Liz Benjamin

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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.

More >


Lots of politicians, not just Gov. Andrew Cuomo, are eager to visit Israel.

New York real estate players continue to funnel their considerable financial resources to Cuomo’s re-election campaign.

So far, only Howie Hawkins and Zephyr Teachout have accepted PEF’s invite to meet with its executive board members on Aug. 14 for endorsement consideration.

LG candidate Tim Wu on the September primary: “(W)ere I to win, I would join the Democratic ticket with Cuomo.”

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said it’s “idiotic” to suggest he’d dump NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton due to tensions with the Rev. Al Sharpton.

New Civilian Complaint Review Board Richard Emery defended his “friendly” relationship with Bratton.

US Sen. Chuck Schumer is recommending Lawrence Vilardo, one of Western New York’s top litigators, to fill the seat of US District Court Judge Richard Arcara, who is moving to senior status in January.

Watertown Times: “ (I)f a challenger can raise questions about the governor’s four years in office, then Democratic voters have the right to a real contest.”

Rep. Steve Israel demanded the FAA stick to its commitment to minimize airplane noise by limiting the number of overnight arrivals at a Kennedy Airport runway.

NYCLASS, the prominent animal rights group seeking to ban horse-drawn carriages from NYC streets, has added veteran Democratic operative Hank Sheinkopf to steer its new  direct mail blitz.

Sen. Rand Paul irked some Iowans after bowing out of a GOP cattle call there and jetting to New York to spend time with liberal actor Alec Baldwin and potential donors in the Hamptons.

More than 100 people have asked for their license plate records from the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office. But so far, the sheriff’s office hasn’t delivered.

Oakland Raiders minority stakeholder David Abrams has expressed interest in buying the Buffalo Bills.

De Blasio is hosting a reception at Gracie Mansion for the the City Hall press corps on Aug. 21.

The NRCC has created about two dozen “faux news sites” targeting Democrats - both challengers and incumbents - and is promoting them across the country with localized Google search ads.

Demand at auction for New-York bred horses has grown dramatically in the last four seasons, even as the national horse-breeding industry has contracted.

The DEC’s updated online system to sell hunting and fishing licenses is having its share of problems, and everyone from sportsmen to town clerks are complaining.

EJ McMahon takes a closer look at NYC’s troubled pension funds.

A trio of civil rights and fair housing groups want the US Justice Department to take a harder line against Westchester County in enforcing the 2009 fair housing settlement.

A petition is encouraging Academy Award winning actor Jeff Bridges to  run for Montana’s congressional seat. His wife does not approve.

NYLCV Backs 1st GOP Senator This Cycle (UPDATED)

The New York League of Conservation Voters has announced several legislative endorsements today, and on its list of preferred candidates is Long Island Sen. Jack Martins – the first Republican the organization has backed so far this election cycle.

The NYLCV said it based its decision in part on the fact that Martins was a supporter of all three of its top priorities in this past session: the Community Risk and Resiliency Act; the Child Safe Product Act; and reforms to the Brownfield Cleanup Program. He also co-sponsored the Long island Water Quality Control Act to establish a commission on clean water and aquifer protection.

In addition, the NYLCV said, Martins had pledged to renew and improve programs to clean up contaminated land and grow the Environmental Protection Fund, which protects open space, safeguards drinking water and creates jobs on Long Island and across the state.

“The environment has a true ally in Senator Jack Martins,” said NYLCV President Marcia Bystryn. “We are particularly encouraged by his passionate advocacy to improve the quality of drinking water and our local waterways. We are proud to endorse Jack Martins and we encourage Nassau County residents who care about clean water and environmental progress to vote for Jack Martins for State Senate.”

This endorsement is a blow to the Senate Democrats and retired Wall Street trader Adam Haber, who is challenging Martins after losing his largely self-financed primary battle against former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi last year. Suozzi went on to lose the general election to the Republican who had toppled him in 2009: Nassau County Exeutive Ed Mangano.

