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Posts by Nick Reisman
Jul 24th - 5:47 pm
Both Cuomo’s Moreland headache and Christie’s Bridgegate scandal show “the potential downside of a hardball style of governing that relies, at least partly, on intimidating potential opponents and critics.”
Legal experts are split over whether any laws were broken by Cuomo’s office.
Republicans, meanwhile, prodded Cuomo to come out and explain his actions.
A pro-gun group is calling on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to support Republican gubernatorial hopeful Rob Astorino.
Is Astorino’s campaign becoming a proxy war for 2016?
Republican former Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward says the Green Party candidate running in the NY-21 is “maybe, a breath of fresh air.”
After Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner opened her city to migrant children at the county’s southern border, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito says New York City should do the same.
Cuomo picked up his first endorsement of the season from The Amsterdam News: “He has combated corruption in Albany and is holding everyone to a higher standard.”
Barclay’s is making an effort to dismiss AG Schneiderman’s suit against so-called “dark pools.”
Zephyr Teachout shrugged off challenges by the Cuomo campaign to her residency.
Westchester County has the highest paid public employees on average, the Empire Center found.
The Empire State Pride Agenda objected to the New York Giants’ hiring of former player and same-sex marriage opponent, David Tyree.
A study shows doctors trained in New York are leaving to practice elsewhere.
Can White House reporters “reclaim” their beat?
Jul 24th - 5:33 pm
Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts and 2012 GOP nominee for president, endorsed on Thursday Republican state Sen. Lee Zeldin in his bid against Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop.
“Senator and Army Reserve Major Lee Zeldin is exactly the type of new blood Washington so desperately needs. He will help stop the fiscal insanity and partisan politics that have brought our government to its knees under the Obama Administration,” Romney said in a statement. “I am confident that Senator Zeldin will bring that same commitment with him to Washington where he will be a force for the kind of real reform our nation needs to get back on track.”
Zeldin faced a heated Republican primary in June against former SEC prosecutor George Demos for the chance to take on Bishop in the Suffolk County House district.
Romney, meanwhile, has endorsed a handful of New York Republican candidates this election cycle as he considers his next step in politics after losing to President Obama two years ago.
“Governor Romney knows what it will take to restore our nation to her former glory and having him recognize our campaign for our ability to do just that speaks volumes,” Zeldin said.
Jul 24th - 4:29 pm
The Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption suffered from “personality problems” among its members with some being unaccustomed to and uncomfortable issuing subpoenas, Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney said in an interview.
“Generally speaking, I don’t feel like we have an accurate representation what happened inside Moreland yet,” she said. “With patience, I think people are going to see more of the story. Whether there were problems, I would put them in the category of personality problems. I think there were people who had a difficult time getting along and some of that has spilled out.”
Mahoney, a prominent Republican backer of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and a member of the short-lived anti-corruption panel, stressed the commission would ultimately be judged a success and, to her knowledge, wasn’t directed by the governor’s office.
The New York Times this week provided a detailed account of the commission being plagued by both infighting between its executive director and an attorney for the commission, as well as efforts from Cuomo’s office to direct or block subpoenas from the panel.
Mahoney insisted she never personally witnessed any interference from Cuomo’s office.
“I will tell you that no one ever in my presence ever said we can or can’t do anything,” she said. “I really do believe were an independent commission and ultimately the decisions were made by the three co-chairs and the commission members.”
Nevertheless, Mahoney reiterated that a commission appointed by the governor and state attorney general could not have credibly investigated them.
“I don’t think the general public would ever buy the results of an investigation like that,” she said.
Mahoney said some commission members weren’t used to issuing subpoenas, and severity of the act concerned them.
“There were such competing interests and the net was being cast so wide. In the world of district attorneys… things like subpoenas aren’t that scary,” she said. “That’s the world they live in. For people outside that world, there was an effort to say, ‘Well recognize the effect that has on a private individual.’”
Members of the commission came to it with the best of intentions, Mahoney said, even if it was a difficult job.
“I really think people wanted the opportunity to clean up Albany,” she said. “I think everyone’s intentions were good.”
Jul 24th - 2:34 pm
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s capital plan over the next five years could have a funding gap as high as $12 billion, a report released on Thursday by Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office found.
The report comes several months before the authority which oversees rail, bus, bridge and tunnels in the New York City area, is due to submit a five-year capital plan to state officials for approval.
DiNapoli in a statement said the MTA has made progress in managing the infrastructure of the system in recent years.
But he warned that the authority must find ways to invest in capital improvements without hitting commuters’ wallets.
