Adams: Security Funds Should Go To Protection, Not Smoke Alarms

Queens Brooklyn Democratic Sen. Eric Adams, the ranking member of the Senate Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs, said the state should ensure it’s spending money on proper security projects, not “pet projects.”

“As state legislators, we must make ensure that our nuclear facilities are protected, our vulnerable locations are protected, our roadways are protected. We must make sure all our resources are going to make sure people are well prepared,” Adams said.

He added: “Money should go to protecting our home front. It shouldn’t go to pet projects, they shouldn’t go to buy smoke alarms.”

Adams was a member of the New York City Police Department on Sept. 11.

He also said in an interview that the country should continue to be vigilant in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death.

“I think we had a moment of exhale, but we realize that we know have to inhale,” Adams said. “The reality is this is bittersweet. But the father of hate may have left us, but clearly the children he birthed are still around.”

Don’t Let Bin Laden Death Create Complacency, Says Ball

Sen. Greg Ball, the Senate Veterans and Homeland Security Committee chairman, added more in an in-person interview on the death of terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden.

Ball, a Hudson Valley Republican, said in a statement earlier that the world was better off without Osama — the “scumbag in chief.”

He said in person that more needs to be done to protect vulnerable areas of New York City from a terror attack.

“We cannot allow the passage of time or the death of Osama bin Laden to lull us into complacency. This is a long war, there are people, we all praise this death for good reason, but there are individuals throughout this world who want to harm the united states and will use Osama Bin Laden’s as a rallying call and the 10 year anniversary of 9-11 as a reason to really come together and hurt the united states of America, most certainly, probably through NYC. We’ve got to take that very seriously.”

Ball held a controversial Senate hearing last month, which included discussions about Shariah, or Islamic law and its role in terrorism. Ball defended the hearings at the time, saying they were needed to help America understand its enemies better.

Extras

The “window of vulnerability” is open.

President Obama says the world is “safer” without Osama bin Laden in it.

The conspiracy theorists are already hard at work.

…which explains this.

Mayor Bloomberg’s a believer.

Abbottabad residents aren’t so certain.

Inside SEAL Team Six.

NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly is worried bin Laden’s disciples “would like nothing better than to avenge his death by another attack in New York.”

time

A woman thought to be one of bin Laden’s wives died as she shielded him – either by choice or by force. (The details are a bit hazy).

Hillary Clinton insists Pakistan was helpful. Not everyone agrees.

Rudy Giuliani didn’t feel “great elation” upon learning of bin Laden’s death, and found all the celebration “a little strange.”

“Not many people deserve to die, he deserved to die,” Giuliani said, while standing at Ground Zero.

Rep. Jerry Nadler, who represents Ground Zero: “One of the most evil men in history…is finally dead, and that’s simple justice.”

Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown has requested to conduct his annual National Guard training in Afghanistan.

When The Donald met Michael Barbaro. Worth a read.

Trump said he wanted to “personally congratulate” Obama “for a job well done.”

The DSCC is hosting a fiesta fundraiser Thursday in honor of Cinco de Mayo.

NFIB endorsed the gas tax holiday.

NY-26 candidate Jack Davis yelled “shut up!” at someone attending one of his town halls.

The Yonkers teachers union offered a $3.3 million contract concession.

The CBC makes an argument for letting SUNY and CUNY schools set their own tuition.

…And you thought you could escape the royal wedding. Not.

Pictured above: A special issue of TIME on bin Laden’s death to hit newsstands on Thursday. It’s the magazine’s third issue over the past week, and the first time in its history ever published three issues in a seven-day span.

It’s also the fourth cover in TIME history to feature the red “X,” following Adolf Hilter (May 7, 1945), Saddam Hussein (April 21, 2003), and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (June 19, 2006).

Conservatives: Assembly Holding Up Tax Cap

The Conservative Party is charging this afternoon that the Democratic-led Assembly is stalling on the property tax cap.

