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Posts by Liz Benjamin
Aug 1st - 5:05 am
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule.
At 10 a.m., New Yorkers protest the $7.6 billion nuclear subsidy and bailout outside the Public Service Commission meeting, outside 3 Empire State Plaza, Albany. (The PSC is holding its regular session at 10:30 a.m.)
Also at 10 a.m., Millions March NYC plans to “shut down City Hall Park” in calling for the firing of NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton, an end to Broken Windows policing; reparations for all survivors and victims of police brutality from the NYPD budget; defunding of the NYPD’s $5.5 billion budget and re-investment into minority communities, Manhattan.
At 10:30 a.m., Assemblyman Michael Blake holds a press conference on what he says was a excessive force incident with members of the NYPD on Saturday, 1 Police Plaza, Manhattan.
Also at 10:30 a.m., Rep. Dan Donovan records an interview with Korean War veteran George Parsons for the Library of Congress Veterans History Project, 265 New Dorp Lane, Staten Island.
At 11 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will host a press conference to discuss New York City students’ state test scores, Tweed Courthouse, 52 Chambers St., Manhattan. (NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina will also attend).
At noon, Sen. Tony Avella stands with community residents plagued by a “zombie” abandoned property, 25-18 163rd St., Queens.
At 4 p.m., Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor and state Sen. Sue Serino urge the Assembly to pass “Let the Punishment Fit the Crime” car crash bill on the anniversary of the Wonderly deaths, Worrall Avenue and Eastbound Route 55, Poughkeepsie.
At 7 p.m., Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer is honored at The River Project’s 30th anniversary celebration, Hornblower Hybrid, Pier 40, Houston Street at the Hudson River, Manhattan.
Two big subjects popped out from the TV screen on this week’s Sunday political talk shows: the candidates’ responses to criticism leveled by grieving families, and questions about Russia’s involvement in the U.S. presidential race.
Hillary Clinton slammed Donald Trump’s controversial remarks about the family of Army Captain Humayun Khan who died in Iraq and said the accumulation of Trump’s statements throughout the election year made her wonder “where the bottom is.”
In an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Trump said he had sacrificed a lot in his life. “I think I’ve made a lot of sacrifices,” he said. “I work very, very hard. I’ve created thousands and thousands of jobs, tens of thousands of jobs, built great structures. I’ve done – I’ve had – I’ve had tremendous success. I think I’ve done a lot.”
Democratic leaders and candidates for Congress began over the weekend to call on Republicans to disavow Trump. And the top two Republicans in Congress, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, signaled their strong disagreement with the nominee, but stopped short of condemning him in blunt terms.
While acknowledging that some of his supporters “will not vote” for Clinton, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders argued on “Face the Nation” Sunday that his signature issues stood a better chance of being addressed by a President Clinton than they would by a Donald Trump.
With the presidential conventions now out of the way, Trump’s top aides were ready to forgo a campaign in Democrat-dominated New York, but were overruled by the Donald, who wants to compete in his home state. He’s scheduled to appear in Plattsburgh Thursday.
Arizona Sen. John McCain has endorsed Trump, but his granddaughter says she’s still “nursing a grudge” against the nominee, who questioned her grandfather’s heroism, and is backing Clinton.
The CBS News Battleground Tracker Poll found Clinton has 43 percent support in 11 battleground states after the Democratic convention, while Trump has 41 percent support. In the same poll last week, Trump led Clinton 42 percent to 41 percent.
With Clinton and Trump officially securing their parties’ presidential nominations over the last two weeks, for the first time in 72 years, both major party candidates call themselves New Yorkers. The last time two Empire State residents battled it out for the presidency was in 1944.
The Commission on Presidential Debates rebutted Trump’s assertion that Democrats are trying to “rig” the presidential debates by putting them up against nationally televised football games, reiterating that they are a nonpartisan organization that does not make decisions based on the desires of candidates.
The NY Post has published more nude photos of Trump’s wife, Melania, from when she was a 25-year-old model in 1995.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered that the state make it a condition of parole for sex offenders that they stay away from Pokémon Go and similar interactive games.
Assemblyman Michael Blake, a Bronx Democrat, has filed a formal complaint against the NYPD, claiming he was roughly handled by an officer after asking about police activity in his district.
In a rare legislative endorsement, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is formally backing his former chief of staff’s state Senate run. Micah Lasher is seeking the seat being vacated by Sen. Adriano Espaillat, who won the NY-13 primary in June.
U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer says it takes too long for dangerous food to be taken off shelves, and demanded that the FDA rework its recall guidelines. He was particularly upset that a 21-state E. coli outbreak linked to tainted flour began in December — but the recall wasn’t issued until May.
NYC politicians aren’t allowed to use their campaign cash to pay lawyers representing them in criminal matters, but Mayor Bill de Blasio has found a way around this problem. Now facing multiple investigations of his campaign fund-raising tactics, the mayor is using an obscure loophole in campaign finance laws to pay the lawyers defending him.
Current and former aides say it’s not unusual for de Blasio to have outbursts and be condescending to his staffers, while others insist he is tough but fair.
James Booth quit his post as secretary of the Orange County GOP because he can’t stomach Trump, who he called a “horrible human being.”
On statewide tests for third through eighth graders this year, New York City’s most troubled schools kept pace with the rest of city schools, showing similar gains in reading and math. These schools are part of the de Blasio administration’s Renewal Schools program.
The most recent state campaign finance reports show that former Suffolk Conservative chairman Edward Walsh received $16,550 in wages for April and May even though he was automatically removed as party leader after his March 31 conviction on federal corruption charges. He’ll be returning the money.
A coalition that includes developers and landlords has written to Cuomo asking him to sign into law a bill that would prohibit the advertising of illegal units on online home-sharing sites like Airbnb.
Fred LeBurn says Cuomo “became a progressive by accident,” and deconstructs the governor’s convention speech.
