2014

With 11 Days To Go, Astorino Has $1M

Republican candidate for governor Rob Astorino’s campaign on Friday reported having $1 million in cash on hand for the final 11 days of the campaign.

Records show Astorino in the most recent fundraising period spent more than a half-million dollars on TV ads, including a $474,640 ad purchase.

The total is expected to vastly dwarf the cash on hand amount of Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who earlier this month reported having $23.7 million in the bank.

During this fundraising period, Astorino received $571,980 in contributions, according to his filing with the state Board of Elections.

Records show Astorino received $10,000 from Foster Friess, a prominent Republican donor and backer of former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum’s presidential campaign (Friess gained a level of notoriety during the campaign for suggesting aspirin between a woman’s legs can be used as birth control).

Astorino previously received an in-kind travel contribution from Friess.

This time, Astorino reported an in-kind travel donation from Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s PAC, Stand Up To Washington, totaling $364.60.

Astorino also received a $20,000 contribution from Kamran Hakim, a New York real-estate investor.

Republican former Gov. George Pataki contributed $1,000.

Scarsdale resident Jocelyn Adelaar contributed $22,500.

Astorino also received a $41,100 contributions from multiple limited-liability corporations, including Trilogy Advisors LLC and Salamanga LLC.

The Politics Of Ebola Management

As the first case of Ebola is reported in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo this morning did a round of interviews on national network and cable television.

In the interview — conducted on the morning programs of NBC, CBS, CNN and MSNBC — Cuomo sought to reassure the public the situation was being handled responsibly and that the doctor infected, Craig Spencer, was being closely monitored, as are the people he’s come into contact with.

The concern, at least on Cuomo’s part it would seem, is to not replicate the bungled response to Ebola cases in Texas, where two nurses were infected with the disease (They’ve since recovered).

“We’ve watched what happened in Dallas, and we’ve learned from it,” Cuomo said on CNN’s New Day. “This is New York. We’d hoped we wouldn’t get such a case, but we expected that we would and we have been preparing for weeks — literally.”

Both Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio have stressed the difficulty in contracting Ebola and insisted the case is being contained, while the doctor infected followed proper protocols once his symptoms became apparent.

Cuomo, of course, is running for re-election in 11 days and demonstrating that he’s monitoring the situation is key for him.

But even in non-election years, Cuomo has sought to project an aura of confidence in the face of a real or perceived crisis, ranging from hurricanes, tornadoes and train derailments.

The governor earlier this month made a point of riding the subway in New York City after potential threats were made against mass transit in western countries.

At the same time, there are pitfalls to overplaying his hand. Cuomo cannot be seen as exploiting the Ebola situation for political gain, which is a perception issue, not a substance one.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, it should be noted, was here in New York fundraising for Rob Astorino when that state’s first Ebola cases were confirmed. It would be difficult to imagine Cuomo making that same perception mistake.

On substance, the state and city public health responses have to work, or the governor could be blamed for bungling the situation.

But for Cuomo’s Republican opponent, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, the mistakes have already been made.

Astorino is slamming Cuomo for what he says is a lack of preparation in the lead up to the case coming here, and for not closing off the city’s international airports to planes with passengers coming from Ebola-stricken countries.

“The CDC explicitly warned New York last week that Ebola carrying passengers would be arriving via JFK,” Astorino said in a statement. “It is beyond comprehension that Governor Cuomo and President Obama are allowing these flights to continue arriving daily. If a brave humanitarian like the New York City doctor now infected could catch Ebola after taking all the precautions he did in Africa, how are we allowing others from those nations, who have had no such training or protective gear, to flow into New York every day? This is sheer and utter madness.”

Republican candidate for attorney general John Cahill trained his criticism on the federal response.

“How a doctor, returning from Guinea ith the expressed purpose of treating patients with Ebola, is allowed to reenter the general population is simply incomprehensible,” Cahill said. “Federal authorities are clearly not taking this threat seriously enough.”

Meanwhile, the Ebola issue is trickling down to the state Senate level as well.

Republican Terrence Murphy, a Yorktown city councilman running for the state Senate in the Hudson Valley, issued a statement calling for a 21-day “strict quarantine” for travelers coming in to the U.S. from countries with a large amount of Ebola cases.

