Sep 15th - 5:16 pm
The Barack Obama Foundation announced the finalists for Obama’s presidential library and museum: the University of Chicago; the University of Illinois at Chicago; Columbia University and the University of Hawaii.
Tom Golisano, who was said to be in the running to purchase the Buffalo Bills football team, said he was pleased he lost out to Terry and Kim Pegula.
Zephyr Teachout wants to stump for Democratic Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk and James Kemmerer, challenger to Brooklyn GOP Sen. Marty Golden.
Teachout and Tim Wu called on Gov. Andrew Cuomo support net neutrality.
NY-21 Democratic candidate Aaron Woolf wants to raise the minimum wage, but he didn’t always pay it to employees at a Brooklyn eatery he owns, legal filings show.
Woolf’s GOP opponent, Elise Stefanik, released details from her 2013 tax return, and called on him to do the same.
“This American Life” did a show on the school board battle in East Ramapo.
Frank Seddio, the chair of the Brooklyn Democratic Party, believes Sen. John Sampson will be returning to Albany next year – with his help.
NYC Public Advocate Tish James targeted nail salons in a new report.
Sen. Liz Krueger will introduce an amended version of her bill seeking to legalize marijuana for general use in New York.
Bob Hardt thinks US Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is going to be a “major player” as the Democrats search for their post-Obama identity.
The governor hasn’t been spending much time in the Capital Region.
Onondaga taxpayers will see a property tax decrease but increases in water and sewer fees if the Legislature adopts the 2015 budget proposed today by County Executive Joanie Mahoney.
New York City’s adult smoking rate has risen to 16 percent, according to new city data, the highest rate since 2007.
The NYS Rifle & Pistol Association is running a GOTV campaign.
GOP NY-4 candidate Bruce Blakeman seized on his opponent’s formation of a new joint-fundraising committee and its use of a veteran political treasurer who once admitted campaign finance violations.
Cuomo signed a law that will let the same firm design and build the Onondaga Lake amphitheater on the western shore of Onondaga Lake.
Deadspin picked up the Bills vs. Fins storyline in the governor’s race.
AG Eric Schneiderman’s office has indicted a state Education Department employee for allegedly stealing more than $2.5 million through a diversion scheme which captured money that was supposed to go driving schools.
The University at Buffalo has nearly 30,000 students enrolled for 2014-15, the largest student body in the history of the university.
Sep 15th - 4:23 pm
The subhead of this post: Do the Senate Republicans have a secret plan to groom a new generation of young voters by getting their parents to raise their allowance?
I joke – but only sort of.
Terrence Murphy, a Yorktown councilman and the preferred Senate GOP candidate to run for retiring Sen. Greg Ball’s seat, has released his first TV ad of the campaign since defeating his primary opponent, Assemblyman Bob Castelli, last week.
The ad features Murphy and his wife, Caroline, getting a campaign briefing from their two kids, daughter McKayla and son Jack. McKayla, dressed in a business suit, does all the talking. Her candidate dad doesn’t say a word. And the whole thing ends with a joke about raising the kids’ allowance – the second time a Senate GOP candidate’s offspring have made that pitch in a campaign spot. (The first was one of Sen. Jack Martins’ four daughters).
The Senate Republicans and their candidates are under fire this election cycle for the failure of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 10-point Women’s Equality Act to pass in tact, thanks to GOP Leader Dean Skelos’ refusal to let it come to the floor for a vote with its abortion rights plank.
Obviously, the GOP has determined that the best way to address the women’s rights issue is to play up the fact that some of their candidates are the fathers of daughters, and therefore have a vested interest in this particular topic.
UPDATE: Apparently this “kids teaching you how to run a campaign” idea was also used by an Iowa US Senate candidate who lost a GOP primary in June – a point the Senate Democrats employed to slam Murphy. His campaign shrugged off the criticism, accusing the Democrats of trying to distract attention away from important topics.
