Nick Reisman

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Supportive Housing Advocates Nudge Cuomo, Using His Words

Advocates for supportive housing on Friday are releasing a social media ad urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo to back $2 billion in funding for supportive housing construction in New York.

And they are using Cuomo’s own words from Thursday’s Help USA event with former Vice President Joe Biden.

In the video being released by the Campaign 4 NY/NY, the group uses video of Cuomo decrying the homelessness crisis in New York City and in the state.

“As we sit here today the homeless problem is the worst it’s ever been in the history of this city and this state, believe it or not,” Cuomo says in the video. “It’s not enough just to talk, it’s about getting results. It’s about achieving.”

Text flashes on the screen: “Keep your promise. Get the long-term supportive housing plan done.”

Cuomo has insisted the ball is actually in the Legislature’s court to take up approval of his version of the memorandum of understanding on the housing funds.

The money would be used to build 6,000 units of supportive housing over five years and ultimately 20,000 units in total. Cuomo included the money in his $152 billion budget proposal this year, which the campaign points out he did last year as well.

Advocates for the funding were buoyed this week when the Legislature included $2.5 billion in the competing one-house budget resolutions.

Getting Results from Campaign 4 NYNY Housing on Vimeo.

Has Bharara Been Trolling Cuomo?

bhararaIn the days after Preet Bharara says he was fired as the U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York, the former prosecutor’s Twitter activity has been especially barbed toward Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

First, there was Bharara’s tweet that “now I know what the Moreland Commission must have felt like” — a post that made some speculate what, exactly, he meant (was he investigating President Trump? Was it the first shot in a potential gubernatorial primary?).

Then, on Friday, Bharara retweeted Ben Max of Gotham Gazette, who had linked to a story on Cuomo’s relative silence in recent weeks on ethics reform legislation.

The Twitter activity comes, too, after The New York Times reported last weekend Cuomo had warned Trump about Bharara as someone not to be trusted (which was denied by the Cuomo administration).

Bharara launched his own Twitter account this month, days before the Trump administration had the remaining federal prosecutors appointed by President Obama removed from office.

As U.S. attorney, Bharara would frequently chide Albany’s culture following high-profile corruption charges of lawmakers by his office.

Bharara had investigated Cuomo’s decision to close the Moreland Commission, ultimately deciding not to bring charges. He later charged a former top aide to Cuomo, Joe Percoco, as part of a bribery and bid-rigging case related to economic development projects.

An Albany insider scoffed, “Gee, what could he possibly be trying to distract from today?”

Labor Urges Cuomo To Strengthen Environmental Efforts

Labor groups on Friday urged Gov. Andrew Cuomo to bolster spending for environmental programs in New York as federal funding for the Environmental Protection Agency is on the chopping block and regulations are poised to be rolled back.

The groups — including the United University Professions, New York State Nurses Association and the Transit Workers United Local 100 — want to see billions spent on renewable energy and infrastructure projects, resources for environmental concerns in poor communities and fair labor and training standards in clean energy.

And the groups want to see the a transition process for workers that moves New York away from fossil fuel plants that is locally driven.

“Retrograde actions by the Trump administration–backtracking on COP 21, deregulating Fossil Fuels, rolling back environmental protections—will lead to many Superstorms like Sandy, more contaminated water like Flint and Hoosick Falls, worsening Asthma and respiratory problems, further poisoning the lungs of our Bronx babies,” said Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez, the president of the New York State Nurses Associations.

“It is incumbent upon New York State to step up and protect New Yorkers, with legislation such as the Climate and Community Protection Act, transitioning into 100% renewables with many new good union jobs, while boldly standing forward to save our communities and our salvage our future.”

State lawmakers and the governor are discussing whether to spend billions of dollars on water quality upgrades and projects and Cuomo, too, has decried the proposed federal budget cuts as having a negative impact on New York.

Borough Presidents Boost Raise The Age

From the Morning Memo:

Borough presidents from Brooklyn, the Bronx and Manhattan on Friday are endorsing the effort to raise the age of criminal responsibility to 18 in New York, writing to Gov. Andrew Cuomo the measure be included in a final budget agreement.

“The research is clear,” wrote borough presidents Eric Adams, Gale Brewer and Ruben Diaz, Jr. in the letter addressed to Cuomo.

“Youth in adult prisons are more likely to be physically and sexually assaulted than in youth rehabilitative facilities. Recidivism of youth who have been placed in adult prisons is higher than if they are sent to youth rehabilitative facilities. Further, youth sent to adult prisons are increasingly likely to commit more serious crimes when they reoffend. Additionally, youth are far more likely to commit suicide in adult facilities as compared to youth facilities.”