NYC has tapped the Doe Fund to expand a program that puts formerly homeless and jailed New Yorkers to work cleaning streets and getting rid of graffiti.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz has, as promised, vetoed changes to the county charter that were approved by legislators 2½ weeks ago.
NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito’s term is expiring next year, and she has begun to weigh what she will do next. “I keep all my options open,” she said. “I definitely want to continue to be very active locally in New York City, to be involved in changes that happen here.”
Assemblywoman Pamela Harris, a Brooklyn Democrat, and her husband, Leon, filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in late 2013, and owe more than $30,000 in back taxes.
The temporary arrangement to care for Dr. Eugene Gosy’s 9,500 patients ends this week, but another doctor is stepping in to ensure the big pain management practice remains open. Dr. James Hitt will begin working today as medical director.
In 2014, Rensselaer County Executive Kathleen Jimino touted the soon-to-be redeveloped former Fort Orange Paper Co. as an example of the county’s successful efforts at economic revitalization. But more than two years later, the dilapidated buildings still sit silent, the developers unable to secure money to pay for a new proposed $250 million paper factory.
Nassau’s sewer and storm-water district saved no money during the first year the county’s sewer system was run by a private company, according to the county’s Office of Legislative Budget Review.
Dowling College has reached agreements with Long Island University and five other colleges to accept its students as the struggling Oakdale institution continues to wind down its operations, officials have announced.
This week, lawyers will begin the process of finding 12 New Jersey residents who can — or who will say they can — impartially consider the evidence against the two defendants at the Bridgegate trial set to start in September.
Boot-camp style prisons have slowly closed after analysis and other studies found the programs had no notable impact on recidivism. The Federal Bureau of Prisons ended its boot camps in 2005. New York has closed two facilities in the past several years, leaving Moriah and Lakeview, in Chautauqua County, as the only ones left in the state.
A rare blooming of a corpse flower, known for its stench, has drawn about 25,000 people to the New York Botanical Garden since July 20, a spokesman for the Bronx garden said.
Jul 31st - 12:46 pm
The first post-Democratic convention polls are coming out, and it looks like Hillary Clinton is regaining the advantage over Donald Trump. But it’s unlikely this bounce will last.
Clinton now stands at 43 percent support, ahead of Trump’s 41 percent. Trump had led 42 percent to 41 percent last week.
Trump is planning to return to Plattsburgh, N.Y., on Thursday, according to the presidential campaign’s schedule. Plattsburgh Mayor James Calnon said the Trump event – a town hall – would be at 2 p.m.
Trump is slamming Michael Bloomberg’s endorsement of Clinton, speculating that the former New York City mayor cut a deal with the former secretary of state to get a job in any new Clinton administration.
After Bloomberg questioned Trump’s business acumen and called him a con man during his speech on Wednesday, Trump started referring to Bloomberg as “Little” Michael Bloomberg, reusing a moniker once reserved for Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.
The hashtag “#TrumpSacrifices” began trending Saturday after the real estate mogul turned Republican presidental nominee said he has “made a lot of sacrifices” in response to Khizr Khan’s speech at the Democratic National Convention Thursday night.
Trump also said that Khan had delivered the entire speech because his wife was not “allowed” to speak. In response, Khan said the nominee “is devoid of feeling the pain of a mother who has sacrificed her son.”
“I appreciate (Trump’s) statement calling my son a hero and making this clarification and statement. I appreciate that. But it sounds so disingenuous because of his policies, because of his rhetoric of hatred, of derision, of dividing us,” Khan said on “Meet the Press.”
From a luxury hotel on the edge of the Rocky Mountains, some of the nation’s most powerful Republican donors are rebelling against Trump, saying they prefer instead to focus on helping Republicans retain control of the U.S. Senate.
Tim Kaine differs with Clinton on a longstanding rule banning federal taxpayer dollars from funding abortions, the Democratic vice presidential candidate told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is boasting about how his group’s release of hacked Democratic National Committee emails is affecting the US presidential election – and says it has unreleased information about Clinton’s campaign.
Trump was once threatened with castration after courting the wrong woman — the daughter of a reputed New Jersey mobster – while still married to his first wife, Ivana, according to a new book.
Decades before she was sporting designer dresses on the stage of the Republican National Convention as Mrs. Trump, Melania Knauss posed nude at the age of 25 in a photo spread for a now-defunct French men’s magazine.
Mark Cuban, the billionaire investor who has relentlessly trolled Trump on social media for months, has officially endorsed Clinton in her bid for president.
Trump says he’s through being nice to Clinton and plans to “take the gloves off” for the rest of the election season.
Since Trump’s convention in Cleveland, which painted a dark and isolationist vision of America and its place in the world, Democrats have sought to capitalize on the red, white and blue symbolism and rhetoric he has ceded them. Clinton campaign aides are now even distributing small American flags to supporters at their larger rallies.
Clinton has a very attractive young nephew who is a male model.
IDC Leader Jeff Klein says the wildly popular smartphone game Pokemon Go could inadvertently give sexual predators easy access to new prey. He’s proposing requiring game manufacturers to take steps to ensure the virtual creatures don’t pop up near the homes of sexual offenders.
In an informal investigation by Klein and Sen. Diane Savino, staff members took a list of 100 registered sex offenders across New York City and compared it with locations where Pokémon Go players could collect virtual items or use other game features.
Ex-employees of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights say its leader, Kerry Kennedy, is so difficult to work for that at least nine people have quit within the past year.
Bronx Assemblyman Marcos Crespo’s 2016 campaign petitions are riddled with fraud and should be thrown out, opponents charge in a court complaint.
Though Cuomo hired Bart Schwartz to investigate potentially improper lobbying and undisclosed conflicts of interests in the administration, Schwartz’s firm is a player in New York beyond the probe and has a handful of contracts with the Port Authority.
Fantasy sports companies and enthusiasts are eagerly awaiting word from Cuomo on whether he’ll sign a bill legalizing daily online betting into law. Though the governor’s office pushed through some last-minute changes before the measure passed, it’s unclear what the governor’s intention is.
