Liz Benjamin

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Homepage: http://nystateofpolitics.com


Posts by Liz Benjamin

Extras

In his first public remarks since announcing his opposition to the agreement, US Sen. Chuck Schumer said America should try to broker a better nuclear deal with Iran because the White House-backed plan has too many flaws.

The future of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey could rest on one word: “thereby.”

Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano said a Newsday story alleging politically connected contractor paid for his vacations “contained unwarranted inferences that are completely misleading, inaccurate and create a false impression.”

A heavily promoted plan to work around the state’s fracking ban in the Town of Barton is long on legal backing but short on just about everything else needed to make it happen.

A judge has ruled that a slot parlor south of Rochester lacked the standing to challenge developers of a casino near the northern end of Cayuga Lake.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders earned the endorsement of National Nurses United after the membership of the nation’s largest nurses union voted to back him over his Democratic rivals, leaders of the union announced today.

Hillary Clinton rolled out a sweeping higher education plan — a $350 billion proposal that would help millions pay for college and reduce interest rates for people with student loans.

Jeb Bush’s involvement with a philanthropy headed by billionaire Michael Bloomberg, which partnered with Planned Parenthood on a $50 million global reproductive health initiative, is coming under scrutiny just as abortion is re-emerging as a top campaign issue.

Fox News host Megyn Kelly stood her ground on taking Donald Trump to task during the first GOP Presidential debate, saying in her first interview about the panel that her questions were not “an attack.”

Roger Stone: “Trump’s style is not going to change. He is unscripted. He is unhandled. He is un-coached. Nobody puts words in his mouth. He does operate his own Twitter feed. I just think he is, to a certain extent, being ill served by yes men.”

Eighth and ninth graders in New York City are struggling to pass the Algebra 1 Regents, potentially preventing them from taking high-level math and science courses in high school, according to a study by the New School’s Center for New York City Affairs.

The Confederate flag debate has reached upstate fairgrounds.

The NYC Health Department never inspected a South Bronx public school after a teacher there died of Legionnaires’ disease in April while hundreds of students were attending classes.

The death toll in a historic outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in the South Bronx has grown to 12 and two more cooling towers have tested positive for bacteria that causes the severe form of pneumonia, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

Nearly nine months after the record-breaking November snowstorm in Buffalo that brought nearly 70 inches to the region, there’s a baby boom.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams had a state tax warrant for $3,211 in unpaid taxes filed against him earlier this year. Adams in a statement said the feds through “a routine audit” found he miscalculted his tax assessment.

Air traffic controllers’ work schedules often lead to chronic fatigue, making them less alert and endangering the safety of the national air traffic system, according to a study the government has kept secret for nearly four years.

The Cuomo administration has made little use of a Rochester-area headhunting firm hired to help recruit “the best and the brightest” to state government.

A $1.5 million grant awarded to Upstate University Hospital will go toward routinely treating HIV patients in a statewide effort to quell the virus.

Media titan Rupert Murdoch decided to relist his West Village townhouse, just five months after purchase. He’s asking $29 million after buying the place for $25 million.

Two parachutists who leapt from One World Trade Center in 2013 were each sentenced to hundreds of hours of community service, avoiding jail time for the high-profile stunt.

For the second time in two years, the Upstate New York-based Greek yogurt giant Chobani is seeking an investor to help it grow in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

About 240 workers at Ingersoll Rand’s Cheektowaga plant went on strike early this morning.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City.

At 10 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio holds a public hearing on, and also signs into law, Intros 849, 235, 558-A, 89-A, 830-A, 847-A, and 425-A, City Council Chambers, City Hall, Manhattan.

At 10:30 a.m., NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, NYC Councilman Mathieu Eugene and others distribute the first copies of the Haitian Creole-Language version of the comptroller’s Immigrants’ Rights and Services Manual, 794 Flatbush Ave., Brooklyn.

At 11:45 a.m., members of Marquis Dixon’s family, Capital Area Against Mass Incarceration; Citizen Action of the Capital District; Families Together in New York State, New York State Prisoner Justice Network, Labor Religion Coalition of New York State, and others rally outside Albany County DA David Soares’ office, 6 Lodge St., Albany.

At noon, protestors will demonstrate outside US Sen. Chuck Schumer’s office in opposition to his decision to vote “no” on the Obama administration’s Iran nuclear deal, 780 Third Ave., Manhattan.

At 12:30 p.m., de Blasio, NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Vivierto and other elected officials will host a press conference to introduce new legislation to reduce future risk of Legionnaires’ disease, and provide an update on the containment of the outbreak, Blue Room, City Hall, Manhattan.

