The Holliday Weekend That Has Been (So Far)

Celebrity TV chef Sandra Lee is improving after undergoing a double mastectomy last week, but “still has a ways to go,” her team said today.

Lee said the surgery has thrown her for a loop, and she has lost 15 pounds in just five days.

In the latest plot twist in the continuing drama about proposed mayoral control of the Buffalo Public Schools, Carl Paladino said he will file a legal challenge if the bill passes in the state Legislature.

Denise Jewell Gee, a self-professed “email hoarder,” says Cuomo’s 90-day purge policy was “just plain nonsensical – not to mention bad for open government.”

Shaheed “Roger” Khan and Victor Bourne are just a few in a rogues gallery of possible witnesses whose stories or testimony will figure into the upcoming trial of Brooklyn state Sen. John Sampson.

State funding for a pet project of Harlem Rep. Charlie Rangel mysteriously was cut by 87 percent last year. The Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone received just $156,455 from the state, down from $1,289,657 a year earlier, according to tax filings.

US Sen. Charles Schumer is proposing a measure to fight what he calls the growing trend of child ID theft.

Julian Castro, the up-and-coming Obama cabinet secretary who is frequently mentioned as a likely running mate for Hillary Clinton, called Republican efforts to pin blame on his prospective future boss for the 2012 Benghazi attacks a “witch hunt.”

Clinton will hold a string of fund-raisers on June 1 – including one hosted by the ex-wife of Eliot Spitzer, the former governor of New York who resigned amid scandal in 2008.

Martin O’Malley, the former governor of Maryland, is expected to announce his candidacy for president on May 30 in Baltimore. Eliot Spitzer has been in a long-term, committed relationship with O’Malley’s spokeswoman, Lis Smith, for close to two years, but he’s not expected to donate to any presidential candidate.

Living in New York has been lucrative for Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton — and for their foundation. From their Westchester County home in Chappaqua, the Clintons have easy access to dinners and forums in Manhattan, where they’ve reported collecting fees exceeding $200,000 almost every time they give a speech.

Clinton is going to Columbia, S.C. on Wednesday for her first trip back to the Palmetto State since her 2008 presidential campaign.

The New York Times: “Gov. Andrew Cuomo can talk passionately about improving New York’s “failing public schools,” but when he made that point at churches and a yeshiva last Sunday it was, at best, disingenuous.”

Former Erie County Democratic Chairman-turned-lobbyist Steve Pigeon has left his “of counsel” post at the Buffalo office of Rochester-based Underberg and Kessler after a 13-year stint. He and longtime associate Gary Parenti now plan to expand their PAPI Consulting lobbying firm into a full-time effort.

Nassau County has reduced spending on contracts for minority- and women-owned businesses over the past three years, despite increased spending overall on contracts for public projects, according to a report by the legislative budget office.

State Senate Democrats increasingly are distancing themselves from and criticizing the man who leads their party: Cuomo.

An ex-lawyer disbarred for stealing $64,000 from his clients did not disclose his shady history when hired as a teacher a decade ago — and a NYC Department of Education background check failed to find it.

In a scathing open letter to de Blasio, charter school maven Eva Moskowitz said he hasn’t proved he’s the boss of city schools — and suggested he shouldn’t be granted continued mayoral control.

This was a record year for the Buffalo Marathon.


Happy Memorial Day weekend! Please take a moment to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice while protecting our country. For those of you who are in the CapTon viewing area, there will be no show Monday night. There will be light blogging over the long weekend, as needed. Hope you get a chance to get outside and enjoy yourself…here are some headlines to peruse in the meantime:

A civil complaint that accused the former head of the SUNY Research Foundation of providing a no-show job to the daughter of former Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno was quietly settled today – more than two years after the case was filed.

Peter Vallone Jr., who served as Astoria’s city councilman for 12 years, was nominated for a civil court judgeship this morning. Term-limited out of office in 2013, Vallone had taken a position with the Cuomo administration.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s recent comments about the value of cancer screening due to his girlfriend’s battle with breast cancer contrast with what health advocates say are his repeated efforts to cut funding for a major cancer screening program in New York.

The administration accused the IBTimes of “exploiting current circumstances for a cheap hit.”

Another hospital update from Sandra Lee; she says waking up is “the toughest part of the day.”

Pharmaceutical company Actavis will be required to keep manufacturing its Alzheimer’s drug Namenda, after the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an injunction sought by AG Eric Schneiderman against the company’s plans to stop producing the drug.

The Democrat & Chronicle’s Len LaCara gives a thumbs down to the Cuomo administration’s new email retention policy.

The idea of Hillary Clinton vs. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio in 2016 makes some Democrats nervous.

The Professional Staff Congress, the union that represents more than 25,000 faculty and staff at the City University of New York, made its own proposal for annual salary increases at recent contract talks.

The long-planned, $4.45 billion Second Avenue subway project is 82 percent complete and on track for its first phase to open by December 2016.

At a press conference yesterday, Assemblyman Ron Kim and Rep. Grace Meng didn’t exactly oppose Cuomo’s recent plan to take emergency measures to improve conditions in the nail salon business. But they didn’t offer a ringing endorsement either.