Former Gov. David Paterson is reinventing himself as a Wall Street broker, joining the Stifel, Nicolaus team of Moldaver, Paterson, Lee and Chrebet Group in New York City. The only problem: Paterson’s Finra BrokerCheck history has a still-pending 2014 investigation of him by the SEC.
The Times Union called on Cuomo and state leaders to sign a $2 billion MOU for affordable housing, which has not been allocated since the governor announced it in the state budget on April 1.
Clinton’s history-making bid to become the first female president has some parallels to Chris Quinn’s efforts two years ago to be the city’s first woman mayor, but Quinn is quick to point out what she thinks will be one big difference, saying: “(Clinton) is going to win.”
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio denied Friday that his team withheld from investigators a crucial memo about a Lower East Side nursing home that wound up as condos — but a document obtained by the Daily News shows that’s not true.
Federal subpoenas have been received by the health care workers union, 1199 S.E.I.U., which has supported de Blasio and Cuomo, and by SUNY over the sale of Long Island College Hospital in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn.
For the first time, New York City students caught up to their peers around the state in English, officials said on Friday in announcing the results for the standardized tests given to third through eighth graders this year.
From the beginning, Black Lives Matter supporters have included protesters and activists of all races. In its latest campaign, minority supporters are turning to the people closest to them, trying to convince them that the movement is their fight too.
Black Lives Matter activists protested the arrest of an anti-violence advocate who was taken into custody while videotaping officers frisking a handcuffed motorist in Syracuse.
In Nassau, where judicial races are more competitive, about 10 percent of the judicial candidates in the past 10 years were cross-endorsed by the major parties. But election records show that cross- endorsements have increased in both counties in recent years.
Three Long Island school districts — Levittown in Nassau County, and Montauk and South Huntington in Suffolk — should not have built up multimillion-dollar budget surpluses, state auditors said in separate reports released last week.
Nearly 9 million New Yorkers now have health records in a growing database accessible to most of the state’s hospitals, health centers, long-term care facilities and nearly one-quarter of physician practices.
Jul 28th - 3:57 pm
Day 4 has arrived – the final day of the 2016 Democratic National Convention, which will culminate this evening with Hillary Clinton formally accepting her party’s nomination to run for president, becoming the first woman selected by a major political party to seek the White House.
Clinton will be introduced by her daughter, Chelsea, who has served as a frequent surrogate for her mother during this campaign.
This is going to arguably be the most important speech Hillary Clinton has delivered in her long political career today. She must make the case for herself, while invigorating the party and also trying to connect with those voters who find her both untrustworthy and unlikeable.
According to her campaign, Clinton will seek to weave together all the themes of this convention’s previous nights, and also discuss how this election is a “moment of reckoning.” She’ll take a few swipes at her GOP opponent, Donald Trump, and also lay out her plans for what she wants to achieve in the White House, should she win in November.
Also speaking tonight – though not in the prime-time window – is Gov. Andrew Cuomo. He has said it’s a real honor for the state to have its governor chosen to address the convention on the last day. (It’s also no doubt a satisfying achievement for the governor to net this slot, when his political rival, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, got a crummy late afternoon speaking slot on Day 3).
Cuomo’s will be trying to live up to the very high bar set by his father, the late former Gov. Mario Cuomo, with his memorable 1984 “tale of two cities” speech, in which he called out Republican President Reagan for his “shining city on a hill” rhetoric.
That speech catapulted Mario Cuomo into the national consciousness, solidified his reputation as a liberal lion, and also kickstarted speculation that he might some day run for president. (He went back and forth on that quite a bit, but ultimately did not take the plunge).
Andrew Cuomo’s speech is going to be quite a bit shorter than his father’s, but it will no doubt be closely watched and dissected, since the current governor is widely believed to harbor his own White House ambitions, and did not run this year because he did not want to compete with his fellow New Yorker, Clinton.
So, while we’re waiting for the action to begin here at the Wells Fargo Center, here are some headlines to keep you busy…
Just as she assumed a lead role in her father’s foundation and became a chief campaign surrogate for her mother, Chelsea Clinton is willing to step up should her parents need her if they return to the White House, according to the former first daughter’s friends.
Democratic VP nominee Tim Kaine said Trump is “a threat to everything” Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and his supporters stand for.
Trump said that he was being sarcastic when he asked Russian hackers to go after Clinton and dig out her emails.
Donald Trump Jr. suggested that Barack Obama’s convention speech lifted a line from his RNC remarks, pointing out that both addresses contained the line “that’s not the America I know.” (That’s a line Obama has used frequently in the past).
The professional website of Melania Trump, wife of the Republican presidential nominee, has apparently been deleted from the internet as of yesterday afternoon.
The website in question was created in 2012, Melania Trump said, and was taken down because it does not “accurately reflect my current business and professional interests.”
Clinton has been consulting American Vogue editor-in-chief and Democratic party fundraiser Anna Wintour on her wardrobe choices for key moments of the campaign.
Cuomo and AG Eric Schneiderman announced that New York is leading a coalition of 10 states and the District of Columbia in challenging the North Carolina law that limits the ability of cities and localities to protect the rights of transgender and non-gender-conforming people.
The the coalition, along with two other states, also filed a second court brief opposing the state of Texas’s challenge to federal guidance allowing transgender students to use facilities consistent with their gender identity.
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani called the Democratic National Convention “the most anti-police, anti-law enforcement convention I have ever seen in my whole life.”
Retiring Long Island Rep. Steve Israel sought to downplay talk that he’s among those who might next lead the Democratic National Committee, saying that there are “a number” of better candidates and that now isn’t the time for the party to settle the question.
The convention has provided a new forum for the Occupy Wall Street movement, which has made camp at Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park in Philadelphia under the name Occupy Philly.
Actor Bradley Cooper was just another celebrity face in the crowd at the convention last night, but many Republicans on social media took vocal exception to the “American Sniper” star’s attendance.