At 1 p.m., Cuomo, AG Eric Schneiderman, Rep. Hakeem Jeffires and members of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus hold criminal justice roundtable discussion of Executive Order 147 and other community issues, 633 3rd Avenue, 38th Floor, Manhattan. (This event is closed press, a media Q and A will follow at 1:45 p.m.)

At 1:30 p.m., US Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand holds a press conference on school nutrition standards, I.S. 5 – The Walter Crowley Intermediate School, 50-40 Jacobus S., Queens.

Also at 1:30 p.m., Rep. Chris Gibson will meet with constituents and learn more about the Summer Meals project administered by the Grafton Youth Program, Grafton VFW/Fire Hall.

At 2 p.m., Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz joins Albright Knox Art Gallery Director Dr. Janne Siren, Public Art Curator Aaron Ott, elected officials and community business owners and residents to unveil the newest work of public art in the Public Art Initiative, Fillmore Avenue and Woeppel Street, Buffalo.

At 5:15 p.m., Cuomo and Gillibrand are honored by the Eleanor Roosevelt Legacy Committee for their work to combat sexual assault and rape on college campuses, Grand Hyatt, Manhattan Ballroom, 109 E. 42nd St. at Grand Central, Manhattan.

At 6 p.m., Gibson will meet with local first responders to share information on seeking FEMA grants, Champlain Hall, SUNY Cobleskill.

Headlines…

A young man was shot by the police and was in critical condition at a hospital, the St. Louis County, Missouri police chief, Jon Belmar, said early this morning after a day of protests commemorating the killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old, by a white police officer one year ago.

Though driven from his majority leadership post after being hit with federal corruption charges, state Sen. Dean Skelos still continues to enjoy the perk of a state car.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio fired back Saturday at his frenemy Gov. Andrew Cuomo, as a brigade of state and city inspectors scoured the Bronx for signs of the lethal Legionnaires’ disease bacteria. “I can say something very simply,” the mayor said. “We took charge on day one, we took matters into our own hands, and that’s why the situation is changing.”

Cuomo promised to take state action to regulate cooling towers, after an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in the South Bronx that has killed ten people and infected at least 100. “This is a disease that tends to repeat itself and at the end of this, I’m going to have reforms for a statewide system that changes everything,” he told reporters.

Cuomo and de Blasio marched one block apart in yesterday’s Dominican Day Parade, but received very different receptions. The governor was cheered, while the mayor was booed.

To help ensure that future nail salon workers who win judgments against their employers in wage theft cases are paid, Cuomo will put into effect a new rule today. All nail salon owners will be required to secure wage bonds by Oct. 6, or face fines and other penalties.

Two weeks after President Obama’s transportation secretary sent a letter to Governors Chris Christie and Cuomo asking them to meet about building a new cross-Hudson rail tunnel to replace the one now falling apart, Cuomo told reporters: “There’s no reason to meet now.”

Cuomo said a meeting isn’t necessary unless federal officials offered grants, not loans, to finance new tunnels under the Hudson River.

Hillary Clinton will be in New Hampshire today to begin rolling out one of the biggest-ticket policy proposals of her presidential campaign, a $350 billion plan aimed at reining in the ever-growing cost of college and help millions of borrowers struggling to repay student loans manage their debt.

A prominent Long Island restaurateur arranged and paid for several vacation trips for Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and a top Oyster Bay Town official, a Newsday investigation has found.

More >

The Weekend That Was – Remembering Bill Carey

TWC News lost one of its own this weekend – Bill Carey, a consummate newsman, mentor and friend.

There aren’t enough words to plumb the depths of the sadness his passing has caused, but it is heartening to see the outpouring of remembrances that have come following his loss in a valiant battle with cancer at the age of 61.

Bill touched so many lives. To many he WAS Central New York, and epitomized everything good about the region for which he provided award-winning coverage for more than four decades. The void he leaves will be hard to fill.

In the short time I knew him, he taught me so much, and offered me unsurpassed support and kindness – a rarity in the cutthroat world of political journalism – and eased my transition from the print world to the often mind-boggling and frustrating land of TV.

He was patient and always respectful, though that didn’t make him soft. He wasn’t afraid to ask hard questions, albeit nicely. Elected officials both respected and feared him. He was quick to share his knowledge with colleagues, and contributed to our show, Capital Tonight, in a way that no one else could.

I will miss his pithy and funny emails, his quirky view of the world, his nuanced reporting – replete with historical references – and his signature resonant voice saying: “For Capital Tonight, I’m Bill Carey.”

It’s hard to fathom that I won’t be hearing that again.

Rest in peace, Bill. You fought hard to the end, and never gave up hope. I aspire to be half the person you were – both in my personal life and my career – and I will never forget you.

