Liz Benjamin

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Here and Now

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

At 10 a.m., Westchester County Executive and GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino ill hold a press conference with Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis addressing Staten Island transportation issues and calling on the MTA to draft a 2015 capital plan, Front Street, between Thompson and Canal Streets, Staten Island.

At 11 a.m., Nassau County DA and NY-4 Democratic candidate Kathleen Rice will hold a press conference tomorrow morning to call for bipartisan congressional action to raise the federal minimum wage, Rice Campaign Office, 311 Nassau Blvd S., Garden City South.

At 11:30 a.m., Caesars New York will host Woodbury officials and members of the regional chambers of commerce to celebrate its office’s grand opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, 500 Route 32, Highland Mills.

At noon, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio makes a personnel announcement, Blue Room, City Hall, Manhattan.

Also at noon, NYC Council Members Daniel Dromm and Andy King, the Jails Action Coalition and other groups hold rally to push for changes in treatment of people detained and incarcerated on Riker’s Island, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

At 12:35 p.m., Astorino will visit and deliver remarks at the Korean Community Center, Flushing Senior Center, 42-15 166th St., Flushing.

At 1 p.m., Sen. David Carlucci and the Mental Health Association of Rockland will announce a suicide prevention “safeTALK” class for the general community, 140 Rte. 303, Valley Cottage.

At 1:30 p.m., Astorino will meet with and tour the Flushing Chinese Business Association, 4048 Main St., Flushing.

At 3 p.m., Astorino will tour various businesses in the Jackson Heights Merchants Association, beginning at Amba Jewelers, 37-13 74th St., Jackson Heights, Queens.

At 3:45 p.m., Astorino will meet with officials from the Jackson Heights Merchants Association, Jackson Diner, 37-47 74th St., Jackson Heights, Queens.

At 5:15 p.m., Astorino will visit Brooklyn’s Chinatown and meet with local merchants and the NYPD’s precinct captain and community officer about issues facing the community.

At 7:15 p.m., de Blasio speaks at the Wingate Park Concert Series, Wingate Field, Brooklyn Ave between Rutland Road and Winthrop Street, Brooklyn.


At least 23 people in New York City were struck by bullets this weekend – two are dead. This adds to a tally of shooting victims that is an increase of more than 10 percent over last year, to more than 822 citywide.

Dropping a health bombshell on Twitter, NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito disclosed Sunday that she has “high risk HPV.”

Mark-Viverito also revealed it had been two years since her last gynecological exam, and she will undergo a biopsy to determine if she has cervical cancer.

Jim Kelly recently met with Jon Bon Jovi to discuss partnering up in pursuit of the Buffalo Bills, but the Hall of Fame quarterback declined to enlist over lingering concerns the team could move.

Democratic Sen. Ted O’Brien – a top GOP target this fall – said he will submit 5,000 petitions on Monday to run on the “Upstate Tax Relief” line in his bid for a second term in the 55th Senate District. He’s running against the GOP’s Rich Funke.

Also launching a new ballot line: Disability rights crusader, one-time state Senate candidate and persistent Cuomo critic Michael Carey. He’s calling it the Life and Justice Party, and he wants to use it for his own gubernatorial run.

The Metropolitan Opera continued talking early this morning with the unions representing its orchestra and chorus, going past the deadline it had set of midnight Sunday for either reaching a deal or locking out its workers a little more than a month before opening night.

UPDATE: There’s a tentative deal between the Met Opera and the unions after an all-night bargaining session.

No one thinks Fordham Law School Prof . Zephyr Teachout will beat Cuomo in the Sept. 9 Democratic primary, but she could hurt him, experts said.

NYC Mayor de Blasio is in the midst of a hiring spree that will add more than 1,000 workers to the public payroll — reversing a six-year trend of downsizing city government.

Fare-beating busts on the subway have surged in recent years, and so has the number of people doing time for the $2.50 crime, making it one of the top charges that has led to incarcerations, a Daily News analysis has found.

My dad and former NYC Corporation Counsel Fritz Schwartz write in the NYDN: “The swirl of attention around Gov. Cuomo’s shuttering of the Moreland Commission is an easy distraction. Like a magician’s trick, it takes our attention off of where it should really be focused: on the commission’s crucial recommendations for campaign finance reform.”