Depending on the timing of his resignation to take a job with the Cuomo administration, there could be a primary battle for Democrat Assemblyman Sam Roberts’ seat.

Though they criticized his handling of the Eric Garner case and hope to defeat him in 2016, Democratic members of New York’s congressional delegation are willing to give GOP Rep. Dan Donovan a shot, thinking he may emerge as a helpful ally in the Republican-controlled House.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio never made good on a 2013 campaign pledge to return contributions from a scandal-scarred donor, former Met Council head Willie Rapfogel. “We regret the error,” a spokesman for the mayor said.

My Dad writes about fixing NYC’s “rotten boroughs” – “places with fewer actual voters that send representatives to the state Assembly, leading to unfair representation.”

The race for the top seat in the Oswego County District Attorney’s Office has officially started.

Sherman Jewett, a former staffer for the Assembly Democrats, will become the chief spokesman for the State University of New York. He will leave the private direct mail firm, Blue & Read, that he co-founded in 2010.

New York ranks as having the 39th highest beer tax in the nation, far below the highest-taxed beer state of Tennessee.

This is definitely the best video press release I’ve seen in a long time.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule.

At 8 a.m., more than than 100 community, law enforcement and religious officials participate in a “Cops, Community, Clergy” multi-faith prayer breakfast organized as part of efforts to improve community-police relations; Union Theological Seminary, 3041 Broadway, Manhattan.

At 9:30 a.m., Rep. Chris Gibson will make remarks at meet with cadets at the Marist College Army ROTC commissioning ceremony, Cornell Boathouse, Marist College, Poughkeepsie.

At 10 a.m., the Cuomo administration’s “summit” on transparency and email retention policy will take place, 633 Third Ave., 38th Floor, Manhattan.

Also at 10 a.m., Rep. Paul Tonko attends the Albany Post Office Memorial Day ceremony, 30 Karner Rd., Colonie.

At 10:30 a.m., NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray will be participating in a roundtable discussion with First Ladies from the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Marines, U.S. Army, and U.S. Air Force, Pier 92, 55th St. and Westside Highway, Manhattan.

At 11 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul joins local officials for a ribbon cutting or the first summer season at The Canals at Canalside on the City of Buffalo’s waterfront, Immigrant Steps, Canalside, Buffalo.

Also at 11 a.m., Buffalo faith leaders and advocates hold a press conference to urge the passage of Paid Family Leave legislation, Pilgrim-St. Luke’s and El Nuevo Camino United Church of Christ, 335 Richmond Ave., Buffalo.

Also at 11 a.m., Sen. Jose Peralta, Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas, and street safety advocates unveil a bill that would regulate motor-driven cycles for commercial purposes only, Dunningham Triangle, Elmhurst, Queens.

Also at 11 a.m., Tonko attends the Edison-Steinmetz Statuary project unveiling, intersection of Erie Blvd., and South Ferry St., Schenectady.

At noon, Sen. Tom Croci and Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky make an announcement on behalf of Sandy victims regarding the New York Rising Program and the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery, 230 Forest Rd. West, Mastic Beach Village, Hauppauge.

At 1:30 p.m., Sen. David Carlucci, Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski, Clarkstown Supervisor Alex Gromack, and Clarkstown residents are hosting a press conference to call for stricter laws against sex offenders, Nella Di Nuovo Daycare, 66 Lenox Ave., Congers.

At 2 p.m., Assemblyman Ron Kim announces the annual Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Celebration in Albany, the garden at Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Blvd., Flushing.

Also at 2 p.m.,Tonko attends a tour of Coeymans Industrial Park and port, 2170 Rt. 144, Coeymans.

At 2:30 p.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio hosts a press conference, Boardwalk and Beach 94th Street, Rockaway Beach, Far Rockaway.


For anyone accustomed to seeing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo as a strictly hard-nosed political animal, this week offered a startling alternative: affectionate boyfriend. Sandra Lee’s team has been posting intimate photos of the governor and his girlfriend at the hospital where she’s recovering from breast cancer surgery.

Cuomo has reportedly been sleeping at the hospital with Lee.

After 18 months of pressure from environmental and community groups, state officials have reversed an earlier position, and will now require a full environmental review of a crude-heating facility that would allow tar sands oil to be shipped down the Hudson River.

A last-minute time change will prevent the lone legislative representative who was planning to attend Cuomo’s NYC transparency summit today – GOP Assemblyman Andy Goodell of Chautauqua County – from being there in person. Accommodations will be made for him to participate by phone.

As of 6 p.m. tonight, construction projects on New York state highways and bridges are being suspended for the Memorial Day holiday weekend to help motorists get where they are going without added delays. Work will resume at 6 a.m. Tuesday.

Heavily redacted portions of the 1975 state investigative report on the Attica riot, which has been locked up in a Buffalo state office building for decades, have been made public.

The release involved just 46 pages of new material out of 348 pages. The redactions — rendered in the released files as white blanks — make the material hard to follow at times: A section titled “The Factual Basis for the Conclusions” is thereafter blank for 47 pages.