Martins, the former mayor of Mineola, was first elected in 2010 when he defeated Democratic Sen. Craig Johnson in a very tight race (a 451-vote margin), and then re-elected in 2012 by 4,452 votes . Democrats are eager to try to win back this seat. The district has a decisive Democratic enrollment edge – 86,965 to 67,470 with 53,342 so-called “blanks” or independents who are unaffiliated with any political party.

Dan Hendrick, spokesman for the NYLCV, confirmed that Martins is the first Republican to receive the organization’s nod so far this year, and said there’s usually a 3:1 to 4:1 ratio of Democrats to Republicans receiving the endorsement. He said the league is “proud” of its Republican endorsements, and more announcements will be coming soon.

Also today, the NYLCV announced its support of Michael Blake, a former Obama administration/campaign operative who is running in the 79th Assembly District in the Bronx. (The seat is currenly vacant, and two of the district’s last three assembly members have left office due to bribery charges, including, most recently, Eric Stevenson, who was convicted in January of accepting bribes).

The NYLCV is also backing Rodneyse Bichotte, a Democratic district leader who unsuccessfully challenged Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs in 2012, and is running for her seat again this year now that she has announced her retirement.

UPDATED: Apparently, this endorsement has caused a dust-up on Long Island, where a loal group – the Long Island Environmental Voters Forum – slammed the “Manhattan-based New York League of Conservation Voters” for its support of Martins.

The forum is not impressed with Martins’ record on the environment, calling it “unacceptable.” The group is upset that the Senate never voted on the Long Island Water Quality Control Act, which passed the Assembly in a vote of 112-24, and said it had warned Martins that he would not even be eligible for its support if he did not vote in favor of this measure.

Also, though Martins sponsored the Child Safe Products Act, that didn’t come to the floor for a vote, either, even though it apparently had enough votes (given the 24 sponsors) to pass.

“Thoughtless and unsupportable endorsements such as that for Senator Martins undermines Long Island’s environment, economy and quality-of- life,” Long Island Voters Forum President Richard Amper said in a statement. “Water contamination affects the water we drink, cook with and bathe in – and the dramatic increase in contamination of our bays, beaches, rivers and streams cannot be tolerated, let alone endorsed by a responsible environmental group.”

The Long Island Voters Forum is scheduled to meet next week to endorse Martins’ challenger, Haber.

GOP Senate Hopeful Admits Affair, Quits Race (Updated)

Gia Arnold, one of two Republicans vying to replace retiring Niagara Falls Sen. George Maziarz, has abruptly ended her campaign after admitting in an early-morning email to reporters to engaging in an extramarital affair.

Arnold, who had been courting conservative voters and is the co-state director of the Second Amendment-focused New York Revolution group, sent an email at 12:36 a.m. offering her “sincerest apologies” for stepping away from “actively campaigning this election cycle.”

“I have made personal decisions that have ultimately resulted in the necessity of my stepping down from the campaign,” Arnold wrote.

“I participated in an extramarital affair beginning in August of this year. It was an excuse for an escape from an already declining marriage. I cannot regret the decisions I have made, but I can admit to being happier presently than before.”

“It is for my ex-husband, my children, my family and friends that I must publicly admit to my actions, as I believe honesty and integrity are of utmost importance in life.”

“I hope that all I have disappointed will understand that I am only human and imperfect. I will be available for public comment and want to make available my cell phone number so that any constituent that may want to speak with me has that ability.”

Arnold said left in my campaign account (she had $3,186 on hand as of July 15) will be donated to a local charity “of majority vote on my Facebook page.”

Her departure from the race leaves just one Republican – North Tonawanda Mayor Robert Ortt – in the running. Ortt was drafted – to his surprise – by Senate Republicans after Maziarz’s surprise announcement last month that he would not seek re-election.

Maziarz’s decision comes as US Attorney Preet Bharara’s office probes his campaign fundraising operation as part of a larger investigation into the now-defunct Moreland Commission’s work and premature demise at the hands of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Also in the running for Maziarz’s seat is Republican-turned-Democrat Johnny Destino, a Niagara Falls attorney and school board member who lost a 2012 primary challenge to the senator and subsequently changed his party affiliation.

