Cuomo Plans $50M Ad Campaign For Businesses

Paging Don Draper!

With a tax cap, reduced spending and no new taxes in the state budget, Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to show off the Empire State’s business bonafides.

At centerpiece of this plan is an ad campaign akin to the venerable I Love NY tourism campaign. Cuomo plans to recruit an advertising firm to “create a bold new campaign, across all media, to promote the advantages of doing business in New York.”

Cuomo named nine people from the business field, including AmEx chairman and CEO Kenneth I. Chenault to lead a committee tasked with attracting businesses back to the state.

Cuomo is following up on his announcement back in July that he would devote the rest of his year to encouraging the private sector to invest in New York.

“The ‘New York Open for Business’ campaign will get the message out to companies throughout the world that New York is a premier place for businesses to invest and grow,” Cuomo said in a statement. “As we continue to transform Albany’s approach to economic development, we must emphasize the many advantages New York has to offer, including our central location, our wealth of resources, our unequalled network of colleges and universities, and our diverse, innovative, educated and hard-working residents. With this campaign, we will help build a stronger economy and foster greater private investment throughout New York State.”

The governor has sought to switch gears this summer, playing up the fiscal progress made during the first six months of his administration. He’s also touting the ethics overhaul measure that he says made the state unattractive to businesses.

Cuomo has also rolled out his 10 regional economic development councils. Those committees are being led by Lt. Gov. Bob Duffy, and are charged with developing job creation ideas. They’re competing for up to $1 billion in development funds and tax credits.

Giuliani Plays In Utica Mayor’s Race

Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani appears in a TV ad endorsing Bob Cardillo, the Republican running to become the mayor of Utica this fall.

According to the Utica Observer Dispatch’s Dan Miner, the GOP primary between Cardillo and Michael Cerminaro has become pretty heated in recent weeks.

Cardillo, a Utica native, is a management expert, according to his official bio. He’s now in the private sector, but worked for HUD and coordinated its disaster response activities in Mississippi following Hurricane Katrina (not sure that’s something to brag about, but there you go).

Prior to joining HUD, Cardillo worked for Giuliani managing New York City’s public affairs activities for the NYCOTB Corp.

The current mayor of Utica, David R. Roefaro, is a Democrat. When he was elected in 2007, he became the city’s first Democratic executive in more than three decades. Roefaro had an on-again/off-again re-election campaign this year.

First he was in, then he was potentially running for former Assemblywoman RoAnn Destito’s seat, then he was out again.

When he abruptly changed his mind back in April, Roefaro didn’t say much about why, exactly, he decided not to seek a second term. In May, there was a report that he was reconsidering yet again. When I chatted with him during one of our Friday Getaway shows earlier this summer, he was firm in his decision not to run – ostensibly to focus on running the family funeral home.

The Utica Democrats endorsed Robert Palmieri, a former codes commissioner fired by Roefaro during a City Hall clean-up, to run for mayor.

As for Giuliani, he recently said he’s not yet ready to make a decision about 2012 and won’t likely do so until the end up of September.

PEF Members Urge ‘No’ Vote On Contract

The Public Employees Federation has begun holding informational meetings this week about the 5-year contract deal its leaders struck last month with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and a faction of union members is urging their colleagues to reject the agreement.

This flyer was handed out yesterday during a standing-room-only gathering at the Empire State Plaza’s Meeting Room 6. I’m told there were two more meetings scheduled for today: One at Pagliacci’s Restaurant across from the TU Arena and another at the NYSUT HQ.

The anti-contract PEF members argue the governor has provided the union with a “false choice” of givebacks or layoffs without providing an ironclad promise that there will be no layoffs as he works to downsize state government.

Thay also believe five years is too long for a contract that calls for significant concessions, suggesting that if economic and political circumstances change, members will be stuck with their deal and unable to return to the bargaining table.

PEF has long been a bigger problem for Cuomo than its counterpart, CSEA, which is sort of ironic, since PEF endorsed the governor in 2010 and CSEA was among the few labor holdouts (along with NYSUT) that declined to back him. (Fixed…thanks!)

It took PEF officials longer to strike a deal with Cuomo, even after CSEA signed off on no raises for three years, health care contribution increases and furloughs. Eventually, PEF ended up with a nearly identical contract, which apparently isn’t sitting all that well with its rank-and-file.

CSEA members recently approved their contract, and the vote wasn’t even close. The union still has an uneasy relationship with Cuomo, however. The results of the PEF vote are expected on Sept. 27.

Calling All PEF Proud

Cuomo Readies State Hurricane Response

Hurricanes! Earthquakes! New York is getting all the lousy natural disasters from California and Florida these days and none of the plastic surgery charm.

And surely Gov. Andrew Cuomo didn’t want to be caught unprepared for what’s turning into a bad Roland Emmerich-mega-disaster movie.

OK, maybe not.

But there is a real concern that Hurricane Irene, now threatening to make its way up the East Coast, could hit Long Island. Hurricanes on Long Island aren’t unusual, and they’ve actually had some devastating effects in the past.