After a brief respite from Moreland questions during his Israel trip, Cuomo returned to…more Moreland questions – even from a “friendly” interviewer, like FOX News’ Maria Bartiromo.

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The Weekend That Was

Texas Gov. Rick Perry defended the veto that led a grand jury to indict him on two felony counts of abuse of power, noting that even some Democrats have questioned the move by prosecutors and insisting: “I stood up for the rule of law in the state of Texas.”

The state Education Department dropped the number of raw points needed to hit proficiency levels in six of the 12 English and math exams given to students in grades 3 to 8, officials acknowledged.

In interviews with about a dozen members of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s various commissions since he took office in 2011, some said they never felt pressured to reach a particular outcome, while others described frustrations with the governor’s office’s oversight of the panels’ work.

Despite mounting criticisms, officials from the UFT doubled down on their decision to participate in the march that Rev. Al Sharpton is leading on Staten Island next Saturday to protest the death of Eric Garner.

PBA President Pat Lynch called it “disgraceful” and “ridiculous” for UFT President Mike Mulgrew to get involved with the march. The UFT declined to comment.

The family of Michael Brown, the unarmed black teenager who was fatally shot by a suburban St. Louis police officer last Saturday, may attend Sharpton’s “We Will Not Go Back” march.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has asked that a federal medical examiner do an autopsy on Brown’s body as soon as possible because of “extraordinary circumstances involved in this case and at the request of the Brown family.”

Former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik defended the military gear and tactics used by law enforcement in Ferguson to quell violence after Brown’s death, saying it was “absolutely needed.”

Multiple sources on both sides of the border have told The Buffalo News that Bon Jovi and his Toronto-based partners reached out to Jim Kelly within the past five days for a Hail Mary attempt to help salvage their beleaguered bid.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown’s son, 23-year-old Byron Brown Jr., is moving past “the incident” that occurred seven years ago and believes he has found his niche as a filmmaker.

Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw’s public office is “Buffalo’s strangest new art gallery.”

The two young Amish sisters who were kidnapped from their farm in Oswegatchie, N.Y., near the Canadian border last week were sexually assaulted, authorities say.

On Saturday, Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino was at a pro-gun rally in Ontario County.

A Bronx judge kept NYC Councilman Fernando Cabrera on the ballot in his primary challenge against Sen. Gustavo Rivera because Rivera’s team failed to properly serve a subpoena to the petition carrier for Cabrera who allegedly collected fraudulent signatures.

Hillary Clinton likes to travel in style.

Clinton’s East Hampton book signing was not a low-key affair.

Kevin Spacey, as Frank Underwood, helped Clinton celebrate the 68th birthday of her husband, the former president.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio spends hours on the phone seeking counsel from liberal confidants like Sharpton, SEIU 1199 President George Gresham, political consultants Valerie Berlin and Jonathan Rosen, and top aides to Bill Clinton, a “well-placed Democratic insider” told The Post.

NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer found the Parks Department has been paying contractors for tree pruning that was never done, and also paying them to prune the wrong trees.

The Southampton and Tuckahoe school districts on Long Island will once again attempt to merge after voters wary of tax hikes rejected the idea last year.

The NY Daily News sides with Donald Trump in his effort to get JCOPE to investigate AG Eric SChneiderman.

The state is still trying to collect $68,000 in back rent from Rep. Charlie Rangel, but his office insists he’s up to date on payments.

Former Manhattan DA Robert M. Morgenthau and his wife, Lucinda Franks, were an original “power couple,” and she has memorialized their nearly 40-year union in a new book.

The first steps to securing two giant pandas for the city are underway, Rep. Carolyn Maloney said today after returning from a two-week trip to China.

The world’s best bass fishing professionals are schooling in the Village of Union Springs, Cayuga County, on the east side of Cayuga Lake this week for the A.R.E. Truck Caps Bassmaster Elite Series Tournament.


In an rare national network appearance, Gov. Andrew Cuomo will be on Fox news’ Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo at 10 a.m. Sunday.

Zephyr Teachout: “I am a down-the-line, traditional Democrat. I would be right at home in Mario Cuomo’s cabinet.”

US Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand still believes she can convince the last several senators who voted against her sweeping and controversial effort to change the way the military prosecutes sexual assault.