“As a health professional this is simply common sense,” he said in a statement. “It is clearly time for action to protect the public. Ebola is spiraling out of control in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. Infected travelers may not display symptoms until after they enter our country. Airport screening simply is not enough, and more precautions should be taken.”

Murphy, according to his Twitter page, is a chiropractor.

Cuomo Releases Plans For Cuomo 2.0

After facing questions over his lack of a second term agenda, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s re-election campaign released a 245-page policy book on Thursday that outlines a series of issues he would seek to tackle in the next four years.

There are some new proposals in the book, including plans to hire a “chief risk officer” as well as plans to streamline the state’s licensing and regulatory

A broad swath of the governor lays out in the policy book, “Moving The New New York Forward,” has already been laid down by Cuomo during his re-election campaign, and the release of the book today seemingly acts as a summary of the provisions for term two.

Those proposals include a $500 million investment in broadband Internet access in rural upstate areas, the creation of an infrastructure bank, using $500 million from the state’s surplus to further provide incentives to local governments to consolidate and share services and the Global NY initiative, meant to promote overseas trade of state businesses.

His proposal for upgrading New York City airports JFK and LaGuardia is also detailed as well.

Other areas are ones Cuomo has proposed before, including the 10-point women’s agenda, which he first unveiled in 2013 and is running on as a key campaign issue.

Cuomo also makes a point of noting in the book he continues to back the public financing of political campaigns, a program that liberal advocacy organizations and labor groups have been pushing for over the last four years.

“The governor will continue to fight for the creation of public financing of elections,” the book states.

Election reform proposals include simplifying the state ballots and making it easier to vote. He also dusts off his support for lowered contribution limits for corporations, party transfers and housekeeping or “soft money” accounts.

Cuomo adds he backs the Dream Act, as well as a faster increase in the state’s minimum wage — two promises made to the Working Families Party in May when he received the labor-backed group’s endorsement. Nevertheless, Cuomo’s support for “further proposals” for a minimum wage hike — either on the local level through a state formula or to $10.10 is left vague.

“… the Governor remains deeply committed to pursuing further proposals that would expedite the increase or enhance the minimum wage going forward.”

He plans to replicate the “Buffalo Billion” economic development initiative in other upstate cities through the creation of the Upstate Revitalization Fund.

Cuomo would convene a local government summit to discuss “best practices” on reducing taxes.

Cuomo in 2010 got much more down in the weeds.

At the time, he released a series of policy-laden books with different subjects including agriculture, ethics and energy.

Moving the New NY Forward by Andrew M Cuomo by Nick Reisman

The Tom And Eric Show Hits The Road

Comptroller Tom DiNapoli and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman will hold joint campaign appearances in Nassau, Westchester and Orange counties on Friday as part of a GOTV effort.

DiNapoli and Schneiderman, Democrats both, have worked closely when it comes to investigating public wrongdoing, most notably on the case of William Rapfogel, the disgraced former head of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, now facing a prison sentence for siphoning funds from the charity.

Both the AG and the comptroller, too, have had a rocky relationship with Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Over the last four years, Cuomo at times has sought to extend the reach of the governor’s office into territory formerly held by the attorney general’s office, which he himself occupied from 2007 through 2011.

In a questionnaire from Citizens Union, Cuomo’s campaign would not take a position on whether the AG’s office should be empowered to go after public corruption.

DiNapoli, meanwhile, was not endorsed by Cuomo in 2010 during a particularly difficult re-election campaign.

Since then, DiNapoli has been critical of aspects of the state’s finances, which has led to some interesting blow-ups between his office and the state Division of Budget.

Cuomo, who has not campaigned with the other two Democrats on the statewide ticket this fall, issued endorsements for both Schneiderman and DiNapoli at the state Democratic convention in May.

Both Schneiderman and DiNapoli lead their Republican opponents, John Cahill and Bob Antonacci respectively, by double digits, according to this week’s Siena College poll.

24-Hour Notices: Astorino Picks Up NRA Money

Republican Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino’s gubernatorial campaign received a $5,000 contribution from the NRA Political Victory Fund, 24-hour notices show.

The national NRA has not spent much time investing in New York races, despite the widespread controversy among gun owners over the SAFE Act, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s signature gun control law from 2013.

