Bill de Blasio

Cuomo, Generally Speaking, Will Battle Local Incompetence

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s feud with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio shows little signs of slowing down anytime soon.

At a news conference on Tuesday for an update on the state’s response to the Zika virus, Cuomo stood by a statement released by a spokesman last week that suggested de Blasio was an incompetent manager of the city.

“I think the statement is perfectly clear,” Cuomo said. “I represent the people of the city of New York, I represent the people of the city of Buffalo. I represent the entire state.”

It’s his job, Cuomo insisted, to step in when a local government’s mayor is failing to do their job “for one reason or another.”

“If a mayor, any mayor, is not doing his job, for one reason or another, or can’t do their job, for one reason or another, or is playing politics with an issue, for one reason or another, I’m not going to let the people suffer and pay the price,” he said.

Cuomo and de Blasio have been locked an in an increasingly tense public battle over the last year after the mayor slammed the governor in an interview, accusing him of siding with Senate Republicans at the detriment to the city’s well being and his agenda in Albany.

Cuomo, in turn, has seemingly sought to undermine de Blasio ever more so, with the mayor’s team stymied on a variety of issues at the Capitol, including mayoral control of New York City schools.

Last week at the Democratic National Convention, de Blasio left a breakfast held for the New York delegation before he was due to speak after Cuomo spoke for nearly a half hour. Cuomo’s office denied it was an intentional snub of the mayor, who had another event scheduled later in the day.

A Quinnipiac University poll released on Monday found most voters do not believe the feud is a personal one between the two men, despite the apparent animosity.

At the same time, the poll found Cuomo had a higher job approval rating than de Blasio and a plurality of voters sided with the governor over the mayor.

In a tweet, de Blasio’s 2011 campaign adviser Bill Hyers knocked Cuomo’s statement at the news conference, saying the governor should “concentrate” on his own issues, such as the Hoosick Falls water contamination.

Q-Poll: Cuomo-de Blasio Feud Hurts City, Voters Say

A majority of voters in New York City believe the ongoing feud between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio has hurt the city, a Quinnipiac University poll released on Monday found.

The poll found 60 percent of voters in New York City believe the increasingly bitter rift between the two top Democrats has had a detrimental impact on the city.

But a plurality of voters — 42 percent — side with the governor over the mayor. Only 33 percent back de Blasio in the fight with Cuomo, the poll found.

Overall, it was a good news-bad news poll for de Blasio, who is up for re-election next year after a bumpy first term in office.

A majority of voters by a margin of 51 percent to 42 percent disapprove of his job as mayor, while half of voters, 50 percent to 42 percent, do not believe he deserves to be re-elected.

But the poll also found de Blasio tops three potential primary challengers — Comptroller Scott Stringer and former New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn — in either head-to-head or three-way primary contests.

It has been a year of trouble for de Blasio aside from his feud with Cuomo. His administration is facing a variety of investigations, including one inquiry focusing on his efforts to aid Senate Democrats in 2014 through funneling contributions through county committees and another over the sale of the Rivington House.

Most voters, 49 percent to 40 percent, believe de Blasio is honest and trustworthy, but a majority — 52 percent — believe he does not have strong leadership qualities.

Still, it has been his ongoing battle with Cuomo, which has become increasingly pitched in recent months, that has dominated the headlines, most recently the perceived snub at a breakfast gathering of the New York delegation at the Democratic National Convention last week in Philadelphia.

However, 46 percent of voters in New York City, however, believe the fight stems from “honest disagreements” while 40 percent believe this is a personal feud.

Either way, the feud has not taken its toll on Cuomo in New York City, a crucial constituency for his re-election bid in 2018.

The poll found, by a margin of 60 percent to 34 percent, voters approve of the way he is handling his job as governor.

The poll of 1,310 registered New York City voters was conducted from July 21 through July 28. It has a margin of error of 2.7 percentage points.

080116 NYC MAYOR+ BP by Nick Reisman on Scribd

Mayoral Control ‘In Flux’

Extending mayoral control of New York City schools is “in flux” two days before the scheduled end of the legislative session, Senate Education Committee Chairman Carl Marcellino said earlier on Tuesday.

State lawmakers appeared to make little public headway on how long to extend the program, which Assembly Democrats previously approved for a three-year extension, a bill that is backed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Senate Republicans had previously supported another 12-month extension of mayoral control, but on Monday night submitted changes that would provide a three-year deadline, along with the education tax credit, which is geared toward private schools, as well as a range of other provisions.

Assembly Democrats deemed the proposals dead on arrival.

“The Senate has the right to put in whatever bills they want to,” Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said. “I’ll be clear: Those proposals are a non-starter for us, so to me it was a waste of time to put those proposals in.”