Sen. Malcolm Smith told a Queens audience that racially motivated forces of gentrification are behind his indictment on charges he tried to bribe his way onto the GOP line in the 2013 NYC mayor’s race.

In addition to stoking a bit of healthy controversy, The New York Times’ recent opinion series endorsing marijuana legalization was a big boon for online traffic.

Despite headaches from Moreland, Cuomo raised more money in July than in any other month of his term, according to NYPIRG’s Bill Mahoney.

PEF backed former NYC Councilman Oliver Koppell over his primary target, IDC Leader Jeff Klein.

A group of young French tourists pronounced Senate GOP Leader Dean Skelos “very handsome” during his trip to Israel.

DC 37, NYC’s largest public workers union, released its legislative endorsements for the Sept. 9 primary.

A month after he and Queens BP Melinda Katz dismantled the Queens Borough Public Library board of trustees, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has appointed the board’s first new member.

Six months after Long Island political power broker Gary Melius was shot by a masked gunman in a bungled assassination attempt on the grounds of his estate, Oheka Castle, police still have no leads.

At a concert in Albany last night, Jackson Browne paid tribute to the late Pete Seeger the anti-fracking movement.

In a rare move, NYSUT turned its back on a veteran Brooklyn assemblyman, Felix Ortiz, to endorse a relatively unknown rival, Ceasar Zuniga.

Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle drew criticism for being “a little liberal with his computer’s cut-and-paste function” when it comes to the proposed Time Warner Cable/Comcast merger.

UUP wants a congressional resolution calling for the release of Warren Weinstein, a former union member and development expert who has was taken captive in Lahore by al-Qaeda in 2011.

Five people were arrested in New York City last night in connection with protests against the police shooting of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Mo.

Forty-eight media organizations sent a letter to law enforcement authorities in Ferguson to protest the police’s treatment of reporters and ask for greater transparency regarding the death of Michael Brown.

Members of the unions representing most Long Island Rail Road workers have overwhelmingly approved the four-year contract that was negotiated last month.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is back from Israel, in the New York City area with no public schedule.

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

At 10 a.m., following a court hearing about The Committee to Save Cooper Union’s lawsuit, artist and former Prof. Benjamin Degen, attorney Richard Emery, state Sen. Brad Hoylman and committee co-founder Adrian Burton Jovanovic hold a news conference; 111 Centre St., Manhattan.

Also at 10 a.m., Democratic gubernatorial candidate/comedian Randy Credico will discuss his arrest by the NYPD (again) on “Live from the state Capitol with Fred Dicker,” TALK 1300 AM.

At 7:30 a.m., Chemung County Sheriff and GOP LG candidate Chris Moss appears on WVOX 1460 AM Good Morning Westchester.

At 3 p.m., Moss and Westchester County Executive/GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino attend a campaign rally, Elks Lodge, 60 Broadway Mall, Hornell.

At 6 p.m., Moss attends the Wayne County Fair Parade, West Jackson Street, Palmyra.

Also at 6 p.m., Astorino attends the Livingston GOP Annual Dinner, Genesee River Restaurant and Reception Center, 134 North Main St., Mt. Morris.


PEF President Susan Kent said the union was taking a “bold step” by backing Zephyr Teachout and her running mate, lieutenant governor candidate Tim Wu, over Gov. Andrew Cuomo in advance of the Democratic gubernatorial primary.

For the second time in four years, NYSUT is sitting out the governor’s race, declining to endorse Cuomo or any of his opponents.

The Village Independent Democrats club withdrew its endorsement of Cuomo’s running mate, Kathy Hochul, for lieutenant governor and instead threw its support behind Wu.

Marty Connor, the lawyer who brought the Cuomo campaign’s residency challenge against Teachout, filed his appellant’s brief, alleging she “retroactively” changed her residency.

US Attorney Preet Bharara is calling on New Yorkers to join him in his battle against public corruption, saying it’s “not a problem that prosecutors can alone solve.”

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio allows the taxpayers to pay for nongovernment trips outside the five boroughs – a practice other elected officials with police protection decided is improper.

State test scores improved slightly this year after plunging last year during the rollout of the new Common Core math and English tests.