Here’s the script of Murphy’s ad:
Daughter: Dad, we’ve put together a plan for your campaign for New York State Senate. First, keep cutting taxes. You did it here on the town council, now you can do it up in Albany. Second, make sure everybody knows how you kept dangerous chemicals out of our water. And third, raise our allowance.
Sep 15th - 2:58 pm
Who should be invited to debates? Rob Astorino shares his thoughts. Plus, after our exclusive TWC News/Siena Poll showed Sean Eldridge trailing incumbent Rep. Chris Gibson, we caught up with the candidates for their reactions. Catch highlights here, as well as a look ahead to tonight:
Sep 15th - 6:14 am
Gov. Andrew Cuomo will be in New York City today.
With students back in class, the Board of Regents meets today and Tuesday at the State Education Building. The schedule and agenda can be found here.
At 8 a.m., Assemblyman Brian Cavanagh, state Sen. Liz Krueger, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, US Sen. Chuck Schumer, city officials and preservation advocates mark this week’s 100th anniversary of the opening of Regis High School, during a rededication ceremony for a plaque recognizing the private Roman Catholic school’s city landmark designation; 55 E. 84th St., Manhattan.
At 8:30 a.m., Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, archbishop of New York, and other religious officials meet briefly with reporters and photographers following a breakfast meeting to discuss their Aug. 20, meeting with NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton; 452 Madison Ave., Manhattan.
At 9:30 a.m., the state Labor Department’s newly minted Wage Board meets, Building 12, Harriman State Office Campus, Albany.
At 10 a.m., LG Bob Duffy attends the annual regional economic development council presentations, Meeting Room 6, Empire State Plaza, Albany.
Also at 10 a.m., Eric County GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy and Green Party gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins will be guests on “Live from the state Capitol with Fred Dicker,” Talk 1300 AM.
At 10:30 a.m., NYC Public Advocate Tish will release a report on improving nail salon safety for both workers and customers, City Hall steps, Manhattan.
At 11:30 a.m., as Cuomo’s wage board convenes for the first time, workers and advocates will hold a press conference and rally calling for the board to eliminate the sub-minimum wage for the 230,000 tipped workers, outside state Labor Department offices, 75 Varick St., Manhattan.
At noon, Internet freedom supporters will gather to demand real protections for Net Neutrality and a rejection of Comcast’s proposed merger with Time Warner Cable, speakers are said to include Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu, City Hall Park, Manhattan.
At 12:40 p.m., Democratic LG candidate Kathy Hochul speaks the Hispanic Heritage Month official kick-off ceremony, Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, 1 Lafayette Square, Buffalo.
At 3 p.m., Cuomo, NJ Gov. Chris Christie, US Homeland Security Secretary Johnson and de Blasio hold a media availability following a bi-state meeting on regional security and preparedness, 1 Penn Plaza, 33rd Street entrance, Manhattan.
At 4:33 p.m., Westchester County Executive and GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino will be a guest on WFAS with host Lisa Wexler.
At 5:45 p.m., Astorino meets with leaders of Babylon and Huntington GOP Committees at Cafe Il Villaggio, 35 Deer Park Ave., Babylon.
At 7 p.m., Astorino attends an Astorino for Governor fundraiser at Captain Bill’s, 122 Ocean Ave., Bay Shore.
Also at 7 p.m., Chemung County Sheriff and GOP LG candidate Chris Moss delivers remarks at the Ontario County SCOPE meeting, The Inn on the Lake, 770 South Main St., Canandaigua.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who didn’t release his tax returns as a gubernatorial candidate until 5 weeks AFTER the 2010 election, wants his GOP opponent, Westchester County Executive Rob Astornio, to make his returns public.
Astorino’s first TV ad – a mix of positive and negative – has hit the airwaves. It’s a seven-figure buy, according to his campaign.
Cuomo, who added $2.1 billion to an incentive program for the movie and television industry, has collected almost $900,000 in campaign contributions from Hollywood since taking office in 2011.
