Jan 14th - 11:52 am
LG Bob Duffy told me last night on CapTon that he feels completely safe with his State Police security detail in the wake of the Arizona shooting last weekend, but also speculated that his old habits as a law enforcement official probably die hard.
I asked the chief-turned-mayor-turned-LG whether it’s difficult not to get involved when it comes to his own protection after so many years of being responsible for the security of others.
He recalled that during his first year as mayor of Rochester, he “bailed out of my car and helped a police officer make a robbery arrest,” adding: “I’m very unpredictable.”
I asked the LG if he’s still carrying a weapon – something several members of Congress are now doing following Jared Loughner’s shooting spree in Tucson that left Rep. Gabrielle Giffords gravely injured. He chuckled and replied:
>”No, I don’t. I’m being very good. I don’t have one. But it’s one of those things that you don’t lose those instincts or those feelings. The detail I have. I have a team of state troopers that’s involved that has been tremendous.”
“…It’s a small, modest detail,” Duffy continued. “But I feel very good with the people assigned. I like them personally and respect them professionally. And I don’t feel unsafe, but also, I trust my instincts and if i did not feel unsafe for some reason, I would say it.”
Duffy, true to form, said he’s more worried about other people – including Gov. Andrew Cuomo – than about himself when it comes to safety.
He declined to say whether security has been heightened since last weekend’s tragedy. But he did say that he’s confident the State Police would take “every possible precaution” in the event that a threat was received.
Jan 14th - 10:32 am
As was earlier reported, the Cuomo Administration has nominated Joan McDonald to be the next Commissioner of the state DOT. So, the General Contractors Association of New York only jumped the gun by a little more than an hour. The Cuomo administration has also announced that Yomika Bennett will serve as Assistant Secretary of Transportation.
And two commissioners are going to be held over from the previous administration. Brian Fischer will be reappointed Commissioner of the Department of Correctional Services. And Dr. Michael Hogan is staying on as the Commissioner of the Office of Mental Health.
Complete biographies on all candidates after the jump.
Jan 14th - 9:31 am
It would appear the Governor Cuomo is going to nominate Joan McDonald to be the next Commissioner of the Department of Transportation. The administration has yet to announce the pick, but the General Contractors Association of New York has already voiced their support for McDonald.
“Governor Cuomo’s selection of Joan McDonald to be commissioner of the state Department of Transportation will serve the taxpayers of New York State well,” said Denise Richardson, the Managing Director of the General Contractors Association of New York.
“ It is our hope that swift approval by the legislature will ensure that New York can get back on the road again in creating an infrastructure that moves us beyond the recession by creating jobs, energizing the economy and investing in our future
McDonald is currently Connecticut’s Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development. She was appointed to that position by Republican Governor Jodi Rell back in 2007. And there have been reports that incoming Democratic Governor Dan Malloy wasn’t going to keep her on the administration.
McDonald does have deep New York ties though. She served as Senior Vice President for Transportation at the New York City Economic Development Corporation. She is also the former Deputy Commissioner for Planning and Traffic Operations for New York City DOT.
Full press release, which was emailed out at 9:18am, is after the jump.
Jan 14th - 8:04 am
Despite the Arizona shooting, federal lawmakers appear less receptive than ever to passing stricter gun control laws.
Nine-year-old Chrisina Taylor Green was buried yesterday.
Her death appears to have struck a nerve with the normally reserved president, whose daughter, Sasha, was born three months before Christina.
NYC Public Advocate Bill de Blasio called for a boycott on Glock.
Staffers at the Tucson hospital where Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is recovering were fired after a security breach.
Giffords has been able to open both eyes, move both arms and legs and, with doctors’ help, sit up in bed.
Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand discussed seeing Giffords open her eyes for the first time with NBC’s Brian Williams.
Gillibrand, Giffords, and Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz are members of a fairly small club: Younger female members of Congress.
The RNC is scheduled to select a new chairperson today.