Noting New York is one of two states that continue to treat 16 and 17-year-olds as adults in criminal cases, the borough presidents urged Albany to “catch up with the rest of the United States of America” and pass the measure.

The letter comes as lawmakers and Cuomo set to hunker down on two weeks of budget talks following the passage of the one-house budget resolutions this week in the Senate and Assembly.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, a Bronx Democrat, has repeatedly called the issue a key one for him and his conference in the final spending plan.

Senate Republicans have not embraced the Assembly’s version of the proposal, questioning which crimes should remain in criminal court and which cases should be heard in family courts.

Heastie has said he does not want create a “separate class” of the legal system for 16 and 17-year-old defendants by sending them to diversion courts.

The juvenile justice reform push has been at issue for the last several years in Albany, but has stalled in the Legislature. Cuomo through executive action began moving some teenage convicts out of adult facilities in 2015.

BP Letter on Raise the Age_FINAL by Nick Reisman on Scribd

Here And Now

Good morning and Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio will be in New York City today to mark the occasion and march in the parade.


At 8:30 a.m. Mayor de Blasio will attend St. Patrick’s Day Mass, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, 452 Madison Avenue, New York City.

At 9:30 a.m., de Blasio will attend Cardinal Dolan’s breakfast, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, 452 Madison Avenue, New York City.

At 9 a.m., Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will announce the winners of the Brew IN Livingston Craft Beverage Business Competition. Livingston County Government Center, 6 Court St., Geneseo.

At 10 a.m., Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy and Assemblyman John T. McDonald III, along with several mayors representing Albany CSO Pool communities and local water authorities, will push for water infrastructure upgrades. LCA Pressroom, Legislative Office Building, Albany.

At 10:30 a.m., Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan will hold a press conference to launch the City of Albany’s Poverty Reduction Initiative, Albany City Hall Rotunda, 24 Eagle St., Albany.

At 11 a.m., Gov. Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio will march in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, 44th Street and 5th Avenue, New York City.

At noon, Hochul will attend St. Patrick’s Day Lunch, Irish Center, 245 Abbott Road, Buffalo.

Also at noon, a protest will be held in Kingston to urge Rep. John Faso to vote against the repeal and replacement of Obamacare, 721 Broadway, Kingston.

At 1 p.m., Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara will hold a Citizen Preparedness Corps Training Program event, Duanesburg Jr./Sr. High School Gymnasium, 163 School Rd, Delanson.

At 7:30 p.m., Assemblyman Danny O’Donnell will be gathering with advocates to “denounce the fascism, hate, and divisiveness of our president’s administration” as the Irish PM is set to meet with Trump. Riverside Church, 490 Riverside Drive, New York City.


President Donald Trump’s proposed budget that includes deep cuts to domestic and discretionary spending is likely to see a major rewrite in Congress.

The budget proposal as backed by the Trump administration is seen as a heavy lift, even for a Republican-led Congress.

Still, some conservatives are cheering the budget plan, saying it will “shake up the status quo” in Washington if adopted.

The Trump budget also provides a bolstering of the U.S. military and national defenses, a key campaign pledge for the president.

Police confirmed on-again, off-again Trump advisor Roger Stone was involved in a Florida hit-and-run crash.

Are House Republicans moving too quickly in repealing and replacing Obamacare?

The president’s executive order banning travel from six countries and refugee immigration is heading to a Supreme Court that is in a transition.

Trump’s administration has been backing his claims Obama wiretapped Trump Tower, though no evidence has surfaced to date.

The White House is fuming after two U.S. senators — a Republican and a Democrat — said there was no evidence former President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower during last year’s presidential campaign.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio sought to turn the page on Thursday after prosecutors announced no one would face criminal charges following a lengthy investigation into his fundraising activities.

The announcement essentially lifted one of the few dark clouds hovering over de Blasio’s re-election bid this year.

And despite the lack of charges, there was criticism of the way de Blasio and his team went about fundraising, saying that while he may not have broke the law, he violated the spirit of it.

Essentially, de Blasio skated due to technicality in the law, Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance wrote in a letter to the Board of Elections.

Ken Lovett: Preet Bharara won the big cases as U.S. attorney, but his record as the top prosecutor in the Southern District was far from perfect.

Indeed, Bharara’s legacy largely rests on the Supreme Court’s interpretation of public corruption, which could toss out his most high-profile cases.

Since the State of the State addresses were given, Cuomo has been largely silent on the issue of ethics reform despite laying out an ambitious agenda for the second year in a row.

Jim Dwyer: Mr. de Blasio loves saddling up on the highest horse he can find. It can be a long way down.

City Limits: “Why doesn’t de Blasio get a break? Because his opponents to the right are too threatened by what he represents to miss a chance to belittle him. And because his erstwhile allies on the left believe that they have a right to expect more.”