A Mass of Christian Burial for Bill will be celebrated at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Syracuse, according to his obituary. Burial will be in St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Auburn.

Calling hours will be from 3-7 p.m. Tuesday at the Thomas J. Pirro Jr. Funeral Home, at 3401 Vickery Road, North Syracuse.

In other news…

New York City and state officials continued to step up efforts on Saturday to thwart the spread of Legionnaires’ disease, even as an outbreak of the airborne illness in the South Bronx appeared to be waning.

Seven additional cases of Legionnaires’ disease have been confirmed and five more South Bronx sites — including a high school — have tested positive for the bacteria that cause it.

The city has never inspected the cooling towers suspected of causing the deadly Legionnaires’ disease outbreak, but inspectors did manage to go after a Staten Island pooch who hopped the fence and got caught without a tag.

GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump announced Saturday that he axed top advisor Roger Stone — only to hear Stone insist that he really dumped The Donald because he disagreed with the candidate’s continued trashing of Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly.

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, the only woman running for the GOP nomination, was among the first to speak out about Trump’s comments against Kelly, which he insisted were misinterpreted.

Trump said of Kelly: “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her — wherever.” He later clarified that he meant she had a nosebleed, and wasn’t inferring that she had her period.

Republican presidential candidate and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee: “Thank God for Sen. Schumer and his opposition to this reckless nuclear deal with Iran.”

The rising toll of Ground Zero responders and others afflicted with 9/11-linked cancers has hit 3,700.

Cuomo announced that a crew of 20 employees and volunteers from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation are traveling out west to help with the containment of fires burning in Northern California and across the West coast.

WNY schools were at the epicenter of the opt-out movement for standardized tests earlier this year, and this is the week when districts will learn what effect the large number of students refusing to take the tests had on overall test results.

Hillary Clinton is unveiling her plan to make college more affordable tomorrow, and sees the proposal as a key part of a strategy to ramp up enthusiasm among millennials about her White House run as students return to campus this fall.

Erie County Democrats, endorsed Clinton for president months ago, and remain all in despite reports that VP Joe Biden might throw his hat into the ring. The party will soon send Clinton volunteers to battleground states.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is challenging Clinton for the 2016 Democratic nod, said some of the criticism of her is “sexist.”

More than 5,000 NYC school safety agents who won $32 million in backpay through a class action settlement will soon begin receiving their money now that a Manhattan Federal Court judge has shot down a law firm’s effort to get a bigger piece of the award.

NYC Public Advocate Letitia James, Queens Councilman Rory Lancman and area business owners are calling for collision avoidance technology in vehicles owned by New York City.

A fatal plane crash in which four people died is at the center of an investigation in the Adirondack Mountain Region.

Oyster Bay officials are taking steps toward fulfilling the settlement of an election lawsuit, in which town employees allegedly broke state law by campaigning while on the job.

New details are emerging about the time that Patrick Kane spent in a downtown Buffalo nightclub last weekend and the allegations made by a woman who claims that Kane raped her after meeting her in the club and taking her to his Town of Hamburg waterfront home.

Extras

Twenty four million people tuned in to last night’s Fox News debate, scoring the highest metered market household ratings for a presidential primary debate…ever.

Liberals are livid at Sen. Charles Schumer’s decision to oppose the White House’s nuclear deal with Iran, and have threatened to launch a full-scale war as retribution.

Schumer’s announcement rattled the Democratic firewall around the accord, but supporters said Democratic defections in New York and South Florida would not be enough to bring down the agreement.

But Greg Sargent says Schumer’s opposition “is not likely to matter that much to the outcome either way,” though that doesn’t necessarily mean the deal will go forward.

Obama spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters that the defection of the Democrats’ future leader in the Senate – and the top Jewish lawmaker in Congress – was “not particularly surprising to anybody here at the White House, even if it was disappointing.”

Republicans would need at least 13 Senate Democrats to join them in order to override a promised veto from Obama, but Schumer likely does not want to risk angering the president even more by trying to deliver votes to override the veto.

The federal government must pitch in funding to build a new tunnel under the Hudson River to connect New York and New Jersey, Gov. Andrew Cuomo told U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx in a letter today.

Sandra Lee is heading home from the hospital this weekend, but still faces the possibility of more surgery as she continues to struggle to recover from breast cancer surgery.

Brooklyn Assemblyman Charles Barron said he will not seek the State Senate seat left vacant in July after the conviction of former Sen. John Sampson – at least not this year.

Prosecutors subpoenaed a new batch of records this week from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, continuing their long-running probe into whether former agency Chairman David Samson used his position for personal benefit.

Hillary Clinton on Monday will roll out what is expected to be the most detailed and costly plank of her campaign: her policy proposals for student loan reform.

