Dec 3rd - 5:31 pm
Mayor Bloomberg is not yet prepared to endorse Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s re-election bid in 2014.
“He has not asked me to endorse him. He has not told me that he’s running. So I don’t know.”
Despite a moratorium on fracking in New York State, 23 municipalities have received state approval to spread used fracking fluid on their roads.
Cuomo called in unannounced to The Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC this morning.
USA Today endorsed Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s military sexual assault bill.
WFP Executive Director Bill Lipton called the idea that the labor-backed party might support a primary candidate against Cuomo in 2014 “absurd.”
“I am very exited about (de Blasio’s) potential for the city…I think you’ll never have a governor and a mayor who bring the kind of personal relationship that I bring with the incoming mayor.”
More on why Chris Cuomo’s interview of his brother, Andrew Cuomo, was not a good idea.
The Moreland Commission report released to the public was quietly revised.
“You had this unique relationship with Andrew Cuomo, which has helped us lead this story and have all this critical information, and we here at CNN are very grateful, right, for that relationship.”
Could NJ gov. Chris Christie appeal to women voters and be a threat to Hillary Clinton in 2016?
Jonathan Mantz, who served as Clinton’s national finance director in 2008 and is one of the Democratic Party’s biggest names in fundraising, is set to join Priorities USA as a senior adviser.
Hillary, the movie, might get made after all.
Asked about the potential culpability of the MetroNorth engineer for the derailment that killed for people, Cuomo said: “The operator has rights, but there’s all sorts of liability questions.”
The MTA is bracing for lawsuits.
Joe Nocera hopes Rep. Carolyn McCarthy wins her battle with lung cancer, but thinks she should drop her asbestos suit.
The Cuomo administration is expanding its efforts to protect New Yorkers from illegal, online payday lending, sending 16 subpoenas to companies suspected of selling sensitive personal information.
Martin Sheen narrates a new anti-fracking documentary.
If you want to add your thoughts to New York’s proposal to add liquefied natural gas stations throughout the state, you’ve got until 5 p.m. Wednesday to chime in.
AG Eric Schneiderman and The Donald really don’t like each other.
There was a star-studded crowd at Peter Kaplan’s funeral.
Dec 3rd - 3:10 pm
Since last night’s release of the Moreland Commission report, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has played his cards relatively close to the vest when it comes to creation of a public campaign finance system.
Keep in mind that Cuomo has been expressing support for using taxpayer dollars to fund campaigns for years now – at least since he was running for governor in 2010 – but has not yet expended significant political capital to actually achieve that goal the way he did with similarly controversial issues like same-sex marriage (a supposed non-starter with the Senate Republicans) and Tier 6 (particularly unpopular with Democrats in both houses).
Given Cuomo’s supposed enthusiasm for a publicly funded system, you might think he would have embraced the commission’s report. But instead, he issued the following relatively innocuous statement following the report’s release last night:
“I want to thank the Commission members and staff for their dedication and public service, and look forward to reviewing the Commission’s findings in detail and continuing to work with the Legislature to enact systemic reform.”
And then this morning, (as Nick reports below), Cuomo suggested that the dissent on public campaign financing might be too much to overcome, vis-a-vis the Senate Republicans, and should not hold up a deal on areas of reform on which both houses of the Legislature and the governor can agree.
This sounds a lot like Cuomo’s explanation during the last legislative session on why he wasn’t able to land a deal on all 10 points of his Women’s Equality Agenda – including the abortion rights plank, which the Senate Republicans staunchly refused to allow onto the floor for a vote.
So far, campaign finance reform advocates are trying to remain calm and optimistic. It’s very early in the game, after all, and the 2014 session hasn’t even officially started yet.
But several advocates I spoke with today said the true test of whether Cuomo is serious about creating a public campaign finance system is if he puts funding for said system in his 2014-15 executive budget proposal (assuming, that is, no deal is reached prior to the start of the 2014 session, which, given the Senate GOP’s opposition to the idea, seems highly unlikely at this point).
Two sources close to the campaign finance debate said Cuomo has suggested to advocates that it would somehow be illegal for him to include revenue for a taxpayer-funded system in the budget. But state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office disagrees.
“Article VII of the New York State Constitution grants the Governor broad authority to include substantive legislation in his proposed executive budget,” Schneiderman spokesman Matt Mittenthal said. “The governor’s authority was challenged by the Legislature in Pataki v. Assembly, and the challenge was rejected by the Court of Appeals.”