“The MTA has to find a way to finance improvements without putting the financial burden on riders,” DiNapoli said. “This can be achieved only by working closely with the federal government, New York state and New York City to develop a long-term financing program and by using resources effectively and efficiently. Otherwise, needed repairs will be pushed even further into the future, and fares and tolls could rise even faster.”
Among the more pressing concerns is the heavy debt service burden the MTA has taken on, which the report found is due to surpass $3 billion in the next four yuears, which is three times higher than what it was in 2005.
“Even with biennial fare and toll hikes of 4 percent, debt service as a percentage of total revenue could rise from 16 percent in 2013 to more than 23 percent by 2025,” the report found.
The existing MTA capital program — which runs from 2010 through 2014 — had an initial funding gap of $9.9 billion, and that was closed by reducing the scope of the program and by adding more borrowing.
And despite the level of investment, DiNapoli’s office says a good state of repair for the entire system remains “elusive.”
The authority estimates it will need to spend about $105.7 billion over the next 20 years, including $26.6 in 2015 through 2019.
Even with those projects fully funded, the MTA won’t be able to restore existing assets to a state of good repair at the end of that funding period.
Jul 24th - 12:41 pm
The gubernatorial campaign of Republican Rob Astorino on Thursday said the trip to the Republican Governors Association in Colorado this week “made it clear” that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie won’t support the effort to unseat Democratic incumbent Andrew Cuomo.
“The Aspen trip made it clear that governors from around the nation will be helping County Executive Astorino become Governor Astorino,” said spokeswoman Jessica Proud. “It also made it clear that RGA Chairman Chris Christie will not be among them. We can live with that and we will move on.”
The campaign also confirmed the RGA had reached out to the Astorino campaign, telling the GOP candidate not to attend the meeting, as first reported by CNN.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal — two potential rivals for Christie in a presidential primary in 2016 — told Astorino to ignore the snub and come to the meeting anyway.
Astorino told Fred Dicker in a radio interview this morning he had secured the support of Perry and Jindal, along with Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Hayley.
Christie this week said the RGA wouldn’t invest in “landslides” when asked if he’d offer any help to Astorino in New York.
Astorino responded that Christie’s hesitation could come in part because of the swirling “bridgegate” scandal.
Jul 24th - 11:54 am
The labor group that represents State Supreme Court officers on Thursday endorsed Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeff Klein’s re-election.
“Senator Klein has constantly demonstrated his support of our members by cutting through Albany partisanship to enact meaningful legislation that benefits our members, their families and all New Yorkers,” said Patrick Cullen, the president of the New York State Supreme Court Officers Association.
Klein faces former city Councilman Oliver Koppell in a Democratic primary that was initially fueled in part by the IDC’s coalition with Senate Republicans. Klein and IDC have agreed to form a new coalition with the mainline Democratic conference after Election Day.
“I’m pleased to receive the endorsement of the New York State Supreme Court Officers, who keep our courtrooms safe and orderly each and everyday. I’m proud to be a voice for their hardworking members and all hardworking families across this state,” Klein said.
Jul 24th - 11:25 am
The state Department of Labor on Thursday was directed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to convene a wage board in order to recommend potential changes to the state’s minimum wage for tipped workers.
“When the legislature enacted my proposal to increase the minimum wage, thousands of New Yorkers saw their economic prospects improve,” Cuomo said. “Now, to build on that momentum I am directing Labor Commissioner Peter Rivera to call a Wage Board and hold public hearings to ensure fairness and determine if changes need to be made to the regulations that govern the rates paid to service workers.”
The minimum wage at the end of last year increased by 75 cents to $8, the product of a 2013 agreement that will phase in the minimum wage to $9 by the end of 2015.
Advocates for increasing the minimum wage were not pleased with the compromise, however, pointing to a lack of protections in the legislation for tipped workers such as waiters, who often make less than minimum wage as base pay.
The wage board will be tasked with review current regulations for tipped workers earning less than the wage, the governor’s office said.
Cuomo, under pressure from liberal advocacy groups, labor unions and the Working Families Party, agreed in May to support an even higher increase of the minimum wage to $10.10 in addition to local control for hiking the wage based on a state formula.
The wage board is due to include Business Council President Heather Briccetti, Hotel Trade Council President Peter Ward and former Broome County Executive Timothy Grippen.
The governor’s power to convene the board is one that minimum wage supporters have long pointed to as a way for Cuomo to shore up the current wage laws.