AG Eric Schneiderman and members of the state’s DAs association are in talks to produce a memorandum of understanding that would provide local prosecutors with guidance and best practices in cases when police-involved civilian deaths are sent to the attorney general’s office for investigation.

Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced $8.9 million in new federal funding for runway and airfield upgrades at John F. Kennedy Inernational Airport.

Writers at Vice Media have voted to unionize, giving organized labor its biggest foothold yet in digital media newsrooms.

A Legionnaire’s disease outbreak in Quebec three years ago killed 13 people. By the time it was over, more than 180 people were infected between July and October of 2012, Canadian officials said.

For the first time, Hamburg police publicly confirmed that Patrick Kane, the star player of the Chicago Blackhawks, is under investigation.

The Mazzone-operated Prime Bistro cafe at the north end of the Empire State Plaza concourse is temporarily closed for what they call a ”fork lift.”

Pointing to insufficient efforts on the part of the Federal Aviation Administration, New York City Council members are taking regulation of the city’s skies into their own hands.

A medical school being discussed for Syracuse University would have students leave town after two years, finishing their medical degrees and residencies at VA hospitals out of state.

Writers and floral artists will have an opportunity to show off their talents in the State Fair’s newest poetry and flower-arranging competitions.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office has not yet released his public schedule.

Update: As per his schedule, Cuomo is in New York City with nothing public planned.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is in the city with no public schedule.

At 9 a.m., the Foreign Minister of the Dominican Republic His Excellency Andrés Navarro Garcia will attend a breakfast organized by the New York Hispanic Clergy Organization presided by Sen. Reverend Rubén Díaz, Sr., Maestro’s Caterers, 1703 Bronxdale Ave., the Bronx.

Also at 9 a.m., NYC Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras and Sen. Jose Peralta host a breakfast in recognition of the New Board of Directors of the National Dominican Day Parade, Queens Theatre, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, 14 United Nations Ave., Queens.

At 11 a.m., US Sen. Charles Schumer and Deputy Brooklyn Borough President Diana Reyna attend and make remarks in honor of Coney Island Brewery, 904 Surf Ave., Coney Island.

Also at 11 a.m., breastfeeding mothers and families, elected officials and advocates from all over New York City will participate in the NYC Breastfeeding Leadership Council’s Annual Breastfeeding Subway Caravan, (a kick-off rally will be held at City Hall, Lower Manhattan). Attendees include: Sen. Liz Krueger, Rep. Carolyn Maloney and Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal.

At 2 p.m., Maloney will hold a news conference honoring New York City’s oldest (100 years old) singer and piano player, who performs six night a week in a local Manhattan restaurant and has been performing since 1922, Tuscany-117, West 58th Street between 6th and 7th avenues, Manhattan.

Headlines…

None of the contenders in last night’s 9 p.m. GOP Fox News debate made any significant blunders, but none could outshine the man of the hour: Donald Trump, though he continued to give very few specifics about his plans if elected.

Trump ripped into his rivals and the debate moderators alike, but also drew fire from former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and others who are seeking to stop his breathtaking surge.

In his most Trumplike moment, The Donald again refused to rule out an independent run for president if he doesn’t get the GOP nod. He was the only candidate on the stage to do so.

Here are ten notable moments from the main debate.

Four hours before the 9 p.m. debate, the undercard candidates – seven who didn’t make Fox News’ criteria cut – faced off against one another in a verbal slugfest that many felt former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina won.

Former Gov. George Pataki, participating in the pre-debate debate, presented a far more conservative platform than his 12-year record in New York.

The NRA, the nation’s most influential gun rights advocacy organization, used the first Republican presidential debate to tease the idea that former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg may run for president – or in the very least, use his money to influence public officials to support his beliefs.

Democratic 2016 frontrunner Hillary Clinton didn’t watch the debate. But she did get a selfie with Kim Kardashian.

Clinton brought her campaign to Los Angeles, where she met with home healthcare workers and told them that she wants to improve their working conditions, training and wages so more people can remain at home as they age.

Trump raised eyebrows when he revealed that Clinton attended his wedding, claiming it was because he had donated significantly to the Clinton Foundation.

Trump was not happy with Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, one of the debate’s three moderators, saying she “behaved very badly personally” with her tough questions.

The Democratic National Committee announced details for the party’s six presidential debates — sparking a furious response from the campaign of Martin O’Malley charging Democratic leaders with “facilitating a coronation” of Clinton.

In a series of moves that could keep Clinton answering questions until Election Day, Republican committee chairmen in the House and Senate are considering launching new probes into her tenure at the State Department.