Statewide, the percentage of students “proficient” in math rose from 31.2 to 35.8 percent. English language arts scores barely budged, from 31.3 to 31.4 percent in the “proficient” category.

De Blasio and NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina praised the slight improvement in citywide test scores while reiterating their shared ambivalence toward testing in general.

The Syracuse Post-Standard created a database of the new scores.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell may want a new stadium for the Buffalo Bills, but in some respects, they already have one, thanks to the $130 million spent on renovations – $90 of it state and county money.

Thousands of people across the country yesterday – including in Times Squareattended protest vigils for an unarmed black Missouri teenager fatally shot by a white police officer and other victims who organizers say died as a result of police brutality.

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The state fined Liberty Ridge Farm in Rensselaer County $13,000 for rebuffing a lesbian couple who inquired about getting married on its grounds.

A Buffalo Bills fan group believes it has uncovered two documents that show Jon Bon Jovi and his Toronto-based group trying to purchase the Bills want to move the team, after all.

Cuomo accompanied former Israeli President Shimon Peres on a rare visit to an underground, concrete-lined tunnel that had been constructed by Hamas to infiltrate Israel.

Peres fondly recalled former Gov. Mario Cuomo, whom he called ”wonderful.”

Senate GOP Leader Dean Skelos took a selfie at the tunnel entrance.

How a negative “kicker” quote in a New York Times story on Cuomo’s Israel trip got edited out.

Even City Hall staffers aren’t sure what “guy in the shadows” Peter Ragone (a former Cuomo aide) does for de Blasio.

Jeff Gural, owner of Tioga Downs in the Southern Tier, apologized for saying his customers are “overweight, have an oxygen tank next to them.

While Hillary Clinton still maintains an advantage over potential GOP rivals in 2016, a McClatchy-Marist poll shows that her lead is narrowing.

Democratic LG candidate Kathy Hochul appeared at a Women’s Equality Act rally with Senate candidate John Liu but stopped short of endorsing him.

NY-4 GOP candidate Bruce Blakeman is now a member of the NRCC’s “Young Guns” fundraising program.

No word on whether Hillary Clinton and President Obama hugged it out at a party on Martha’s Vineyard, but they did dance.

NYC Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley wants teenage inmates removed from Rikers Island.

The head of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency visited Buffalo’s Peace Bridge today to assess the pre-inspection program piloted to smooth the travel of trucks entering the country from Canada.

Comcast executive David L. Cohen met with senior FCC officials this week to discuss his company’s proposed merger with Time Warner Cable and proposed Open Internet regulations.

A nuclear reactor at the Indian Point facility in Westchester County shut down yesterday morning because of a “lunch break” during testing.

Sen. Brad Hoylman wants the DOT to investigate the owner of the double decker bus that plowed into another tour bus in Times Square this month.

The New York Times says Cuomo has been “missing in action” on the Child Victims Act, and should stand up to the Catholic Church on this issue.

Hundreds turned out for the funeral of race car driver Kevin Ward Jr.

“Meet the Press” moderator David Gregory confirmed on Twitter that he’s departing NBC; he’ll be replaced by Chuck Todd – the 12th moderator in the show’s history.

Inside NYSUT’s Endorsement Process

The three-day NYSUT endorsement conference that ended with the union opting not to pick a favorite in the governor’s race was a “grueling” process that took longer than expected due to internal debate over state legislative races – particularly in the Senate, a union official said.

The decision not to endorse Gov. Andrew Cuomo or any of his opponents for the second election in a row was pretty much “unanimous,” according to NYSUT Executive Vice President Andy Pallotta. But when it came to the Legislature, it was a whole different ballgame.

“There were discussions like you wouldn’t believe,” Pallotta said during a telephone interview this morning. “Last cycle, things were pretty clear. This cycle, we had very different opinions from very different parts of the state on what direction we should go in, and how good individual assembly members and senators have been. Discussions went on for hours. We came out with a lot of ‘no endorsements.’”

It was not unusual, Pallotta said, for discussions over whether to endorse a single senator to last up to five hours, and for there to be no majority opinion on how to proceed at the end of those marathon talks.