Cuomo said today he was initiating emergency management protocol to ensure a coordinated response to any hurricane-related issues.

“We are actively working to ensure that New York State is prepared for the potential impact of Hurricane Irene,” Cuomo said in a statement. “The state government is coordinating with our federal and local partners so that we can effectively respond to any emergency situation that may arise due to the storm. I encourage New Yorkers to pay close attention to the track of the hurricane and, if necessary, to follow the instructions of emergency officials. By properly preparing in advance, we can most calmly and decisively take action if the storm arrives.”

He also urged New Yorkers to stock up on supplies like water, batteries, non-perishable food, radios, batteries, supplies for any pets, and first aid kits

The governor took time off from his Long Island vacation yesterday to brief reporters on the state response to the earthquake that didn’t produce any injuries or property damage, but certainly rattled some office workers.

Rabbi Ties Earthquake To Gay Marriage (Update)

Yehuda Levin, an ultra-conservative and controversial Orthodox rabbi, posted a video on YouTube linking yesterday’s quake with New York’s legalization of same-sex marriage earlier this summer.

UPDATE: Sometime between my writing of this post and 5 p.m., YouTube has removed this video due to its policy “prohibiting hate speech.” That did not sit well with this Jewish blogger, who said he thinks Levin is a “disgusting, loudmouthed bigot,” but also opposes censorship.

This isn’t in the least bit surprising. Levin, as you’ll recall, was a key player in the uproar over Carl Paladino’s anti-gay statements during the 2010 gubernatorial campaign.

He actually wrote at least one version of the Buffalo businessman’s remarks, delivered to members of the Orthodox community in Brooklyn. Paladino later apologized – more or less – for saying children shouldn’t be “brainwashed” into believing that being gay is an appropriate and acceptable “lifestyle.”

Levin promptly unendorsed Paladino during a press conference held – where else? – on the steps of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

In the video Levin demonstrates a self-awareness and humor that I found a bit surprising, saying with just a hint of a smile:

“An email went out in my community just a few hours ago: How long will it take Rabbi Yehuda Levin to tie this earthquake in with homosexual marriage. I’d like to answer that tonight: Not very long at all. I’m happy to see that people, even if they are scofflaws, are starting to see there is a connection. Yes, there is a connection.”

Pataki Gets A Website. Sort Of. (Update)

pataki12

Here, via Azi Paybarah, is a screen shot from what appears to be a password-protected campaign-website-in-waiting for former Gov. George Pataki.

Pataki is rumored to make some sort of announcement later this week regarding his presidential ambitiouos. Fueling these rumors his is announced trip to Polk County, Iowa.

As Azi notes, the website includes rollover bars for subjects on Pataki’s record, including “K-12 education”, “welfare and “taxes” along with “national security.”

It appears that after the screenshot was taken, the campaign logo and other information was quickly removed from the public view of the site.

Updated: David Catalfamo emails this response to inquiries about the site, saying it will be formally launched only if the former governor decides to run.

Can’t run a campaign without a website — the hosting company apparently made a mistake and has prematurely made it searchable. The site is still in development and will only be launched if the Governor decides to get in the race.

If anything, this shows that Pataki’s people are indeed gearing up for a race and are putting the infrastructure in place should he run.

NRCC Quick To Attack Maffei

He’s not even in the race yet, officially, but the NRCC is already attacking former Congressman Dan Maffei as he prepares to announce he is going to challenge Republican Ann Marie Buerkle in a rematch.

NRCC Spokesman Tory Mazzola is tying the Democrat to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, highlighting the fact that he voted with his House leader 96% of the time when he was in office.

“After spending the last few months at a lobbying firm, Dan Maffei must have realized that he wants to do more to make Nancy Pelosi Speaker again,” said NRCC Spokesman Tory Mazzola. “Unfortunately, he’s at a lobbying firm now because voters already rejected him twice and because he helped pass the failed stimulus bill, government-run healthcare and tax increases on small businesses that are hurting our economy.”

In his email to supporters late last night, Maffei attacked incumbent Ann Marie Buerkle for voting to cut funding for health care reform and supporting the “radical ideology” of the Tea Party.

Maffei Seeks Rematch vs. ‘Extreme,’ ‘Dangerous’ Buerkle

Former Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei will reportedly file paperwork in D.C. today to officially kick off a grudge match against the Republican who narrowly defeated him just nine months ago, Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle.

In an email sent out in the wee hours of the morning, Maffei slammed Buerkle as a Tea Party handmaiden.

He said Buerkle’s “no” vote against the debt deal (the only one cast by a NY GOP House member) demonstrated “dangerous priorities” and “nearly plunged the nation into economic catastrophe.”

“Sometimes, people are so frustrated that they are tempted to throw up their hands in disgust and walk away,” Maffei continued. “I understand this feeling.”