US Sen. Chuck Schumer, the most influential Jewish voice in Congress, said last night that he would oppose President Obama’s deal to limit Iran’s nuclear program, putting him at odds with his fellow New York senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, who is supporting it.

More >

Extras

Self-proclaimed GOP “dirty trickster” Roger Stone has been helping Donald Trump prep for tonight’s debate by drafting policy memos on specific issues and engaging in general conversations about the art of debating on TV.

Get your debate BINGO card here.

Former Gov. George Pataki’s pre-debate ritual: Pushups.

The Democratic National Committee unveiled the dates and hosts for six Democratic presidential primary debates, just as Republican hopefuls were gearing up to take the stage for the first time.

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, whose campaign has been complaining for some time about an abbreviated debate schedule, lambasted the DNC for hosting just six debates.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo appeared on CNN’s “New Day” to rib his TV anchor brother, Chris, about turning 45. “That is old,” said the governor, who admitted he likes mocking his brother “on a personal level.”

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand explained her support for what she deemed the “imperfect” Iran nuclear deal. “If we reject this deal, we do not have a viable alternative for preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.”

Only 33 percent of New York City residents said in a new Q poll that life in the Big Apple is “very good” or “good,” – the lowest number Quinnipiac University has measured since it first polled on the topic in 1997.

The NY Post has launched a countdown clock to keep track of how much time remains in de Blasio’s “disastrous” first term.

The death toll in the Bronx from Legionnaire’s disease has risen to 10, with 100 people sickened.

The family of a Bronx teacher who died in April of Legionnaire’s disease said he could have been the “canary in the coal mine” for the outbreak, but the city “ignored” his death.

NYRA executives announced they will cap Travers Day attendance at 50,000, regardless of whether Triple Crown winner American Pharoah runs at Saratoga.

The National Rifle Association is launching a $1 million ad campaign accusing former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg of using his personal fortune to try and strip people of their individual rights and freedoms.

Hillary Clinton praised Netflix for offering unlimited maternity and paternity leave. (She has made paid family leave a pillar of her presidential campaign).

Speaking on the Rev. Al Sharpton’s radio show, Clinton said the Republican candidates were seeking to disenfranchise poor and minority voters.

Cuomo today announced that the new, redesigned NASCAR license plate series will be available to order at the Cheez-It™ 355 at Watkins Glen International, taking place this weekend.

New York’s two-year-old Voluntary Defined Contribution (VDC) retirement plan is shaping up as a popular alternative among the relatively small number of government employees eligible to sign up for it.

A state board officially expanded New York’s ban on synthetic marijuana, broadening it to include new chemical compounds that had been popping up on store shelves.

Days after upstate lawmakers expressed concerns over the Port Authority’s study of a 1,500-mile perimeter rule that restricts the distance of flights out of LaGuardia Airport, a top Delta Air Lines executive sought to soothe them in a letter to Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle.

Sen. Jim Seward calls e-hail companies like Uber and Lyft “the wave of the future,” adding: “I don’t see how we can continue to indefinitely stand in the way of this.”

Patrick Kane, the Chicago Blackhawks star who grew up in South Buffalo, is the target of a rape investigation by Hamburg police for an incident that occurred over the last weekend.

Please include our colleague, and all-around great guy Bill Carey in your prayers.

An estimated 80,000 people cycled through the state Capitol 130 years ago this week to pay their respects to President Ulysses S. Grant.

For the first time ever, the Prospect Park Zoo will exhibit pigs – three little pigs, to be exact.

Here and Now

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

At 7 a.m., Sen. Diane Savino joins Communications Workers of America Local 1102 members at informational picket, 180 Edgewater St., Staten Island.

At 10:30 a.m., Sen. David Carlucci holds seminar on the NEW STAR Rebate Check Program, Nanuet Public Library, Nanuet.

Also at 10:30 a.m., Sen. George Amedore will join Mary Ann Allen, Executive Director of Wildwood Programs, to make a funding announcement, Camp Wildwood, 1212 Leesome Lane, Altamont.

At 11:30 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will deliver remarks and swear in a new class of recruits at the Department of Correction trainee and recruit orientation, Colden Auditorium at the Kupferberg Center for the Arts, Queens College, 65-30 Kissena Blvd., Queens.

At noon, LG Kathy Hochul speaks at the 10th Mountain Division Memorial Ceremony, Whiteface Ski Lodge, 5021 Route 86, Wilmington.

Also at noon, NYC Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal joins New York Yankees Manager Joe Girardi and others come together to promote the City’s FREE Summer Meals Program, Lasker Pool, 110 Malcolm X Blvd., Manhattan.

