Liz Benjamin

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NYSUT All In On Fight for $15

From the Morning Memo:

The statewide teacher’s union, NYSUT, is doubling down on its support for a statewide $15-an-hour minimum wage boost, even as school business officials warn that the increase would put districts in a financial bind and could even cost jobs.

“Unions and coalition groups across New York State have announced a push for $15 for all workers. It is essential that we all stand together and show our solidarity,” the union wrote to its members in an “action” notice on its website. “Join NYSUT’s $15 for Everyone movement!”

NYSUT is planning a series of “$15 for Everyone” rallies across the state next Tuesday, with events scheduled for Albany, Buffalo, Rochester, New York City, Binghamton, Poughkeepsie and Kingston.

The state Association of School Business Officials recently said that while the governor’s minimum wage push is well meaning, it could put added pressure on already cash-strapped districts, which employ thousands of minimum wage workers and have difficulty raising revenue on their own thanks to the tax cap.

A statewide minimum wage increase would cost districts an estimated $276 million, according to the association, which surveyed its members on the subject.

That would translated into an average property tax hike of 2.6 percent – unless the state ponies up more education aid to help districts cover the additional cost.

Increasing aid – specifically through finally fully funding the CFE settlement – is exactly what NYSUT wants to see the state do, according to union spokesman Carl Korn.

NYSUT would also like the Cuomo administration to relent on the issue of the tax cap, approving changes that make it easier for districts to break it if necessary without requiring approval from a supermajority of voters.

“Depending on how you do the math, they’re approximately $5 billion behind in funding CFE,” Korn said. “And the tax cap has proved not only undemocratic but unworkable. It strips away local control from New Yorkers who may want to invest more in their schools and in the people who are the foundation of their schools.” More >

Here and Now

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

The Somos el Futuro conference continues in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

At 9 a.m., a coalition of environmental groups deliver a letter to the governor opposing the Port Ambrose offshore liquefied natural gas facility, 633 Third Ave., Manhattan.

At 9:30 a.m., Rep. Kathleen Rice speaks to students about the dangers of distracted driving as part of AT&T’s national “It Can Wait” campaign, Freeport High School Auditorium, 50 S. Brookside Ave., Freeport.

At 10:30 a.m., the Assembly Committee on Libraries and Education Technology holds meeting on funding public libraries, Celeste Auditorium, New York Public Library, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, 476 Fifth Ave., Manhattan.

At 11:30 a.m., Rep. Steve Israel, Sen. Carl Marcellino and others attend the unveiling of new life-saving equipment awarded to Sea Cliff volunteer firefighters, Sea Cliff Fire Department to Village Club, 300 Sea Cliff Ave., Sea Cliff.

At 11:30 a.m., US Sen. Chuck Schumer calls for tax incentives to encourage small farmers to purchase new equipment, Hudson River Tractor, 3021 State Highway 5S, Fultonville.

Also at 11:30 a.m., Sen. Jesse Hamilton, colleagues, educators, and concerned neighborhood residents will launch the Pipeline Mentorship Program, P.S. 284 Lew Wallace, 213 Osborn St., Brooklyn.

At 1:15 p.m., SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher kicks off her “Stand with SUNY” statewide tour with a keynote address at the Council of Industry’s 2015 Member Expo, The Poughkeepsie Grand, 40 Civic Center Plaza, Poughkeepsie.

At 2 p.m., Schumer calls on his colleagues to immediately reauthorize and fully fund The Land and Water Conservation Fund, Peacock Park, Parkside Drive, Lake Placid.

Also at 2 p.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio holds a media availability, Blue Room, City Hall, Manhattan.

4 p.m., the New York Common Core Task Force holds a regional listening session, LaGuardia Community College, Poolside Café, 31-10 Thomson Ave., Queens.

Also at 4 p.m., the task force holds a regional Common Core listening session, Crossings of Colonie, large meeting room, 580 Albany Shaker Rd., Loudonville.

Also at 4 p.m., the task force holds a regional Common Core listening session, Genesee Community College, Conable Technology Building, Room T-102, One College Rd., Batavia.

Also at 4 p.m., the task force holds a regional Common Core listening session, SUNY Purchase College, Humanities Building, Theater, 735 Anderson Hill Rd., Purchase.

Also at 4 p.m., the task force holds a regional Common Core listening session, Stony Brook University Research and Development Park, CEWIT, 1500 Stony Brook Rd., Stony Brook.