House Republicans are edging back to business as usual and will consider the repeal of the health care reform law next week.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo will tailor his State of the State speech to fit Watertown’s needs today.
Jan 13th - 6:30 pm
At the first of several public meetings designed to overhaul New York’s expensive Medicaid program, newly-appointed state Medicaid Director Jason Helgerson pledged that all groups impacted by Medicaid will have a seat at the table, not just the 27 member team. The team has been criticized because it has several hospital lobbyists and union leaders, leaving some to say they would not be inclined to enact reforms.
“Often times with a state as large as New York, with as many groups as there are, it’s very hard to determine who the right 25-28 people are for the committee,” said Helgerson.
“I understand that there are other groups that would love to be at this table. That’s why we’re going to go out and meet with any group that is interested in meeting. We’re going to sit down with them. We really, really take seriously the responsibility of reaching to the broadest set of stakeholders as we can.”
Helgerson says he’s optimistic the groups will set aside they’re own interests and embrace the collective interest of the state, which he says includes both trimming spending to address the state’s projected $10 billion budget gap as well as developing a plan to redesign the system to make it more sustainable in the long term.
Today’s gathering, which involved a free-for-all of ideas from each stakeholder at the table, is the first step in meeting a March 1st deadline set by the governor. Those proposals will then lay the ground work for a final report designed at overhauling the entire system. That report is due to Cuomo in November.
Jan 13th - 5:18 pm
Rep. Carolyn McCarthy has released the text of the ban on high-capacity magazines like the one that was used by Jared Loughner in the Arizona shooting and also in the 1993 LIRR massacre in which her husband was killed and her son seriously injured.
The bill will be introduced Tuesday. It closes a loophole in the previous assault weapons ban in which anyone could still sell or transfer a high-capacity magazine if the magazine was manufactured before the ban was enacted, McCarthy’s spokesman, Shams Tarek, explained.
In this bill, you cannot sell or transfer – but may possess – magazines manufactured before enactment.
“Just as we all celebrate and defend the First Amendment but also understand that practical limits must be in place, such as not shouting, ‘Fire’ in a crowded theater, so too should we be able to respect the second amendment while at the same time supporting commonsense regulations.”
“…The legislation that I will introduce will reduce the available supply of these large capacity magazines, making it more difficult for individuals to acquire them. Though it will remain impossible to estimate, I believe that the increased difficulty in obtaining these devices will reduce their use and ultimately save lives.”
Jan 13th - 4:45 pm
Only 29 percent of US adults think stronger gun control laws would help prevent shootings like last weekend’s Arizona tragedy.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to move forward with ex-Gov. David Paterson’s effort to collect taxes on cigarettes sold on Indian land.
Mayor Bloomberg said Sarah Palin isn’t to blame for the Arizona shooting.
A Tea Partier suggested Rep. Gabrielle Giffords should have beefed up her security.
Carl Paladino: “The Arizona atrocity is a local mental health failure, not a political problem.”
Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand like their colleague Mark Udall’s idea about bipartisan seating at the State of the Union.
Alan Chartock, who has been married for 40 years, is cool with the unconventional relationship between Cuomo and Sandra Lee.
Dan Collins muses on Cuomo I and Cuomo II.
The Times has reposted the Giffords-Kelly wedding announcement from December 2007.
State legislative leaders and advocates are bracing for SUNY/CUNY tuition hikes in Cuomo’s budget.
House Speaker John Boehner attended a fundraiser for RNC chair hopeful Maria Cino rather than join fellow leaders at the Arizona memorial service last night.
Sen. Greg Ball is soliciting cost-cuttting ideas from the public on a new Website called youcutalbany.com.
Medicaid Redesign Team member Assemblyman Richard Gottfried worries about cutting Medicaid.
A special election in the 23rd AD could present an opportunity for the GOP.
Unshackle Upstate released its 2011 policy agenda.