At 1 p.m., de Blasio will host a media roundtable (rescheduled from yesterday) to discuss a new plan to prevent violence, protect public safety and increase support to individuals with untreated serious mental illness, Blue Room, City Hall, Manhattan.

Also at 1 p.m., NYC Councilman Peter Koo and Assemblywoman Nily Rozic join with the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce to announce free music and movie night at Kissena Corridor Park, 135-27 38th Ave., Suite 388, Flushing, Queens.

Also at 1 p.m., Sen. Tony Avella holds a press conference with community leaders to call for a borough-wide non-solicitation zone for Queens, 3850 Bell Blvd., Bayside, Queens.

At 1:30 p.m., Assemblymember Dan Quart, Sen. Daniel Squadron, and advocates will announce legislation to allow recordings from police body cameras to be publicly accessible under New York’s Freedom of Information Law with identifying information redacted, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

At 2 p.m., the Rev. Al Sharpton will be joined by Hillary Clinton on his nationally syndicated talk-radio show “Keepin it Real”.

At 4 p.m., Hochul and DMV Commissioner Timothy Lennon announce a promotional NASCAR license plate series in advance of the Cheez-It 355 at The Glen, Watkins Glen International, 2790 County Route 16, Gate 2, Watkins Glen. (After the press conference, the LG will drive a few laps around the racetrack).

At 7 p.m., de Blasio speaks at the 2015 Dominican Heritage Ceremony, New York County Supreme Courthouse, 60 Centre St., Manhattan.

At 9 p.m., the first GOP 2016 debate between 10 candidates who made the prime time cut will air on Fox News. (The seven others – including ex-Gov. George Pataki, will debate at 5 p.m.)

Also at 9 p.m., Onondaga Republican Chairman Tom Dadey, at the invitation of the RNC, will be attending the debate in Cleveland at the Quicken Loans Arena, 1 Center Court.

At 11 p.m., Jon Stewart hosts his final edition of ‘The Daily Show’ on Comedy Central.

Headlines…

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has stumbled to the worst net approval rating of his tenure, according to a new Q poll, placing his popularity with New York City voters well behind that of Gov. Andrew Cuomo — his counterpart in a protracted municipal feud.

De Blasio and his wife, NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray, are poised to announce a $22 million mental health initiative that his administration says will aid the homeless.

Part of the de Blasio administration’s plan involves locating homeless people who have shown violent tendencies and pushing them toward mental-health care. This comes as the mayor is under increasing fire for an apparently growing population of people living on the streets and after several attacks that have rattled the city.

The mayor cancelled two public appearances yesterday.

Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani says the best thing the Republican presidential hopefuls can do at tonight’s big debate is play nice, reminding them of the late President Reagan’s so-called Eleventh Commandment of not attacking fellow GOPers.

Richard Matt, the prison escapee who was shot and killed by a federal agent in June, had a blood alcohol content of 0.18 percent when he died, more than double the level that would make him legally intoxicated, the New York State Police said.

The Buffalo-based M&T Bank Corp. said in a securities filing that its mortgage-lending operations are under investigation by federal authorities and that it is in talks to settle the probe.

At least 13 former state elected officials who were convicted of corruption and other charges are eligible to collect state pension checks totaling more than $604,000 a year.

As de Blasio and city leaders announced a plan this week to combat Legionnaire’s disease by tightening regulation of cooling towers, the pace and breadth of the outbreak was still sinking in for many New Yorkers, especially in the Bronx.

A total of eight people have now died as a result of the Legionnaire’s disease outbreak.

More >

Extras

Former President Clinton had a private telephone conversation in late spring with Donald Trump at the same time that the billionaire investor and reality-television star was nearing a decision to run for the White House.

Trump’s presidential campaign ended its relationship with an Arizona-based politico last night after BuzzFeed News asked about Islamophobic Facebook posts he wrote and racially charged Facebook posts about Barack and Michelle Obama.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio today postponed an announcement of a sweeping anti-homelessness initiative that would boost services and housing for the mentally ill, saying the plan isn’t finished.

Eleanor Roosevelt, who spent 12 years in the White House as first lady and traveled the world as a human-rights advocate, is the front-runner for the new face of the $10 bill, according to a new Marist poll.

The DOJ is charging the current head of Sen. Rand Paul’s political action committee and two others for falsifying records and campaign reports, as well as conspiracy, for allegedly paying for an Iowa state senator’s supporting during his 2012 presidential campaign.

The Iowa chapter of the AFL-CIO announced that it would hold a presidential candidate forum on Thursday, Aug. 6. Notably absent from the list of attendees was front-running candidate Hillary Clinton, who won’t be there due to a “scheduling conflict.”

Ahead of House Speaker John Boehner’s central New York visit tomorrow, Rep. John Katko had only good things to say about the top Republican leader.