Now that being a veep nominee isn’t an option, it’s back to TV for Newt Gingrich. The former speaker of the House will pick up right where he left off as a political commentator on the right-leaning Fox New Channel.
The bill for a lawsuit over raises for county officials continues to grow. As of July 28, Onondaga County had paid $154,340.82 to outside lawyers to defend a lawsuit from another elected official.
The FDA opened a public docket to allow for comments on its current blood donor deferral policy for gay men.
Trump is too much even for former mayor-turned-reality-TV-pioneer Jerry Springer.
NY-21 Rep. Elise Stefanik declined to answer questions this about whether she supports the Republican Party platform, approved at the party’s convention last week, (which she skipped).
New York’s hospitals collectively rank dead last among the 50 states in a new report card from the federal government, an Empire Center analysis shows.
New York prisoners with intellectual and developmental disabilities housed in a newly created special unit designed to be more therapeutic have been abused, neglected and deprived of adequate mental health services, according to a report from Lawyers for Disability Rights New York.
Jul 27th - 4:05 pm
Day 3 at the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, where there is a jam-packed schedule tonight at the Wells Fargo Center.
The focus will be on national security, and Hillary Clinton’s campaign and allies will position her as prepared to be the nation’s commander-in-chief, contrasting her with what it’s calling a “temperamentally unfit” Donald Trump. Speakers on that topic include former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and veterans.
There will also be discussion of gun control, with family members of victims of the Orlando nightclub massacre, and former NYC Mayor Mile Bloomberg, a Democrat-turned-Republican-turned independent who mulled his own White House run. Since leaving City Hall, Bloomberg has spent millions of his own money to push gun control policies and candidates across the nation.
Also on tap: Speeches from VP Joe Biden and his wife, Jill; Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, Clinton’s running mate; and keynote address from President Barack Obama, who will both discuss his own legacy and make the case for continuing his policies for another four years by electing his former secretary of state to succeed him in the White House.
While we’re waiting for the show to begin, here are some headlines for your consideration…
As Donald Trump calls on Russia to find and expose his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton’s emails, congressional Republicans – including House Speaker Paul Ryan – are pushing back and bashing Russia’s leader Vladamir Putin.
The response from Clinton’s senior police advisor Jake Sullivan: “This has to be the first time that a major presidential candidate has actively encourage a foreign power to conduct espionage against is political opponent. That’s not hyperbole, those are just the facts.”
Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani tried to spin Trump’s remarks, saying: “What he meant was that if Russia has them, they should turn them over to the FBI…They should be released before the election. They can be used to extort her, they can be used to influence her, to threaten her.”
Trump referred to Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine as “the former governor of New Jersey.” Kaine served as the governor of Virginia from 2006 to 2010, and is currently the state’s junior U.S. senator. Tom Kean, a Republican, served as the governor of New Jersey from 1982 to 1990.
Trump “will not be releasing” his tax returns due to a federal audit, his campaign manager said, despite pressure to release them and provide a window into his finances before the Nov. 8 election.
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is trying to reboot his national progressive profile after struggling to position himself as a leader of the party’s left wing.
Former President Bill Clinton’s approach in his convention speech, speaking of his wife in highly personal – even sexual – terms, and reopening the couple’s complex marriage to scrutiny was a significant gamble.
Women have made so much progress, that some female voters appear indifferent to another glass ceiling shattered by Clinton’s candidacy.
Asked what it was like to be recognized so often at the convention – and not always in a complimentary way, former Rep. Anthony Weiner responded: “This is like Comic-Con. And I was in, you know, ‘Batman Recovers’ or whatever the hell the third Batman is…Forgotten Batman.”
Chelsea Clinton would like to ask her friend Ivanka Trump how her father intends to fight for equal pay for women and accessible child care – two issues the GOP nominee’s daughter insisted on the convention stage last week are important to her father.
Giuliani insisted that the Democratic Party is an “anti-police party,” arguing that Barack Obama “created an anti-police atmosphere all throughout this country.”
Giuliani also said he has spoken to Israeli government leaders “at the highest levels,” who told him they don’t want to see a Clinton presidency.
Together the DNC and RNC will end up spending more than $110 million putting on the shows, which comes from deep-pocketed donors and corporations looking for free publicity.
The state DFS informed health insurers of their responsibility to provide the same level of coverage for mental health and substance use disorders as for medical or surgical care.
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin has told his senior staff and his family that after the November election he will make a decision about whether he will run for Illinois governor. U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, once Durbin’s rival to lead the chamber’s Democratic conference, said he hopes Durbin stays put.
Trump says his son, Donald Trump Jr., won’t run for mayor of NYC, and it’s “almost impossible” for a Republican to win that office.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, longtime best friend to the Clintons, said he believes Hillary Clinton will support the TPP trade deal if elected president, with some tweaks. His spokesman later sought to clarify those remarks, saying the governor was simply expressing what he wants Clinton to do if she is elected president.
One of Buffalo’s leading developers and downtown property owners, Paul Ciminelli, said it would be better to demolish One Seneca Tower instead of having the city subsidize its redevelopment.
James Lyman, a former Albany police officer, the longtime executive director of one of the state’s largest police unions, Council 82, was fired last month for undisclosed reasons following an internal investigation.
The Buffalo Common Council has approved a $5,000 annual car allowance for any Council member driving at least 120 days a year for work – excluding to and from City Hall – with their own vehicle.
After six months, the Onondaga County Comptroller’s lawsuit challenging raises for county officials will get its day in court. At a court hearing scheduled for tomorrow morning, attorneys will present arguments over whether the case should be dismissed.
Jul 26th - 4:25 pm
Day Two of the 2016 Democratic National Convention, and Democrats are trying hard to be the tumult and divisions of yesterday behind them. That could be difficult, though, since the roll call vote is the first major order of business this afternoon.
Sanders supporters will have one last chance to express their love for up/upset over Hillary Clinton during that vote. A Sanders spokesman said near the end of the tally, the Vermont delegation could move to make the Clinton nomination unanimous by acclamation.