Although state legislation authorizing mayoral control of the Buffalo Public Schools still lacks a Republican sponsor in the GOP-dominated Senate, that hasn’t stopped city power brokers from quietly plotting what a takeover of the troubled district would look like.

The State Education Department rejected 15 charter school applications for reasons of quality control and not politics, Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch insisted.

…but even some close allies of the teachers unions, which are generally foes of charter schools, questioned SED’s move.

The family of Akai Gurley, the unarmed man shot and killed in a Brooklyn housing-project stairwell by a police officer last year, has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against New York City.

After taking heat for traveling the country while making only two public appearances in Staten Island this year, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio headed there yesterday, filled a pothole, and got an earful from a local resident angry about speed cameras and property taxes. More here.

De Blasio hired a new press secretary – Karen Hinton, a former aide to Cuomo who is married to another ex-Cuomo aide, Howard Glaser – and one of her first acts was to delete her personal Twitter account.

More >


The president of the Boy Scouts of America called for an end to the group’s blanket ban on gay adult leaders.

Robert Zimmerman, a Democratic national committeeman and Long Island PR executive, was nominated by President Obama to be a member of the National Council on the Humanities.

Just hours after Letterman said farewell last night, Ed Sullivan Theater crews hauled off blocks of blue stage and hacked up pieces of the iconic New York City bridges that made up the set of the “Late Show.”

Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch said the board is “tinkering” with how to weigh a new rating system for teacher ahead of a June 30 deadline for the board to have regulations in place.

Reclaim New York, a conservative nonprofit group tied to hedge funder Robert Mercer, is planning to expand next month.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio today echoed the frustrations of many an aggravated New York City driver stuck in traffic: the Cross Bronx Expressway is the worst.

Sandra Lee, still in the hospital recovering from her double mastectomy, is not feeling so great today. But she has reiceved a lot of (white) flowers.

In the face of a court challenge from a broad coalition of environmental and community groups and massive community opposition, the DEC today halted Global Companies’ proposed expansion of its massive Albany oil train facility to handle tar sands oil.

Hillary Clinton, the leading Democratic candidate for president, will attend a fundraiser at an unspecified location in Queens on June 1.

She’s also due for a $2,700 per person fundraiser on the same day in the Laurel Hollow home of Nassau Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs.

Protests at the Council testimony of NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton today grew so intense that police and building security ejected more than a dozen members of the public from the chambers. The commissioner called the demonstrators “selfish.”

Clinton has joined LinkedIn, the social network intended to help people expand their professional network, and, occasionally, get a job.

The State Department is expected to release the first batch of emails from Clinton’s private email address in the coming days. They will be drawn from some 55,000 pages and focused on Libya.

Rep. Louise Slaughter has revamped her congressional website.

For the first time in its history, Rochester does not rank among the 100 largest cities in the nation, according to new population estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Upcoming budget decisions by Congress – more than ISIS or China or any other international crisis – present the current No. 1 concern for the secretary of the U.S. Army, John McHugh.

RG&E is asking New York state regulators to approve rate changes that would cost consumers a net of about $10 million a year, in what would be the first rate hike for the company since 2012.

The Board of Regents that will choose the state’s next education commissioner is a lot different than the panel that was in place when the previous leader left last year.

LG Kathy Hochul penned an OpEd for the Syracuse Post-Standard in suppotr of the governor’s Parental Choice in Education Act.

Rep. John Katko took to the floor of the House to honor the life of the beloved Central New York radio host, Joe Galuski, who passed away last week following a battle with cancer.

New York State’s population increased by more than 50,000 in the year preceding July 2014, according to new estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Sen. Brad Hoylman recently introduced a bill banning “the importation, breeding or introduction into the wild of Chinese fire belly newts.”

After months of searching, Suffolk Republicans leaders finally screened three potential candidates willing to run against Democratic County Executive Steve Bellone in November.

IPPNY, a trade group of the state’s power generation plants, is hosting a fund-raiser for Sen. Joseph Griffo, chair of the Senate Committee on Energy and Telecommunications.

PR consultant Lis Smith, and her live-in boyfriend, former Gov. Eliot Spitzer, adopted a kitten named Silk.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule.

At 8 a.m., the commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, Nisha Agarwal, NYC Councilman Rafael Espinal, NYC Consumer Affairs Commissioner Julie Menin and volunteers mark the start of citywide “Nail Salon Day of Action” events to distribute flyers in multiple languages about health concerns, labor practices, regulations and wages at nail salons; inside the Flushing-Main Street station of the 7 subway train, Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue, Queens.

Also at 8 a.m., Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch discusses charter schools, mayoral control of city schools, standardized testing, teacher evaluations and other education issues in the state during a breakfast forum presented by the news organization Crain’s New York Business; The Yale Club of New York City, 50 Vanderbilt Ave., Manhattan.

At 9 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill e Blasio will host a roundtable with senior military officers, Veterans’ Affairs Commissioner Loree Sutton and Veterans’ Advisory Board members to discuss veterans’ issues in honor of Fleet Week, City Hall, Manhattan.