Complicating matters has been the personal antipathy Senate Republicans hold for new York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. The conference last month submitted legislation that would require Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office to oversee the program. Cuomo and de Blasio have both feuded as well.

De Blasio in May traveled to Albany to defend his stewardship of mayoral control, but Majority Leader John Flanagan criticized his grasp of the issues.

Rank-and-file Republicans critical of de Blasio, too, signaled they were opposed to extending it under de Blasio.

“I could care less if it’s one year or three years,” said Sen. Terrence Murphy. “I still don’t trust Mayor Bill de Blasio.”

De Blasio: Mayoral Control In Senate’s Lap

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday pushed back against Senate Republicans for criticizing his decision not to appear at a hearing on the future of mayoral control of city schools.

In an interview with Brian Lehrer on WNYC, de Blasio said the issue was now essentially up to the GOP-led Senate after the Democratic-controlled Assembly approved a three-year extension of the program this week.

The mayor also noted he sat for hours of questions at a public hearing on mayoral control in Albany that was a largely cordial event.

“I think the fact that I went up there to Albany to spend four hours with them shows plenty of respect,” de Blasio said, “and now it is time for the Senate to make a decision.”

Senate Republicans are holding a second hearing today on mayoral control in New York City after Majority Leader John Flanagan was deeply critical of the appearance de Blasio put in at the Albany hearing earlier this month.

Republicans in the Senate have been previously at odds with de Blasio, but the dispute has taken on a more pronounced posture in recent weeks as the mayor’s fundraising activities on behalf of Senate Democrats in 2014 have come under scrutiny by federal investigators.

In the interview, de Blasio pointed out his predecessors — Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg — received considerably less heat over the program’s renewal.

“I hope that the State Senate will listen to the voices of Republicans and Democrats, listen to my two predessesors, Michael Bloomberg and Rudy Guiliani who agree as I do that we need mayoral control of education, listen to over 100 prominent business leaders who yesterday signed onto a letter calling for renewal of mayoral control,” he said.

“I hope the State Senate Republicans are listening to all those facts and they’ll make the right decision here in the name of the kids of our City. And that’s really what it should be about.”

Flanagan “No Closer To Signing Off” on Mayoral Control Extension

Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan says he’s not convinced lawmakers should extend mayoral control of New York City schools for Mayor Bill de Blasio.

In a statement released Thursday afternoon, Flanagan said he had reviewed Wednesday’s Senate hearing on the issue and wasn’t impressed with the mayor’s testimony.

“Too often, the Mayor showed a disturbing lack of personal knowledge about the City schools,” Flanagan said in a statement. “In addition, he has left too many unanswered questions and failed to provide specifics on many of the issues raised by my colleagues on both sides of the aisle.  Until that occurs, I will not entrust this Mayor with the awesome responsibility of operating the New York City school system.”

Lawmakers voted in 2015 to extend mayoral control for one year, with an expiration date at the end of June. Senate Deputy Majority Leader John DeFrancisco suggested on Capital Tonight last night that Republicans would approve an extension, though the length of which is unclear.

De Blasio had previously requested a permanent extension to mayoral control, then offered a three-year extension to lawmakers as a compromise. Neither idea made it to the floor.

The mayor is sitting in hot water with Senate Republicans for the time being after an elections probe into his 2014 effort to help Democrats win back the chamber. De Blasio had a tense exchange with at least one Senate Republican during yesterday’s hearing.

The Senate will hold another public hearing on mayoral control on May 19 in New York City. In his statement, Flanagan encouraged the mayor to return for a second round.

De Blasio Continues Defense Of Fundraising Activities

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio in an interview on WNYC this morning reiterated his defense of his fundraising activities, which have fallen under the scrutiny of state and federal investigators.

At the same time, de Blasio suggested there was a political motivation behind the recommendation by the prosecution referral made by the chief enforcement counsel at the state Board of Elections. Risa Sugarman, an appointee of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, concluded in a memorandum de Blasio’s political team violated campaign finance laws when aiding Senate Democrats’ efforts in taking over the chamber in 2014.

“Everything was done very carefully, meticulously, with legal guidance all along the way, and consistent with what so many other people have done,” de Blasio said. “So that’s why I’m saying it’s very interesting that now it becomes a subject of these questions.”

De Blasio has been at odds with both Cuomo as well as Senate Republicans since taking office in 2011.

Aides to the mayor, in aiding Democratic candidates, directed large-dollar contributions to county Democratic committees in upstate races, which then turned around and transferred the money to individual candidates.

The practice is a commonplace one, but de Blasio’s push was done a large-scale project that hadn’t been seen before.

“I think we have to figure out some of the motivations behind it, because if we specifically followed every step along the way — legal guidance — and did what other mayors and other leaders have done for years and years under the laws of this state, following the letter and spirit of the law,” de Blasio said. “Well, that is how we are supposed to comport ourselves.”

