for NYC’s 300,000 unionized municipal workers and their demand for $7 billion in retroactive pay to make up for years without raises poses a big problem for de Blasio and could cause his first split with organized labor.
There’s a “Talking Transition tent” set up in SoHo where New Yorkers can discuss what they think de Blasio should focus on when he takes office.
De Blasio used Veterans Day to invoke his own family’s experiences, telling a group of veterans and top city officials that “the service of our family members framed so much of our lives.”
Nov 11th - 5:17 pm
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a Veterans and Military Families Summit, which will be held next month in Albany.
A federal mass transit tax break that saves over hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers $1,000-a-year each in commuting costs is set to expire at the end of the year.
Cuomo suggested he’d find a way to fund universal Pre-K, a signature proposal of NYC Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s campaign.
Rochester could become only the second community in New York to request a comprehensive review by a state board recently established to assist financially strapped municipalities.
ConEd’s residential electricity prices in 2012 were again the highest charged by any major U.S. electric utility, according to new federal government data.
De Blasio made a rare tribute to his troubled father in remarks honoring veterans – including his dad.
John Gambling, the WOR radio host who co-hosts a weekly show with Mayor Bloomberg, is leaving his post just a handful of days before Bloomberg leaves office.
De Blasio says he won’t make a decision about whether to move into Gracie Mansion until his daughter Chiara comes home from college for Thanksgiving.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney is on the Hillary Clinton 2016 bandwagon.
Clinton is one of actress Julia Roberts’ personal heroes.
Illinois Rep. Tammy Duckworth is the second House lawmaker to back the group working to draft Clinton to run for president.
Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner: “The strangest place I’ve ever been confronted by a constituent is in a public bathroom.”
A Klingon warrior has been elected to a town board in New York.
The latest New Yorker cover foresees Bloomberg’s last subway trip home from City Hall.
Bloomberg’s final address at the Veterans Day ceremony at Madison Square Park was interrupted by a heckler.
New school busing contracts will save the city $210 million over the next five years, Bloomberg and NYC Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott announced.
Rensselaer County Executive Kathleen Jimino is asking for her first raise in eight years as the County Legislature considers her 2014 county budget proposal.
Nov 11th - 6:29 am
It’s Veterans Day, and most government offices are closed as a result. If you have a moment, thank someone in the military – active duty or retired – for their service to our country.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City today. At 11 a.m., he’ll march in the Veterans Day Parade, which starts at 26th Street and 5th Avenue, Manhattan.
This year’s parade is dedicated to Women in Service, with Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody, U.S. Army (ret.), the first woman to achieve four-star rank in any U.S. Military service, as Grand Marshal.
Numerous elected officials – including Mayor Bloomberg and NYC Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio (though not together) – will march.
Albany’s 58th annual Veterans Day Parade also starts at 11 a.m., and steps off from Partridge Sreet, heading east onto Central Avenue and continuing east on Washington Avenue to the Capitol.
At 10:15 a.m., de Blasio speaks at a wreath-laying ceremony, Eternal Light Flagstaff, Madison Square Park, Corner of 5th Ave at 24th Street, Manhattan.
At 8:45 a.m., the superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen Jr., and executives who attended the military academy ring the opening bell of the NYSE.
From 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., Sens. Joe Addabbo Jr. and James Sanders, and Assemblymen Mike Miller and William Scarborough, two World War II veterans who were members of the Tuskegee Airmen, Resorts World Casino New York City executives and other officials participate in the casino’s ceremony to mark Monday’s observance of Veterans Day; 110-00 Rockaway Blvd., Queens.
At 11 a.m., Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney and other elected officials attend a Veterans Day wreath laying ceremony, 183 Main St., Cornwall.
At noon, immigrant veterans call on Rep. Michael Grimm to help their family members by pushing for immigration reform, Grimm’s district office, 265 New Dorp Lane, Staten Island.
From 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., former President Clinton presents a keynote speech to members of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association during the opening day of the association’s annual meeting, New York Marriott Marquis hotel, 1535 Broadway, Manhattan.
At 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., NY’1 “Road To City Hall” features NYC Public Advocate-elect Letitia James.
Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino on a 2014 challenge to Cuomo: “I am considering it right now. I have to consider it. New York is hemorrhaging jobs, I think we just went from 49th to 50th in terms of a bad business climate. We’re going in the wrong direction.”
The day after he easily won re-election in a Democrat-dominated county, Astorino refused to speculate on 2014, saying: “Right now, it’s one day at a time.”