Unshackle Upstate recently argued in an anti-public campaign finance system white paper that using public funds for a political purpose would be unconstitutional. But advocates noted that the New York City system has existed for decades, and hasn’t never been challenged on constitutional grounds.
UPDATE: Mittenthal sent the following statement on the constitutionality question:
“No law prevents the legislature from giving public money to private individuals when doing so promotes a clear public purpose. There is no doubt that a small donor matching program – as part of a public financing law – would do just that.”
A number of funding mechanisms for a publicly financed system have been floated, including everything from using cash captured by closing corporate loopholes (a lefty favorite) to casino licensing fees (an idea put forth by Democratic activist/gadfly Bill Samuels and promptly shot down by Cuomo).
I emailed Cuomo’s press office to ask whether the governor might put money for a public campaign finance system in the budget, but have yet to receive a response.
Dec 3rd - 8:35 am
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s press office just updated his official public schedule to reveal the governor will appear later this morning at an announcement at Madison Square Garden.
A subsequent media advisory sent out by MSG Entertainment revealed a detail Cuomo’s office did not mention: The 11 a.m. event will also be attended by singer Billy Joel. (Oh, and refreshments will be served).
This isn’t the only event Joel and Cuomo will be attending together today.
Just seven hours or so after the MSG announcement, the veteran entertainer and Long Island resident will be performing at Cuomo’s 56th birthday party fund-raiser at the Roseland Ballroom.
Tickets for that event start at $225 (standing room only) and run up to $50,000 (a priority table of 10 and three VIP passes).
Joel and Cuomo also share a love of motorcycles. Back on Sept. 11, the duo led a memorial ride to Ground Zero. The governor described Joel as the “quintessential New York citizen who never forgot where he came from.”
Just over a week later, Cuomo and Joel teamed up again – this time for the 20th annual Oyster Bay Cleanup Day in Nassau County (also attended by Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano).
For those interested in seeing this morning’s announcement, it will be streamed live at MSG.com and BillyJoel.com.
Dec 3rd - 7:02 am
ICYMI: One of the 25 Moreland Commission members, Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney, said during a CapTon interview last night that the corruption-busting body is unlikely to train its sites on the executive branch, despite multiple calls (largely from legislators) to do so.
“I think we’re making a mockery of this whole process if we try to pretend that a group of us that’s been appointed by the attorney general and the governor is investigating the attorney general or the governor,” Mahoney told me.
“So, I never subscribed to that notion to start with, and there has been no conversations inside the Moreland Commission to do anything other than address public corruption and these instances that are outlined in this report, which are all legislative.”
Mahoney, a Republican who crossed party lines in 2010 to endorse Cuomo’s first gubernatorial run, went so far as to say it would be a conflict of interest for the commission to investigate the executive branch.
She said it would only be appropriate for an “independent” commission – in other words, one whose members are not appointed by the governor – to undertake that sort of probe.
Cuomo, as you’ll recall, stressed the Moreland Commission’s independence when he first announced its creation over the summer, saying its members would be free to consider any aspect of the state’s loophole-riddled campaign system they saw fit – including his own massive fund-raising operation.
“It’s an independent commission that is free to investigate whatever they feel needs to be investigated on the merits,” the governor said at the time.
But then came reports of the Cuomo administration’s micromanagement of the commission, including directing some subpoenas and blocking others from being issued.
Amid those reports, AG Eric Schneiderman, whose office was used by Cuomo to beef up the commission’s investigatory powers, reiterated that the body could not succeed unless it was truly independent, saying:
“It has to be to follow the money wherever it goes. I am opposed to anything that stands in the way of those goals.”
Mahoney also spoke about the tremendous pressure – from both inside and outside the commission – to include public campaign financing among the reform recommendations in the report released yesterday, though she shied away from saying the administration itself pushed for that outcome.
Mahoney was one of seven commissioners to sign onto a dissenting opinion about public financing, and told me last night she remains unconvinced that using taxpayer dollars – especially at a time when so many upstate cities are facing financial peril – to fund political campaigns is an idea that will sell to New York voters.
You can see my entire interview with Mahoney (which was conducted on the phone, as she was traveling back to Central New York from White Plains) here.
Dec 3rd - 6:41 am
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule. Tonight, he’ll attend his 56th birthday fundraiser at the Roseland Ballroom, with entertainment provided by Billy Joel.
At 11 a.m., the New Day New York Coalition will host a conference call to release a report showing the annual revenue and economic stimulus that the New York City government can generate by using its financial market power.