A month before Cuomo was elected in 2010, his top aides met privately with two State Police officials and proposed systematically replacing members of the governor’s protective unit – including more than a dozen black troopers who suspected they were removed to “adjust the racial balance” of the elite unit.
At the ribbon cutting ceremony for the newly renovated Bills stadium, Cuomo said: “It is beautiful, people are gonna be blown away by how good it is and how much better it functions. And for me frankly, that’s enough.”
Sep 14th - 8:26 pm
Nick Reisman sat down with Howie Hawkins and Ralph Nader Sunday afternoon for an exclusive interview. Catch it on Capital Tonight Monday at 8 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.
“Money does not vote, people vote.”
Powerful words from long-time consumer advocate and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader Sunday. Nader was in the capital region to support Green Party candidates Howie Hawkins and Matt Funiciello. The trio started the day in Glens Falls, which lies in the congressional district Funiciello is vying for. That’s the 21st, where he’s currently facing Republican Elise Stefanik and Democrat Aaron Woolf.
A recent WWNY-7 News/Siena Poll shows just 10 percent of voters backing the Green Party candidate, and Elise Stefanik in the lead with 46 percent of the vote. It’s no secret that a big part of Funiciello’s problem is name recognition with a whopping 61 percent of voters saying they don’t know enough about him to have an opinion. But while in Albany Sunday, Funiciello said he’s optimistic about his chances.
“The reality is, the polls that just came out show me in double digits with 15 thousand dollars spent, next to millions of dollars by the corporate candidates. And one of the most interesting things is how many people on a name-recognition level know who Matt Funiciello is who might vote in this race – it’s twice the number who are voting for me … if 10 percent is my vote total right now, I’m in those double digits and only 20 percent knows who I am? What’s going to happen when I’m in those televised debates, which I am?”
Funiciello will face off against his two opponents on Time Warner Cable News October 8th at 7 p.m. He said he’s now studying bills in the house he would support to ‘up’ his game during the debate. Until then, he’s running his campaign while working full time at his Glens Falls area bread bakery.
Howie Hawkins, meanwhile, is playing a much bigger game, bringing Nader’s national influence into the race for Governor. According to the campaign, during two events in the capital region, Nader raised more than $6,000 for the gubernatorial candidate. While that’s pocket change compared to the Governor’s $35 million+ war chest, Hawkins says he’s grateful Nader is on his side leading into November.
“His whole career, people respect the fact that he stood up for the people against corporate abuse. I think that’s an issue, as he was saying, that cuts across left and right. People don’t want to be exploited, defrauded, misused or abused. So, it’s great to have his support.”
Going into the general election, Hawkins is calling for a series of debates against the governor and Republican opponent Rob Astorino. Astorino was on Capital Tonight Friday, where he said if Hawkins is polling well leading up to the debates, the campaigns would possibly look into sending an invitation to the Green Party candidate. Hawkins referred to that statement Sunday as the moment, “the light bulb popped out of his head.”
As far as creating those numbers, Hawkins said his campaign is looking into expanding into the downstate New York City, Long Island, and Westchester area where he’s not as well-known as his opponents. While he said he does have a solid upstate base, as far as downstate goes, “once they get to know me I think we’ll get votes down there.”
Part of that draw may come from having the support of Ralph Nader, who said Sunday he’s supporting both candidates to give people a choice between the two most popular parties.
“Voters today have a low opinion of both parties, as we all know. But they feel trapped, if they don’t vote for one or the other, their only option is to stay home. Now, they can go to the polls and vote for an honest, effective, candidate – Matt Funiciello and Howie Hawkins – whose declared agendas are almost overwhelmingly supported by the majority of the people.”