Destino came close to ousting Democratic Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster in 2011 (while he was still a Republican), and it has been speculated that he is running for the Senate this fall merely to prepare for a re-match against the mayor.

But Destino rejected that speculation during a CapTon interview at the Erie County Fair Monday night, insisting he’s fully invested in his Senate run and has the support of the DSCC in his effort.

Updated: Ortt weighed in with a statement.

“Anyone who has ever been involved in politics knows the importance of putting family first,” he said. “I respect Ms. Arnold’s decision to focus on her family at this time and wish them all the best. I remain committed to the task of earning the support of the people of the 62nd Senate District in hopes of serving as their Representative in Albany.”

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders are in Jerusalem.

LG Bob Duffy, who is running things in the governor’s absence, will host the Governor’s Cup Finger Lakes Wine and Craft Beverage Tour today.

At 9 a.m., GOP AG candidate John Cahill will be a guest on “Talk of the Town” with Mark Piersma & Frank Elias, FM 100.7 WUTQ.

At 10 a.m., members of the NYC Civilian Complaint Review Board hold a monthly public board meeting; boardroom, 10th floor, 100 Church St., Manhattan.

Also at 10 a.m., Democratic gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout will be a guest on “Live from the State Capitol with Fred Dicker,” on Talk 1300 AM.

Also at 10 a.m., Brooklyn BP Eric Adams honors 18 NYC firefighters for saving the lives of three children while responding to a fire in East New York on July 29, Brooklyn Borough Hall rotunda, 209 Joralemon St., Brooklyn. Also attending: FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro and NYC Councilwoman Inez Barron.

From 10 a.m. to noon, NY-21 Green Party candidate Matt Funiciello will attend the New York state Senior Action Council’s Seniorama event at SUNY Canton’s Roos House.

From 11 a.m. to noon, Teachout and her running mate, Tim Wu, participate in an AMA (Ask Me Anything) session on Reddit,

At 11 a.m., US Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, SUNY Commissioner of University Police Bruce McBride, SUNY Canton President Zvi Szafran and other SUNY representatives, Manhattan BP Gale Brewer, attorney Leslie Crocker Snyder and student “survivors” support a bipartisan effort in Congress to combat sexual assaults at colleges and universities, 780 Third Ave., Suite 2601, Manhattan.

Also at 11 a.m., AG Eric Schneiderman makes a public safety announcement, City of Poughkeepsie Public Safety Building, 505 Main St., Poughkeepsie.

At 11:15 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio holds a press conference to make a “safety-related” announcement about reducing gun violence, Harlem Hospital Center, Mural Pavilion, 516 Lenox Ave., Manhattan. NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will also attend.

At 1 p.m., GOP LG candidate and Chemung County Sheriff Chris Moss meets with Fulton County Sheriff Tom Lorey to discuss public safety issues, Fulton County Correctional Facility, 2712 State Highway 29, Johnstown.

Also at 1 p.m., Gillibrand, Bronx BP Ruben Diaz Jr., South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corp. President and CEO Phillip Morrow, Rep. Jose Serrano, and female entrepreneurs from the Bronx promote proposals intended to support small businesses owned by women; Veterans Memorial Hall rotunda, Bronx County Courthouse, 851 Grand Concourse, the Bronx.

At 1:30 p.m., Moss meets with representatives from the Fulton County Farm Bureau, Korona’s Dairy Farm, County Highway 107, Perth.

At 2:15 p.m., Moss discusses opposition to the “SAFE Act” at Frank’s Gun & Tackle Shop, 3549 State Highway 30, Gloversville.

At 2:30 p.m., Duffy, local elected officials, wine industry professionals, restaurateurs and tourism officials host the Governor’s Cup Finger Lakes Wine and Craft Beverage Tour, with several stops around Seneca Lake.

At 2:45 p.m., Moss Meets with the Fulton-Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce, 2 North Main Street, Gloversville.