New York Post: Too bad de Blasio is “incompetent” on everything else in his mayoralty.

Lawyers for former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver asked a three-judge panel to reverse his corruption conviction following a Supreme Court ruling last year narrowing the definition of public graft.

If Silver is able to have his corruption conviction reversed, he’d have the ex-governor of Virginia to thank.

With Bharara out of the picture, state lawmakers may be less inclined to take up the ethics reforms he goaded them into passing.

A New York state pension plan said it cut ties last week with Amherst Pierpont Securities, a brokerage that won nearly $2 billion in annual bond-trading business during the tenure of a portfolio manager now facing federal bribery charges.

American cities are in a battle with each other, dueling over how to lure jobs and industries to their communities with millions of dollars in incentives.

New York City officials are assessing whether President Trump has caused a decline in foreign tourism.

The National Guard has arrived in the Southern Tier to help the area recover from a heavy snowstorm after the region was hit particularly hard.

And now a new concern is hitting the Southern Tier: Massive melting leading to massive flooding.

One of the oldest houses in Victor set the scene on Thursday for Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer’s latest political battle: preserving tax deductions for homeowners.

The state’s Republican chairman blasted Gov. Cuomo for his response to the wind storm in the Rochester area.

Most local government websites in western New York — 90 percent — received a failing grade by a good-government group for the quality and timeliness of information posted.

For Buffalo, playing host to the NCAA Tournament came with busy streets, lots of visiting basketball fans and a starring role in Uber’s latest ad campaign.

State lawmakers say the recent issues surrounding Uber won’t derail a larger push to have ride hailing apps expand outside of New York City.

Rensselaer County District Attorney Joel Abelove was met by investigators Thursday morning as he walked into work at the county courthouse.

The Livingston County judge who barred the media from his courtroom during a criminal arraignment back in December has agreed he won’t seek re-election in New York again.

The Middletown school board is working to develop a new school district budget while fighting a $6 million deficit.

A coalition of labor and immigration groups are calling on Republican Reps. Lee Zeldin and Peter King to oppose the president’s travel ban executive order.

Former Vice President Joe Biden was in New York City on Thursday, criticizing Trump’s budget proposal and accepting an award from Gov. Cuomo.

USA Today Network’s Albany bureau takes a look at the top issues facing lawmakers in the state budget, including the millionaires tax extension and Cuomo’s free tuition plan.

A former Independence Party leader in Albany is facing prison time after his conviction in a $1 million investment scam.

State lawmakers, who get to write the rules, have largely exempted themselves from the state’s Freedom of Information law, though there are exceptions.

During a town hall forum shown on CNN last night, Republican Rep. Chris Collins gave Trump a “A” grade for his time in office so far.

Most of the state’s budget — such as Medicaid and payroll spending — is largely on autopilot, but lawmakers still remain at odds over the details of plans such as providing free tuition to SUNY and CUNY schools as well as expanding ride hailing upstate.

Page Six reports Hunter and Kathleen Biden are settling their divorce “in private” (though it’s being reported by New York’s most prominent gossip page).

Radio host Fred Dicker on Thursday digressed in an interview on whether journalists should quote racial slurs when used by public officials — listing multiple slurs on the radio.

Cuomo: Trump Budget ‘A Wrecking Ball’

Gov. Andrew Cuomo decried President Donald Trump’s proposed budget, saying it takes a “wrecking ball” to federal agencies that provide needed aid to New Yorkers.

Cuomo in a lengthy statement on Thursday criticized “senseless cuts” to the Department of Transportation, including funding for the Gateway Tunnel project between New York and New Jersey, as well as slashes in spending for the National Institute of Health.

And the governor took issue with the proposed cuts to the Clean Power Plan and funding for the EPA — “essential to protecting New York’s clean water and environmental resources.”

“Despite the reckless cuts to critical programs, the Administration is also contemplating providing more tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans,” Cuomo said. “In short, Washington’s message to those who can’t afford heat at the dead of winter, those struggling to provide an education for their child; and to commuters forced to sit through hours of traffic on a daily commute to work is that they don’t matter. Essentially, this proposal lacks the most basic American values of compassion and care.”

Cuomo added he’ll continue his work with the state’s delegation to Congress to push back against the budget.

“Enacting this bill would mark a fundamental transformation in what America stands for, and what role our country plays in the world,” he said. “We have always maintained a strong military, but we have always offered the world more than arms. The Lady in the Harbor does not brandish her fist at the world; she raises a light.”

Cuomo has been considered a potential candidate for president in 2020, but has insisted he’s focused on running for re-election as governor in 2018.

DiNapoli: Trump Budget ‘Will Hurt New Yorkers’

Comptroller Tom DiNapoli on Thursday blasted the proposed budget by President Donald Trump’s administration which takes a knife to discretionary spending programs and government agencies.