Subpoenas have been issued to the mayor’s top political advisor, Emma Wolfe, as well as his campaign fundraiser, Ross Offinger, as well as outside political consultants with ties to de Blasio.

De Blasio Says He’s Cooperating With Federal Investigation

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio insisted Thursday his administration was cooperating with an ongoing federal and state investigation into his fundraising activities.

His comments to reporters in New York City come a day after top advisors to the mayor, including City Hall itself, were issued subpoenas as part of the ongoing inquiry.

“We hold ourselves to the highest standard of integrity. Everything we have done from the beginning is legal and appropriate,” de Blsaio said. “There’s an investigation going on. We are going to fully cooperate with that investigation.”

The investigation stems in part from de Blasio’s efforts in 2014 to help Democrats gain control of the state Senate.

Scrutiny is being placed on the common fundraising tactic of county committees receiving large contributions and then passing the money along to Democratic Senate candidates in an apparent effort to avoid fundraising limits. A committee backed by de Blasio’s political supporters, the Campaign For One New York, is also being eyed by investigators.

“We look forward to the speedy conclusion of it,” the mayor saod. “But we will fully cooperate. But since there is an investigation, I can’t go into any detail. That’s an ongoing process.”

The mayor himself has not been issued a subpoena.

However, a consulting firm with close ties to the mayor, Berlin Rosen, was issued a subpoena, including top political advisor Emma Wolfe.

NYPIRG: Reinstate Purged Voters

The New York Public Interest Research Group is calling for the reinstatement of more than 126,000 voters who were purged from voter rolls ahead of New York’s presidential primaries last Tuesday.

“Too many questions remain about this purge,” NYPIRG said. “How could one person order the purging of so many in violation of State Law. Who else knew? What protocols were either not in place or not followed to prevent this scandal?”

In a statement, the good-government group said the city and state investigations should weigh whether to bring criminal charges in the incident.

“The Board of Elections must release a step-by-step uniform statement detailing exactly how each of their five borough offices conducts voter purges before any further action is taken,” the group said. “A similar statement should be provided concerning voter registration protocols and procedures for placing voters on the ‘inactive list.’”

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman last week announced he was launching an investigation into the removal of the voters from the rolls, which was city Board of Elections officials now say was done through a clerical error. The chief clerk at the board’s offices in Brooklyn has since been removed.

City Comptroller Scott Stringer, too, is auditing the much-maligned city Board of Elections over the matter.

Meanwhile, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Monday his administration was making $20 million available to the city Board of Elections in order to modernize its training and notification systems.

“The Board of Elections is an outdated organization in dire need of modernization – and we need to make these changes now,” de Blasio said in a statement. “We cannot allow a single voter to be disenfranchised because of the Board of Elections’ outdated operations. These common-sense reforms will bring much-needed transparency, modernize practices, and help ensure we do not experience an election day like last week’s again.”

De Blasio: Senate Must ‘Uphold Its Responsibility’

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called President Obama’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court a “highly qualified” selection and called on the U.S. Senate to “uphold its own responsibility” and consider the nomination.

“President Obama fulfilled his responsibility and nominated a highly qualified federal judge, Merrick Garland, to the Supreme Court,” de Blasio said. “Now, the Senate must uphold its own responsibility – a responsibility that should and must be above politics. Too much hangs in the balance: the future of immigrant families; a woman’s right to choose; affordable health care; labor protections; our environment; and so much more. It’s now time for the Senate to do its job: consider and vote on the President’s nominee without obstruction or delay.”

Obama on Wednesday announced he is nominating U.S. Judge Merrick Garland for the vacancy on the court created by the death of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia last month.

Republicans in the U.S. Senate have said the nomination should be left up to the next president and do not plan to hold nomination hearings.

Senate GOP Rejects Mayoral Control Extension

Senate Republicans rejected a proposed three-year extension of mayoral control of New York City schools in a one-house budget resolution and called for hearings on the issue.

The GOP conference — which has been at odds with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, a liberal Democrat who in 2014 sought to flip the chamber to Democratic control — rejected the extension “without prejudice” according, to the resolution’s language.

“Prior to granting any significant extension of this authority, the Senate believes public hearings should be held to assess the current structure and identify any possible areas of improvement including but not limited to creating heightened parental involvement in Community Education Councils and the Panel for Education Policy,” the resolution states.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who had been a financial backer of the Senate Republicans’ political efforts, received multiple mayoral control extensions during his time in office.

But at the same time, it’s noted in the Senate resolution during the last “significant extension” in mayoral control in 2009, the Legislature held five hearings on the issue.

De Blasio once again this session will have to seek a retention of mayoral control of city schools after Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature approved a 12-month extension of the policy.