Astorino, who is staunchly opposed to the SAFE Act, told reporters in Albany earlier today contributions were coming in following last night’s debate.

“We got a flood of donations after the debate last night online,” Astorino said. “They were very receptive to our message.”

 

In Debate, Cuomo And Astorino Engage, On Topic Or Not

There were four candidates on stage, but both Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Rob Astorino sought to make the only scheduled debate of the campaign about them.

The candidates for governor squared off in an hour-long debate on Wednesday evening with topics ranging from the governor’s handling of the defunct Moreland Commission To Investigate Public Corruption, upstate economic development, hydrofracking and medical marijuana.

But both Cuomo and Astorino came ready to blast each other and largely ignore Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins and Libertarian Michael McDermott.

McDermott, in particular, was highlight complimentary of Cuomo, thanking him for insisting the minor-party candidates be allowed to debate and defended the governor when he was asked about his previous comment in a radio interview about “extreme conservatives” having a place in the state.

Both Cuomo and McDermott exchanged a warm handshake at the conclusion of the debate.

At the heart of the forum was much of what has been discussed during the campaign: Cuomo insisting the state’s economy and government had improved and became better functioning under his watch, while Astorino criticizing the state’s tax and regulatory climate, which he says leads to an out-migration.

Cuomo, who has rarely mentioned his opponent by name in public, was quick to criticize “my friend, Mr. Astorino.”

“The people are following those jobs for better states,” Astorino said while knocking Cuomo’s handling of the economy.

Cuomo responded to tout his record on change the state’s tax code while criticizing Astorino for a credit down grade of Westchester County during his tenure as well as high property taxes.

“Yeah, rhetoric is fine, facts are better,” he said.

When the topic turned to Cuomo delaying a decision on whether to allow high-volume hydrofracking, the governor said he was waiting to see the outcome of a lengthy Department of Health review. He then took a swing at Astorino

“When he goes upstate he’s Sarah Palin, drill baby drill,” he said.”When he goes back home he’s Mark Ruffalo and supports a ban on wastewater treatment storage.”

Hawkins, the Green Party candidate who pledged to ban hydrofracking, was used as a foil by the governor.

Cuomo, in a chance to play up his centrist credentials, noted he physically and literally had Astorino and Hawkins to his right and left respectively on the issue.

As expected, Astorino excoriated Cuomo for his handling of the Moreland Commission, including alleged interference by his office in the direction of subpoenas as well as shutting the panel down following an ethics agreement.

The Moreland situation is currently the subject of an ongoing inquiry by the U.S. attorney’s office.

“Why do you need a criminal defense team if you’ve done nothing wrong?” Astorino said to Cuomo.

But in many respects, the debate format seemed to resemble a game of telephone.

One candidate would asked a question about a new stadium for the Buffalo Bills football team, which would then lead to Cuomo and Astorino sparring over a complex housing settlement with the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

On that score, Hawkins said he did not believe the team should have a taxpayer-funded facility built for them.

“I think Mr. Pegula has enough money for a new stadium,” he said, referring to the team’s new owner, Terry Pegula.

But on that question, Astorino and Cuomo blasted each other for their stances on a 2009 affordable housing settlement in Westchester County with the federal government.

Cuomo indicated Astorino’s stance hurt minorities; Astorino accused Cuomo of “playing the race card.”

Likewise, a question about medical marijuana devolved into both Cuomo and Astorino continuing to litigate the HUD issue, as well as local and state property taxes.

Nevertheless, McDermott, the Libertarian candidate, saw an opportunity with the medical marijuana question.

“I think I can stay on this topic,” he said.

Reform Revelations (Updated)

From the Morning Memo:

Cuomo, Astorino and Hawkins have all filed questionnaires seeking the endorsement of the NYC-based good government group Citizens Union, and their answers – or lack thereof – are eye opening.

Cuomo, for example, declined to circle either “support” or “oppose” on the fill-in-the-blank portion of the questionnaire regarding whether the state attorney general should be empowered to investigate public corruption.

Underneath this section, Cuomo (or whoever filled out the survey on his behalf) wrote that he would “have to review specific legislation.”

The question of whether the AG should have more power in this realm has been an issue since Cuomo held the office.

Back then, he called for the governor – or the Legislature – to strengthen his ability to probe wrongdoing by state lawmakers in the wake of the infamous Troopergate scandal.