At noon, the Assembly Racing and Wagering Committee will hold a public hearing on the impact of the equine industry on the state economy, Roosevelt Hearing Room C, Legislative Office Building, 2nd Floor, Albany.
From noon to 1:15 p.m., Rep. Louise Slaughter is sponsoring an event, hosted by Rochester Institute of Technology, to focus attention on critical importance of remote sensing to national security, Capitol Visitor’s Center, HVC 201, Washington, D.C.
At 12:30 p.m., Sen. Charles Schumer, New York City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer andothers celebrate the grand opening of New York City’s first outdoor stage, Kaufman Astoria Studios’ Stage K, 36th Street between 34th and 35th avenues, Queens.
At 1 p.m., Sen. John DeFrancisco speaks at the opening ceremony of the New York Farm Bureau’s 2013 State Annual Meeting, Holiday Inn Syracuse-Liverpool, 441 Electronics Parkway, Liverpool.
Also at 1 p.m., Bronx BP Ruben Diaz Jr. and Dr. Ruth Westheimer host the borough’s annual Chanukah celebration, Veterans Memorial Hall, Bronx County Building, 851 Grand Concourse, Bronx.
At 2 p.m., NYC Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio visits the Northside Center for Child Development, 302 East 111th St., Manhattan.
At 3:30 p.m., NYC Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert Steel and NYCEDC announce two initiatives to transform the city’s life sciences sector, Abby Dining Room, Rockefeller University, 1230 York Ave., Manhattan.
Also at 3:30 p.m., IDC Leader Jeff Klein hosts a Chanukah celebration at Bronx House Senior Center, 990 Pelham Parkway South, Bronx.
From 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., LaborPress honors NYC Public Advocate-elect Letitia James and Comptroller-elect Scott Stringer at a holiday labor party and meet-and-greet with the New York City legislative delegation, NYC District Council of Carpenters, 10th Floor, 395 Hudson St., Manhattan.
At 7:30 p.m., de Blasio attends the New York Communities for Change end of the year gala, TWU Local 100, 195 Montague St., Brooklyn.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s corruption-busting Moreland Commission said in its first report that it had uncovered “deplorable conduct, some of it perfectly legal yet profoundly wrong; some of it potentially illegal,” and made recommendations for reform, but did not name names – yet.
The report focused entirely on the Legislature, ignoring the offices of governor, comptroller and attorney general despite scandals in recent years involving the first two. It also comes a day before Cuomo is set to host a fundraiser with a maximum ticket price of $50,000.
Many but not all of the commission’s recommendations resemble legislative proposals put forward by Cuomo near the end of the most recent legislative session, which was interrupted by multiple corruption scandals involving state lawmakers.
The commission proposed using public funds to pay for political campaigns, but the 25 commissioners were not unanimous on that issue – seven filed a dissenting opinion included in the final report.
The commission is using surveillance and analytic tools originally designed for counter-terrorism efforts in its ongoing investigations of state lawmakers.
Bill Hammond: “(S)ince the report offers little in the way of explosive new revelations, it’s hard to see how or why it will change minds in the public — or in the Assembly and Senate.”
IDC Leader Jeff Klein: “Now, six months after the Moreland Commission first convened, we find ourselves back at square one – negotiating a comprehensive ethics reform bill with the governor and members of the Legislature.”
Mayor Bloomberg on why he wasn’t at the MetroNorth train derailment scene: “What can I do? I’m not a professional firefighter or a police officer. There’s nothing I can do.”
De Blasio: “I’ll let the current mayor speak for himself about his choice. For me it would be, generally speaking, important to be there.”
Bloomberg refused to confirm reports that he stayed in Bermuda playing golf hours after the derailment, insisting his private schedule is off limits.
Dec 2nd - 5:17 pm
The NTSB says the MetroNorth train that derailed in the Bronx Sunday was traveling at 82 mph as it approached a 30 mph zone.
NJ Gov. Chris Christie was “stunned” to read reports indicating he was ready to back Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino against Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2014.
Happy Cyber Monday! The US Supreme Court refused to wade into a dispute over New York state’s taxes on purchases on websites like Amazon.com.
Mayor Bloomberg was golfing in Bermuda at the time of the deadly MetroNorth derailment, and did not stop his game after the accident occurred.
…the outgoing mayor showed up at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx Sunday night to check on victims of the derailment.
“For me, it would be, generally speaking, important to be there,” said Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio.