Though New York’s two top Democrats were in San Juan yesterday to show “solidarity” with the island territory as it faces a mounting debt crisis, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio showed little solidarity with each other.

The two men, both sweating heavily, marched together for over an hour along the streets of San Juan, separated at times only by Puerto Rican Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla. They barely spoke to each other.

The mayor and the governor called on Congress to boost health-care funding for Puerto Rico that could help the government pay down its $73 billion debt that has it hurdling toward fiscal doom.

While on the island, Cuomo did strengthen his relationship with NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, a close de Blasio ally. She grew emotional as she thanked the governor for opening a New York state trade, economic-development and tourism office in Old San Juan.

The House approved a long-term highway bill that strips billions in public transportation funding from New York and six other Northeastern states.

New York will enter its next fiscal year with a surplus of roughly $1 billion, state officials projected in an updated financial plan released yesterday.

US Sen. Chuck Schumer and Cuomo said in a joint statement that they are working to keep open Alcoa’s North Country smelting facility that employs almost 500 people, though neither offered a specific plan to keep the plant operating.

Prosecutors unveiled a damning e-mail that shows a Columbia cancer doctor steered asbestos victims to then-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to curry favor with him. “I will keep giving cases to Shelly because I may need him in the future — he is the most powerful man in New York State,” Dr. Robert Taub wrote in 2010.

During cross-examination of Taub, defense lawyer Steven Molo sought to portray Silver as a caring friend whose relationship with the doctor was based on goodwill, instead of the bribery scheme alleged by prosecutors.

A legislative budget director testified that he was not aware of any application process for access to a secret pot of $50 million worth of state money that Silver controlled.

Disgraced former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos used his political muscle to score “his own no-show job” and rake in nearly $200,000 per year, before pulling a similar move on his son’s behalf and getting arrested for it, prosecutors said in new court papers. More here.

In 2013, as Skelos was pushing Cuomo to authorize natural gas fracking, the senator’s son, Adam, was angling to get payments from a wastewater treatment company seeking a piece of the hydrofracking windfall, the documents claim.

A day after one of his aides got into a heated argument with a TV reporter over his refusal to take questions on homelessness, de Blasio insisted his administration had an open door policy with both the press and the public.

More >


AG Eric Schneiderman has begun a sweeping investigation of Exxon Mobil to determine whether the company lied to the public about the risks of climate change or to investors about how those risks might hurt the oil business.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio called on film director Quentin Tarantino to apologize for remarks he made during an anti-police brutality rally in Manhattan late last month.

The corruption trial of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has already claimed its first victim: Juror No. 4. (She had a work conflict).

As part of his ongoing rift with de Blasio, Cuomo reportedly has told his top police executives to pull investigators from various state and federal task forces and dispatch them — in uniform — to the city’s high-profile transit hubs to boost the state’s profile there.

Fresh off a ballot measure win in San Francisco, Airbnb is planning to duplicate its grass-roots campaign strategy elsewhere in the country, including in New York City, where the company is facing the possibility of a steep increase in fines.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the Wiffle Ball and a host of other popular toys didn’t make the cut as inductees into the National National Toy Hall of Fame in Rochester, while Twister, Super Soaker and the puppet were selected.

Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita announced that the rape case against Chicago Blackhawks hockey star Patrick Kane will not move forward.

Republican 2016 candidate Donald Trump released his first set of campaign ads today – two wide-ranging radio slots that attacked his rivals and boasted his anti-immigration, pro-veteran platform.

The American Museum of Natural History has released a conceptual design for a planned $325 million expansion that has drawn the ire of its Upper West Side neighbors because it would encroach on a surrounding public park.

The legal action continues to pile up against the proposed Lago casino in Tyre as a citizens group backed by gambling competitors filed another lawsuit this week about the $425 million project.

The state Education Department sent out guidelines for a tool kit available on the department’s website, which includes letters to teachers, letters to parents, sample flyers and a social media kit with suggested tweets and Facebook posts.

The number of women serving in New York’s Legislature will hit a record high in January, with women occupying 55 of the 213 seats in the Senate and Assembly.

A former state prison sergeant was sentenced for stealing $56,400 in worker’s compensation benefits by running a Cayuga County used car businesses while claiming he was unable to work.

Cuomo announced eight administration appointments – all of them women.