“But I know that there is a bright future in front of us as long as we don’t give up on Central New York, America, or ourselves. Working together, we can do better! ”

“That is why I am running for Congress in 2012. Our campaign will offer the people of Central New York a better future than the divisive politics of Ann Marie Buerkle.”

Onondaga County GOP Chairman Tom Dadey scoffed at Maffei’s effort to cast himself as a moderate, saying he is a “liberal.” (He did, after all, once work for Rep. Charlie Rangel, the NY delegation dean, who’s about as left as they get, other than Rep. Jerry Nadler).

Dadey pledged to turn Maffei into a “three-time loser” this fall and expressed confidence that Buerkle, who only won by a few hundred votes last fall, will cruise to re-election.

Buerkle, who is on a trip with fellow House members in Israel at the moment, actually has been on the ropes in recent months.

Her early fundraising numbers were downright anemic – her office said she was concentrating on getting situated in her new job, and her money pace has picked up since then.

She’s also viewed by the Democrats as weak, a top target in 2012 – assuming NY-25 doesn’t get drawn out of existence in the next round of redistricting as legislators in Albany try to figure out how to downsize the delegation by two seats.

Meanwhile, Maffei’s road is not entirely clear. He could face a primary challenge. Syracuse lawyer Brianne Murphy, has already filed her candidacy paperwork with the FEC and raised more than $25,000 through the end of June.

Murphy told the Post-Standard she’ll make a decision about whether to run by next month, insisting her choice won’t be influenced by Maffei’s presence in the race.

There also appears to be some Maffei fatigue among CNY Dems, who wouldn’t mind seeing someone else take a crack at NY-25 for a change.

The former congressman, who took a new job with the lobbying firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips not long ago, also admits he needs to change his approach, telling the Post-Standard:

“I know people, jokingly or not, say Dan Maffei is too smart or too cerebral. I do have to work on communicating with people better.”

The full text of Maffei’s announcement email appears after the jump.

More >

Here And Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s vacation appears to be over. He’s in Suffolk and Westchester counties today with no public schedule, due in CNY tomorrow for State Fair opening day and a fundraiser co-hosted by GOP Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney and the Business Council.

Forecasters say hurricane Irene could hit NYC Sunday, and will likely be far worse than yesterday’s earthquake.

While the quake didn’t do major damage, it did put a crack in the very top of the Washington Monument, which is closed for further inspection.

The National Cathedral also suffered some fairly extensive damage.

The only damage of note in NYC, according to Bloomberg, was a partial chimney collapse at Red Hook West, a public-housing development in Brooklyn.

Mineral, VA – site of the quake’s epicenter – is now famous.

California: 5.9? Yawn.

Forget high-tech earthquake-spotting equipment, what this country needs is more lemurs.

It was the second time in 14 months that WNY residents felt the earth move, literally.

Now that Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr. has dropped the case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former IMF chief’s accuser, Nafissatou Diallo, could face deportation hearings.

While admitting Vance “made mistakes,” the Post says Diallo “needs to go.”

A gratified Strauss-Kahn released his first statement since the arrest back in May.

More >

Heastie Optimistic On Prescription Drug Bill

In non-earthquake related news, Assemblyman Carl Heastie, D-Bronx, was in Albany today with a group of independent pharmacists to push for his bill that would prohibit insurers from requiring mail-order prescriptions.

The legislation is one of the few unfinished pieces of business that passed the Legislature earlier this year. Business groups like the Business Council have lined up against the measure, saying it would cost businesses more in the long run when employees opt to purchase their prescription drugs from a bricks-and-mortar store.

Many health-insurance plans now require some prescriptions filled in the mail because of the expense of going to a pharmacy.

But pharmacists say filling scripts by mail actually costs the policy holder more money. And they point to the need for giving consumers choice.

“I remember being presented with petition signatures from hundreds of my constituents who were concerned they weren’t going to be able to fill their prescriptions at their local pharmacist,” Heastie said. “And I know we’ve outlined the bill and talked about these things, but there’s also been some misnomers that we’re doing away with mail order which is the furthest thing from the truth. We are actually trying to give people choice.”

He also said he was hopeful Gov. Andrew Cuomo would sign the measure. The bill is yet to go to the governor’s desk.

“I’m actually pretty confident and I hope I’m not misspeaking that, I believe the governor will sign this for the very simple fact that during the budget time we were looking to close a $10 billion deficit,” he said. “And if this was a cost raiser, I can’t imagine why we would have done this in the budget.”

Meanwhile, the Federal Trade Commission said the bill would do little broaden consumer choice and ultimately drive up costs for prescription-drug users and business owners. The participants in today’s news conference said the FTC’s analysis was flawed, because it relied on information supplied by mail-order drug companies.

It was during this news conference that the alleged earthquake occured. However, since it was in the bunker-like basement of the Legislative Office Building, I felt nothing (Sensitive Sally Casey Seiler of the TU, who was also there, was disturbed by the tremblor, however). Seriously though — if a nuclear war starts happening, head for the LOB.