At 9:30 a.m., Sen. Marty Golden presents military decorations to veterans during the lawmaker’s annual award ceremony and breakfast marking the Monday, May 25, observance of Memorial Day; The Bay Ridge Manor catering facility, 476 76th St., Brooklyn.

At 10 a.m., Sen. Rich Funke will announce he is working to deliver a new traffic signal at the intersection of Route 250 and the shared-use entrance to the Eastside Family YMCA and Wickham Farms, 1835 Fairport Nine Mile Point Rd., Penfield.

Also at 10 a.m., Sen. John DeFrancisco, Onondaga County GOP Chairman Tom Dadey, Syracuse GOP Chairwoman Janet Berl Burman and others attend a press conference where Joseph Carni will make an announcement regarding the 2015 City of Syracuse elections, Thanos Import Market, 330 North Salina St., Syracuse.

Also at 10 a.m., the Assembly will hold a public hearing to solicit comments on fishery management, Montauk Point Room, Babylon Student Center, 2nd floor, Suffolk County Community College, Ammerman Campus, 533 College Rd., Selden, Long Island.

At 10:30 a.m., state Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner Arlene Gonzalez-Sanchez and the president and chief executive of the Mental Health Association of New York City, Giselle Stolper, introduce a text messaging service as part of the free, confidential “New York State HOPEline” referral and support telephone hotline; 11th floor, 50 Broadway, Manhattan.

Also at 10:30 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul speaks at the Wingate by Wyndham Niagara Falls Ribbon Cutting, Wyndham Hotel, 333 Rainbow Blvd., Niagara Falls.

Also at 10:30 a.m., Empire State Health Solutions will announce plans to produce cannabis-derived medications at a facility at the Tryon Technology Park and Incubator Center in Perth, LCA Press Room (130), LOB, 198 State St., Albany.

Also at 10:30 a.m., Assemblyman Jim Tedisco joins with Doug and Mary Lyall of the Center for Hope, and DeCrescente Distributing Company, to launch a new round of “Coasters for Hope” to help find Capital Region missing persons and find answers to several unsolved homicides, Ravenswood, 1021 Route 146, Clifton Park.

At 11 a.m., community leaders and local district representatives will call on the state to pass legislation delivering $11.5 million to support schools’ ability to provide a quality education for all students, The Health and Welfare Council of Long Island, 150 Broadhollow Rd., Suite #118, Melville.

At 11:30 a.m., de Blasio holds a press conference to make an announcement, corner of Tysens Lane and Primrose Place, Staten Island.

At 11:45 a.m., NYC Councilman Robert Cornegy, local drivers for Uber Technologies Inc., the company’s regional general manager, Josh Mohrer, and other local government officials hold a rally to express support for the service; 26 Bridge catering facility, 26 Bridge St., Brooklyn.

At 1 p.m., Hochul convenes a roundtable at Rochester Institute of Technology to discuss combatting sexual assault on college campuses, 1 Lomb Memorial Drive, University Services Center, Building 87, Rochester.

At 1 p.m., Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. and others hold a press conference to announce an agreement that the elected officials have reached with the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission to alleviate some of the financial burdens and fines that taxi drivers have been facing, KISS Car Service, 2774 Webster Ave., the Bronx.

At 3 p.m., Sen. Terrence Murphy will be joined by county and local officials to highlight water safety and new ways to acquire the necessary training to obtain boating licenses, il Laghetto Restaurant, 825 South Lake Blvd., Mahopac.

At 3:30 p.m., NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina attends a Teen Thursdays event with PS 7 students, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Ave., Manhattan.

At 6 p.m., a supervising attorney for legal aid organization Brooklyn Defender Services, Michael Baum, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries and nonprofit youth writing organization 826NYC will be honored by officials from the legal aid organization during the organization’s annual award ceremony and gala; 22nd floor, Feil Hall, Brooklyn Law School, 205 State St., Brooklyn.

At 7 p.m., Rep. Chris Gibson will join Sen. Sue Serino and the Council on Addiction, Prevention and Education of Dutchess County for a conversation on the dangers of heroin and what citizens can do to combat drug use, Haviland Middle School, Hyde Park.


Court of Appeals Judge Susan Read, one of two Republicans on the court, said she may not complete the remainder of her 14-year term that expires at the end of 2016. Her departure would open the door to Cuomo appointing his fifth and sixth high court judges since taking office in 2011. Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman is leaving at the end of the year.

Soon-to-depart state Financial Services Superintendent Ben Lawsky plans to split his time between New York, where he wants to open his own legal and consulting firm, and California, where he’ll serve as a visiting scholar at Stanford University’s new cyber initiative focusing on cyber security.

News of Lawsky’s imminent departure was announced just hours after he and other U.S. authorities announced a near-$6 billion settlement with major global banks over manipulation of foreign exchange rates.

Cuomo tapped Steve Cohen, a longtime adviser and former aide, to join the board of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. If confirmed by the state Senate, Cohen would become the sixth New York appointee on the board, balancing an equal number of commissioners from New Jersey.

Across New York, a small if vocal movement urging rejection of standardized exams took off this year, maturing from scattered displays of disobedience into a widespread rebuke of testing policies. At least 165,000 kids, or one of every six eligible students, sat out at least one of the two standardized tests this year – more than double and possibly triple the number who did so in 2014.

