Andrew Cuomo

Cuomo: Vote Women’s Equality, Get Them To 50K Votes

As new public fissures open up between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the labor-backed Working Families Party, his re-election campaign is urging supporters to vote for him on the Women’s Equality Party ballot line.

In an email sent this morning, Cuomo writes that a vote for him and his running mate, former Rep. Kathy Hochul, sends a message about backing the Women’s Equality Agenda.

“We have demanded equal rights at the top of our lungs,” Cuomo wrote in the email. “But the Conservative party and other ultra-right-wing forces are out there shouting at the top of theirs to drown us out. Together, we need to speak loudly enough to cut through the clamor. That’s why we need the Women’s Equality Party.”

Cuomo adds that his goal is to get 50,000 votes for the Women’s Equality Party — a ballot line he formed this year — in order for the party to have automatic ballot status in the next election cycle.

More from the email:

“Yes, I’m a man. I’m a man who has seen Albany disregard women, and I’m sick of it. I have made it my mission, as a father, as a governor, and as a human being, to do everything I can to make sure the women I love, and every woman or girl in New York, is every bit as equal under the law as any boy or man anywhere.

That’s why Kathy Hochul and I are putting our names on the ballot on the Women’s Equality Party line. It’s time for a party whose singular goal is equality for women, a party that knows women work as hard as men do and is committed to getting them equal pay. A party where protecting a woman’s right to choose is a priority, not an afterthought. A party that believes women deserve to stand at the front of the line.

The appeal — which includes a very WFP-like ask for signing a petition that also happens to collect email addresses — comes as the Working Families Party is pushing hard for votes this election cycle.

The party’s leadership has been openly skeptical of the Women’s Equality Party and has released two videos over the last several days calling on liberals to vote for the governor on their ballot line.

The concern for the WFP is that it could lose its ballot position (currently Row E), between the competition from the Women’s Equality Party and a surging Green Party candidate, Howie Hawkins.

On Wednesday, the WFP’s director, Bill Lipton, knocked Cuomo in a statement after the governor pledged to break up the public school “monopoly.”

Cuomo had to fight for the Working Families Party’s endorsement in May, which considered running Zephyr Teachout on their ballot in his place.

In doing so, Cuomo pledged to help Democrats take full control of the state Senate and enact a host of liberal measures, including a faster increase of the state’s minimum wage to $10.10.

In a policy book released this month, Cuomo said he backed a minimum wage hike, but left it unspecified.

The WFP Vs. Cuomo

The Working Families Party’s attitude toward Gov. Andrew Cuomo has publicly taken a sour turn in the last week.

Now, the labor-aligned party finds itself in the unusual position of trying to get voters to in essence rebuke Cuomo by supporting him on their ballot line.

The WFP on Wednesday released a statement criticizing Cuomo for calling public education a “monopoly” in a meeting with The Daily News editorial board.

In a statement — which was first provided to Capital New York — WFP Director Bill Lipton suggested a vote for Cuomo on Row E would send a message to the governor.

“We endorsed the governor because of his commitments to raise the minimum wage, fight for public financing of elections, the full Women’s Equality Act, the DREAM Act, and decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana,” Lipton says. “But we’ll never hesitate to criticize him when he’s wrong, as he is on this issue. A vote on the WFP line for Governor is a vote to get those crucial progressive policies passed and to strengthen the WFP.”

Of course, the WFP needs Cuomo to do well on their ballot line. After all, the party is facing some competition this election cycle.

In April, Cuomo allies in a conference call with WFP leaders sought to make the case that the governor was on their side.

As the party considered the unprecedented step of backing a stand-alone candidate, Cuomo supporters — including Assemblyman Keith Wright and 1199 SEIU political director Kevin Finnegan — pointed to a host of liberal friendly accomplishments over the last four years.

It was in that conference call that the idea of Cuomo backing a Democratic takeover of the state Senate was raised.

At the same time, Finnegan warned WFP leaders that not endorsing the governor would lead to the party losing leverage with Cuomo in his second term.

Cuomo staved off a challenge from Zephyr Teachout at the WFP’s convention later that month.

Emboldened, Teachout nevertheless launched her primary bid on the Democratic line, creating a headache the governor did not want.

But after securing the party’s nod, Cuomo created a new ballot, the Women’s Equality Party. While feminists and liberals are scoffing at the need for a gender-based party, the focus on women’s issues is a boon for Cuomo this election season, who is crushing his GOP opponent among female voters.