There was also no consensus among union leaders about the effort to flip the Senate into Democratic hands – a push that largely originated with unions during the labor-backed Working Families Party’s debate over whether to endorse Gov. Andrew Cuomo or Fordham Law Prof. Zephyr Teachout. In a deal brokered by NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, Cuomo ended up endorsing a Democrat-controlled Senate as well as the return of IDC members to the so-called regular Democratic conference.

But NYSUT members feel strongly that individual senators – both Republicans and Democrats – have been very supportive of their issues over the years, and they wanted to repay that loyalty with endorsements, Pallotta said. For example, NYSUT threw its support behind GOP Sen. Ken LaValle, longtime chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee, even through it opted to take a pass in many of the Long Island districts – including the one represented by Senate GOP Leader Dean Skelos. (Note: this line has been edited to correct an error; NYSUT did not endorse GOP Sen. Jack Martins over his Democratic challenger, Adam Haber, but stayed nuetral in that race).

NYSUT also remained loyal to the Senate Republicans’ second-in-command, Sen. Tonm Libous, of the Southern Tier, despite his indictment on charges that he lied to federal agents about helping his son get a job with a politically-connected law firm.

In several other contested races, however, NYSUT gave its support to the Democratic candidates, including Sens. Terry Gipson (Hudson Valley) and Ted O’Brien (Rochester) – both top GOP targets this fall.

It wasn’t a surprise for NYSUT to take a pass on backing Cuomo, given its 2010 “no endorsement” decision and rocky relationship with the governor since he took office in January 2011. Pallotta said he believes the governor wanted NYSUT’s endorsement, but was a little vague on whether Cuomo had formally sought the union’s nod, saying: “We’ve spoken with the different candidates…we’ve spoken with the governor, and he understands our situation and needs, as did (Green Party candidate) Howie Hawkins, and (Cuomo’s Democratic challenger) Zephyr Teachout.”

As for Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino, the Westchester County executive, Pallotta said his name was brought forward, but “not as much” as Hawkins and Teachout were mentioned. That’s despite Astorino’s outspoken opposition to the Common Core, and effort to capitalize on the backlash to the controversial curriculum by creating the “Stop Common Core” independent ballot line.

Pallotta indicated NYSUT has not yet decided whether it will formally oppose Cuomo when the AFL-CIO holds its endorsement get-together in New York City next Monday. In 2010, the union did not back Cuomo, but also did not seek to block him from receiving the AFL endorsement, which is decided by a weighted vote of all its union affiliates.

“That will be exciting,” Pallotta chuckled. “We’ll see what happens…I can’t predict. It wouldn’t be fair to those who support the governor. There are folks coming to the convention who support the idea of an endorsement very strongly, and others who would want to see the governor get the endorsement. There’s a lot of freedom to speak at these conventions, and a lot of spirited discussions. We will let them come, and we will let them speak. We can’t keep our local presidents from speaking.”

Environmental Defense Fund Hits Airways for Gibson (Updated)

The political arm of a national environmental organization is running TV ads praising Republican Rep. Chris Gibson for supporting “smart policies” that both “lower energy costs and protect the environment.”

The Environmental Defense Fund’s Action PAC today launched a $230,000, two-week buy in all four of NY-19′s media markets, according to the congressman’s office. The spot, which appears below, doesn’t cite any specific votes (or mention the fact that Gibson is a Republican), but does laud him for “working across the aisle for responsible solutions.”

That bipartisanship focus is one Gibson often makes hismel, particularly as he’s facing a well-funded challenge from Democratic political newcomer Sean Eldridge.

The Environmental Defense Fund isn’t the first outside entity to spend money in this race. Back in May, the US chamber of Commerce ran an ad that highlighted Gibson’s military record and “working-class roots,” lauding his support for rolling back “job-killing regulations” and deeming him an “independent voice” in Congress. This ad drew criticism from Eldridge, who accused the congressman of supporting a “corporate agenda” that runs counter to the needs of his consituents.

UPDATE: POLITICO reports that the EDF’s Gibson ad is part of a seven-figure campaign “to aid green-minded Republicans in the midterm elections – part of a longer-term effort to find GOP partners on priorities like climate change” at a time when there isa deep partisan divide on so-called “green” issues in D.C.

Gibson is the first post-primary beneficiary of this effort, which also includes print and online ads.