At 3:15 p.m., Moss visits Gloversville City Hall, 3 Frontage Road, Gloversville.

At 3:45 p.m., Moss visits Mountain Valley Hospice, 108 Steele Avenue, Gloversville.

At 4:30 p.m., Moss meets with voters at Holiday Inn, Route 30A, Johnstown.

At 5:45 p.m., NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina joins de Blasio at the Chancellor’s Arts Endorsed Diploma Reception 2014, New York Supreme Courthouse, 60 Centre St., Manhattan.

At 6 p.m., Moss speaks to the Pine Tree Rifle Club, 419 Johnson Avenue Extension, Johnstown.

Also at 6 p.m., Duffy presents the Governor’s Cup award for the “Best in Show” at the Finger Lakes wine and craft beverage tour, The Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel, 16 North Franklin St., Watkins Glen.

At 7:30 p.m., Democratic LG candidate Kathy Hochul attends the Manhattan Young Democrats annual “Young Gets It Done” Awards, Up and Down, 244 W. 14th St., Manhattan. Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick will be honored. Also attending: Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, Schneiderman, Rep. Charlie Rangel, former Gov. David Paterson and various state Assembly members and senators.


There is no longer a GOP primary for retiring Sen. George Maziarz’s seat. In an email sent at 12:35 a.m., candidate Gia Arnold announced she had engaged in an extramarital affair and is quitting the race, leaving North Tonawanda Mayor Robert Ortt the lone Republican in the race.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders declined an invitation from the Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations to visit territories that Palestinians regard as part of their future state – including East Jerusalem.

The Israel trip is the latest in a series of steps that have garnered Cuomo support from the state’s Jewish population. But it also places him firmly on Israel’s side of a highly divisive subject – a position that puts him at odds with some of the state’s Arab-American population.

Cuomo schmoozed with passengers on his El Al flight to Israel.

Retiring LG Bob Duffy has found a new voice on Twitter, opining on everything from the Kardashians to Jon Bon Jovi’s Buffalo Bills bid in an era of tightly controlled political messages – including in the Cuomo administration.

The non-profit that runs the state’s three public thoroughbred tracks was unwilling to send someone to attend the 2014 Saratoga Institute on Racing & Gaming Law discussion on NYRA.

Donald Trump is suing the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, arguing it has violated state law by not responding to his complaint against AG Eric Schneiderman within 45 days of its December, 2013 filing.

Charges are being weighed against the two German artists who say they swapped the American flags on the Brooklyn Bridge for white flags.

Robert J. Keyes, a senior officer in the SEC’s New York Regional Office, will retire at the end of August following 18 years at the agency and 22 total years of federal service.

More >

Extras (Updated)

Concerned about Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s trip to Israel, the Palestinian ambassador to the UN invited the “unity” delegation to also visit territories that the Palestinians regard as part of their future state.

(UPDATE): Before departing from JFK, Cuomo said he hadn’t seem the Palestinian ambassador’s letter, and “this is a very short trip.” Senate GOP Leader Dean Skelos said: “I would have no desire to go to Gaza at this time and give no credibility to Hamas.”

The de Blasio administration has launched a new TV ad campaign promoting a law guaranteeing paid sick days to New York workers.

With Cuomo headed to Israel, LG Bob Duffy has been joking on Twitter about exercising his temporary executive order powers, but doesn’t really plan on using them.

Cuomo’s daughter, Mariah, participated in a mass Kennedy family ALS ice bucket challenge.

If Brooklyn gets the Democratic National Convention in 2016, de Blasio pledged not to repeat the “mistakes” of the Manhattan RNC in 2004.

Sen. Gustavo Rivera squared off against an empty chair after his Democratic primary opponent, NYC Councilman Fernando Cabrera, failed to show up to a debate.

A previously unpublished memo raises new questions about the Cuomo administration’s stated rationale for its email deletions policy for tens of thousands of public employees.

Atlantic City’s newest casino is shutting its doors just over two years after opening amid high hopes of turning around the crumbling seaside resort’s gambling market.