New York City leads the nation in the number of languages spoken at home: a remarkable 192 or more, the U.S. Census Bureau said in a report this week.

Sen. Adriano Espaillat has declared himself the frontrunner in the crowded race to replace retiring Rep. Charlie Rangel next year.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan stopped in to Radio City Music Hall to hang out with the Rockettes and bless the animals in their holiday show.

Kamran Mumtaz, ex-NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s former City Hall spokesman who is famous in political circles for his ability to perform difficult card tricks, has been appointed to lead Citi’s government operations in Washington, D.C., ahead of the 2016 elections.

The State Liquor Authority last week lost a round in a grinding legal battle with Empire Wine, the Colonie-based retailer that was cited more than a year ago for shipping wine to consumers in 16 states that don’t allow such shipments.

Two men who say they’re survivors of child-molesting priests have sent more than 85,000 signatures to the Vatican demanding the resignation of Syracuse’s bishop.

Akshar Vows He’ll Remain Independent

aksharFrom the Morning Memo:

Despite the considerable assistance he received from the Senate Republicans, who had a lot riding on his win, Sen. Fred Akshar insists he’ll be his own man when he comes to Albany to represent the 52nd Senate District.

Speaking to TWC News reporter Emily Lorsch, Akshar refuted the claim of his vanquished Democratic opponent, Barbara Fiala, that he’s in “debt” to the Senate GOP conference.

In a subsequent CapTon interview, the former Broome County undersheriff, who was sworn to his new job in on election night, said he will strive to maintain his independence from his fellow majority members.

“It’s very simple, I’m an independent person,” Akshar said. “I’ve served this community for the last 15 years with a great degree of passion and dedication…We did get some help from the Senate Republicans, and I’m very grateful for that.”

“…At the end of the day, I’m beholden to the people of this district, and I’m always going to vote my conscience and vote in the best interest of the people who live in the 52nd district,” the new senator continued.

“Look, I’m all about compromise and having meaningful discussions with folks – whether it be in the conference or across the aisle – but at the end of the day, I’m always going to serve the people of this district.” More >

Senate Dems Look Local, See Hope

senate1From the Morning Memo:

The Senate Democrats are shrugging off Fiala’s big loss in the 52nd SD, saying the GOP-dominated district was always a long shot and never figured prominently in their plan to re-take the majority in 2016.

Though they were initially bullish about the former Broome County executive’s chances, the Democrats quickly realized that she was unlikely to defeat Akshar, and didn’t invest much in the way of time or money in the race.

The Senate Dems did see reason for optimism in the results of several local races – especially out on Long Island, which has been a battleground in recent years in the fight for control of the chamber.

Democratic acting Nassau County DA Madeline Singas easily defeated her Republican opponent, Kate Murray, the longtime Hempstead town supervisor, despite the fact that polls had indicated the race was close.

The corruption scandal of former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, a Nassau County GOP stalwart, was in issue in the DA’s race, with Singas (apparently successfully) seeking to tie Murray to the mess – a move that will no doubt be replicated, depending on the outcome of the senator’s Nov. 16 trial, in some 2016 Senate races.

Also on Long Island, nine-term incumbent Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Town Supervisor John Venditto, a Republican, is trailing his Democratic opponent, John Mangelli, by just 68 votes, with absentee ballots yet to be counted. More >

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio are in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The Somos el Futuro conference kicks off today, also in San Juan.

At 8 a.m., NYC Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Maria Torres-Springer speaks at Crain’s breakfast forum, New York Athletic Club, 180 Central Park South, Manhattan.

At 9 a.m., Sen. Rich Funke will host his first Take a Veteran to School Day, Victor Senior High School, auditorium, 953 High St., Victor.

At 10 a.m., the Empire Center for Public Policy releases a minimum wage impact study, LCA Room, Legislative Office Building, 1st floor, Albany.

At 10:30 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul delivers remarks to job seekers at Cuomo’s Syracuse career expo, The Oncenter, 800 South State St., Syracuse.

At 11 a.m., Sen. George Amedore and Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy will join Guilderland Town Supervisor Ken Runion for a major infrastructure announcement, Guilderland Town Hall, 5209 Western Turnpike (Rt. 20), Guilderland.

Also at 11 a.m., Rep. Chris Gibson will host a conference call with members of the media to discuss the decision by state and federal regulators to shut down the Health Republic insurance co-op.