POLITICO notes Gibson was the only House Republican this summer to oppose appropriations amendments aimed at halting spending on just about every major climate change study and prohibiting federal agencies from considering the costs of carbon pollution in their regulations. He was also one of only three Republicans to oppose an amendment meant to throttle an Energy Department climate program.

In addition, a reader points out that there is division within the green community over the EDF and its work on fracking – specifically, a controversial University of Texas study released in 2013 on methane leaks from fracking wells, for which it collaborated with natural gas companies.

Here’s the transcipt for the EDF ad:

“It’s good to know some people in Washington are still working for New York families. Congressman Chris Gibson has voted for smart policies for us. Chris Gibson is working across the aisle for responsible solutions, fighting to stop climate change by preserving common sense limits on air pollution, and supporting high tech investments that lower energy costs and protect the environment. Call Chris Gibson and thank him for his responsible votes in Congress. Paid for by the Environmental Defense Action Fund.”

Credico Arrested, Again (Updatedx2)

Comedian-turned-activist Randy Credico, a long-shot Democratic gubernatorial candidate, was arrested yesterday while trying to videotape two white transit officers arresting a black man in the NYC subway system, according to an announcement released on behalf of his campaign.

Credico was en route to Westchester for an interview with Journal News columnist Phil Reisman when he saw the two plain clothes officers in action at the Dyckman Street subway stop, the release said. He did not know at the time that the men were transit officers.

“According to a friend whom he phoned, the police were brutal with his handcuffs, clamping them very tightly, so that Randy lost sensation and feeling in his hands,” the release states.

At the time the release arrived in my in-box (10:30 p.m.) Credico was reportedly being held in the Bronx at the Transit Police office at 145th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue.

The officers decided to hold him rather than issue an appearance ticket, claiming he has an outstanding warrant stemming from a 2012 disorderly conduct arrest. (Credico claims this isn’t true). Credico was held overnight, and is scheduled to be arraigned today.

This is hardly Credico’s first arrest – or even his first arrest for trying to document the activities of law enforcement. He’s not exactly the meek and mild type, so it’s possible there’s more to yesterday’s incident than what has been released so far. We’ll get a better idea when more details are available.

UPDATE: Green Party gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins issued a statement calling for Credico’s “immediate release” and the dismissal of all charges against him.

“Americans have the constitutional right to videotape cops in public places,” Hawkins said. ”

Such taping is critical to help reduce the problem of police violence against citizens, particularly people of color and those who politically dissent. Such as the recent videotaping of the police killing Eric Garner.”

“In addition the New York Police Department Patrol Guide states that ‘taking photographs, videotapes or tape recordings’ is not cause for arrest or detention so long as the activity does not jeopardize the safety of officers or others.”

Again, despite Hawkins’ comments on behalf of Credico, (who is technically Hawkins’ opponent, although it’s nearly a sure thing that he won’t make it past the September primary and onto the November ballot), we don’t yet know the details of the incident, and they will surely paint a more robust picture of what took place.

UPDATE2: Credico spoke to the NY Post’s Fred Dicker this morning, calling into Dicker’s radio show from his holding cell and deeming this situation like “something out of a Dostoevsky book.”

Capital NY’s Jimmy Vielkind reports an NYPD spokesperson confirms Credico was arrested and was charged with menacing a police officer, obstructing government administration, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. She also said Credico was “yelling and cursing” at the two officers and “menacing” them with an umbrella after being told to back away from the situation.

Regarding the outstanding warrant, which the NYPD confirmed to Vielkind, Credico says it’s for someone named “Gredico.”

NYSUT Passes On Cuomo, Again

The statewide teachers union is poised to unveil its endorsements for the upcoming 2014 elections, and once again, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has failed to make the cut.

An endorsement list obtained by SoP after NYSUT leaders met behind closed doors yesterday outside Albany, shows the union is – as we knew, thanks to the early decision on these races – supporting both of Cuomo’s fellow Democratic statewide officials, AG Eric Schneiderman and state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, for re-election.

There is no endorsement in the governor’s race.

It was not immediately clear whether Cuomo had even bothered to seek NYSUT’s support, or if the union had interviewed his opponents – Republican Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino and Democratic Fordham Law Prof. Zephyr Teachout.

Efforts to reach the union’s spokesman to obtain answers to these questions were unsuccessful.