Cuomo’s call was not heeded by either former Gov. Eliot Spitzer (himself an ex-AG) or former Gov. David Paterson. Now that he’s governor himself, Cuomo has also declined to empower his successor, AG Eric Schneiderman.

The AG does not have subpoena power in public corruption cases, which has caused Schneiderman to get creative, teaming up with his fellow statewide Democrat, Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, whose office does have that power, to prosecute the misuse of public funds.

The governor also neglected to circle either “support” or “oppose” on questions of judicial reform, saying he wants to work with the Legislature and other “stakeholders” to simplify a complicated system.

And as for specific budget reforms, the governor wasn’t interested in being nailed down on any of those, either, preferring instead to detail the reforms he has introduced into the budgeting process since taking office in January 2011.

On his questionnaire, Astorino refused to take a position on lowering campaign contribution limits for legislative and statewide candidates.

But he was clear in his opposition to limiting contributions from lobbyists, placement agents and others who do business with the state and also to closing the so-called LLC loophole.

“Well-meaning efforts to limit campaign contributions have only sent money underground,” Astorino wrote. “…Prompt public disclosure of political contributions is the best possible solution.”

Astorino said he supports all the budget reforms listed by Citizens Union, with the exception of one – limiting the ability of the governor to enact policy changes governing the use of resources in appropriation bills. The county executive didn’t take a position on that.

He did, however, express opposition to Prop. 1 – the redistricting constitutional amendment that has divided good government groups. Citizens Union is leading the charge to get it passed.

Cuomo supports Prop. 1.

It appears Hawkins did not fill out any of the “support” or “oppose” questions on the CU form. But he did express opposition to Prop. 1 and support of “full” public campaign financing. UPDATE: Hawkins over a copy of the short portion of his CU questionnaire, saying a “computer glitch” had prevented it from being sent in full.

Citizens Union said it has interviewed both Astorino and Hawkins in advance of its endorsement decision, but has so far not managed to schedule a sit-down with Cuomo.

The interview is usually required in order for a candidate to qualify for the organization’s nod. CU will announce its endorsement in the governor’s race in the coming days.

Panepinto Fights Back; Says Governor Will Come Around

After weeks of questions over why Governor Cuomo hasn’t endorsed him and a constant barrage of attacks from his political rivals, State Senate Candidate Marc Panepinto is firing back.

“I’m talking about the issues. My opponents want to talk about negative things. This guy did this. This guy did that,” Panepinto said. 

The Buffalo Democrat will appear on the Democratic and Working Families lines on a crowed Ballot in New York’s 60th State Senate District.  His chief rival, Incumbent Senator Mark Grisanti, lost the GOP Primary in September but not the support of his Republican colleagues.  

The Senate Republican Campaign Committee is behind a scathing attack against Panepinto.  The TV ad, details a 2001 election law misdemeanor.  It accuses Panepinto of submitting “blatantly fraudulent voter petitions” and “personally forging signatures of handicapped voters and voters who had been dead for years.”

Panepinto claims he signed off on some signatures even though he wasn’t present when they were collected. Those signatures turned out to be bogus and the Democrat pleaded guilty to making false witness statements on petitions.

“Here’s somebody who’s been associated with organizations that affiliated with racketeering.  He also had some other allegations against him that have to do with more election fraud.  So it seems to be a pattern of abuse that this individual has. So we have make sure that this person is not elected to the state senate,” said SRCC Chair Cathy Young. 

Panepinto briefly lost his legal license and has consistently expressed remorse over what he’s called a “mistake.”  More than a decade later, Panepinto told Time Warner Cable News Reporter Ryan Whalen he’s moved on.

“I’ve paid the price for that. It’s ancient history and so if they want to continue to talk about what happened thirteen years ago, that’s fine. I think the voters want to know what their plans are for the next two years,” said Panepinto. 

On top of that, Panepinto is facing new questions over his wife’s appearance in his campaign flyers. A man claiming to be an unaffiliated voter filed a complaint against Panepinto because he used his wife’s image, State Supreme Court Judge Catherine Nugent-Panepinto, in campaign flyers.

“This attack on my wife is disgusting,” Panepinto said.

Panepinto is confident his use of her image does not violate election law.