That agenda includes the support of progressive issues, like universal health care, a minimum wage hike – and of course a boost in green energy. Nader said his support is also based on the Green Party’s refusal to take corporate donations. Hawkins said Sunday he doesn’t allow donations of more than $2,600. That means both candidates need several times more donors to match the money raised by their opponents. But if they do, Nader says either have a good chance at the polls.
“They’re at a take-off stage. But they need to have more volunteers, they need to have more money to pay for expenses, transportation signs, all the rest. There’s no outside, fancy political consultants here – and if they get to 15 percent, they’re going to get more media coverage. And if they go to 20 percent it’s a three-way race, and it’s off to the races.”
Former Democratic Candidate for Governor Randy Credico also made an appearance at the event, where he said he’s putting his full support behind Hawkins for the spot.
Credico also said after having several conversations with his former primary opponent, Fordham Law Professor Zephyr Teachout, he believes if she chooses to endorse a candidate for governor, it will likely be Howie Hawkins instead of Governor Cuomo.
Sep 14th - 6:27 pm
Over a dozen black troopers have filed discrimination complaints about being reassigned from the State Police detail charged with protecting Gov. Andrew Cuomo as he assumed office in 2011, the Albany Times-Union reports.
New Bills owner Terry Pegula owes much of his fortune to advancements of horizontal hydraulic fracturing for natural gas – a controversial technique that Cuomo’s administration has kept on hold in New York for years.
The governor also announced the early reopening of the R train’s Montague Tunnel, closed for more than a year after sustaining heavy damage during Superstorm Sandy.
US Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said congressional hearings could be the next step in finding out how the NFL investigated and responded to shocking video footage that showed former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice knocking out his then-fiancée in a hotel elevator.
Long Island teachers union president Tony Felicio Jr. wants to cut off paying $132,000 in dues to the AFT after the national group’s president Randy Weingarten did robo calls for Cuomo’s running mate Kathy Hochul before last week’s primary.
By going out on a limb for Cuomo, who won the primary by 28 points, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio now is in a position to seek help from Cuomo in return. But will the governor repay that political debt?
Cuomo’s failed primary challenger, Zephyr Teachout, said she’ll consider endorsing Cuomo is he opposes fracking.
Bob McCarthy reviews the WNY post-primary fallout.
Is California Gov. Jerry Brown the true “anti-Cuomo“?
New York’s Italian governor and New York City’s Italian mayor marched in the annual Feast of San Gennaro’s grand procession on Saturday afternoon. They made a stop for sausage sandwiches.
A three-member wage board appointed by Cuomo to consider whether to increase the salaries of tipped workers will begin its work tomorrow.
Democratic state Senate candidate Adam Haber failed to file required disclosures in connection with his bid to secure the Green Party line, and his campaign provided a false explanation to Capital when first asked about it.
The Cuomo administration and the New York State Thruway Authority, still pre-election mum on their financial plan for the new Tappan Zee Bridge, are barreling ahead on building a joint headquarters for the Thruway Authority and the Department of Transportation.
Republican Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino received a warm reception Saturday morning from voters at Shenentaha Creek Park in Malta at the grand opening of his Clifton Park campaign HQ.
Though in many respects a political outsider, Manhattan Councilman Dan Garodnick holds sway over two of the biggest real estate battles brewing in the city, both of which happen to be in his district.
The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo will introduce a TV ad campaign known as Catholics Come Home on local TV stations to coincide with the season of Advent and Christmas.
Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, chairman of the health committee, will introduce an amendment to “close a gap in state law” that requires medical facilities to provide copies of medical records at minimal copying cost, but does not mention pharmacies.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a potential GOP 2016 contender, was scheduled to raise campaign cash in Buffalo today.
Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said he may run for president as a Democrat, but denied that his interest is fueled by discontent with Hillary Clinton, the current frontrunner in the potential 2016 field.
It’s Honey Week in NYC.
Sep 12th - 5:47 pm
The Rothenberg Report has moved the NY-21 race to “toss Up/Tilt Republican.”