At 11:30 a.m., Cuomo makes an announcement, Department of State Offices, 200 Calle San Jose (between San Fransisco and Fortaleza streets), San Juan.

At noon, Sen. Bill Perkins, Bertha Lewis of The Black Institute, Former Success Academy parent Fatima Geidi, AQE parents and New York Communities for Change call on the SUNY Board of Trustees to investigate a Success Academy school’s “got to go” list, SUNY Global Center, 116 E. 55th St., Manhattan.

Also at noon, IDC Leader Jeff Klein and Sen. Diane Savino will call for a letter grading system for New York City day care centers and release a alarming investigative report, “The Hidden Dangers in Day Care,” 250 Broadway, Manhattan.

At 2 p.m., Cuomo holds a media availability before joining local officials at a health care rally, Coliseo de Puerto Rico, 500 Ave. Arterial B, San Juan. (De Blasio is also scheduled to attend the rally, and will speak to members of the press at 1:30 p.m. at the VIP tent).

At 4 p.m., a taped interview with de Blasio will air on 105.1 FM.

At 6 p.m., Rep. Charles Rangel, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, state Sen. Bill Perkins and others attend Harlem’s first LGBTQ Town Hall meeting, Harlem State Office Building, 163 W. 125 St., Manhattan.

Also at 6 p.m., the PSC holds a Reforming Energy Vision (REV) public hearing, Rochester City Council Chambers, 30 Church St., Rochester.

At 6:30 p.m., de Blasio delivers opening remarks at the Somos el Futuro welcoming reception, Caribe Hilton Hotel, 1 San Geronimo St., San Juan.

At 7:15 p.m., NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray will be honored as Advocate of the Year for her work to raise awareness and remove the stigma of mental illness at the 2015 Seeds of Hope Gala for the NYC Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Metropolitan Pavilion – South Pavilion, 125 West 18th St., Manhattan.

At 7:45 p.m., Cuomo delivers remarks at the SOMOS chairman’s reception, Atlantic Garden, Caribe Hilton, 1 San Geronimo St., San Juan.


A Columbia University oncologist considered one of the key witnesses in the case against former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver testified that there “was a pattern” in which the lawmaker would ask the doctor for patient referrals whenever the physician requested help with funding for his research. More here and here.

Taub admitted he lied to federal investigators when they came around at 6 a.m. one morning to ask him whether he had steered asbestos victims to Silver’s law firm, enriching Silver to the tune of more than $3 million.

Leaving court late yesterday, Silver was asked if he is looking forward to the holidays. “There is no holiday until this case is over,” he replied. “I’m looking forward to being vindicated.”

Former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos’ idea to go after Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s girlfriend Sandra Lee as part of a beef over the budget was merely “political gossip,” new documents filed by the senator’s attorneys argue. They also say the plan would prejudice a jury if allowed into their upcoming corruption trial.

Kraft Heinz confirmed that its cheese factory in Campbell is slated for closure, but the closure will be delayed as a buyer is sought. The state agreed to provide up to $20 million to help “support and modernize” other of the company’s plants upstate, but not the Campbell facility.

Entergy Corp. and New York state officials have resumed negotiations aimed at averting a shutdown of the James A. FitzPatrick nuclear power plant in Oswego County, according to U.S. Rep. John Katko.

Thruway Executive Director Bob Megna’s resignation to take a job at Stony Brook University follows closely on that of Brian Conybeare, the News 12 anchor whom Cuomo hired three years ago to be the public face of the $3.9 billion project to replace the Tappan Zee Bridge.

Several of New York state’s largest and most influential business groups are coming together to fight Cuomo’s call for a $15 minimum wage, saying such a steep increase would devastate small businesses and lead to higher prices for consumers.

A task force commissioned by Cuomo to get feedback on the controversial Common Core standards will hold five “listening sessions” around the state tomorrow afternoon.

Nassau District Attorney-elect Madeline Singas returned to work at the DA’s Mineola office yesterday, hours after her election night victory, vowing to uphold her campaign’s loudest pledge of fighting public corruption.

Oswego Mayor-elect Billy Barlow, who, at the age of 25, will become the youngest mayor in New York when he takes office in January, said his age is not a bad thing for the city.

Superintendent Kriner Cash has begun rolling out details of the Buffalo district’s latest plan to overhaul underachieving schools. Cash called absenteeism the “No. 1 problem” the district is facing.