In a statement, DiNapoli said the proposed cuts will have a negative impact on New York, but he also wants more information on how spending would be allocated.

“The President’s budget blueprint threatens funding for vital services including housing assistance, environmental protection, anti-poverty programs and more,” DiNapoli said in a statement. “It provides little specific information regarding the impact of broadly proposed cuts, but it is clear this budget will hurt New Yorkers. I urge the Administration to provide the details as soon as possible so New Yorkers and all Americans can have a clear understanding of the ramifications if these proposals become law.”

The federal budget process is driven by Congress, not the president, and a White House budget is considered an aspirational document in large part. But the agenda laid out by the Trump administration has still worried some, including advocates for the art and public broadcasting, which would be on the chopping block.

Faso Votes To Advance Health Care Bill

Republican Rep. John Faso voted in committee on Thursday to advance the measure replacing the Affordable Care Act out of the House Budget Committee.

Faso, during the meeting, spoke against a Democratic-backed amendment that would have prevented the replacement bill, known as the American Health Care Act, from taking effect until the federal government in the form of the Health and Human Services secretary certifies the number of uninsured people and out-of-pocket expenses would not increase and overall benefits would not declined.

In a statement during the meeting, Faso called the amendment “aspirational.”

“It doesn’t offer any specifics, it just says what they would like and what they would wish,” he said. “It is typical Washington. That’s the problem. People are sick and tired of what Washington does, which is often nothing.”

However, Faso did back a motion that recommended measures blocking funding to Planned Parenthood organizations for a year be removed from the legislation.

Faso did vote in favor of a motion to recommend that provisions related to stopping funding to Planned Parenthood affiliates for one year be taken out of the bill. He previously told Republican colleagues that it would be a “grave mistake” to include the Planned Parenthood provision in the bill.

Still, adding to the political dimension of the vote over the health care legislation, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee blasted Faso’s vote for discharging the bill from committee.

“Representative Faso is now on the record in favor of a health care bill that imposes an unfair age tax on older Americans, jacks up health insurance premiums, and rips away coverage from millions so that Faso can cut taxes for health insurance CEOs,” said DCCC spokesman Evan Lukaske. “Not only did Faso cast the deciding vote for this boardroom bailout, but he broke his promise to New York women by voting to defund Planned Parenthood. Faso now owns this debacle until Election Day.”

Stefanik Backs Climate Change Reso On House Floor

Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik on Thursday urged support for a GOP-backed climate change resolution, a similar version of which had been carried by now-former Rep. Chris Gibson.

“Along with 16 of my colleagues, I am proud to introduce a resolution calling on the House of Representatives to commit to working on economically viable solutions that address the threat of climate change,” Stefanik said in her remarks on the House floor. “Clean energy innovation is critical, and this resolution brings together the priority of addressing the risks of climate change with the importance of protecting and creating American jobs.”

In the resolution, lawmakers say it is a “conservative principle” to push for conservation and environmental stewardship.”

“No matter what side of the aisle you’re on, we all have a significant responsibility to protect our environment from avoidable damage,” she said.

Stefanik represents the sprawling North Country House district which includes the Adirondack Park.

De Blasio Admin Reacts To End Of Fundraising Probe

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office on Thursday reacted to the decision by federal and city prosecutors to not bring any charges in multiple investigations into fundraising and political activities.

In a statement, de Blasio spokesman Eric Phillips indicated the city administration was happy to turn the page.

“We have been confident from the moment these reviews began that the actions of the Mayor and our Administration have always been within the law,” Phillips said. “The United States Attorney and Manhattan District Attorney have now put to rest any suggestion otherwise. We thank these prosecutors’ offices for conducting what were clearly diligent and exhaustive reviews – and for making public the conclusions of these probes. New Yorkers deserve honest, progressive government. With this Mayor, they will always get it.”

Republican Paul Massey, one of de Blasio’s GOP rivals this year, insisted the story shouldn’t end here, however, pointing to the criticism by prosecutors of the mayor’s fundraising efforts.

“The US Attorney confirmed this highly corrupt activity where ‘Mayor de Blasio and others acting on his behalf solicited donations from individuals who sought official favors from the City,’ and the Manhattan District Attorney called de Blasio’s behavior ‘contrary to the intent and spirit of the laws that impose candidate contribution limits, laws which are meant to prevent ‘corruption and the appearance of corruption’ in the campaign financing process,’ Massey said in a statement released by his campaign.

“Indeed, the Manhattan District Attorney affirmed that their ‘determination does not foreclose the BOE or others from pursuing any civil or regulatory action that they determine might be warranted by these facts.’

He called on the state Board of Elections “other appropriate agencies to pursue civil action” against the mayor.