Oneida County DA Scott McNamara on the AG acting as a special prosecutor in civilian death cases: “If we can’t handle the murder, then we such as heck can’t handle anything, so they should take them all.”

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton says NYC is letting too many people out of jail.

Two contracting companies and two of their employees were indicted today in connection with the death of a worker who was buried by debris earlier this year at a Manhattan construction site.

Hudson River HealthCare, a nonprofit Federally Qualified Health Center that employs over 900 professionals and serves 140,000 patients, today announced plans to institute a living wage of $15 an hour.

An attempt by the defendants in a public corruption case to challenge criminal charges against them — including a bid to revisit allegations of a political prosecution by the state attorney general’s office — has been rebuffed by a judge.

Former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg says the market – not the Obama administration and its new carbon regulations – is what will destroy the coal industry.

Meet Bald Piano Guy (AKA Rosyln, Long Island music teacher Alan C. Schwartz), whose satirical YouTube videos on education reform in New York have garnered him quite a following.

The DEC has released its draft unit management plan for the Lake Champlain Island Management Complex, a slender band totaling 1,162 acres that runs from Whitehall north into the main body of the lake.

Clinton Correctional Facility escapee Richard Matt’s blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit to drive a vehicle when he was shot and killed by police, State Police said today.

Two local governments have inadvertently turned back a corner of the blanket of silence cloaking the process the state is using to dole out pieces of a $1.1 billion capital project slush fund.

More than 2,500 soldiers from the Army’s 10th Mountain Division, including more than 1,500 from Fort Drum, will deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan beginning later this month as part of a new training mission.

A helpful who’s who of the impending $4 billion LaGuardia Airport overhaul.

Latino elected leaders joined liberal anti-charter school activists to demand that Success Academy Charter Schools return an $8.5 million donation from hedge fund manager John Paulson because of his role in the debt crisis in Puerto Rico.

This happened.

Here and Now

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

At 8:30 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul tours the Hunts Point Produce Market, 722 Edgewater Rd., the Bronx.

At 10 a.m., Education advocates call on Eva Moskowitz and her Success Academy to return millions in funding from hedge fund manager John Pulson, who is allegedly profiting from the Puerto Rican debt crisis, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

Also at 10 a.m., Hochul vistis STEM classes at the New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Blvd., the Bronx.

At 11 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio attends the funeral of DSNY Sergeant Musella, Most Precious Blood Church, 70 Bay 47th St., Brooklyn.

At 11:15 a.m., Hochul and NYC Councilman Ritchie Torres discuss wildlife conservation initiatives with officials at the Bronx Zoo, 2300 Southern Blvd., the Bronx.

At noon, Hochul and Torres meet with business owners in the Belmont Business Improvement District, 2396 Arthur Ave., the Bronx.

At 12:30 p.m., Rep. Elise Stefanik will discuss White Space Technology, Thurman Town Hall, 311 Athol Rd., Athol.

At 1 p.m. Hochul promotes Cuomo’s small business policies at a Bronx Chamber of Commerce roundtable, Hutch Metro Center, 1200 Water Place #1, the Bronx.

At 2 p.m., de Blasio and his wife, NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray and key administration officials host a media roundtable to discuss a new plan to prevent violence, protect public safety and increase support to individuals with untreated serious mental illness, Blue Room, City Hall, Manhattan.

Also at 2 p.m., Hochul and Assemblyman Michael Benedetto tour SUNY Maritime College, 6 Pennyfield Ave., the Bronx.

At 2:15 p.m., Stefanik will tour AngioDynamics, 10 Glens Falls Tech Park, Glens Falls.

At 6:30 p.m., de Blasio will deliver remarks at the at the annual ADA Sapolin Awards in honor of the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Bronx Zoo, 2300 Southern Blvd., the Bronx.

Headlines…

Even as cases of Legionnaire’s disease have increased across the nation, and experts have called for more safeguards, New York City has done little to address the risks water-cooling towers pose as prime breeding grounds for the illness while they power air-conditioning systems in many large buildings.

NYC health officials say they now have contained the deadly Legionnaires’ outbreak, but some experts wonder why officials didn’t get on-the-ground help from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during this public health crisis.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said he would introduce legislation along with the City Council requiring owners of buildings with the towers to register them and regularly inspect them or face penalties. The city has no database of the cooling systems, which tend to be found on larger, more modern buildings.

Meanwhile…a massive sinkhole opened up in a major thoroughfare in Brooklyn.

Long Island Rep. Steve Israel, the highest ranking Jewish Democrat in the House, said he opposes the Iran nuclear deal and will work to defeat it in next month’s vote in Congress.