With the rival ballot line comes the concern, however, that the WFP could sink in prominence on the statewide ballot.

Combined with liberal unrest for Cuomo that’s been simmering over the last four years and surging Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins (who has a former WFP staffer running his campaign) the WFP has made a concerted effort to remind liberals to back their ballot, if not the governor.

Indeed, it would be fascinating to see what would have happened had Teachout received the WFP nod.

The party last week released a video featuring prominent women in politics to promote the WFP. Today, the party released another video highlighting its support from Latinos.

Cuomo himself has been less than effusive about voting for the WFP, saying the women-centric ballot line is just one of several options for voters this election season.

The governor and left-leaning advocates have rarely seen eye-to-eye on economic issues. Cuomo believes most voters are with him on his spending caps, an education policy that emphasizes results not more cash and a liberal social agenda.

Cuomo this week blasted the statewide teachers union’s mail campaign aimed at helping Senate Democrats.

He hasn’t ruled out supporting a Republican lawmaker in Buffalo who lost his GOP primary and is running in a district the mainline conference wants to flip (Cuomo is even appearing in an independent expenditure campaign’s mail and TV ad being run on Grisanti’s behalf).

What did the WFP get for their endorsement of Cuomo? Mainly, a general election focus on preserving their ballot position.

Cuomo Decries ‘Political Baloney’

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday in an interview on Fox Business decried what he considers “political baloney” over the criticism of shutting down the Moreland Commission and spending money on TV ads promoting Superstorm Sandy recovery.

Cuomo reframed the controversy of the demise of the Moreland Commission — shuttered in April following an agreement on ethics legislation in the state budget — as being generated in part by newspaper editorial boards upset over public financing of political campaigns.

“The controversy over shutting down the panel is some editorial boards didn’t like the law that I accepted,” Cuomo told host Maria Bartiromo. “They wanted something called public finance. I couldn’t get public finance.”

Cuomo and state lawmakers did agree to a comptroller-only version of public financing for this year, which incumbent Democrat Tom DiNapoli has criticized for coming in the middle of an election cycle. He is not participating in the program, but his Republican opponent, Bob Antonacci, is enrolled and is struggling to receive matching funds.

Cuomo also insisted that it was his plan all along to shutter the commission once ethics legislation was agreed to.

He then took a veiled swipe at U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara who is investigating the commission’s demise and work.

Cuomo pointed to his own experience as attorney general and as a lawyer in the Manhattan district attorney’s office.

“The prosecutors are a lot better at starting investigations,” Cuomo said when asked when the inquiry might end. “You often don’t hear about closed investigations. But whatever he thinks is right, is right.”

Summing up the headaches generated by the commission, Cuomo said, “It’s all a lot of political baloney as we say here in New York.”

Similar “baloney” is the criticism raised — mostly by Republicans — for spending funds promoting the rebuilding of the New York City area post-Sandy. Today is the two-year anniversary of the storm.

“Again, we’ll put that in the category of more political baloney, Maria,” Cuomo said. “It makes no sense.”


In One Day, Cuomo Reports $238K

Late money is pouring in to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s re-election campaign, 24-hour notices show.

In a one-day period, Cuomo’s re-election campaign collected $238,250 in contributions.

Cuomo received a $15,000 contribution from Featherstonhaugh, Wiley & Clyne, LLP. The law firm is headed by James Featherstonhaugh, the head of the New York State Gaming Association, who has two bids to build casino resorts in the Albany area and the Catskills.

The governor also received a $15,000 contribution from the Utility Workers of America, part of the AFL-CIO.

Cuomo’s campaign also received a $20,000 contribution from Kevin G. Gershowitz, the president of a Suffolk County recycling company.

During this same time period, Republican candidate Rob Astorino received a fraction of those donations, $23,600.

Cuomo last week reported $15.8 million in cash on hand, with Astorino having $1 million in the bank for the final push in the gubernatorial campaign.

Cuomo earlier this week reported $110,000 in contributions in a single day.

NYSUT Decries Cuomo’s Monopoly Comments

The state teachers union — which is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on behalf of Senate Democrats this cycle — is pushing back against comments Gov. Andrew Cuomo made to The Daily News editorial board that public education is a “monopoly.”

Cuomo in the meeting called for a revamped teacher evaluation law as well as encourage more competition from charter schools.

“I believe these kinds of changes are probably the single best thing that I can do as governor that’s going to matter long-term,” he said, “to break what is in essence one of the only remaining public monopolies — and that’s what this is, it’s a public monopoly.”