After that’s over, the speeches get underway, with a number of New Yorkers scheduled to take the stage, including U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer and Queens Rep. Joe Crowley. Also on tap: “Mothers of the Movement,” women who lost family members to deadly interactions with police officers.
Celebrity appearances tonight include: Actresses Lena Dunham and America Fererra and singer Alicia Keys, who seemed in fine vocal form when she did her sound check this afternoon.
The keynote speech this evening will be delivered by former President Bill Clinton, who was in the convention hall last night and appeared to very much enjoy First Lady Michelle Obama’s turn at the podium. He’s the only speaker scheduled in the 10 p.m. prime time hour, so it will probably be a stemwinder. Also, there’s a film to be introduced by actress Meryl Streep.
Some headlines to keep you busy while we’re waiting for the action to begin…
Unlike four years ago in North Carolina, when didn’t even spend a full day at the convention, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is spending multiple days – and holding multiple events – here in Philly.
Cuomo announced the “topping off” of the new Albany Capital Center, marking the completion of the steel construction phase of the new convention center downtown.
If Hillary Clinton wins the White House, it’s unclear, exactly, what her husband will do with himself. If he’s idle with a lot of time on his hands, it could be trouble.
The dress First Lady Michelle Obama chose for her convention speech had a lot of meaning.
Michelle Obama has now delivered two speeches that were very tough on Trump — albeit without mentioning him by name in either – and he has responded, uncharacteristically, with silence. Maybe because he (like his wife) is a fan?
The FLOTUS for president movement is well underway.
U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer courted Sanders supporters at the New York delegation breakfast this morning, pledging: “I’ll tell you, when I’m majority leader we’re going to change the trade laws in America.”
The RNC is gleefully promoting Day One discord at the Democrats’ convention in Philly.
Former Rep. Anthony Weiner says he would end his retirement to keep Donald Trump Jr. from becoming New York City’s mayor. “I’d come out of a retirement just to beat him like a rented mule,” he told FOX News.
Fans of “The Bachelorette” blasted Sanders on Twitter after his speech at the convention disrupted the show’s two-hour broadcast.
Former DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who was booed by members of her own Florida delegation here in Philly, could be in trouble back home. The campaign of her primary challenger, law professor Tim Canova, says it has raised more than $100,000 since she stepped down from her party post.
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio praised Democrats for ousting Wasserman Schultz, saying emails that showed party bias against Sanders “did not represent our values.”
The hacker who claims to have stolen emails from the DNC and provided them to WikiLeaks is actually an agent of the Russian government and part of an orchestrated attempt to influence U.S. media coverage surrounding the presidential election, a security research group concluded.
Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said that Democrats are trying to be united at every level of government, and do not intend to mount primary challenges against members of the IDC, unlike 2014, when they ran candidates against some IDC members.
A Cuomo aide says the governor wants a Democrat-controlled state Senate and will campaign with candidates “as election season ramps up.” Given his history on this issue, some Democrats are (understandably) skeptical.
New York is extending the hours of operation at state pools, parks and beaches during the ongoing heatwave. The governor called this “the perfect way to beat the heat.”
An Assembly oversight panel is holding a hearing next week to press the Cuomo administration’s economic development agency for information about the Start-UP NY program, as well as the Buffalo Billion and other job creation efforts, the committee’s chairman said.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office says that a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision is irrelevant to the case of ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who was convicted on public corruption charges last year, and that he should not remain free while appealing.
John Faso, a Kinderhook Republican and former assemblyman who is running for Congress in NY-19, was just called up for jury duty in a sexual assault case. He was excused.
KeyCorp remains on track to close its deal for First Niagara Financial Group on Aug. 1, Key officials said.
Jul 26th - 12:37 pm
Freshman Republican Rep. John Katko, one of the Democrats’ top targets in the November elections, has released his second TV ad of the campaign, again trying to position himself as a pragmatist who is willing to work across the aisle to represent a closely divided district that has traded hands several times over the past several years.
The spot features two registered Democrats – John and Tina Socci of Cayuga County – who have been dramatically impacted by the state’s opioid/heroin epidemic, according to the Katko campaign.
The Soccis lost their daughter, Katie, five years ago when she was killed by her ex-fiancé – a man addicted to opiate-based painkillers. And then two years later, the Socci family lost their son, Chris, to a heroin overdose.
The couple has worked with the congressman in his efforts to address this crisis. In the ad they call him “a very good ally” and someone who understands the “danger of drugs,” thanks to his experience as a former federal prosecutor.
Katko is facing off in the NY-24 general election against Democrat Colleen Deacon, a former aide of U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who won a three-way primary in June.
Deacon and the DCCC have sought to portray Katko as in lock step with his fellow Republicans, particularly presidential nominee Donald Trump, though the congressman has declined to formally endorse the New York businessman’s candidacy.
Katko’s new ad is starting to air immediately on broadcast and cable stations. The campaign did not provide any information on the size of the buy. Here’s the script:
“Our daughter was killed five years ago by her ex-fiancé.
He had become addicted to opiate-based painkillers and he strangled Katie to death…in front of their 18-month-old daughter.
Just over two years later, our son passed away…on his 25th birthday…from a heroin overdose.
We have adopted our granddaughter. I hope she grows up in a better world than this. We can’t bring back our son or our daughter, but we can help.
We know that John Katko is willing to do whatever it takes. Whatever it takes to battle drug abuse, to battle domestic violence.
John Katko has helped us. John Katko has been a very good ally.
As a federal prosecutor, he knows the danger of drugs.
When John Katko tells you he is going to do something, he does it.
John Katko has earned the right to continue this fight.”
Jul 26th - 11:56 am
Mike Derrick, the Democrat challenging Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik in NY-21, has released his second TV ad hammering her for her support of fast tracking the controversial trade deal known as TPP (the Trans Pacific Partnership).
As he did in his first ad, Derrick notes that Donald Trump is against TPP, and this time he throws Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders into the mix for good measure.