NJ Gov. Chris Christie dialed back his feud with former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Jan 13th - 3:45 pm
Following his recap of last week’s State of the State address in Jamestown today, Gov. Andrew Cuomo held a Q-and-A session with reporters, at which he was grilled on his communication (if any) with the pro-Cuomo Committee to Save NY and asked why that group doesn’t qualify as a special interest.
Cuomo dodged the question of whether he or any of his aides have been in contact with DKC, the firm of his good friend, Dan Klores, which is handling press for the business-funded committee, or any of the executives involved in the CSNY.
(That, of course, wouldn’t be legal, since independent committees are, by definition, supposed to act independently of the individual they’re trying to support).
“The Committee to Save New York is a group that is supportive of my position on the budget,” Cuomo said.
“I don’t believe they’re supportive of all my positions, but on the budget they are. I encourage people to join that group. I encouraged people today to speak up.”
“The special interests have had the loudest voice for too long. So, I encourage participation by people. I encourage participation by other groups to make their voice heard. It can’t just be a one-sided dialogue where the special interests who have a financial incentives are the only ones that speak.”
“… It can’t be a closed room with only one voice and the special intererst dominating the conversation and the special interests who have billions of dollars at stake spending millions of dollars in TV commercials to win the budget battle. That has to change.”
Asked how it is that the committee, which is being funded primarily by the real estate industry (we don’t known exactly who has contributed toward its $10 million fundraising goal because they’re not legally obligated to make that public), isn’t a special interest itself, Cuomo dodged again.
He said he expects he and the CSNY principles won’t see eye-to-eye on everything. He specifically mentioned rent control – a big issue for REBNY, and one the governor hasn’t taken a specific position on yet.
UPDATE1 and 2: As per the comment…please see after the jump.
Jan 13th - 2:40 pm
Sarah Palin, who has drawn fire from Jewish leaders for her use of the phrase “blood libel” while defending herself against claims that she contributed to the overchagred atmosphere that led to the Arizona shooting, is receiving support from some prominent Jewish New Yorkers.
Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch took to Twitter to defend Palin, calling her choice of words “appropriate,” and saying she is “smarter than critics who denounce her for defending herself from false charges.”
Koch is not only Jewish and a self-professed liberal (althoguh some might disagree with that, considering his history of crossing the aisle to endorse Republicans and Hawkish outlook when it comes to Israel), but he also once called Palin “scary.”
Assemblyman Dov Hikind, an Orthodox Jew and Brooklyn Democrat, issued a statement in support of Palin, saying:
“As someone whose grandparents were slaughtered in the Holocaust; whose parents survived the horrors of Auschwitz; and as the Assembly representative of the largest contingency of Holocaust survivors, I resent the recent attacks on Sarah Palin for her use of the term ‘blood libel’ in defense of accusations lobbed against her by those wishing to lay blame for the tragic shooting in Tucson, Arizona.
“This is nothing more than an attempt to vilify and malign her, and I am not a Palin supporter. I would argue that those who continue to demonize her are themselves engaging in a blood libel.”
Jan 13th - 2:18 pm
NYS Police Col. Tom Fazio more or less declined to comment earlier today when pressed on the reported $600,000 worth of pay raises awarded top brass by former Gov. David Paterson shortly before he left office.
Well, because the governor said he was going to be looking into the matter, I will reserve my comments on this two-year old issue,” Fazio told reporters during an unrelated press conference at the LOB earlier today.
“But he will look at it and he will get to the bottom of it, and make a decision about whether or not it was appropriate or inappropriate.”
“…What I’m doing is deferring to the governor because he’s my boss, and he said he’s going to look into it. So, as a matter of rank, I’ll let him make the comments on it. And he said he’s going to look into it, and so in the end he’s going to make a determination.”
According to a handy chart provided to Politics on the Hudson by the state comptroller’s office, Fazio was one of 21 officials to receive the raises. His salary went from $159,382 to $179,756 as a result of the increase.
Cuomo said yesterday that he was “surprised and shocked” by the NY Post’s report on the raises and would be reviewing them as part of the budget process. He did not, however, immediately commit to rolling back the increases.