A much-anticipated bill giving ultimate control of the Buffalo school system to the mayor has been finalized in the Assembly. The bill’s sponsor, Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes is looking to push the legislation through both houses before the legislative session ends next month.

The state Education Department told all 15 groups that submitted plans to open new charter schools that they did not meet the state’s standards, marking the first time since at least 2010 that an open application period will end without an approval for a New York City applicant. More here.

Cuomo’s summit on transparency and email retention will take place tomorrow at 2 p.m. in Manhattan. The Assembly GOP will be the only legislative conference represented there.

Federal safety investigators said they are examining cellphone records, a locomotive event recorder, surveillance video and other data to determine whether the engineer involved in a fatal Amtrak derailment earlier this month in Philadelphia was using his phone while operating the train.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to hire Karen Hinton, a longtime communications executive and strategist and wife of former top Cuomo aide Howard Glaser, as his new press secretary. She will be in charge of the day-to-day dealings of the mayor’s office with the news media.

Hinton, 56, who lives in Westchester County, would fill a position left vacant when Phil Walzak, the mayor’s former press secretary, became the mayor’s senior adviser earlier this year.

More >


Sawyer Fredericks, the 16-year-old winner of “The Voice” Season 8, has no plans to move to L.A., and is looking forward to getting back to his family’s farm in Fultonville.

Former state Supreme Court Justice Anthony Giacobbe is one of several meeting with the GOP to discuss a potential run for the Staten Island DA post vacated by Rep. Dan Donovan.

Here’s video of the fast food wage board’s initial public meeting held in NYC today.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision to convene this wage board has improved Working Families Party’s opinion of the usually fiscally conservative Democrat.

The M.T.A. can learn from last week’s fatal Amtrak derailment outside Philadelphia, M.T.A. chairman Tom Prendergast said.

President Obama argued that global warning poses a threat to national security, and said “it will impact how our military defends our country.”

Secretary of the Army John McHugh, the former eight-term congressman from Jefferson County, will visit Syracuse University tomorrow to learn more about its work with veterans and the military.

Ben Lawsky’s imminent departure from his post as superintendent of the state Financial Services Department has sparked speculation about his successor. So far, five names are in the mix.

Sen. Phil Boyle has launched an online campaign to “keep the cap” – the 2 percent property tax cap, that is, which the Senate GOP has voted to make permanent.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will be in Staten Island tomorrow – only the third time this year that he has made a public appearance in the borough.

Sandra Lee tweeted a post-op photo of her in bed, being attended to by the governor. (Also, she’s eating lots of blueberries, which are high in antioxidants).

The state Senate is now paperless.

Hector Ramirez, a Bronx Democrat, was arrested on massive voter fraud charges in his failed 2014 Assembly bid.

A coalition pushing for a “prevailing wage” for building trades workers at developments getting 421a tax breaks has lined up the support of the New York State AFL-CIO, the state’s 2.5 million-member umbrella labor group.

A judge has recommended that Matt Libous, son of Deputy Senate Majority Leader Tom Libous, spend his prison term at FCI Fort Dix in New Jersey – the same min-security facility housing ex-Sen. Carl Kruger.

In a Newsday OpEd, Cuomo pitched his “Enough is Enough” campaign to combat sexual violence on college campuses.

Buyouts are underway in The Wall Street Journal newsroom, signaling a shift in resources at News Corp’s U.S.-based broadsheet as it heads into a new budget year.

Ali Najmi, a Queens attorney and activist, will run for Councilman Mark Weprin’s soon-to-be-vacant seat. If he wins, he would be New York City’s first elected official of South Asian descent, and only the third Asian lawmaker in the 51-member Council.

Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton is headed to Atlanta next week to raise some cash and shake some hands, her first visit to Georgia this campaign season.

After 33 years and 6,028 broadcasts of his late-night show, David Letterman is signing off tonight.

Clinton’s national director of Latino outreach is a DREAMer.

Suffolk Democrat DuWayne Gregory says he’s running against Republican Rep. Peter King in 2016.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule. He said last week he would take some “personal time” as his girlfriend, Sandra Lee, recovers from breast cancer surgery.

The Assembly is in session at 10 a.m., the Senate at 11 a.m.

At 7:30 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio appears live on CBS This Morning to discuss the historic opening of One World Observatory. The show will be broadcasted from the top of One World Trade Center in advance of the observatory’s public opening on May 29.

At 8:40 a.m., NYC Councilman Ben Kallos, joined by PS 290 kindergarten and 1st grade students, will announce planned pesticide legislation, P.S. 290, 82nd Street between 1st and 2nd avenues, playground in back, Manhattan.

At 8:45 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul speaks at New York State’s First Cancer Prevention Summit, Midtown Hilton, 1335 Ave. of the Americas, 2nd Floor Ballroom, Manhattan.

At 10 a.m., Hochul speaks at a rally being held prior to the fast food wage board’s first public meeting, sidewalk at 75 Varick Street
(Between Grand and Watts Streets), Manhattan. A similar “Fight for $15″ rally will be held outside the Senate chamber on the Capitol’s 3rd Floor).