“Trump and Bernie don’t agree on much, but they’re right that we need to stop unfair trade deals,” Derrick says in the ad. “Say no to TPP. And take on both parties in Washington.”
Again, Derrick is trying to appeal to the middle with this ad, specifically independents, who could very well be the swing vote in this race, though the presence of the Green Party candidate, Matt Funiciello, does likely cut into Derrick’s Democrat support (particularly with those die-hard Sanders supporters).
Stefanik’s campaign has gone to great lengths to stress that what the congresswoman supported and voted “yes” on was TPA, not TPP, crossing party lines to support President Obama’s request for fast track authority to negotiate trade agreements – something on which a number of the president’s fellow Democrats disagree, including Hillary Clinton, though she supported TPP before she was against it.
In the press release that accompanies this ad, Derrick’s campaign notes that a number of Stefanik’s fellow House Republicans – Reps. Chris Collins, Chris Gibson, and John Katko – opposed both fast-tracking and supporting the TPP.
Again, no word on the size of the buy for this ad or the duration of time it will run.
Jul 25th - 3:45 pm
We’re about to get things underway here at the Wells Fargo Center for Day One of the 2016 Democratic National Convention. It has been a hectic day, especially for Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the former DNC chair. (More on that below). While we await the day’s activities/festivities, here are some headlines for your perusal…
Addressing a roomful of thousands of military veterans, Hillary Clinton today offered a direct contrast to rival Donald Trump, presenting herself as a steady hand who as president would honor the nation’s commitment to veterans and to allies overseas.
Supporters of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders booed today as the former Democratic presidential contender told them, “We must elect Hillary Clinton.” He was appearing for the first time this week in Philadelphia, where he is set to address the convention tonight.
“What was clear for anyone watching Sanders’s unsuccessful attempts to calm the churning among his supporters is that the revolution he started is no longer one he can totally control. Or maybe even control at all.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has launched a probe into the hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s emails.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, soon-to-be-former DNC chair, decided against gaveling in to the convention today in the interest of making sure Day One kicks off on a “high note.”
Schultz was heckled at a breakfast of delegates from her home state of Florida, with opponents booing her and shouting “Shame!” A row of police officers stood between the stage and the protesters as the congresswoman, who is up for re-election, finished her speech.
Sanders’ campaign considered demanding a private plane staffed and funded by the DNC as part of negotiations with Clinton heading into this week’s convention, according to a Sanders memo obtained by BuzzFeed News.
According to a DNC official, Sanders will turn over his delegates to Clinton tomorrow during a roll call vote.
Former VP Al Gore, one of eight Tennessee super delegates (though he hasn’t pledged his support to Clinton), is not attending the convention in Philadelphia because he has “obligations” at home, according to a spokeswoman. She did not elaborate.
Trump apparently plans to use VP Joe Biden’s famous jab at the dilapidated state of LaGuardia Airport as part of a lengthy jeremiad against the current administration – even though the federal government has committed to help finance the $4.2 billion demolition and rebuilding of the Queens plane terminal.
Liberal filmmaker Michael Moore said he expectsTrump to be elected president and listed five reasons on his website why the GOP nominee will win in November.
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Senate Republicans don’t support the interests of his city.
The Workforce Fairness Institute, which has for years fought union-backed legislation in Washington, is airing advertisements across the Democratic National Convention – targeted to mobile devices in and near the convention’s arena and conference center, delegate hotels and Philadelphia’s airport.
Brooklyn Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, considered a potential challenger to de Blasio next year, revealed in his 2016 financial disclosure report he received $1.65 million in contingency fees last year from a Manhattan personal-injury firm even though he left the firm in December 2012 after his election to the House.
Cuomo’s office says the 800,000 new jobs refers to those added in the private sector since he took office in 2011. PolitifactNY’s Dan Clark says that’s a true statement.
Here’s a list of Clinton’s biggest upstate donors.
Bill Bratton will not remain the commissioner of the NYPD past next year, he said in an interview with The New York Times, his most definitive comments to date on his future at the helm of the nation’s largest police force.
“Democrats are doing what they always do, telling themselves a story, and the story is that Donald Trump can’t win, and that’s just not true,” said veteran New York Democratic political consultant Hank Sheinkopf.
Filmmaker Josh Fox, who has spent a lot of time on the road with Sanders in recent months and is not a fan of Clinton, said the Democratic runner-up has revealed that America is more progressive than anyone previously suspected.
The United States is failing to seriously address lead poisoning in its low-income communities, a severe public health threat touching more than 535,000 children a year, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro said.
The 43North business plan competition is down to 142 semi-finalists for this year’s contest. The $5 million business plan competition released the semifinalists after narrowing its field of entries from a pool of 542 initial entrants.
The MTA plans to shut down the New York City subway L train’s East River tunnel for 18 months for repairs starting in 2019.
Astronauts Mark Kelly and Scott Kelly, former U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., actors John Cleese and James Franco and others are part of the lineup at Buffalo’s Distinguished Speakers Series.
Cuomo is reprising and re-iterating his call for energy conservation in light of an expected week of high heat and humidity, especially downstate where temps are expected to hit the 90s.
Average retail gasoline prices in New York have fallen 2.9 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.34 per gallon Sunday.
Only in New York, kids, only in New York.
Jul 25th - 5:48 am
Good morning from the City of Brotherly Love, where Democrats will be trying hard to project a message of unity and togetherness, despite the ongoing fallout of the Democratic National Committee email scandal and resignation announcement of the party’s chair, Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
First Lady Michelle Obama and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s erstwhile primary opponent, are scheduled to address the delegates at the Wells Fargo Center for Day One of convention.
Also on tap to speak tonight: A group of top labor leaders – SEIU President Mary Kay Henry, Building Trades President Sean McGarvey, AFSCME President Lee Saunders, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, and American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten – New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, and Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, chair of the Democratic Governors Association.
A small sample of some of the other events taking place today follows.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule.
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio starts the day in the Big Apple with a 10:30 a.m. press conference at the 84th police precinct in Brooklyn with NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton, and later will travel to Philadelphia, PA.