Assemblyman Edward Hennessey is out with a television ad today, ripping his Long Island opponent Dean Murray for the GOP attaching a tracking device on his car.
Assemblyman Micah Kellner, reeling from sexual harassment allegations and not seeking re-election to his legislative post, quietly trounced two opponents in a race for state committee.
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has appointed Nilda Mesa as director of the mayor’s office of environmental coordination.
A new website launched by GOP Rep. Chris Gibson slams his Democratic opponent, Sean Eldridge, for his “ambition.,” “inexperience” and wealth.
Hillary Clinton spoke of the need for paid family leave in a video message to a women in the workforce conference in Japan.
Former Syracuse Mayor Roy Bernardi, who served as a top official in HUD, is backing NY-24 GOP candidate John Katko in his bid to unseat Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei.
A campaign video Rep. Michael Grimm posted on Facebook to mark 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks drew applause from some and disdain or even outrage from others.
So the Pegulas’ bid for the Bills has been accepted – now what?
Billionaire Cablevision CEO James Dolan has a band, and has written songs about former Gov. Eliot Spitzer and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Brooklyn Councilman Vincent Gentile wants the city to suspend alternate-side and meter rules every year on the anniversary of the 2001 terror attack.
A campaign worker for former Sen. Antoine Thompson’s failed Assembly campaign accuses Thompson of beating up him and another man after they complained about not getting paid.
Betsy McCaughey walked out of a “Daily Show” interview about Obamacare.
State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office concludes in a new audit that the Cuomo administration’s “restacking” efforts have resulted in net savings of $33.1 million.
NYC Public Advocate Letitia James downplayed her endorsement of social conservative Councilman Fernando Cabrera in his failed primary challenge to Se. Gustavo Rivera.
A group of Uber drivers, who say they number about a thousand, are attempting to organize a strike against the booming taxi company over complaints of falling fares and unfair working conditions.
A coalition of elected officials, housing advocates and community activists is launching a campaign against Airbnb, aiming to counter the home-sharing company’s media efforts in NYC.
Happy Birthday Emma Wolfe.
Good luck down South, Tim Farrell, we’ll miss you! (Intern Bryan cameo alert!)
Sep 12th - 5:04 pm
Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop is fighting fire with fire, responding to an NRCC ad released earlier this week that highlights his fundraising scandal with an ad of his own that accuses his GOP opponent, state Sen. Lee Zeldin, of being pro-polluter.
The ad, entitled “Toxic,” starts off by with an image of a Newsday story in which the Long Island congressman’s attorney is quoted as saying that the Justice Department has closed its investigation – without filing charges -into whether Bishop broke the law when he sought a campaign donation from a constituent he helped get a fireworks permit for his son’s bar mitzvah. (The DOJ has neither confirmed nor denied this claim).
Handily, the story image only includes the bold headline proclaiming Bishop’s innocence, but doens’t make it down to the second paragraph, which notes that the House Ethics Committee’s review of a two-year-old complaint on this very issue remains open.
Bishop is trying to tie Zeldin to a toxic dumping scandal involving 32,000 tons of asbestos-tainted debris dumped at an Islip Town park in Brentwood. The Islip parks commissioner was forced out as a result of the scandal, and caused Islip Town Board member Anthony Senft, the Conservative, Republican and Independence candidate for state Senate in the 3rd SD (the seat Zeldin is giving up to run for Congress) to bow out of the race.
According to Bishop, Zeldin has accepted thousands of dollars worth of campaign contributions from the company accused of doing the illegal dumping. A similar accusation was lodged against the senator by his failed GOP congressional primary opponent, George Demos.
This ad was not provided to SoP by either the Bishop or Zeldin campaigns, but rather highlighted by the American Action Network, a group with ties to House Speaker John Boehner that is spending big money on behalf of GOP candidates this fall. In the email that accompanied the ad, the American Action Network accused Bishop of a engaging in a “cover-up” because the spot fails to acknowledge the House Ethics Committee probe.