CBS2 political reporter Marcia Kramer went toe-to-toe with NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s press secretary Karen Hinton over the mayor’s refusal to take off topic questions from the City Hall press corps.

More >


Democrats who dominate the Assembly will return to Albany later this month for a rare off-session huddle, chamber officials confirmed.

The star witness in the government’s case against former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Columbia University oncologist Dr. Robert Taub, said the assemblyman asked him to keep their referral arrangement under wraps.

Taub also admitted that he lied to investigators when they first asked him about the referrals.

Outgoing Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch urged Gov. Andrew Cuomo to preserve the state’s new tougher learning standards and exams, despite mounting opposition from parents and teachers unions.

Upstate electricity prices will go “materially higher” by the summer of 2017 if both the FitzPatrick and Ginna nuclear plants shut down as expected, a Wall Street analyst predicts.

Unless shutting down the 850-megawatt FitzPatrick plant will disrupt the state power grid – and early signs are that it will not – then state officials would have no grounds to force it to stay open.

House Republicans are divided over whether they should open a separate probe of Hillary Clinton’s controversial email setup, with some conservatives calling for an expanded inquiry while other GOP lawmakers would rather the Justice Department take the lead.

Pizza accounted for 66.2 percent of the Clinton campaign’s fast food spending in the third quarter.

Gene Palmer, a prison guard accused of helping two convicted killers escape from Clinton Correctional Facility, appeared in court and pleaded not guilty today.

Monroe County Executive-elect Cheryl Dinolfo’s distinctive black bob generated more conversation among the electorate than any campaign issue. There was less talk about the county’s coffers than the county clerk’s coiffure.

The Seneca Indian Nation voted yesterday in a referendum to draft laws and regulations to allow the sovereign nation to manufacture, use and distribution of medical marijuana.

The Onondaga Nation, on the other hand, wants nothing to do with pot because it violates the tribe’s teaching against intoxication.

Quentin Tarantino blasted NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton as he addressed the controversial comments he made last month at an anti-police rally

Newly-elected Assemblywoman Pam Harris, a Brooklyn Democrat, is the only African-American to represent a majority white district in New York City.

Assemblyman Guillermo Linares reportedly will join the growing list of Democrats vying to replace retiring Rep. Charlie Rangel in NY-13.

The union representing state university and park police as well as forest rangers and EnCon officers has joined the protest against film director Quentin Tarantino’s remarks last month in which he characterized officers involved in a police shooting as murderers.

The Bills not be the best team in the NFL, but a new study shows the team’s fans are the drunkest in the entire country.

The Capital Region’s 38-year-old alternative weekly Metroland “definitely” won’t publish tomorrow as it tries to figure out its tax troubles, according to editor and publisher Stephen Leon.

Apparently, Totes McGotes got write-in votes yesterday, (in the Niagara Falls mayor’s race, we’re assuming).


Polls close at 9 p.m., so if you haven’t had a chance to get out and vote, please do so – assuming there are active races in your area. The real action won’t start the returns start to come in, and we hope you’ll tune to TWC News for all your election night information. The fun starts at 8 p.m. with Capital Tonight. Here are some headlines to keep you busy until then…

During their opening statements today in the criminal corruption trial of former state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, prosecutors and Silver’s defense attorneys painted sharply different images of the elected official at the center of the case.

The jury selected for Silver’s trial is made up of nine women and three men. They come from all walks of life and include a grade-school counselor, a college recruiter, an office manager at a medical clinic and a longtime employee of the MTA.

Asked by a reporter what he regarded as the greatest error of his nearly two years in office, NYC Mayor de Blasio called it a “cosmic question,” but said he could not come up with anything off the top of his head.

With low voter turnout on Long Island expected today, Long Island Rep. Steve Israel announced he would be filing legislation again to switch the federal Election Day from Tuesdays to the weekend.

Times Square street vendors who complain they are getting crushed under the mayor’s campaign against topless panhandlers saw the number of tickets handed out by the NYPD quadruple at the end of the summer.

New York officials are urging parents to take another look at their car seats after safety checks around the state recently found that only 12 percent were properly installed.

GlobalFoundries, the computer-chip maker that has recently expanded its footprint in New York, has laid off about 150 workers at its plants in Saratoga and Dutchess counties, a source familiar with the company’s decision said.

The state Department of Taxation & Finance has seized the offices and property of the Capital Region alternative weekly Metroland for non-payment of taxes.