The comments were rebuked Tuesday afternoon by New York State United Teachers President Karen Magee.

“Public education is for the public good,” said NYSUT President Karen Magee in a statement. “It is not a monopoly. It is the centerpiece of our democracy and what makes our nation great. Reclaiming the promise of public education should be our singular focus. The governor’s comments are an unfortunate distraction from the serious conversation we must have in this state about addressing poverty, funding and real solutions that ensure that every child receives fair and equal to a high quality education.”

The battle between the governor and the state teachers union is nothing new, and as Jimmy Vielkind pointed our earlier, candidate Cuomo in 2010 made similarly critical remarks of teachers unions around the same point in the election season.

In Mailer, Cuomo Touts High Tech Jobs

Claiming success for the growth of the high-tech industry in the Capital Region has a lot of fathers, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo is claiming to be one of them.

In a mailer sent to my home in Saratoga County — home of GlobalFoundries — Cuomo takes a victory lap for the expansion of the tech industry (I’m a registered independent and the mailer was addressed to me).

The mailer says Cuomo “Help businesses create more high-tech jobs. Governor Cuomo has helped business create 480,000 new private-sector jobs since 2011, and New York state’s unemployment is at its lowest.”

There also happy quotes from Alain Kaloyeros, the senior vice president for the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, who credits Cuomo with the opening of Union Station in Albany as a “hub of innovation.”

On the mailer’s front flap, there are pictures of chip fabrication with the words “Innovation is how we’re turning it around.”

‘The Real Rob Astorino’ Robos in Buffalo

From the Morning Memo:

A Western New York CapTon fan reports GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino is robocalling residents in the region – an area on which Gov. Andrew Cuomo has lavished attention over the past four years and very much wants to win on Nov. 4.

According to a transcript helpfully provided by this reader, the call features “the real Rob Astorino,” as opposed to the one Cuomo (according to the Westchester County executive) is “spending millions to smear.”

Astorino goes on to decry Cuomo’s $44 million worth of negative TV ads, which he deems “ridiculous”, and also accuses the governor of believing New Yorkers are “dumb” enough to believe the “lies” he’s spreading about his GOP opponent.

The county executive then gives his own version of his record: That he has twice been elected with bipartisan support, cut taxes, and created jobs.

He makes a point of noting that he wants to improve education – without the Common Core – and urges listeners to check out his campaign website to learn more about that, as well as his economic development proposals and his support for term limits.

Robocalling, of course, is a heck of a lot cheaper than buying TV air time – even in Western New York, where it’s considerably more affordable than the NYC metro area to run ads.

Astorino has been out-gunned by Cuomo on the fundraising front since Day One of this race, and so he’s doing what he can to get his message out.

Cuomo: No Shift In Quarantine Policy

Gov. Andrew Cuomo insisted on Monday he did not change the 21-day quarantine policy over the last several days, but instead said Sunday’s news conference was meant to provide more details on stopping the spread of the virus.

“The policy that we outlined on Friday was the policy that we detailed on Sunday,” Cuomo said.

Cuomo, along with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Friday, announced a 21-day quarantine of health-care workers and travelers returning from countries in west Africa that have a large number of Ebola cases, regardless of whether they show symptoms.

The quarantine policy was laid out after Dr. Craig Spencer was found to have Ebola after working for Doctors Without Borders in the region.

Over the weekend, critics of the policy said the move would limit the number of people going to west African countries to help treat patients there.

At the same time, a nurse returning from Africa was detained and quarantined despite not showing any symptoms, which is when Ebola becomes contagious.

On Sunday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Cuomo said the quarantine would allow returning health care workers and others to stay in their homes during the 21-day period. The state would pay for any lost compensation during this time, Cuomo said.

Cuomo said the stipulation that health care workers can stay at home was simply an added detail, not a change in the policy.

“We outlined it on Friday, we detailed last night which was just two days later because people want the details, people wanted the information,” Cuomo said. “The policy I detailed is the same policy that we outlined on Friday. It is a policy that applies to the Port Authority, New York and New Jersey. It is the same policy.”

He also insisted the White House didn’t seek to apply any pressure on him to change the quarantine policy and added that his move is more strict than the guidelines in place by the Centers for Disease Control.

Cuomo repeatedly praise health-care workers in west Africa today, which comes after he wrongly suggested Spencer violated a quarantine (Cuomo on Saturday said he did not meant to critical of Spencer).