At 10:30 a.m., Team Sanders holds a briefing with members of the news media, Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, 1201 Market St., Third Floor, Conference Room 304, Philadelphia, PA.
At 11 a.m., Assemblyman Felix Oritz is hosting a “Podesta, Pasta, AND Politics” event at the DNC, Barbuzzo, 110 St. and 13th St., Philadelphia, PA.
At noon, Education Reform Now holds a “Camp Philos” panel & lunch, Kimmel Center, 300 S. Broad St., Philadelphia, PA
At 1:30 p.m., a number of New York delegation embers will attend the “Celebrate Hillary Clinton and New York Women” event, El Vez, 121 S. 13th St, Philadelphia, PA.
At 3 p.m., American Legislators for Gun Violence Prevention holds a reception, The National Museum of American Jewish History, 101 S. Independence Mall East, Philadelphia, PA.
At 3 p.m., there will be a “United Together” event featuring First Lady Michelle Obama and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, DNC, Philadelphia, PA.
At 3:30 p.m., de Blasio speaks at the DNC Convention Immigration Forum, National Museum of American Jewish History, 101 S. Independence Mall E, Philadelphia, PA.
5:15 p.m., New York Democrats hold a labor welcome reception, Lucky Strike Philadelphia, 1336 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA
At 6:45 p.m., Coca Cola holds an opening reception of the 2016 International Leaders Forum, The National Constitution Center, 525 Arch St., Philadelphia, PA.
Meanwhile, back home in New York…
At 4:15 p.m., state Gaming Commission members will tour the Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady construction site following their meeting in Schenectady.
Hillary Clinton thinks Republican National Convention rallying cries to throw her in jail “felt very sad.”
“I don’t know what their convention was about aside from criticizing me,” Clinton said in an interview on CBS’ “60 Minutes.” “I seem to be the only unifying theme. There was no positive agenda. It was a very dark, divisive campaign.”
Clinton said she won’t engage in the kind of “insult fest (Donald Trump) seems to thrive on.”
Support for Trump ticked up across battleground states following the Republican National Convention last week, according to the new CBS News Battleground Tracker Poll. He now has 42 percent support across the 11 battleground states surveyed — up from the 40 percent he had last week before the convention.
Trump will try to steal some of Clinton’s thunder during the Democratic convention with a slate of swing-state appearances that will test the appeal of his new running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.
New York’s advertising campaigns promoting the state’s economic-development opportunities have faced criticism for their high costs and meager returns in job creation. Now they have encountered another challenge – this time from a former North Carolina Supreme Court judge.
Donald Trump Jr. said that he’d “love to” make New York City great again by running for mayor — after he’s helped his old man win the White House.
Some New York Republicans say it’s a little too early to talk about political futures for the Trump kids, though they could be members of strong bench of candidates in the future.
Anti- and pro-Airbnb forces have each scheduled media buys and other measures designed to grab the attention of Clinton and Democratic delegates in Philadelphia this week.
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer called on federal authorities to probe security at New York airports, pointing to a recent report that highlights security “blind spots” at La Guardia and Newark airports.
US Attorney Preet Bharara’s corruption probe into the dealings of two shady businessmen and donors to NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has expanded north. He has subpoenaed the offices of Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino about dealings with de Blasio financial backers Jona Rechnitz and Jeremy Reichberg, who have been linked to recent city pay-to-play scandals.
Nearly half of the $663,706 raised by the state Republican party since January for its “housekeeping account” came from just three individuals, including lightening rod donor David Koch.
State Senate Democrats plan to use Senate GOP Majority Leader John Flanagan’s full-throated endorsement of Donald Trump during last week’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland as an issue during the upcoming fight for control of the chamber.
De Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton will announce today that cops are getting more tactical equipment, including helmets and bulletproof vests.
The de Blasio administration has failed to make its last two payments to the NYPD pension fund.
Sports radio host Mike Francesa waded into political waters this month, contributing $2,000 to Flower Hill Mayor Elaine Phillips, a Republican running for the State Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Jack Martins, according to State Board of Election filings.
Several recent congressional primary contenders not only lost their elections, but also were left with some significant campaign debts.
Long lines at the bridges into Canada have been getting even longer this summer – and there’s no sign they will shorten any time soon. The problem rests with too few open inspection booths, bridge officials on both sides of the U.S-Canadian border say, leading to long delays – sometimes more than an hour – at the Peace, Rainbow and Lewiston-Queenston bridges.
A long-simmering murder case in Potsdam connected to the strangulation of a 12-year-old boy is shaping up as an important legal test of a cutting-edge method of teasing DNA evidence out of microscopic amounts of biological matter.
New York City’s first zoning resolution, responsible both for the density of Manhattan and its sidewalk, subway and traffic congestion, is turning 100.
Could a lift bridge, a shorter span or even a tunnel under the Buffalo River someday replace the Skyway? Rep. Brian Higgins said that such alternatives could be less expensive than the proposed costs of rehabilitating the 60-year-old bridge.
One day after lifting a “boil water” public health advisory, the Erie County Water Authority on Sunday reported 11 separate water main breaks in parts of Amherst, Depew, Hamburg, West Seneca, Lackawanna and Lancaster.
A former student of the Emma Willard school in Troy is claiming she was sexually abused by a staff member nearly two decades ago. The school has launched an investigation into the incident.
For the first time in six years, owner and 90-year-old socialite Marylou Whitney won a race at Saratoga Race Course this afternoon to applause and chants of “Mare-ee-lou!”
The drought that has taken ahold of the Northeast is hitting farmers particularly hard.
Jul 24th - 9:23 pm
The CapTon team has arrived in Philadelphia, PA for the Democratic National Convention, where Hillary Clinton will be formally nominated to run for president.
Though the Democrats had hoped to avoid the division and drama experienced by the Republicans in Cleveland last week, they’ve already had their fair share – and it isn’t even Day One yet.