“The Office of Court Administration provided my wife with documentation that it is permissible for her to be in my commercials, in my advertisements as long as she’s not identified as a judge and we don’t even identify her by name,” Panepinto added. 

As for Governor Cuomo’s endorsement, Panepinto told reporters at a rally for the Women’s Equality Act in Buffalo Tuesday that he’s not concerned about it.  Panepinto pointed out he stands with the Governor on the WEA and the Buffalo Billion.

“I support the Governor on those agenda points and most of his agenda.  The fact he hasn’t endorsed yet doesn’t concern me.  He knows where he needs to be to pass the Women’s Equality Act and that’s not with Senator Mark Grisanti,” said Panepinto. 

Grisanti is hoping to buck the odds and win on the Independence line.  Kevin Stocker is the endorsed Republican and Attorney Timothy Gallagher is the endorsed Conservative Party Candidate.

 

For Cuomo And Astorino, Two Different New Yorks

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his Republican opponent, Rob Astorino see two very different states when it comes to the New York economy.

For Cuomo, it’s a state that’s weathered an economic recession and come out better on the other end. The governor, when promoting his economic record, is in the thrall of statistics, from the lowered unemployment rate, changes made to the state’s tax structure and the improved credit rating.

“Unemployment rate down to 6.2 percent, lowest unemployment rate since 2008 and 511,000 new jobs, which is a very big deal — a half million families who are working,” Cuomo told reporters last week. “So economically, we’re having great news.”

Cuomo points to budgets that have held the line on spending, passed on time and led to upgrades in the state’s credit rating. Last week, Cuomo received an award from the Tax Foundation for changes made to the state’s income tax. Never mind that only two years ago, a top Cuomo aide knocked the organization as a right-wing think tank.

“We streamlined our code dramatically, which is one of the factors they take into consideration and that’s why we went from 25th to fourth,” Cuomo said. “It’s no doubt, they are a conservative organization. It’s no doubt they bring their philosophy to bare.”

As he campaigns around the state, Astorino sees a different economic picture for the state and a governor who hasn’t done enough. Indeed, Astorino, a Republican who is playing up his economic agenda (and not socially conservative stances on abortion and same-sex marriage) prefers illustrating an economic outlook for New York that is far different from Cuomo’s.

Astorino, who is behind Cuomo by 20 percentage points in the most recent poll, believes the governor seeing things through rose-colored glasses.

While Cuomo sees the macro picture, Astorino is trying to show New Yorkers — including the press, voters and anyone who cares to listen — the individual’s experience in the current economic climate.

Astorino frequently invokes anecdotal experiences on the campaign trail of property owners, business owners and farmers who are not seeing, for whatever reason, a recovery.

But the challenge for Astorino is a stark one.

Cuomo has sought to take the tax-and-spend attack Republicans make, a case he made at the state Democratic convention in May.

“The Democratic Party has a new credibility. Remember how our opponents liked to scare people? They’d say if you elect a Democrat, you know what those Democrats are going to do they’re going to raise your taxes because Democrats love big government,” Cuomo said in his convention speech.

Cuomo pushed for and won a cap on increasing local property taxes.

He engineered a change to the state’s tax code that he has alternatively claimed was a tax hike (satisfying liberals who wanted the so-called “millionaires tax” rates re-approved) and, more recently, played up as an income tax cut (only in Albany does something that generate $1.9 billion in revenue toward paying down a deficit become cutting taxes!).

The moderate, or some might say conservative, approach on taxes and spending has alienated Cuomo from the left and he was forced to put down a spirited primary challenge from a little-known Fordham Law School professor, Zephyr Teachout.

This, in part, is why Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins now hopes to potentially move the third-party’s ballot line position up to potentially Row C, campaigning on a tax-the-wealthy, hike the minimum wage to $15 an hour platform.

The Working Families Party considered running their own candidate before the governor agreed to a series of concessions such as allowing local governments to raise the state’s minimum wage on their own through a state-based formula.

Nevertheless, Cuomo insists throughout his book, “All Things Possible,” that governing from the center is the appropriate and more comfortable place for most voters.

He’s dusting off 90s-era Clintonian third-way Democratic politics. While it’s always annoyed liberals, Cuomo hopes it will give him at least 51 percent of the vote next month.