“I think we should have the highest respect for health care workers who volunteered to go to west Africa to do this. I mean, these are courageous, inspirational people,” Cuomo said, adding, “I have tremendous, tremendous respect for them and I’m going to encourage more people to do it.”

Nevertheless, he urged returning health care workers to remain at home during the quarantine, a period during which they will receive random checks from health officials to take their temperature. Cuomo joked those quarantined can read his memoir, “All Things Possible.”

“I’m asking those people who were in contact with infected people — stay at home for 21 days. We will pay,” Cuomo said. “Enjoy your family, enjoy your friends, read a book, read my book, you don’t have to read my book, but stay at home for 21 days.”

Cuomo Ad: The Problem Is Local Governments

The latest campaign ad from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s re-election campaign blasts the proliferation of local governments, calling the proliferation of tax districts at the municipal level the main driver of property taxes.

In the ad, Cuomo is seen wearing a robin’s egg blue v-neck sweater, smiling over a castle his grandfather built, which the commercial uses as a metaphor for home ownership.

“His home was his castle, but it’s getting harder and harder to live in New York because our taxes are just too high,” Cuomo says. “We have lowered the state income taxes dramatically, but local property taxes are the problem—the highest in the nation. It’s from the waste and duplication of our over 10,000 local governments. It’s time we fix that because everyone should be able to afford their own castle.”

Cuomo is seen with his daughters and girlfriend, Sandra Lee. The two share a home in Westchester County, where property taxes are the highest in the nation. Cuomo and Lee split expenses at the property equally, including property taxes.

Cuomo successfully pushed through a cap on property tax increases for local governments and school districts in 2011, a move that remains one of his signature economic achievements.

The tax code changes Cuomo touts in the ad actually resulted in an added $1.9 billion in revenue the state was not initially counting on due to the expiration of high rates on the wealthy at the end of 2011.

And the claim the governor makes in the ad doesn’t necessarily hold up: Many of the 10,000 local governments Cuomo has blasted during his first term are local taxing districts that are set up for specialized purposes such as helping pay for sewer, water or lighting needs in an area.

Nevertheless, Cuomo has made it a mission to scale back the number of overlapping local governments.

Cuomo at the state Business Council’s annual meeting in September proposed using $500 million of the state’s surplus to boost efforts to consolidate and share government services on the local level.

Cuomo as attorney general sought government consolidations and shared local services, but since that time few local governments have made major efforts when it comes to consolidating.

Updated: Bill O’Reilly, a spokesman for Republican gubernatorial hopeful Rob Astorino, weighs in, pointing to the flap over permits for renovations at the house.

“Andrew Cuomo is directly responsible for property tax increases across the state. He blatantly broke his promise to address unfunded mandates, and now has the temerity to fault struggling local school districts for having to raise taxes. For Mr. Cuomo’s neighbors the linkage is even more clear: Their taxes have gone up because Andrew Cuomo cheated on his taxes to the tune of at least $30,000 over five years. He still hasn’t paid them back what he owes.”

Cuomo Has $15.7M, Spends $8.6M In Three Weeks

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s re-election campaign has more than $15.7 million in cash on hand for the final 11 days of the general election, a filing with the state Board of Elections shows.

Cuomo’s overall haul is practically 16 times the amount that Astorino, the Westchester County executive, has in the bank. He reported slightly more than $1 million in cash on hand earlier today.

Nevertheless, Cuomo has been putting his fundraising advantage to use, spending $8.6 million over the last three weeks, while raising $717,936.

The filing shows that he has transferred $4.4 million to the state Democratic committee, which has largely been used as a surrogate to launch attack ads against Astorino.

Cuomo’s campaign alone has spent $2.3 million on advertising in the last week three weeks, the filing shows. Astorino has spent just over $500,000 during the same time period.

The filing also reveals that the publisher of Cuomo’s book, HarperCollins, paid $2,000 for the one-time use of the campaign’s email list in order to promote the governor’s memoir, “All Thing Possible” that was released last week.

Cuomo returned $10,000 in contributions from Alan Brand, a Long Island man who, along with his son, was indicted on charges of embezzling Medicaid funds. Cuomo spokesman Peter Kauffmann said the contributions were turned over to the state attorney general’s office rather than return the money to Brand.

Cuomo reported $95,479 in in-kind contributions for unspecified “travel” expenditures.

The governor last week traveled to the Caribbean to make stops in the Dominican Republican and Puerto Rico.