“Passage of that budget was a good first step in their efforts to ensure Albany is accountable to taxpayers,” said Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long. “It’s time for the Assembly to take the next logical step and join the Senate and Governor in enacting a real property tax cap for New York. Homeowners have waited long enough.”

The statement comes after Senate Republicans have tried to beat back rumors they don’t truly want a cap on local property taxes because of concerns over mandate relief. The Senate approved Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 2 percent cap on property taxes, but the Assembly has not.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, whose large Democratic conference includes legislators friendly to the state teacher’s union and New York City residents, has said he would be in favor of a cap, but with some exemptions.

Cuomo said after his speech at the Democratic Rural Conference Friday in Schenectady that he hopes to find an agreement on the cap.

Here’s the full Long statement: More >

Cuomo Mum On NY-26 Endorsement

As Liz reported earlier, the death of Osama Bin Laden has the potential to have political benefits (even if in the short term) for the president, which could trickle down to other Democrats such as Kathy Hochul in the race for New York’s 26th Congressional District.

Hochul is only trailing Republican Jane Corwin by five percentage points, according to a recent Siena poll, despite a large GOP enrollment advantage in the district.

So perhaps a gubernatorial endorsement could harness that momentum and put Hochul lead. Too bad we may never know. When asked if Gov. Cuomo would throw his support behind the Democratic candidate, the governor chose not to answer and moved on to other questions at today’s news conference.

Cuomo Seeks To Quell SUNY Concerns With Grant Program

In the wake of complaints and concerns raised by key SUNY officials and their allies about getting left out of the UB 2020 discussions, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and SUNY Chancellor Nanzy Zimpher today announced a multimillion-dollar grant program available for the university centers in Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo and Stony Brook.

The new program is called NYSUNY 2020. Phase I, worth up to $140 million, will initially consist of $35 million in capital funding per school ($20 million administered by ESDC and $15 million from SUNY’s construction fund) for the four SUNY schools.

“NYSUNY 2020 brings our economic development goals together with the world-class SUNY system in a way that boosts higher learning and creates good paying jobs all over New York,” Cuomo said in a press release.

“We need to put New Yorkers back to work, and this new partnership with SUNY will be a major part of the reinvention of New York.”

To be eligible for the funding, the four campuses must submit detailed, long-term economic and academic plans that leverage private sector resources and meet several criteria. UB, which has been trying to get its plan through the Legislature for several years now, will be able to submit its proposal through this process.

Zimpher will review the plans and then submit them to ESDC for final approval. “Some aspects” may require approval from the Legislature, according to Cuomo’s press release. The plans will then be integrated by the Regional Economic Development Councils headed by LG Bob Duffy. The first round of grant approvals will be made by the end of 2011.

The criteria are as follows:

- Ways the school will bring the local community and stakeholders together through the Regional Economic Development Councils to spur local economic development and contribute to regional revitalization.

- Strategic partnerships, such as public/private partnerships, to increase academic and economic benefits.

- Endorsements from surrounding local governments in support of the plan.

- Funding mechanisms, such as capital financing, tuition increases and private sector financing.

- Details for expansion, including faculty to be hired, property to be purchased and for what purpose.

Ball Cheers Death Of ‘Scumbag in Chief’

Sen. Greg Ball, chair of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, release a statement applauding the death of Osama bin Laden, whom he referred to as “Scumbag in Chief:” while also warning that this is merely “the closing of a first chapter in a very long book.”

“We cannot allow this great news to lull us into any sense of complacency,” said Ball, an Air Force veteran and Hudson Valley Republican.

“We have got to – now, as no other time in our history – be at a heightened sense of security and sensitivity to the reality that we serve and we live in the nation’s greatest terrorist target.”

Ball said his recent hearing on New York’s post-9/11 security – an event that sparked controversy due to his invitation to witnesses who addressed, among other things, the topic of Islamic Law, or Sharia – revealed that the state and NYC “still have a soft underbelly that is unprotected and vulnerable.”