NYC Public Advocate Letitia James is calling on lawyers to help represent unaccompanied and undocumented children pro bono in federal immigration cases, and says she will join them.

More than 250 amusement parks, the New York State Fair and many county and regional fairs were deemed safe by the state Labor Department, but more work is needed to improve safety.

To mark World Elephant Day, Cuomo signed a law banning the trade of ivory antiques in the state and increasing penalties for traffickers.

A Republican commissioner of the FCC came to Buffalo to push for the repeal of the federal government’s sports blackout rules.

The Police Benevolent Association of New York State, created in 2011 when several law enforcement units broke away from Council 82, issued its first round of legislative endorsements.

A pair of artists in Berlin are taking credit for hoisting two big all-white American flags atop the Brooklyn Bridge last month.

Stuart Appelbaum was unanimously re-elected president of RWDSU at the union’s convention in Florida.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Randy Credico inhales and is proud of it.

NYRA’s board could continue in its current form without reverting to private control next year, a racing legal analyst says.

The death of Anna, the female cygnet hatched June 1 in Manlius, has been attributed to “bacterial bronchial pneumonia,” according to a necropsy performed by Cornell.

Legislators. In. Spaaaaace!

Stop Common Core Effort a Boon for GOP

Gubernatorial hopeful Rob Astorino and his fellow members of the GOP statewide slate will be announcing the results of their very successful petition drive to create the independent “Stop Common Core” ballot line for the November general election.

At 9 a.m., the Republicans plan to file more than 62,000 signatures at the state Board of Elections in Albany.

Astorino, his running mate, Chemung County Sheriff Chris Moss; Onondaga County Comptroller Bob Antonacci, the GOP state comptroller candidate; and state attorney general candidate John Cahill will then be making public appearances across the state to discuss the filing.

(Moss and Antonacci will be in Syracuse, while Astorino and Cahill will be on Long Island; details of these events appear below).

The Stop Common Core ballot operation was organized by veteran GOP political operative Vince Casale and Astorino’s campaign manager, Michael Lawler.

The Republicans believe this is the largest petition operation in New York history, surpassing the Working Families Party’s 1998 filing, which organizers said included some 60,000 signatures.

In 1994, then-state Sen. George Pataki’s campaign filed about 54,000 signatures to create the “Tax Cut Now” party.

The Stop Common Core operation will qualify in all 27 congressional districts, organizers said. State Election Law requires a minimum of 100 signatures from a majority of districts.

According to Casale, this effort brought together volunteers from across the state – Democrats, Republicans and independents; teachers, students and parents – all united in their opposition to the controversial new standards.

The issue certainly resonates with voters. Yesterday’s Siena poll found 49 percent of New York voters – including 53 percent of independents and 60 percent of Republicans – believe the Common Core standards should be stopped, which is something Astorino has pledged to do if he’s elected.

Cuomo has sought to distance himself somewhat from the Common Core, taking action this past legislative session to temporarily shield students’ test scores and teacher performance evaluations from being impacted by the state Education Department’s flawed rollout of the standards.

But the governor continues to support Common Core as a concept.

Today is the first day to file independent petitions; Tuesday, Aug. 19 is the deadline. Several thousand more Stop Common Core signatures are expected to be filed by that deadline by Senate and Assembly candidates who also want the additional line.

The GOP isn’t alone in its effort to create an independent line for its candidates to run on in November.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his fellow Democrats are doing with the same thing with the “Women’s Equality Party” – an effort to harness the power of the abortion-rights debate, which served President Obama so well in his 2012 re-election campaign.

It just so happens that Cuomo’s running mate, former Rep. Kathy Hochul, is holding the latest in a series of events on the Women’s Equality Party today. She’ll be appearing in Kingston with Democratic state Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk.

NY-21 Dem Woolf Plays Up Bipartisanship In 1st TV Ad (Updated)

Democrat Aaron Woolf this morning released his first TV ad of the NY-21 race, in which he pledges to work in a bipartisan fashion to represent the GOP-dominated district if he’s elected in November to replace outgoing Democratic Rep. Bill Owens.