NYSUT’s new president, Karen Magee, was scheduled for a CapTon interview last night, but cancelled at the last minute because the endorsement meetings went long.

It shouldn’t come as a big surprise that NYSUT is sitting out the governor’s race. The union did the same thing in 2010, although it did not actively oppose then-AG Cuomo when it came time to decide the AFL-CIO endorsement, which is decided by a weighted vote. (He got the nod).

Magee has made clear since she ousted former NYSUT President Dick Iannuzzi this past spring that her members were unlikely to back Cuomo this time around.

It would be generous to describe the relationship between NYSUT and Cuomo as “rocky.” The two have clashed numerous times over everything from the property tax cap and pension reform to teacher evaluations and the Common Core curriculum.

The union is also issuing a slew of legislative endorsements, backing mostly – but not entirely – Democratic Senate and Assembly candidates.

NYSUT chose sides in some, but not all, of the contested Senate races as the Democrats and Republicans battle it out (yet again) for control of the chamber.

However, there are a number of races on Long Island where NYSUT is sitting things out at the moment.

For example, the union did not pick a favorite in the 7th SD race where GOP Sen. Jack Martins is battling Democrat Adam Haber.

It did back Democratic environmental advocate Adrienne Esposito over Republican Islip Supervisor Tom Croci, who was tapped to run when Town Board Member Anthony Senft quit the race in the 2nd SD (Sen. Lee Zeldin is running for Congress).

NYSUT is holding out on a number of incumbent Republican senators. It did not back a candidate in the 4th SD where GOP Sen. Phil Boyle is seeking re-election, or the 6th, where GOP Sen. Kemp Hannon is running againn.

The union notably remained mum on Senate GOP Leader Dean Skelos, who is running for another term in the 9th SD.

NYSUT is backing all the IDC members save one: Queens Sen. Tony Avella (11th SD), who is facing a strong primary challenge from former NYC Councilman John Liu. Liu has garnered labor support even though the unions are supposedly all in for the IDC-regular Democrat reunification effort.
The union made no endorsement in the 17th SD, represented by Democratic Sen. Simcha Felder, who sits with the GOP; or in the 19th SD, where embattled former Democratic Senate Leader John Sampson is fighting for his political life in the September primary; or in the 32nd SD, represented by conservative Democratic Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr.

In other contested races, NYSUT supported Democratic candidates including:

Former NYC Councilman Leory Comrie against scandal-scarred Queens Sen. Malcom Smith (this is a primary); Bronx Sen. Gustavo Rivera over NYC Councilman Fernando Cabrera (also a primary); Dave Denenberg for the seat of former Long Island GOP Sen. Chuck Fuschillo; Democrat Justin Wagner for the seat of retiring Hudson Valley GOP Sen. Greg Ball; Sen. Terry Gipson, who faces a challenge from GOP Dutchess County Legislator Sue Serino; and Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk, who is trying to fend off a second challenge from former GOP Assemblyman George Amedore; Sen. Ted O’Brien, fighting a challenge from Republican former Rochester TV anchor Rich Funke; teacher Elaine Altman, who is challenging GOP Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer; and attorney Marc Panepinto, who is trying to unseat GOP Sen. Mark Grisanti.

GOP Sen. Tom Libous made the cut with NYSUT, despite his health and legal troubles. He’s being challenged by former Democratic Vestal Town Supervisor Anndrea Starzak.

For the seat being left vacant by retiring GOP Sen. George Maziarz, NYSUT is backing Republican-turned-Democrat Johnny Destino. It also is supporting Sen. Tim Kennedy over his Democratic primary challenger, Erie County Legislator Betty Jean Grant.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Israel for Day Two of his 30-hour “unity” trip with legislative leaders.

Two of Cuomo’s opponents, Democrat Zephyr Teachout and Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins meet separately with PEF Board members today in hopes of securing the union’s endorsement. They’ll also do a joint interview with Susan Arbetter on “The Capitol Pressroom”.

At 9 a.m., Democratic NY-23 congressional candidate Martha Robertson will receive an endorsement from the National Committee to Protect Social Security and Medicare, and host roundtable discussion with seniors, Fedonia Place, 50 Howard St., Fredonia.