From 10 a.m. to noon, Cuomo’s Nail Salon Industry Enforcement Task Force hosts an information forum for salon owners and workers about new and existing industry regulations, counsel Alphonso David; Secretary of State Cesar Perales; Deputy Secretary of Labor Elizabeth de León Bhargava; NYC Public Advocate Letitia James; nail salon owners and workers will attend, New York Public Library, 455 Fifth Ave., Manhattan.

At 11 a.m., the fast food wage board meets for the first time, 75 Varick St., 7th floor, Manhattan.

Also at 11 a.m., Sen. David Carlucci, president of the state Conference of Italian-American State Legislators, will be hosting a briefing with the Italian Counsul General, Natalia Quintavalle, Room 124, state Capitol, Albany.

At 6 p.m., the NYC Department of Education holds a public meeting on educational policy, 883 Classon Ave., Brooklyn. (Schools Chanellor Carmen Farina will attend).

Also at 6 p.m., Monroe County Republican Chairman Bill Reilich and the Monroe County Republican Committee will be endorsing candidates for the 2015 election, Radisson Hotel Rochester Riverside, 120 East Main St., Rochester.


Gov. Andrew Cuomo dressed in scrubs and accompanied his longtime girlfriend, Sandra Lee, into the operating room yesterday, where she underwent a double mastectomy as part of her treatment for breast cancer. In a statement after the surgery, Cuomo said Lee was doing “as well as can be expected.”

As Assembly Democrats finalized their changes to the state’s new teacher evaluation system, state Senate Democrats called for passage of an education package that also includes evaluation fixes. The calls come with just 13 session days left on the legislative calendar.

The Democrat-controlled state Assembly approved legislation to extend and strengthen city rent regulations, setting up a battle with the state Senate.

The Assembly majority has decided to prioritize strengthening rent regulations, opting to take the path of least resistance on mayoral control, passing a law extending the power for three years – not the seven years originally proposed, let alone the permanent extension NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has sought.

Schools budgets were overwhelmingly approved in WNY, though turnout was – as predicted – quite low, and has been dropping since the 2 percent tax cap was enacted.

A coalition of business groups argue the four-year-old cap has saved New York taxpayers an estimated $7.6 billion since it first took effect. The Senate Republicans passed a bill introduced by new Majority Leader John Flanagan to make it permanent.

Cuomo’s end-of-session priority list apparently does not include the DREAM Act, through it does include the education tax credit he initially linked – unsuccessfully – to DREAM during the budget battle.

The Los Angeles City Council approved a $15 an hour minimum wage, prompting de Blasio to say New York needs to follow suit.

Public housing residents are wary of de Blasio’s plan to turn around the financially-troubled NYCHA.

The search for a new Buffalo superintendent is on, and already members on both sides of the board’s ideological divide are collecting names and recruiting potential candidates.

Lancaster School District voters, angry about the abrupt retiring of their mascot, tossed out two incumbents who voted to do away with the mascot that was beloved by many and deemed racist by others.

More >


Hillary Clinton has broken her 28-day streak avoiding the press. Following a campaign event in Iowa, the Democratic presidential candidate meandered over to the rope line to greet the media answering a total of six questions from reporters.

Clinton called on the State Department to “expedite” the release of the records from her time in office after news that it might take until January to publish the cache recently turned over by her office.

American Crossroads released a new web ad calling out Clinton for refusing to answer more questions and for dodging those to which she has agreed to respond.

The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced it had begun a special inspection at Indian Point Energy Center following a transformer failure that sparked a fire in the plant’s nonnuclear section earlier this month

Los Angeles, the nation’s second-largest city, voted to increase its minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020, in what is perhaps the most significant victory so far in the national push to raise the minimum wage.

New York officials are banning all feathered fowl from all fairs across the state this year, a reaction to the latest outbreak of avian influenza.

Cuomo wore a “neat tie” underneath his scrubs to attend to his girlfriend, Sandra Lee, during her breast cancer surgery. “If it’s possible to look red carpet-ready in scrubs, they were THAT couple.”

Former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg criticized both Democrats and Republicans for failing to boost the nation’s infrastructure.

Thank super lawyer Alan Dershowitz — at least in part — for Rep. Charlie Rangel suddenly reversing his decision to skip Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s contentious March 3 address to Congress.

AG Eric Schneiderman announced his office would use $1.2 million in money from its myriad settlements with large financial institutions to stem the city’s ballooning homelessness crisis.

Sen. Jose Rivera has added a selfie stick to his infamous collect of recording equipment.

NYCHA plans to offer private developers a chance to build mixed-income towers on underused parcels to stabilize the agency’s finances and create apartments for poor tenants.

Mark J Tierno, the president of Cazenovia College for the past 15 years, is leaving to take a new job as president of MacMurray College in in Jacksonville, Ill.

A personal account of the deadly Amtrak derailment by NY Obsverer reporter Jill Jorgensen.

Buffalo is about to participate – in a small way – in a growing national trend that gives residents a direct vote on how a slice of their tax money is spent.