The Latino Victory Fund, a new super PAC co-chaired by NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, endorsed four Democratic candidates for Congress in California, Texas and Florida.

Democratic Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone got late infusions totaling $65,000 from two well-known donors to Republicans — former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and local hedge fund magnate Robert Mercer, who usually funds conservative candidates and causes.

Additional testing has confirmed the presence of bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease at St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center in Syracuse.

A potential electrical hazard and use of unapproved disinfectants were among the violations state inspectors found in a spot check of upstate tanning salons.


AG Eric Schneiderman reached a settlement with HomeServe USA Corp after his office found its solicitations gave the false impression that its service plan was offered by various utility companies.

Twenty-three million dollars. That’s how much the top five executives of First Niagara Financial Group stand to gain if they don’t stay on with KeyCorp after the Cleveland-based bank completes its purchase of First Niagara a year from now.

New York is No. 10 on Kiplinger’s annual list of the top 10 least tax friendly states for retirees.

The state’s correctional officers union has joined the growing police group boycott of Quentin Tarantino films in the wake of the director’s recent comments regarding police.

Good government advocates would like to see a special session called to address JCOPE.

Some kind of a dispute occurred between Lancaster Supervisor Dino Fudoli and an off-duty police offer at a polling station this morning, and depending on whom you believe, it was either a threat or harassment.

Airbnb is extending an olive branch to Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane Williams after a contentious NYC Council hearing last week during which the lawmaker accused the home-sharing service of being unwilling to comply with the law.

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney is urging the state to investigate Health Republic Insurance of New York and to create a special enrollment period for the nearly 200,000 customers who will lose their coverage as a result of the co-op shutting down by the end of the month.

Authorities in New York say they have located the Italian runner who disappeared after Sunday’s New York City Marathon.

Here and Now

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

It’s Election Day! There are local contests all across the state, including a special election in the Southern Tier’s 52nd Senate District to fill the vacant seat that used to belong to ex-Sen. Tom Libous. Don’t forget to vote! Polls open at 6 a.m. Check your local Board of Elections for poll site details, and tune in to TWC News after polls close at 9 p.m. for race results.

At 8:30 a.m., Agudath Israel of America holds its annual pre-election legislative breakfast, Alliance Bernstein Global Wealth Management, 1345 Ave. of the Americas, Manhattan.

At 9:30 a.m., good government groups and community-based organizations launch the statewide Vote Better NY petition drive to highlight election reform in the 2016 elections, Foley Square, Manhattan.

At 11 a.m., Sens. Liz Kruger, José Serrano and Adriano Espaillat, Assemblymembers Robert Rodriguez, James Brennan and Rebecca Seawright and other officials call on the MTA to restore funding for the Second Avenue Subway to 125th Street, southwest corner of Second Avenue and East 96th Street, Manhattan.

At 11:45 a.m., US Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand appears on “The Brian Lehrer Show,” WNYC.

At noon, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will host a press conference to make an announcement related to industrial policy following a closed-press tour of the Greenpoint Manufacturing & Design Center, 1155-1205 Manhattan Ave., Brooklyn.

At 2 p.m., Brooklyn Public Library CEO Linda Johnson and NYC Councilman David Greenfield open new plaza at Midwood Library, Midwood Library, 975 E. 16th St., Brooklyn.


Both Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his frenemy, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, are both headed to Puerto Rico this week to attend a rally in San Juan, Puerto Rico, later this week to discuss the island’s health care crisis. The mayor is also scheduled to appear at the annual post-election Somos el Futuro conference. It’s unclear if Cuomo will be there, too.

Facing a nagging corruption probe, and looking for a leg up in budget negotiations, the embattled former Senate majority leader, Dean Skelos, floated the idea of raising a stink over the outside income of Democrat Cuomo’s live-in girlfriend, Sandra Lee, and using it as leverage, transcripts of wire-tapped conversations between Skelos and his son Adam reveal.

Skelos and his son also expressed disdain in a May 2014 email exchange for Cuomo’s daughter Michaela Kennedy Cuomo, 16, after news reports surfaced that she lobbied lawmakers for a farmworker bill.

Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver got his first good look yesterday at the prospective jurors who will hear his case and decide his fate. He did not seem to know or recognize any of them, yet many were already familiar with him.

Jury selection was slow going, but opening statements in the Silver trial are likely to start today.