“Our citizens deserve a Representative who will continue the region’s tradition of independent leadership and hard work,” Woolf said in a statement that announced the ad.

“I’ve traveled across our district and met thousands of citizens to listen to their concerns and hopes for the future. My first commercial lets voters know that, in Congress, I will walk across the aisle to fight for their interests and get things done.”

The ad, “Walk Across the Aisle,” makes no mention of Woolf’s party affiliation. Woolf’s campaign did not release much in the way of details about the buy, other than to say it is “substantial” and started airing today on both broadcast and cable.

Woolf, a documentary filmmaker and part-time Manhattan resident, is facing another political newcomer, Republican Elise Stefanik, a former Bush White House aide who won a GOP primary against businessman Matt Doheny in June. That race featured a lot of outside cash (spent on Stefanik’s behalf).

Until now, we hadn’t seen much in the way of general election ads, but it’s still early yet – mid-August, and most voters aren’t really paying attention to politics.

Also in the mix in NY-21: Green Party candidate Matt Funiciello, a long-time business-owner and founder of the Rock Hill Bakehouse in Glens Falls.

The GOP is very keen to win back this seat, which it held for over a century until Owens won a special election in 2009, thanks to the departure of former Republican Rep. John McHugh, who resigned to take a position as secretary of the Army with the Obama administration.

The Cook Political Report rates the NY-21 race a “Democratic toss-up,” while Rothenberg says it’s a “pure toss-up.”

UPDATE: The NRCC responded to Woolf’s ad by dinging him – yet again – on his personal wealth, and the Daily News story on the health violations lodged against his Brooklyn organic food businesses.

“For someone who has made his living producing documentary films, it’s ironic that Manhattan Multimillionaire Aaron Woolf would leave so many crucial facts out of his first television ad,”NRCC spokesman Ian Prior said.

“For example, Woolf left out that he was a member of a liberal organization that tried to stand in the way of 550 jobs in the North Country. He didn’t mention that his Brooklyn grocery store and restaurant are better known for mice, flies, and roaches than they are for food. And, most importantly, Woolf never disclosed his controversial position that middle class families need to pay more for food.”

Here’s the script of Woolf’s ad:

Aaron Woolf figures he’s already walked hundreds of miles during his campaign for Congress.

And he thinks all that walking will come in handy. Because if he’s going to fight for farmers and small businesspeople looking for a little economic fairness, women who happen to think equal work should mean equal pay…

…and veterans waiting months just to see a doctor…

…he’s going to need to make the most difficult walk of all.

Across the aisle.

And he intends to bring his walking shoes.”

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo departs for Israel today. Prior to that departure, he’ll be in New York City.

Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, are on Long Island today through Friday. They have no public events scheduled.

At 8 a.m., GOP LG candidate and Chemung County Sheriff Chris Moss participates in the Manlius Chamber of Commerce Candidates Breakfast, Cavalry Club, 4801 Troop K Rd., Manlius.

From 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer leads New York City policymakers and community groups on a tour of upstate New York farms to promote local sourcing and facilitate partnerships, various locations.

At 10 a.m., Westchester County Executive and GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino will be a guest on “Live from the State Capitol with Fred Dicker.”

At 10:15 a.m., Moss and GOP state comptroller candidate Bob Antonacci announce news on the “Stop Common Core” ballot line, Antonacci for Comptroller Headquarters, 2910 Erie Blvd. East, Syracuse.

At 10:30 a.m., GOP AG candidate John Cahill and Astorino will announce the filing of their “Stop Common Core” petitions, in front of the Mineola Middle School, 200 Emory Rd., Mineola. (Corner of Garfield Avenue).

Also at 10:30 a.m., the Joint Commission on Public Ethics meets, 540 Broadway, Albany.

Also at 10:30 a.m., Rep. Greg Meeks will lead a contingent of over a dozen elected officials and community leaders to publicly announce their support of former NYC Councilman Leroy Comrie’s bid for state Senate, 113-43 Farmers Blvd., St. Albans, Queens.