Rep. Nita Lowey, of Westchester County, also announced her opposition to the deal.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s longtime girlfriend, television chef Sandra Lee, was rushed to a hospital last night in an emergency related to her recent double mastectomy. The governor left his pal Billy Joel’s farewell concert for the soon-to-be shuttered Nassau Coliseum on Long Island to be at her side.

Lee, 49, is suffering fluid buildup and “the plan is to monitor her for a couple of days,” a source close to her said. She was sent to the hospital around 9:30 p.m.

At the concert, Cuomo came onstage to introduce Joel and was met with a chorus of boos, which only stopped when he announced Joel as a “Long Island boy.”

A distressed driver in New York’s Southern Tier got unexpected help from Cuomo’s security detail after hitting a concrete barrier and a flatbed truck with his sport utility vehicle.

During a visit to Western New York, Cuomo made a stop along the Scajaquada Expressway in Buffalo – the site where a toddler was hit and killed by a car in May.

More >

Extras

People who call the New York cell number published by the web site Gawker are met with a recording from Trump advertising his Twitter account and campaign website.

Trump suggested he supported shutting down the federal government to stop funding for Planned Parenthood in the wake of videos that show officials with the group discussing fees for tissue from aborted fetuses.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo will be among those attending Billy Joel’s final show at the Nassau Coliseum tonight.

Is the governor thinking of adopting a pet?

A rift among the state’s ethics board spilled into public view today when some members raised concerns about the panel’s hiring practices and its previous directors’ ties to Cuomo.

Forty-one elected officials who have been connected to a scandal or investigation since 2005 have spent at least $7 million of campaign funds on legal fees, according to a review of state Board of Elections records by the New York Times.

Sen. Bill Perkins threw hit hat into the ring for retiring Rep. Charlie Rangel’s seat – the fifth contender to do so.

Former Memphis Superintendent Kriner Cash has become the clear frontrunner to be superintendent of the Buffalo Public Schools after a two-hour meeting with board members this morning.

License plates you may see while driving around New York: BADCUOMO, CANCUOMO, NOCUOMO and RMVCUOMO. One you will not: FAQCUOMO, (which is probably not about frequently asked questions).

The former superintendent of the Clinton Correctional Facility says the acting DOCCS commissioner told him his post-escape forced retirement was “not right” and “not fair” but ordered by “downtown” (ie: the governor), despite an ongoing investigation.

There’s at least one Latino elected official in the Empire State willing to hear out Donald Trump: the Rev. Ruben Diaz Sr.

Despite his best efforts, Putnam County District Attorney Adam Levy, the son of TV judge Judith Sheindlin aka “Judge Judy,” will have a challenger for the Republican endorsement.

A federal appeals court revived a class-action lawsuit by commercial truckers that accused the state Thruway Authority of charging illegally high tolls, and diverting excess sums it collected to maintain obsolete upstate canals.

VP Joe Biden’s sister, who also is his longtime political adviser, said she has not spoken with her brother about plans to run for president, raising more questions about how seriously he is considering a 2016 campaign.

Rep. Chris Gibson, who is not seeking re-election in 2016, continued contributing or transferring left over campaign funds to other candidates and political organizations in the second quarter.

The Albany County Democratic Committee is leaving behind its home of 21 years this month and moving down the block.

Rep. Nita Lowey has come out against the Iran nuclear deal.

Darryl Towns, the former commissioner and CEO of the state Homes and Community Renewal, is taking a job with American Airlines as director of state government relations after leaving his post with the Cuomo administration at the end of June.

Hillary Clinton’s approval rating plummeted in a new NBC/The Wall Street Journal poll to its lowest level since 2008.

Clinton finds it “relaxing and entertaining and informative” to watch HGTV.

This week is shaping up as critical for the presidential candidacy of former Republican Gov. George Pataki of New York, who barely registers as a blip in national polls.

Several historic sites in the city affected by Superstorm Sandy, including the Fraunces Tavern and Green-Wood Cemetery, will get federal funding to repair work and bolster the sites from future storms, Cuomo announced.

A Rochester man accused of threatening the president, governor and former lieutenant governor has been indicted again — a move that could overcome legal issues prosecutors faced with earlier criminal charges.

An unknown number of the 200 or so stagehands who turned out to set up and break down the Rolling Stones concert in Buffalo on July 11 received their checks around July 27, and deposited them. Days later, they found that the checks had bounced.

“The Voice” winner and Upstate New York native Sawyer Fredericks will perform the national anthem before the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Watkins Glen International this Saturday.

Georgina Bloomberg, the youngest daughter of billionaire and former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg, will showcase her world-class equestrian talents at this year’s Dublin Horse Show.