Some crash victims are expected to be discharged from the hospital soon.
De Blasio says his plan to tax rich NYers to fund universal pre-K was “warmly received” by the Assembly Democrats.
The de Blasio family is reportedly warming to the idea of trading Park Slope for Gracie Mansion.
Mike Tackett, the Washington managing editor for Bloomberg News, has joined the New York Times as deputy political editor.
A federal judge has scheduled a new fraud trial in May for former Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno.
How the late activist Jon Kest helped pave the way for the de Blasio administration in NYC.
All the 2016 talk could put a strain on the relationship between President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“Cuomo has never evinced any concern at all about his state’s mass transit system. Indeed, he has sometimes seemed actively hostile to the idea of adequately funding, let alone expanding it.”
How might anticoagulants (if she’s taking one) impact Hillary Clinton’s health and longevity vis-a-vis 2016?
Perhaps the incoming NYC mayor doesn’t want a Council speaker whose politics are to the left of his own?
A new book looks at Bloomberg’s “hidden” environmental legacy.
The Assembly Ethics Committee is meeting Wednesday.
How do you think Cuomo, a WNY expert these days, would score on this Buffalo trivia quiz?
Dec 2nd - 3:07 pm
A reader with some time on his hands over the extended Thanksgiving weekend went to see “That Hopey Changey Thing,” an off-Broadway play about Democratic politics that currently on stage at the Public Theater. And he was so struck by the experience, that he flagged the production in an email to SoP.
The main character in the play, Richard, works in the New York attorney general’s office, and apparently lived through both the Spitzer and Cuomo administrations there.
The story seems to take place right around the time when former AG Andrew Cuomo is ascending to the governor’s office and handing things over to his replacement, former Sen. Eric Schneiderman, about whom Richard says: “He’s an Albany politician….the politicians like him because he’s a politician.”
I haven’t been able to locate any personal link between Spitzer and the playwright, Richard Nelson. But Nelson has a definite soft spot for the former AG, and he doesn’t seem to think much of his successor or of Albany, writ large.
That much is clear from the brief clip of dialogue that appears on the New York Times website, in which the main character, Richard, says:
“When Eliot resigned – that was a God-awful week – I’d almost gone to the governor’s office with him. I went up two, three times in the transition. You can’t imagine the jokers who are up in Albany. You can’t believe the incompetence, greed, the stupidity.”
“Eliot maybe came on a little too strong, sure, true. But all of us, we’d have walked off a cliff for him. It was harder for those who went to Albany, of course, But it was bad for the rest of us, too. We were crushed. Betrayed? I don’t know.”
“And then Andrew. You see with Andrew, everything is about politics. Celebrity politics. What gets noticed, what makes the impression. And so, he couldn’t forgo the opportunity, and he denigrated Eliot. He just sat on his carcass and ate. And I will never forgive him for that.”
Writes the reader:
“Ironically, despite the professed hatred here, in a later play (it is a series of four) the character is eventually lured to work in the Cuomo administration. Clearly the playwright had a good source (or two or three).”
Dec 2nd - 10:12 am
The Moreland Commission is holding a meeting via conference call from locations all throughout the state. Sources say the preliminary report is expected to go to Governor Cuomo this morning. He will then make a determination about the timing of it’s release. Technically speaking, it was due yesterday, December 1. But with the long holiday weekend, many of the Commissioners were away. The train derailment in the Bronx may also be a factor is dictating when the report is made public. Governor Cuomo has been taking the lead in managing the derailment crisis, and while establishing cause is now in the hands of the NTSB, the story will no doubt dominate the news cycle for at least a coupla more days.
Insiders had been saying Monday for the report’s release at the earliest, but others had been saying Tuesday all along. The much-anticipated report is expected to focus on mitigating public corruption, and may include a recommendation for publicly financed campaigns. New York City currently employs a system of public financing, and many participants hold it up as a model for success. However, critics counter that Citizens United has rendered common sense limits moot, and implementing the New York City system statewide would cost taxpayers nearly $300 million per year.
On Wednesday, advocates for clean elections plan to hold a press conference on the steps of New York City Hall. Their hope is that the report is public by then, and it includes the public financing component as one of it’s recommendations.
Dec 2nd - 6:27 am
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City today.
Bob Costas revealed at halftime during last night’s Giants-Redskins game that the governor would be appearing this morning on the TODAY show with Matt Lauer. (This interview will take place at 7 a.m.)