Astorino doesn’t pass muster with Carl Paladino, who’s threatening to run on the Conservative line in 2014. Paladino said the county executive “has purposely avoided the conservative side of the party and hangs around with all the RINOs.”
If Astorino decides not to run and the Republicans can’t find a decent candidate, some are suggesting state GOP Chairman Ed Cox run himself. (He hasn’t ruled it out).
Onondaga County DA William Fitzpatrick, co-chair of the Moreland Commission, has changed his mind on public financing of campaigns, saying he now supports the idea of using taxpayer money to finance candidates running for office.
Mayor Bloomberg’s cash and his willingness to spread it around, “was protection money,” says Baruch College Prof. Doug Muzzio. De Blasio doesn’t have that kind of personal wealth to silence critics and reward allies.
Nov 9th - 9:24 am
NY1′s Zack Fink sent the following dispatch from the Somos el Futuro conference in San Juan:
I have a handful of friends who used to cancel plans with me all the time at the last minute. Used to drive me crazy. And it’s fair to say they are no longer my friends.
On Friday, at roughly 3 p.m., organizers here at Somos in Puerto Rico were informed that Gov. Andrew Cuomo would not be attending after all. It was in their words, “a cancellation.”
Cuomo was even planning to hold his own reception here. The food was ordered. The drinks on ice. So needless to say, this was a bit of a shock to some of the members.
When I asked Assemblywoman Amy Paulin about it, she simply said: “The governor is not coming? I didn’t know that.”
Publicly, most of the members wouldn’t say much beyond the obligatory “well, I am disappointed.”
But privately you hear a different sort of chatter. Last night, after all, was NYC Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s big night. Never one to be upstaged, some believe Cuomo had no interest in sharing the spotlight.
There is a deeper concern too, one that some people are uncomfortable talking about and that is a “tale of two Democrats.”
De Blasio and Cuomo are from the same party, but they represent very different wings. While the mayor-elect is promising to tax the rich to pay for services for the poor, Cuomo is traveling the state talking about the tax cuts he plans to deliver in this critical re-election year.
This is technically Cuomo’s last fall Somos conference before he must stand for re-election. Many are surprised he would snub the Latino members by not showing up – particularly when he will be counting on their support in 2014.
As we noted earlier what’s also quite interesting is that Westchester County Executive and possible 2014 GOP gubernatorial challenger Rob Astorino WAS here.
I guess he understands the Spanish words for “we are the future.”
Liz notes: The Cuomo administration insists the decision for the governor not to attend was made Thursday night, and that Somos organizers were informed well in advance.
Nov 8th - 5:25 pm
Meet NYC Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s inner circle.
De Blasio may be big in stature, but will he be Big? Only time will tell.
Following a New York Times report on anti-Semitism in the Pine Bush Central School District, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the state will be looking into the matter.
In a harshly-worded letter to Education Commissioner John King, Cuomo asked what “if anything” SED knew about the Pine Bush problem and what steps it took to address the situation.
Response from SED:
“The State Education Department only today became aware of the deeply distressing allegations of anti-Semitic harassment and physical attacks at the Pine Bush Central School District. No reports or filings have been made to the Department regarding these depraved and despicable behaviors.”
The Wandering Dago food truck lost Round I in its legal battle with OGS and NYRA.
NYC Comptroller John Liu plans to sue the NYC over the denial of as much as $3.5 million in public funding for his failed mayoral campaign.
Outgoing NYC Mayor Bloomberg says he won’t publicly criticize his replacement – especially not during his first year in office.
The Post-Standard has a database that lets you track who gave what to whom (campaign finance-wise) in the Syracuse mayor’s race.
Sharks are circling around Assemblyman Micah Kellner.
Some of the state’s most prominent environmental groups disagree over whether fracking should be banned outright or studied to death.
State consumer sentiment fell sharply this month and is at the lowest level since Dec. 2011, according to a new Siena poll.
Chris Jacobs says it would be hard for Delaware North to turn down a better offer to relocate from Buffalo to another city, but insists that’s not a threat.
Anne Michaud: “I hope that de Blasio will consider a third New York as well – the many of us who inhabit this amazing city’s suburbs” and need it to be visitable, commutable.
Fox News host Bill O’Reilly complained that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie refuses to appear on his show.
Former Sen. Craig Johnson is a fan of the Common Core, calling its reforms a “necessary recalibration.”
Chicago’s bike-share program, Divvy, is poised to eclipse New York as the nation’s largest – at least in terms of stations – next year.