Jul 24th - 11:01 am
A special prosecutor should be appointed to investigate Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s involvement in the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption, GOP gubernatorial hopeful Rob Astorino said in a radio interview this morning.
Astorino told Fred Dicker on his Talk-1300 radio show the special prosecutor should be appointed by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and act on a parallel track to the work being done by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, whose office assumed control of records generated by the now shuttered commission.
“This is beyond outrageous,” Astorino said. “Obviously, it’s criminal.”
Astorino, along with Cuomo’s potential Democratic primary opponent Zephyr Teachout, have sought to capitalize in the last two days on a lengthy New York Times story detailing Cuomo’s involvement in the commission’s work, as well as the involvement of his top aide, Larry Schwartz.
Astornio said it’s unlikely Schwartz for the most part was acting alone.
“Every step of the way he took orders from Andrew Cuomo,” Astorino said.
Astorino has insisted Cuomo’s transgressions in the commission make for one of the worst corruption scandals in state history.
“In a way, what Eliot Spitzer did was nothing compared to this,” he said.
Cuomo’s office has insisted the commission was always a creature of the executive branch and not meant to be an independent arm, though the governor at one point said the panel could investigate whatever it wanted.
Jul 24th - 10:40 am
Republican candidate for governor Rob Astorino on Thursday said in a radio interview four sitting GOP governors — some of whom have presidential ambitions — will campaign for him here in New York.
“We kind of agreed to disagree on this one and we move on,” Astorino said on Fred Dicker’s Talk-1300 radio show.
While Christie won’t be helping him, Astorino says he’s lined up the support of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.
Perry’s Twitter feed posted last night a photo of him with his arm around Astorino at the RGA meeting.
But Astorino, in Aspen for a meeting of the Republican Governors Association, indicated a meeting with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie did not go well.
Christie, the RGA chairman, said this week he was unlikely to help Astorino against Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo given the incumbent’s broad lead in public opinion polls.
Astorino, in turn, questioned whether Christie was prevented from helping him because Cuomo may have a “handshake” agreement stemming from the George Washington Bridge land closure controversy.
Having outside help from deep-pocketed governors would be key for Astorino, who lags behind Cuomo in fundraising and name recognition.
Nevertheless, Astorino has seized on The New York Times’ story this week detailing the governor’s office’s involvement in directing and blocking subpoenas from the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption.
Astorino said some attendees at the RGA had their “jaws drop” when reading the Moreland story.
Jul 24th - 9:43 am
Political opponents of Governor Andrew Cuomo were quick to pounce on an exhaustive New York Times story revealing how a top aide played a key role in directing and blocking subpoenas from the anti-corruption Moreland Commission, created last year.
The story that chronicled the governor’s involvement in the commission, as well as his secretary Larry Schwartz, provided new ammunition to the candidates running against Cuomo this elections season.
Zephyr Teachout, a Democratic candidate for governor and Fordham law professor, previously blasted Cuomo for his handling of ethics in Albany.
Gov, Andrew Cuomo should resign if he directed or even knew what his top aide was doing obstructing with the anti-corruption commission.
Teachout said the governor needs to explain his role in the Moreland Commission’s investigation.
“The people of New York deserve to know. Governor Cuomo needs to come clean immediately about what he knew his top aide was doing,” Teachout said.
While the Times story is a black eye for the governor, it remains to be seen whether his opponents can gain any traction off it. Cuomo leads Republican candidate for governor Rob Astorino by 37 percentage points, according to a Siena college poll released this week.
Astorino on Wednesday blasted Cuomo’s apparent hypocrisy of campaigning in 2010 on reforming Albany’s often murky ethics and failing to do so.
“It’s galling that a man who rode in to be a white knight is actually knee deep in scandal right now. Mr. Cuomo needs to come clean and he needs to do that right now,” said Astorino.
In response to the Westchester County Republican, the Cuomo campaign said it takes nerve for Astorino to criticize Cuomo on ethics, citing his $30,000 paycheck for an outside consulting job.
Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins, who registered six percent in that poll, says it could turn the election’s focus to ethics.
“This just corroborates what we already had an inkling was going on. I came out here saying we need a debate on jobs, but after reading that we need a debate on ethics and campaign finance reform,” Hawkins said.
Astorino, meanwhile, traveled to the Republican Governors Association meeting in Aspen to meet with donors and RGA Chairman Chris Christie.
The meeting with Astorino and Christie would come two days after Christie declared the GOP candidate in New York was unlikely to defeat Cuomo. Astorino told reporters he plans to bring a copy of the day’s New York Times.