The high-profile corruption scandals of Skelos and Silver have put unlikely state legislative races in play this year.

An Entergy spokesman said the decision to close the Oswego County FitzPatrick nuclear plant was based on economics. The plant has lost millions of dollars due to low energy prices.

Cuomo said the company’s decision to shut down the plant showed a “callous disregard” for its more than 600 employees. The governor pledged the state will pursue “every legal and regulatory avenue” to block the closure.

Union leaders who represent FitzPatrick workers believe it makes no sense for the state to allow the plant to close, saying its closure will increase reliance on out-of-state power, reduce fuel diversity, and make it more difficult for New York to meet its carbon-reduction goals.

Cuomo is playing both sides of the nuclear power coin in New York, and Entergy is stuck in the middle. The governor wants to save FitzPatrick, but close Indian Point in the Hudson Valley, calling the two plants “different situations” that should be handled “one at a time.”

US Sen. Chuck Schumer is “furious” with Entergy for planing to close FitzPatrick, according to a spokemsan, who said the senior senator will continue to do everything in his power to keep the plant up and running.

The Syracuse Post-Standard calls FitzPatrick’s closure another “punch in the gut” to Central New York – “one we’ve felt many times before.”

Some people living near the Kraft Foods manufacturing plant in Walton are worried the factory could soon cut jobs. Although no decision has been made on the factory’s fate, the recently formed Kraft-Heinz Company is conducting a corporate review of the site.

Cuomo and Schumer urged the Pittsburgh-based company to keep open the three plants — in Avon, Livingston County; Campbell, Steuben County; and Walton, Delaware County — that employ some 940 people.

In more bad economic news for upstate, the once-largest industrial employer north of Syracuse, Alcoa, announced it would idle one Massena smelting plant and permanently close another, causing the loss of close to 500 jobs.

More >


US Sen. Chuck Schumer said he will attempt to block the closure of the FitzPatrick nuclear plant in Scriba which would put more than 300 employees out of work.

Rep. Chris Gibson, a potential Republican gubernatorial candidate in 2018, called Cuomo a “bully” who is vulnerable three years out from the next election.

Lawrence Lessing, the Harvard professor who began a late campaign for president, announced that he was ending his bid for the 2016 Democratic nomination, citing his exclusion from the debate stage.

Supporters of a bill to ban discrimination against transgender New Yorkers will continue their legislative push, and criticized Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan for saying Gov. Andrew Cuomo shouldn’t have gone around the Legislature.

The Staten Island DA race essentially boils down to just one question: What should the role of a local prosecutor be?

New York magazine’s Chris Smith does a deep dive into the demise of the governor’s corruption-busting Moreland Commission.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio announced new measures to prevent school suspensions, including more training in restorative justice practices for school police officers and staff, and behavioral health treatment options for high school students.

Cuomo’s proposed minimum wage increase would “significantly” impact school districts statewide, costing at least $276 million, according to a New York State Association of School Business Officials news release.

Uber’s attempt to expand its operations to upstate New York and to Long Island could jeopardize the jobs of 11,150 full-time workers, according to a report released by the Committee for Taxi Safety.

Nassau County Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs sent a memo to his committee members, urging them to vote for party-backed candidates tomorrow.

Cuomo will be the keynote speaker and receive an honorary degree at Yeshiva University’s 91st Annual Hanukkah Convocation and Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City on Sunday, Dec. 13.

Police officers would be able to check the cell phones of drivers in auto accident to see if they were talking or texting while operating the car, under a measure proposed in Albany by Brooklyn Assemblyman Felix Ortiz.

A very large plane that turned out to belong to the Air Force was practicing “touch-and-go” landings at the Albany International Airport, making some local denizens nervous.

If a bill to ban gun shows at the Westchester County Center survives the scrutiny of the county legislature, it still could be shot down with a veto.

The fired director of the Queens Public Library, Thomas Galante, is suing his former employer for more than $2 million, claiming his ouster over wild misspending was a political hatchet job.

A mother found a pill hidden inside a candy bar her daughter received trick-or-treating at the Poughkeepsie Galleria.

Hillary Clinton meets “Hillary Clinton.”

Seven years after then-NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg pushed for calorie counts on menus across the city, new research shows they aren’t having much of an effect.

NYC & Company, the city’s official tourism arm, have a new promotional campaign called Unlock NYC, designed to combat Brodway’s annual winter slump.