Nov 8th - 4:47 pm
In a public radio interview that will air in full this weekend, one of the three Moreland Commission co-chairs, Onondaga County DA William Fitzpatrick, says the anti-corruption commission has uncovered criminal activity during its investigation of New York’s Byzantine campaign finance system and will be referring its findings for prosecution.
“We have subpoena power and law enforcement power,” Fitzpatrick told Grant Reeher, host of WRVO’s Campbell Conversations. “If we discover criminality – and I can tell you without being tantalizing, I can tell you that we have – we will refer that to the appropriate prosecutorial agency.”
Fitzpatrick did not elaborate, so we’ll have to wait until Reeher’s interview airs in full Sunday night at 6 p.m. on WRVO.
But that small tidbit is probably more than enough to get the rumor mill churning in Albany (not to mention San Juan, Puerto Rico), and also perhaps put some legislators and campaign contributors on edge.
The Moreland Commission is scheduled to make its preliminary report next month, and its final report is to be filed in January 2015.
That means absent some sort of deal between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders – as has been speculated, but also shot down by Senate Republicans – on an ethics package that enables the governor to shut down the commission, it will be continuing its work through the 2014 legislative session and campaign season, which could very well put a damper on things down at the Capitol in terms of progress on anything other than the budget.
Fitzpatrick also told Reeher that next year will be difficult for New Yorkers as the commission uncovers additional wrongdoing. (This is paraphrased and not a direct quote). Though there has been a lot of reporting about the commission’s lack of indendence from Cuomo, it recently started to flex its muscles, sending out subpoenas that were initially held back.
It appears most of the political committees that received the subpoenas plan to comply, with the exception of the Senate Republicans, who moved to quash the one sent to their housekeeping account.
The Buffalo News’ Tom Precious reported that Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos had a rare face-to-face meeting this week, which could be a sign that the two sides are trying to work out some sort of truce that they will eventually extend to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and IDC Leader Jeff Klein.
Nov 8th - 1:39 pm
ICYMI: Sen. Cathy Young, who took control of the Senate Republican Campaign Committee over the summer, told me on CapTon last night that the GOP’s focus in the 2014 elections will be to protect its current members and grow its conference, leaving little left over to provide assistance to members of its power-sharing partner, the IDC.
“You know we’re really focused on the Republican seats, and that’s really where we’re really going to put our efforts,” Young said. “I think we’ve got great opportunities moving forwaard.”
“I really feel that because of the success we just had in this election, it bodes very well; it’s a great bellweather for what’s going to happen….The success that we had across the state, I think is going to translate in the coming year.”
That’s a departure from Young’s predecessor, Sen. Tom Libous, who said back in June that he would be “very open” to helping IDC members “any way I could” in the coming elections, though he did also acknowledge that his first priority would be to assist members of his own conference.
It was recently reported that NYC Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo have discussed targeting the four IDC senators – especially their leader, Jeff Klein, and his girlfriend, Sen. Diane Savino - during the September primary next year in retaliation for their failure to get “progressive” legislation like the governor’s Women’s Equality Act and campaign finance reform passed in the Senate.
Klein responded by announcing his plan to champion de Blasio’s plan to hike taxes on the rich to fund universal pre-K and after school programs – a proposal Cuomo has more or less said is a non-starter in the 2014 legislative session.
Young also hedged het bets a little bit, telling me that whatever happens in the 2014 elections, the Republicans will still be interested in working with the IDC, explaining:
“We’re looking to gain more seats for the Senate Republicans, but if you recall with the IDC we actually had a good working relationship even when we had the majority the last time. So, I expect that relationship to continue. It’s been very positive. As you know, we don’t agree on everything, but it’s been a very successful power-sharing agreement thus far, and I anticipate that it will continue.”
Young brushed off any talk of the SRCC being hurt by the departure from the public stage of Mayor Bloomberg, who has been the single biggest individual donor to the Senate GOP’s campaign coffers since he took office 12 years ago. She insisted a wide variety of donors are interested in supporting the Republicans’ political effort, though she didn’t name names.
Nov 8th - 6:22 am
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in the “New York City area” with no public schedule.
At 7:50 a.m, the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is delivered from Shelton, Conn., 30 Rockefeller Plaza, 49th Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues, Manhattan.
At 8 a.m., Mayor Bloomberg does his weekly radio appearance on WOR-AM (710).
At 9:30 a.m., AARP NY holds a roundtable on older adult hunger and ways to get more eligible seniors food assistance, Crandall Library, 251 Glen St., Glens Falls.