Here’s the script of Bishop’s ad:
Congressman: “I’m Tim Bishop, and I approve this message.”
Narrator: “Another right-wing smear. Tim Bishop is not under FBI investigation. They found no wrongdoing. Lee Zeldin has taken $17,000 from a company that illegally dumped 50,000 tons of toxic waste in Suffolk Couty parks. And even at homes for veterans. It figures, in Albany Lee Zeldin voted to protect polluters from being held financially responsible. The EPL named Lee Zeldin New York’s Environmental Enemy No. 1. That’s some real dirty politics.”
Sep 12th - 3:23 pm
We release the results of an exclusive Time Warner Cable News/Siena Poll on the 19th Congressional District. Find out how Eldridge is doing against incumbent Rep. Chris Gibson. Also, find out what PEF’s next move is after the Teachout-Wu Loss — and Cuomo’s working with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie? What’s that all about? Here are highlights from last night and what’s coming up at 8 p.m.
Sep 12th - 1:16 pm
For the second time this week, Republican state Senate candidate Michael Venditto is out with a new TV ad slamming his Democratic opponent and fellow Nassau County legislator, Dave Denenberg, as the battle for the Long Island seat vacated by former GOP Sen. Chuck Fuschillo heats up.
Both ads are negative, which offers some insight into the Republicans’ outlook on this race (and maybe their internal poll numbers?) They very much want to hold onto this seat – really, they need to retain if if they are to have any shot at taking back the majority. And the calculus has changed, with the Long Island contests now gaining higher importance, since Buffalo Republican Sen. Mark Grisanti’s surprise loss in Tuesday’s primary to attorney Kevin Stocker.
Ad No. 1 resurrected Denenberg’s 2005 guilty plea on petition fraud charges, saying he would “fit right in” with the culture of corruption in Albany. Ad No. 2, which is also running on cable stations in the district, is a bit more traditional, focusing on a tried-and-true GOP line of attack to which over-taxed Long Island residents are no doubt extra sensitive.
You can view the ad below. Here’s the script:
“Dave Denenberg was the deciding vote to raise property taxes 42 percent, to pass a multi-year plan to hike taxes an additional 16 percent, and to pass a tax on home heat and electricity, Deneberg think this qualifies him to be state senator. We already have too many state legislators who think higher taxes are the answer. We don’t need another one. Tell Dave Denenberg ‘no,’ because the last thing we need are higher taxes.”
This also seems like a response to the Denenberg campaign’s response to Venditto’s first ad, which accused the Republicans of trying to district voters from the “real issues” of property taxes, fee increases and budget deficits that – according to the Democrats – Venditto and his fellow Republicans both “supported and created.” They’re also playing the anti-woman card, which is the gameplan for pretty much all the Democratic state Senate candidates this fall.
Capital NY noted this morning that the Republicans are on the offensive and dredging up old convictions not just in this race, but also in the 60th SD (Grisanti’s seat), where they are reminding voters that the Democrat who emerged from Tuesday’s primary, Marc Panepinto, had his law license suspended for 30 days in 2001 after pleading guilty to falsely saying he witnessed voters sign nominating petitions.
Panepinto’s case was actually cited four years later by a Long Island court that suspended Denenberg’s law license after he pleaded guilty to a similar charge.
UPDATE: Venditto’s campaign manager Jeff Friedman emailed this statement:
“Michael Venditto is trying to distract voters from the fact that, on his first day in office, only weeks after Super Storm Sandy, he voted for unprecedented fee increases which were a back door tax hike on Nassau’s struggling families and small business owners who were not yet back in their homes and businesses.”
“No one in history raised fees/taxes more than Michael Venditto did on his first day in office. The reality is Venditto has allowed the county budget to be mired in debt to record amounts, forcing jobs off Long Island and making it even harder for South Shore families to remain here. The voters of this district can’t afford Michael Venditto in Albany.”