“I am calling upon all members of the Assembly and Senate to sign my recent letter regarding the issue of radio interoperability and operability,” Ball said.

“In chilling testimony we now know that the dictates of the 9-11 Commission report have not been taken seriously, and we have first responders who are still not able to communicate properly. Furthermore, core infrastructure, including transportation and communication corridors, from the George Washington Bridge to JFK Airport and vital tunnels are still lacking basic security.”

Ball’s next hearing will be held at 9 a.m. on June 14 in the Legislative Office Building (Albany) Hearing Room A. (It was originally supposed to be held this month).

Cuomo Puts New Yorkers On Alert, Hopes For ‘Period Of Peace’

Insiting there is “no credible evidence” of a post-bin Laden death threat, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state is coordinating all its security and anti-terror efforts – just in case – and asked New Yorkers to be extra vigilant.

“I remind all New Yorkers of the MTA campaign, which I think says it well: If you see something, say something. More today than in recent past…We are on alert. We’re coordinating, and we understand that this is not a time to take anything for granted.”

Cuomo said he was in the executive mansion when he heard the news last night – “from a member of the media, believe it or not,” he explained with a smile. (Said member of the media’s identity was not disclosed). He then received a call from US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

There will be an increased presence of “usual personnel” as the state takes extra precautions, the governor said.

Cuomo called this “an historic day” and a “crucial victory in the war against terrorism.” He was careful to laud the “two administrations” – that would be Bush AND Obama – who sought to put an end to bin Laden. He also said this is a day of “complex emotions, of jubilation and reflection.”

Silver Statement On Death Of Bin Laden

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, whose district covers much of lower Manhattan, released the following statement on the death of Osama Bin Laden

The long-awaited promise to bring Osama Bin Laden to justice has been fulfilled and with it a painful chapter in America’s history and particularly, the history of Lower Manhattan, has finally been closed.

The assault that ended Bin Laden’s life brought an essential measure of justice to the families of the 9/11 casualties and to the countless residents of my community and first responders from around the city and state who continue to suffer from World Trade Center-related illnesses.

When his moment of truth came, the architect of the 9/11 attacks on America left this world knowing that he had failed to crush the American spirit and that New York – the city he planned to destroy – grows stronger and more diverse with every passing day.

On behalf of the citizens of Lower Manhattan, I commend President Obama and the Administration for their commitment to keeping the promise made to us on September 11, 2001. We salute the courageous men and women of our Armed Services, who have sacrificed so much to bring Bin Laden to justice and who continue to fight terrorism around the world.

Although this face of terrorism has been relegated to the pages of history, we cannot let down our guard. Our resolve to eradicate terrorism – root and branch – must remain firm.

Schumer: ‘Turning Point’ In The War On Terror

ICYMI: Sen. Chuck Schumer likened the death of Osama bin Laden last night to “a Gettsyburg or a Saratoga,” saying it will serve as a “turning point” – although far from an end – to the war on terror.

The senior senator also said he has spoken with the FBI, people in Homeland Security and the head of the counterterrorism office in NYC, and they have “not detected any pickup…or uptick” in threats against NYC or the country as a result of this operation. The biggest threat in the coming weeks, the senator said, is a rogue terrorist working on his or her own who might be bent on retaliation.

Schumer also gave props to former President Bush, saying his efforts to rid the world of bin Laden shouldn’t be discredited just because it didn’t occur on his watch.

“I think what happened last night is in a sense a turning point in the war on terror,” said Schumer before he delivered his prepared remarks at the ABNY breakfast this morning.

“It doesn’t mean it’s over. But the fact that bin Laden is dead says to so many would-be terrorists whose minds he had infected with his poison that….forget it. His way doesn’t work. He’s gone. And the United States is here and stronger than ever and so is western life….Like a Gettsyburg or a Saratoga. A real turning point that I think will change things around in terms of perception.”