From 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., the executive director of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” program, Sam Kass; Rep. Jerrold Nadler and officials from the Children’s Museum of Manhattan and the National Institutes of Health discuss expansion of an “EatPlayGrow” early childhood health curriculum; 212 W. 83rd St., Manhattan.
At 10:30 a.m., IDC Leader Jeff Klein and City Island Civic Association members announce lawsuit against a new proposed City Island bridge, Catherine Scott Promenade, 549 City Island Ave., the Bronx.
At 11 a.m., Reps. Eliot Engel and Jose Serrano, Food Bank For New York City President and CEO Margarette Purvis and representatives of at least 14 of the food bank’s member agencies discuss federal SNAP funding while touring the food bank’s warehouse; 355 Food Center Dr., the Bronx.
At 11:30 a.m., NYC Central Labor Council President Vincent Alvarez, state AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento, Reps. Yvette Clarke, Carolyn Maloney, Grace Meng and Jerrold Nadler and union officials representing NYCHA workers discuss federal budget negotiations and the agency’s management; conference room, fifth floor, Teamsters Local 237, 216 W. 14th St., Manhattan.
At 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., NY1′s “Road to City Hall” features Mark Halperin, co-author of “Double Down.”
At 9 p.m., NYC Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio delivers remarks at Assemblyman Felix Ortiz’s Somos el Futuro reception, Condado Hilton Hotel, 999 Ashford Ave., San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Unlike Mayor Bloomberg, who has his own private jet, de Blasio and his wife, Chirlane McCray, flew commercial — JetBlue Flight 406 — and in coach.
De Blasio’s Park Slope neighbors want the family to remain in Brooklyn. Consultant George Arzt says that would be a “great move” for the “populist mayor.”
If the family does move to Gracie Mansion, Dante de Blasio will have a long commute (especially if he takes public transportation) to his Brooklyn high school – a fate many NYC students share.
“With his populist rhetoric, de Blasio is walking a fine line.”
De Blasio found some fellow Red Sox fans in Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro García Padilla and hiw wife, Wilma Pastrana.
Sen. Liz Krueger is reportedly under consideration by the mayor-elect to be the city’s next housing czar.
A day after de Blasio – its staunchest defender – was elected mayor, financially troubled Long Island College Hospital decreed that it would not accept any new patients and even banned ambulances from bringing people to the emergency department.
Four NYPD unions moved to position themselves to appeal a federal-court ruling on the department’s stop-and-frisk practice in the event de Blasio makes good on his pledge to drop the appeal once he is in office.
After weeks of growing tensions between the executive and legislative branches, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Senate co-leader Dean Skelos met face-to-face Wednesday to try to end their war of words and legal tussles.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver joined his fellow Democrats at Somos, and was said by Queens Assemblyman David Weprin to have “pretty much 100 percent support” from his conference members despite numerous problems in recent months.
Nov 7th - 5:54 pm
The US Senate passed ENDA, 64-32.
Georgina Bloomberg, who’s pregnant with Mayor Bloomberg’s first grandchild, says her father “isn’t particularly good with children,” adding: “I’m not sure I’ll be having him babysit.”
Writer Jonathan Kozol was “utterly shocked” by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s death penalty for failing schools comment.
Former Bloomberg Deputy Mayor Ed Skyler offered cautious optimism about the de Blasio administration, but noted big challenges face the new mayor.
The cops currently assigned to the outgoing mayor’s security detail have been told there are six-figure jobs waiting for them protecting him as a private citizen.
Part of Bloomberg’s legacy: An FDA trans-fat ban.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan is calling on the House to act on immigration legislation before the end of the year.
Doctors at the Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital say they triggered the state’s investigation into whether Upstate President Dr. David R. Smith padded his pay.
Smith has resigned.
Union leaders are saying they won big this election cycle, not just in NYC, but around the country.
Attorney Frank Steinherr wants to challenge Sean Eldridge for the Democratic line in NY-19 next year.
President Obama considered veteran Harlem Rep. Charles Rangel a political hack, the new book “Double Down” claims.
Marissa Shorenstein, former spokeswoman to gubernatorial candidate Carl McCall and Gov. David Paterson, reflects on what makes a successful flack. (Lesson 1: Connections don’t hurt).
The City of Fulton in Oswego County is so far the only municipality to have applied to Cuomo’s Financial Restructuring Board for assistance.
Former Congressman-turned-TV-host Joe Scarborough: NJ Gov. Chris Christie is a “man for all factions” (if the GOP will have him).
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton is among those urging Hillary Clinton to try again for the presidency in 2016.
There will be new parent-teacher conferences for the families of students who performed poorly on the controversial new Common Core tests last year.