At 9:30 a.m., LG Bob Duffy delivers remarks at the grand opening of Bay Plaza, Mall Main Entrance, The Mall at Bay Plaza, 200 Baychester Ave., the Bronx.

At 10 a.m., Brooklyn BP Eric Adams will announce the details of his affordable housing capital budget for Fiscal Year 2015, Gateway Elton Phase III, 106 Elton St., East New York.

At 10:30 a.m., Democratic LG candidate Kathy Hochul will attend a Women’s Equality Agenda rally with Senate candidate John Liu, Queens BP Melinda Katz and Rep. Grace Meng, Queens Borough Hall, 120-55 Queens Blvd., Kew Gardens, Queens.

At 11:45 p.m., members of New York’s congressional delegation call for federal intervention in response to NYPD policies, effects of the policies on minority residents and Eric Garner’s death; One Police Plaza, Park Row and Pearl Street, Manhattan.

From noon to 1 p.m., opponents of horse-drawn carriages including supporters of the group NYCLASS hold a protest rally marking this week’s second anniversary of a Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012, incident where a runaway carriage horse named Oreo injured three people; Central Park’s Merchants’ Gate Plaza, near Columbus Circle and Central Park West and 59th Street, Manhattan.

At noon, activists rally to celebrate Social Security’s 79th Birthday and to protest Social Security office closings and service reductions, Corner of Denison Parkway East and Chemung Street, Corning.

At 12:30 p.m., Hawkins discusses Cuomo’s “continuing failure to convene a minimum wage Board despite post-Moreland press release indicating that he was finally taking action to help food tip minimum wage workers,” LCA Press Room (130), LOB, Albany.

At 2 p.m., state Education Commissioner John King and Regents Chancellor Marryl Tisch hold a conference call to release the April 2014 grades 3-8 math and English Language Arts assessments. Dial-In Number: 1-866-455-1197, Conference ID: 871-264-23.

At 2:45 p.m., Families for Excellent Schools CEO Jeremiah Kittredge will hold a short statewide media conference call to discuss those results, Dial-In Number: (712) 775-7031, Conference ID: 315-501-011.

At 3 p.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio makes an education announcement, Decatur Playground, 242 MacDonough St., Brooklyn. NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina will also attend.

At 4:30 p.m., Hochul tours Sandy recovery efforts with local elected officials, Long Beach, City Hall, 1 West Chester St., Nassau County.

At 5 p.m., GOP state Senate candidate Sue Serino will join local women activists at a press conference to announce the formation of “Women4Serino,” Poughkeepsie Ice House, 1 Main St., Poughkeepsie.

At 6:45 p.m., Duffy receives the Lieutenant Detective Joseph Petrosino Association in America Foundation’s Excelsior Award, Russo on the Bay, 162-45 Cross Bay Blvd., Howard Beach, Queens.

At 7:30 p.m., the Village Independent Democrats hold a meeting to consider their endorsement of Hochul for LG; her opponent, Tim Wu, will attend, St. John’s Lutheran Church, Community Room, 83 Christopher St., Manhattan.

At 8 p.m., a fundraiser for Liu will take place at Mamajuana Café, 33-15 56th St., Woodside, Queens.


Cuomo expressed “total solidarity” with Israel over its monthlong war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

“This is not about Israel versus Hamas. This is bigger than that,” Cuomo said. “This is extremism. This is ISIS and Hamas and Hezbollah. This is Syria and this is Iran, this is an expanding Middle East situation and this is a war against democracies.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked Cuomo for “standing clearly with Israel, representing the American people and the people of the state of New York.”

Cuomo and the members of his “unity” delegation aren’t the only politicians scrambling to book trips to the Holy Land to demonstrate solidarity with Israel.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout declined to weigh in on Israel, saying she’s focused on her primary challenge to Cuomo.

With Cuomo in Israel, LG Bob Duffy is technically in charge, and he seems to be enjoying himself immensely.

Republican Senate candidate Gia Arnold says supporters have urged her to remain in the race for retiring Sen. George Maziarz’s seat despite her extramarital affair. Her name will remain on the September primary ballot.

The death of Eric Garner has tested the relationships that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has with NYPD Commissioner William Bratton and the Rev. Al Sharpton, who disagree sharply over law-enforcement policy.

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