One of the victims of the MetroNorth derailment, Jim Lovell, 58, was an audio technician who frequently worked on TODAY and other NBC programs.
Lovell was reportedly headed to Rockefeller Center to prepare for the annual tree lighting at the time of the accident.
The TODAY show appearance is one of three live TV interviews the normally TV-shy governor will be sitting for this morning. (This is much the same approach he used after Superstorm Sandy).
Cuomo will also be on Good Day New York on Fox at 7:15 a.m. and New Day on CNN – the show co-hosted by his brother, Chris Cuomo, at 7:30 a.m.
Also widely expected today: Release of the preliminary report from Cuomo’s Moreland Commission, which was scheduled to make its first recommendations to the governor on Dec. 1 (yesterday).
NYC Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio is reportedly due to attend Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s annual holiday luncheon for Democratic conference members at 12:15 p.m., 250 Broadway. (Note: This is taking place in Manhattan, not Albany as originally reported).
It’s the 25th anniversary of World AIDS Day.
At 8:30 a.m., LG Bob Duffy will make remarks at the Buffalo Niagara Partnership Cross Border Huddle and Business Symposium, Real Sports Bar & Grill, 15 York St., Toronto, Ontario.
At 10 a.m., the NYC Council Committee on Finance holds a hearing on the creation of a database to track the expenditure of funds in connection with Sandy recovery efforts, City Hall, Manhattan.
At 11 a.m., Sen. Terry Gipson, Wappingers Falls Mayor Matt Alexander and others highlight legislation to designate the Wappinger Creek as an inland waterway, East Main Street in front of the Walgreens Pharmacy at Route 9, Wappingers Falls.
At 3 p.m., Mayor Bloomberg signs 11 bills, including one requiring that all the city’s official public meetings be either webcast or recorded on video.
Also at 3 p.m., Sens. Brad Hoylman and Gustavo Rivera, Assemblyman Robert Rodriguez, New York City Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito and others call for steps to end AIDS on World AIDS Day, 1912 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd., Manhattan.
At 6 p.m., Attorney General Eric Schneiderman holds a community forum on environmental protection, labor rights, civil rights, health care and consumer fraud and protection, LaGuardia Community College, Little Theater, 31-10 Thomson Ave., Queens.
Also at 6 p.m., Senate GOP Leader Dean Skelos attends a fundraiser for state Sen. Greg Ball, Ritz Carlton Hotel, 3 Renaissance Square, White Plains.
At 6:30 p.m., contenders for NYC Council speaker, including Daniel Garodnick, Melissa Mark-Viverito and Mark Weprin, speak at a panel on the council at New York Law School, 185 W. Broadway, Manhattan.
This was the second time in less than five months that a train derailed near the Spuyten Duyvil station.
That particular curve in the tracks has a deadly history dating back years. But Cuomo insisted the cause of this derailment can’t just be the curve, noting trains regularly pass by there every day without incident.
Dec 1st - 1:35 pm
The Moreland Commission is poised to report recommendations this week, setting the stage for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to try to use the findings to push lawmakers to agree to change campaign-finance and other laws.
The Auburn Citizen would like the Moreland Commission to take a “hard look” at executive agencies, especially (in light of recent headlines) DOCCS.
The TU says Cuomo “needs to fight for campaign reform at least as hard as he campaigned on it.”
As of today, Cars with E-ZPass tags will now pay 75 cents more when they cross the George Washington, Bayonne and Goethals bridges and Outerbridge Crossing, or go through the Lincoln and Holland tunnels.
Semi-First Lady Sandra Lee had a busy Thanksgiving.
Greg David explains to Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino why challenging Cuomo in 2014 would be a losing proposition.
Opposition to the Common Core standards has united parents that never were active before.
The worst of the online glitches, crashes and delays may be over for the problem-plagued government health care website, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Starting tomorrow, state officials will begin reviewing 58 applications from people who want to be the next director of the New York State Fair.
Cuomo’s administration said it is open to reforming the state’s tax-credit system for redeveloping contaminated sites after a pair of reports criticized the effectiveness of the incentive.
The Journal News likes the idea of a circuit breaker, but also wants to see long promised mandate relief.
The NYT says de Blasio should not abandon stop-and-frisk entirely, but “he needs to make sure that police officers know to conduct stops only when they have legitimate probable cause, in a manner that complies with the Constitution.”
What courts in New York collect the most fines? You’ve probably driven through the jurisdictions of a number of them.
Chronicling the difficulty of working for minimum wage.