At 10:45 a.m., de Blasio holds a media availability at the Barclays Center, Daily News Plaza, 620 Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn.

At 11 a.m., Democratic LG candidate Kathy Hochul holds a meet-and-greet with Glens Falls Mayor Jack Diamond, Spot Coffee, 221 Glen St., Glens Falls.

At 11:15 a.m., Rep. Dan Maffei tours Syracuse Community Health Center, 819 South Salina St., Syracuse.

At 12:15 p.m., Moss holds a news conference on the “Stop Common Core” ballot line, Monroe County Republican Committee Headquarters, 460 State St., Rochester.

At 1 p.m., US Kirsten Gillibrand, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams hold a press conference to announce federal bill to help launch small businesses, Urban Future Lab at N.Y.U. Polytechnic School of Engineering, 15 Metro Tech Center, Brooklyn.

At 2 p.m., Moss Attends the Wyoming County Board of Supervisors Meeting at the Wyoming County Fair, 70 Main St., Pike.

Also at 2 p.m., Maffei attends an Oswego County women’s economic forum, Oswego Tea Company, 157 East 1st St., Oswego.

Also at 2 p.m., Rep. Chris Gibson attends the Delaware County Fair, Walton Fairgrounds. (He’ll participate in the fair’s Fireman’s Parade & Veterans Ceremony at 6:30 p.m.)

At 3 p.m., Hochul speaks at the launch of the Ulster County Women’s Equality Party with state Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk, BSP Kingston, 323 Wall St., Kingston.

At 5 p.m., Cuomo and the York State “Unity Delegation” hold a media availability before departing for Israel, JFK International Airport, Terminal 4, Departures Level (4th Floor) Outside of Tri-Faith Chapel Museum, Queens.

Also at 5 p.m., Moss tours CY Farms/Batavia Turf, 7939 Bank Street Rd., Batavia.

At 6:30 p.m., Moss attends and speaks at the Genesee County Women’s Republican Club, Batavia Downs, 8315 Park Rd., Batavia.

Also at 6:30 p.m., Democratic candidate for governor Zephyr Teachout and running mate Tim Wu join former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean at a Democracy for America bash and DFNYC fundraiser, 227 West 17th St., Manhattan.

At 7:30 p.m., Moss attends and speaks at the Genesee County SCOPE Meeting, 3515 Galloway Rd., Batavia.


State and federal investigators last week seized papers, a laptop and cell phones belonging to Frances Libous, a vice chair of the Workers Compensation Board and the wife of Sen. Tom Libous, who is under indictment, two people familiar with the raid said.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state legislative leaders are tentatively scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during their trip to Israel this week.

New York City’s effort to bring the Democratic National Convention to the Barclays Center in 2016 — a bid that could help elevate Mayor Bill de Blasio’s national profile while infusing the party with a dash of Brooklyn cool — reached the pep rally stage on Monday, as convention officials were welcomed for a two-day tour.

Councilwoman Inez Barron, who represents East New York, isn’t supporting de Blasio’s push for Brooklyn to host the convention because there’s no evidence it will help the low-income residents in her district.

The convention could bring a “traffic nightmare” to the Big Apple.

A Brooklyn state Supreme Court justice threw out Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s legal challenge to the residency of his Democratic primary opponent, Fordham Law Prof. Zephyr Teachout. The Cuomo campaign is vowing to appeal.

Cuomo attorney Marty Connor: “As the judge himself noted in his decision, Ms. Teachout admitted under oath that she misrepresented her address on official and tax documents. Will Ms. Teachout be paying the taxes owed to the state of New York?”

Now Teachout is upping the pressure on Cuomo to debate her before the Sept. 9 primary.

A new Siena poll found New York voters view corruption in state government as a serious issue, yet only about a third of them have followed recent developments about Cuomo’s disbanded Moreland Commission closely enough to be able to offer an informed opinion.

US Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand called the US attorney’s investigation into the defunct commission “smart,” and did not defend Cuomo’s actions. “It’s important to have transparency in government,” she said.

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