That’s thanks to a trove of emails from Democratic Party officials that were made public by Wikileaks, revealing exactly what the establishment thought about Clinton’s erstwhile primary opponent, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, and the lengths to which they were willing to go to sideline him when they were supposedly staying neutral in the intra-party contest.
Given the ongoing uproar over Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state – and the FBI’s refuel to bring charges against her, a major GOP talking point – the last thing the Democrats want or need right now is another mess involving emails.
Hoping to curb the fallout from this latest email debacle, DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Florida congresswoman, has heeded calls – led by Sanders himself – for her to step down. Wasserman Schultz, who was already a polarizing figure and unpopular with some Democratic leaders, reportedly discussed her decision to depart with both Clinton and President Obama.
She announced she’ll resign at the end of the convention. DNC Vice Chair Donna Brazile will serve as the party’s interim chair, though plans remain intact for her to remain one of CNN’s talking-head contributors for the convention. She will not, however, be compensated for her appearances.
Also today, a large crowd of Sanders supporters protested in Philadelphia, marching to the convention site (The Wells Fargo Center) and chanting “Hell, no, D.N.C., we won’t vote for Hillary.”
Team Clinton will be trying hard to put forth a united front as the official convention business gets underway tomorrow, just as Team Trump did in Cleveland. But Sanders supporters will likely work hard to make their presence known – likely both inside and outside the arena – throughout the week.
Meanwhile, New Yorkers will again be front and center at this convention, and a number of elected officials – Gov. Andrew Cuomo; NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio; Rep. Nita Lowey, a Westchester congresswoman who gave up a run for the U.S. Senate in 2000 so Clinton could run, providing her with a launchpad to the White House; and both U.S. senators, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand – have speaking roles.
There will be lots of blog content coming your way, but here are some headlines for you to peruse in the meantime…
Here’s 12 things to know about Clinton’s VP pick, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine.
Clinton and Kaine will launch a bus tour of two critical battleground states – Pennsylvania and Ohio – after the convention wraps up.
But with Kaine’s selection Clinton’s vice-presidential running mate, the gifts he received in the four years he served as Virginia’s chief executive and his time as lieutenant governor before that are certain to be cited by his Republican critics as a sign that the now-U.S. senator is not as squeaky clean as he portrays himself.
Russians may have hacked internal Democratic Party emails to help Trump, Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said.
Clinton will have some real star power supporting her White House bid in Philadelphia this week, with Katy Perry, Lena Dunham, Demi Lovato and America Ferrera planning to show up, but A-listers backing Sanders – like Susan Sarandon – are still on the fence.
Billionaire media mogul Michael Bloomberg, the former NYC mayor who mulled his own presidential run this year, will endorse Clinton during a prime time speaking slot at the convention. (He hasn’t been a registered Democrat since 2010).
Donald Trump suggested in an interview that he would expand his proposed immigration restrictions to include anyone entering the United States from countries or territories “compromised” by terrorism, including allies such as Germany and France.
Trump fired off consecutive tweets attacking Democratic party officials for mocking Sanders’ “heritage” within minutes of calling Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas,” in reference to her Native American background.
Trump said he prevented Ted Cruz from being violently pulled off the Republican National Convention stage by entering the Cleveland arena as hundreds of angry delegates lashed out at the Texas senator.
Trump has already begun picking candidates for some of the top slots in his administration — and several names are very familiar. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani is considered a front-runner to head the Department of Homeland Security. NJ Gov. Chris Christie is mentioned as a potential U.S. AG pick, and Dr. Ben Carson may head the Department of Health and Human Services.
President Obama’s Kenyan half-brother wants to make America great again — so he’s returning to the U.S. to vote for Trump.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s DNC speech is a high-stakes appearance before a national audience, made riskier because some Democrats will expect oratory perfection as if it is a Cuomo birthright, remembering his father’s star turn on the convention stage in 1984.
With little to do but wait until U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara reveals where his investigation is taking him, Cuomo has maintained a determined face in public, with lots of appearances in both June and July.
Cuomo announced Saturday that all seven lanes of the Tappan Zee Bridge would be open to traffic, four days after a crane collapsed on the bridge, blocking northbound and southbound traffic.
Three days after the 25-story boom of a crane toppled onto the Tappan Zee Bridge, creating havoc and a huge traffic jam but killing no one, three separate investigations were proceeding into what caused the accident.
The NYT opines: “If (Cuomo) is serious about ‘a redesign of the M.T.A. on every level,’ he should look for new ways to pay for mass transit. Raising the gas tax would be one option. Another is to support the strategies promoted in a proposal called the ‘Move NY Fair Plan.'”
Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano issued a warning to those targeting and gunning down police officers, saying: “Target our citizens, target our police, and you’re going home in a body bag.”
The state Department of Taxation has a warrant against former Staten Island Rep. Vito Fossella’s 2008 re-election campaign because it owes the state $3,298.92 for not paying withholding taxes from its employees’ paychecks.
State Business Council President and CEO Heather Briccetti says “economic development incentives are a useful tool, when well designed and thoughtfully applied,” but the Cuomo administration needs to take a broader look at what it’s doing overall to help or harm New York’s business climate.
The state Department of Transportation will conduct the first comprehensive study of alternatives to Buffalo’s Skyway, examining the 60-year-old structure, alternative routes and what effect changes to the bridge could have on I-190.
Acting District Attorney Michael J. Flaherty Jr. so far has collected more campaign money than any other candidate in the race to become Erie County’s top prosecutor. Interestingly, there was one contribution Flaherty didn’t want – $500 from defense lawyer Thomas J. Eoannou. (He returned the money).
Niagara County’s jail, where three inmates died since medical care was privatized, will be getting its third provider of inmate medical services in less than a year.
Health officials on Friday reported the first baby born in New York City with the Zika-related birth defect known as microcephaly, a condition marked by an abnormally small head and impaired brain development.
Cuomo says a new Dick’s Sporting Goods distribution center in Broome County will create 466 full-time jobs over the next five years.