Rep. Kathleen Rice has passed her first bill as a member of Congress, a measure that would allow the Department of Veterans Affairs to give preference in awarding contracts to companies with high concentrations of veteran employees.

Emma Sulkowicz, the Columbia University student who carried a mattress around the school all year to raise awareness of campus sexual assault, attended her college graduation ceremony today while carrying the mattress.

Hundreds of Yonkers education advocates said at the Capitol today that the district needs an additional $26 million from the state to avoid a Board of Education plan that would cut all sports, limit supplies, reduce special education and eliminate as many as 200 staff members.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule. Voters across the state head to the polls today to cast their ballots on school budgets and in school board races. Poll opening times vary, check with your local Board of Elections for more information.

The Assembly is in session at 1:30 p.m., the Senate at 3 p.m.

The State Board of Regents continues to meet throughout the day, Education Department Building, 89 Washington Ave., Albany.

At 9 a.m., Sen. Brad Hoylman will hold a forum on New York’s efforts to combat climate change, LOB, Hearing Room A, 198 State St., Albany.

Also at 9 a.m., Sen. Patty Ritchie and Assemblymember Shelley Mayer hold a news conference pushing legislation to address obstacles in the recovery of missing children, room 130, Legislative Office Building, 198 State St., Albany.

At 9:10 a.m., state Financial Services Superintendent Ben Lawsky will deliver remarks on reforming New York’s foreclosure process at Mortgage Bankers Association’s National Secondary Market Conference & Expo, New York Marriot Marquis, 1535 Broadway, Manhattan.

At 9:15 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul meets with representatives from the Capital Region Chamber of Commerce, Albany-Colonie Chamber of Commerce Office, 5 Computer Dr. South, Albany.

At 10 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio holds a press conference to make an announcement, Blue Room, City Hall, Manhattan.

At 10:30 a.m., Sen. Joe Griffo and Assembly members Phil Steck and Didi Barrett, along with local leaders, announce the Municipal Health Insurance Savings Act, room 130, Legislative Office Building, 198 State St., Albany.

At 11 a.m., Hochul tours downtown Saratoga Springs with Mayor Joanne Yepsen, Pavilion Grand Hotel, 30 Lake Ave., Saratoga Springs.

Also at 11 a.m., Climate justice advocates will hold a news conference to announce the introduction of legislation to go to 100% clean energy in NYS by 2030, LCA Press Room (130), LOB, 198 State St., Albany.

Also at 11 a.m., AG Eric Schneiderman will make an announcement on a new affordable housing initiative, Two Bridges Tower, 82 Rutgers Slip, Manhattan.

Also at 11 a.m., employer/business groups unveil an interactive property tax cap savings website, Legislative Office Building, 3rd floor terrace, agency side, 198 State St., Albany.

At 11:30 a.m., Hurricane Sandy survivors, Environmental Advocates of New York, Make the Road New York, New York Communities for Change, Working Families Organization, Working Families Party, 32BJ SEIU and the TakeSides.org coalition deliver scientific studies on climate change to Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan’s office, Room 332, state Capitol, Albany.

At 12:30 p.m., Sen. Adriano Espaillat and advocates for New York’s farmworkers will march to the Capitol from Westminster Presbyterian Church and call for the passage of the Farmworkers Bill of Rights during a press conference at the Million Dollar Staircase, 3rd Floor, Capitol, Albany.

At 1 p.m., Hochul speaks at the EMS Memorial Dedication Ceremony, EMS Memorial, Empire State Plaza, Albany.

Also at 1 p.m., Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Assembly Housing Committee Chairman Keith Wright, members of the Democratic conference and housing advocates hold a press conference on rent regulations, Speaker’s Conference Room, Room 342, state Capitol, Albany.

At 2 p.m., de Blasio and city officials hold another press conference to make another announcement – this one related to NYCHA, Gymnasium, James Weldon Johnson Community Center, 1833 Lexington Ave., Manhattan.

Also at 2 p.m., Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, Sen. Kemp Hannon, animal rights advocates, restaurateurs and dogs hold a news conference on her bill, A.5956-A, which would lift New York’s longstanding ban on dogs in outdoor food establishments and empower restaurant owners to permit animals in outdoor dining areas, LCA Press Room (130), LOB, 198 State St., Albany.

At 4:45 p.m. the vice chairman of payment processing firm First Data Corp.’s board of directors, Joseph Plumeri, Manhattan DA Cyrus R. Vance Jr. deliver keynote speeches during New York Law School’s 123rd commencement ceremony; Carnegie Hall, 161 W. 56th St., Manhattan.

At 5:30 p.m., the Dutchess County Democratic Committee introduces its 2015 candidate for county executive, College Hill Park, N Clinton Street, Poughkeepsie.


LG Kathy Hochul and former Gov. David Paterson, Cuomo’s hand-picked state Democratic party chairman, rallied around the governor’s agenda, saying a recent slump in his approval rating is nothing to worry about.

As they began discussing complex calculations for rating the performance of public school educators, some members of the State Board of Regents aired their broader concerns about the future of the teaching profession in New York.

The bruising battle between Cuomo and public education advocates is going another round as the end of the legislative session nears.