But it’s an agenda that has earned him support from the business community, including the state Business Council. For two years, Cuomo virtually had his own super PAC, the Committee to Save New York, running ads promoting his economic agenda (The group, composed of wealthy business and private-sector interests, folded up shop before new independent-expenditure disclosure laws came into effect).

With monied traditional allies of Republicans — real estate, hedge-fund types — on Team Cuomo, perhaps that is why Astorino has struggled to make a dent on the issue.

The Westchester County executive has slammed Cuomo on mandated spending and regulatory issues and has pledged to change laws businesses find onerous like the Scaffold Law.

But with Cuomo receiving high marks from the business community, Astorino can come close to sounding like a populist when criticizing Cuomo on the economy.

“There’s a difference between Cuomo’s world and the world of New York that we live in,” Astorino said while visiting a hardware store in Saratoga County on Sunday.

He was campaigning with two Republican candidates for Congress and state Assembly, Elise Stefanik and Steve Stallmer.

As he spoke about the state’s tax climate, Stefanik occasionally chimed in with a “that’s right!” while Stallmer at one point interrupted Astorino to note the out-migration from the state.

Astorino in particular points to Cuomo not making a decision on whether to allow high-volume hydrofracking in the state’s Southern Tier, which continues to lag the rest of the state in job growth.

For Astorino, the argument is the individual New Yorker isn’t seeing the fruits of the economic turnaround.

“The average person is getting pummeled with taxes, cannot afford to live in this state anymore,” Astorino said. “Businesses are closing, people are moving, that’s the reality of New York right now — other than the privileged few, the well-connected that write $50,000 checks to this governor and get a little break in their taxes from him.”

In other words, Astorino’s saying, Cuomo is out of touch on the individual economy, no matter the stats he can throw out there.

Astorino also took a swipe at Cuomo for traveling to the Caribbean to appear with officials in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.

Astorino began his own campaign in the Bronx, which as a county has the highest unemployment in the state.

“While he’s in the presidential palace in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, I was in the south Bronx,” he said.

Moss Says Astorino Administration Would ‘Defund’ SAFE Act

Republican candidate for lieutenant governor Chris Moss laid out the GOP ticket’s public safety platform on Friday that includes repealing the SAFE Act, though he acknowledged that it’s more likely to be “defunded” first.

Meanwhile, Republicans support re-opening some of the shock prison camps that were closed in recent years as well as potentially revisiting the Rockefeller-era drug laws.

Any effort to repeal the 2013 gun control law passed in the wake of the Connecticut elementary school shooting would require agreement from the state Legislature and, even if Republican Rob Astorino defeats Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo next month, the Assembly would likely still be led by Democrats.

“Obviously, it’s going to be tough,” Moss, the Chemung County sheriff, told reporters in Albany today. “It would probably be defunding the act first to figure out how we’re going to stop it from the ground up. If you take the money out of the SAFE Act, obviously it’s going to be harder to enforce.”

Moss said an Astorino administration would seek to pass gun legislation that would address mental illness and illegal firearms winding up in the hands of criminals.

A number of provisions in the SAFE Act address mental illness issues, as well as illegal guns. Moss added that he’s not opposed to all components of the measure, saying that a provision that increases penalties on those who shoot at first responders would be kept.

“Our legislation needs to be against the bad guys, and not against the good guys,” Moss said while addding, “We’re not opposed to gun legislation, but let’s gear it where it needs to be — not at taxpayers, law abiding citizens, property owners. Let’s actually have the legislation geared toward criminals, to keep guns out of their hands.”

Moss said that re-opening shock incarceration camp closed by the Cuomo administration — including Camp Monterey in Schuyler County — would provide local governments with minimum-risk inmates to perform small-bore tasks around the community as well as training skills.

Asked if the state should revisit the mandatory sentencing laws laid down by Gov. Nelson Rockefeller that were scaled back in 2009, Moss said “definitely.”

“We’re not being tough enough on individuals who not only sell but sometimes use drugs,” Moss said. “I mean, how many chances do you get before you actually do some time? It looks like people are getting several chances. I think that’s part of the reason why you see DOCCs numbers down.”

Advocates opposed to strict sentencing guidelines have long criticized the drug laws for overcrowding prisons, making for a heavy expense on state government in the process, while doing little to curtail crime.