Cuomo is putting his political energy into a proposal to enact a $150 million education tax credit program to benefit mostly private and religious schools before the session ends – despite his veto lectures to lawmakers against such matters coming up after the budget.

The state Thruway Authority’s board of directors passed an amended budget that calls for no toll hikes in 2015 and allocates $750 million from a $1.3 billion bank settlement windfall to help pay for the Tappan Zee bridge replacement. Still unknown, though, is precisely how the state will pay all the costs for the approximately $3.9 billion bridge.

Cuomo announced that the group of banks, credit unions and mortgage companies will take action to maintain properties that have been foreclosed upon, but officials said legislation to hold banks accountable for property maintenance is still needed.

A Brooklyn man and New Jersey woman are among the first injured passengers from the May 12 Amtrak crash to file lawsuits over the deadly derailment outside Philadelphia. The series of suits filed yesterday mark the start of many expected lawsuits to arise from the crash that killed eight and injured more than 200.

Despite a recent poll showing his approval rating dropping among blacks, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said he’s not worried about losing the African-American voters who helped sweep him to City Hall in 2013.

De Blasio is poised to lay out his 10-year plan on how to fix New York City’s public housing authority. He’ll call for significant new financial help from the city and for squeezing more revenue out of the housing projects and their residents.

The Assembly voted to extend mayoral control of NYC schools by three years, as Cuomo has suggested, but the issue remains unresolved in the GOP-controlled Senate.

A bill that would establish a state monitor for the East Ramapo School District, where a school board dominated by Orthodox Jews has drawn criticism for diverting money from public schools to children in local yeshivas, faces an uncertain future after running into resistance in the Legislature.

President Obama joined the Twitterverse, promising to engage personally — not through a staff member — with the American people in the often chaotic forum, which has become a kind of global town square for the Internet age.

More >


In an open letter to state lawmakers on the Huffington Post, Gov. Andrew Cuomo called again for passage of criminal justice reforms before the session ends next month.

The state Thruway Authority, flush with a $1.3 billion cash infusion from Cuomo’s budget, won’t issue debt this year for the first time since at least 2011, according to a mid-year modification its board approved today.

Several members of the state Board of Regents sharply criticized a new teacher evaluation system forced on them by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the Legislature a month ago. Much more here.

The NYT says the fast food wage board, which meets for the first time Wednesday, “may not be able to get to $15 in one step, but…should chart a path to that level.”

The state Education Department recommended a new matrix to evaluate teachers and principals based on student performance and in-class observations, and also proposed allowing schools to seek a two-month waiver to delay the implementation of the evaluations.

State economic development officials approved spending an additional $25 million on business and tourism commercials despite an independent audit that found they had achieved nothing.

Matthew Libous, son of Senate Deputy Majority Leader Tom Libous, has been sentenced to six months in prison, 100 hours of community service and a $25,000 fine in relation to his tax fraud conviction. He faced up to nine years behind bars.

Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. accused NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer of rescinding a job offer to the Bronx lawmaker’s wife because she appeared with him at an anti-gay marriage rally.

Citing a deadly increase in the use of heroin laced with a dangerous additive, US Sen. Chuck Schumer called on Congress to increase funding for a key anti-drug effort – rather than cutting it, as President Obama suggested in his budget.

Abtech Holdings, Inc., the company at the center of federal charges against State Senator Dean Skelos and his son, has suffered a “tremendous setback” due to the suspension of its work in Nassau County, a company executive said.

Hillary Clinton is making her second trip to Iowa as a 2016 presidential candidate today, headlining a small “house party” in Mason City.

AG Eric Schneiderman lauded Cuomo’s announcement today regarding a crackdown on so-called “zombie” properties, though the attorney general is still pushing for legal changes that would apply to all lenders.

Chris Quinn, former NYC Council speaker-turned-Cuomo aide, defends Clinton’s evolution on same-sex marriage in an Out magazine OpEd.

The Green Party’s Howie Hawkins will challenge Syracuse City Auditor Marty Masterpole, a Democrat, in November.

Republican Assemblyman Joe Borelli has opened a campaign committee to run for the Staten Island seat of retiring NYC Council Minority Leader Vincent Ignizio.

GOP Sen. Michael Nozzolio and Democratic Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther were joined by families of victims of domestic violence to push for a bill that would create a statewide registry of anyone convicted of a violent felony.

New York’s IDAs provided $660 million in net tax exemptions in 2013, up $105 million from 2012 but estimated job gains were nearly 23,000 lower than the previous year, according to a report issued today by state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.

Aaron Mair, a longtime environmental activist from Schenectady, will become the first African-American president of the Sierra Club.

John Flanagan’s ascent to Senate majority leader marks the first time in more than four decades a Suffolk official has held a leadership post in Albany. The last was Republican Assembly Speaker Perry Duryea, who led the lower house 1969 to 1974.

Syracuse University has gone to court to find out what happened to nearly $2 million that a late professor set aside to fund three professorships.

Bristol Palin and fiancé Dakota Meyer are calling off their wedding, which was poised to take place this weekend. (This might have been part of the problem).