Feb 18th - 5:03 pm
The feds have officially rejected the Catskills casino, negotiated by former Gov. David Paterson and the Stockbridge-Munsee tribe.
State GOP officials are again considering changing the winner-take-all primary system to one that would require the 2012 presidential candidates to compete for delegates.
NYSUT will soon be hitting the airwaves with an ad that calls for the extension of the millionaire’s tax.
One of the proposals being considered by the Medicaid redesign team would impose a $750 million charge on hospitals and nursing homes over two years.
Former Larchmont Mayor Liz Feld takes the president to task for weighing on the Wisconsin feud over collective bargaining rights.
More than 1,000 teachers rallied against education aid cuts on Long Island.
The NRA is sounding the alarm about microstamping legislation that has been reintroduced in Albany.
Sen. Diane Savino deemed Sen. Liz Krueger’s “spiel” about the IDC and their lulus “intellectually dishonest.”
Eliot Spitzer indulges his love of NASCAR.
Learn about the logistics behind a presidential visit.
Rep. Carolyn McCarthy’s ban on high-capacity magazines is gaining momentum.
NYC Councilman Robert Jackson is seeking clarification from LG Bob Duffy.
Rudy Giuliani is headed to New Hampshire next month.
Facebook hired a GOP operative.
Sen. Dan Squadron is hosting a community convention.
Even as the governor confronts next year’s budget gap, the current fiscal year remains a concern, says state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.
AG Eric Schneiderman settled with Pharmacia.
State Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs attacked Sarah Palin for attacking First Lady Michelle Obama on breastfeeding.
New York will receive an increase in anti-terrorism funds.
More Cuomo-as-Christie comparison.
Feb 18th - 5:00 pm
LoHud reports that embattled White Plains Mayor Adam Bradley is expected to announce his resignation within moments.
From the report:
Bradley has been at the center of controversy throughout his first year in office, after he was arrested twice for domestic violence charges and was convicted of five misdemeanors and violations in December.
He has also been the subject of a city ethics probe, with the Ethiucs Board reviewing any potential conflict of interest he had with a former landlord.
The city Ethics Board met yesterday regarding Bradley.
There’s a 5 p.m. press conference.
There have been multiple calls for Bradley’s resignation – some of which are coming from his erstwhile allies – since his conviction. Until now, (apparently), has has been steadfast in his resolution to remain in office.
Feb 18th - 3:21 pm
The Senate Democrats put together this handy and rather telling spreadsheet that illustrates the allocation of voters among the 62 districts the last time the Legislature redrew is own lines using the current – determinedly partisan – process.
If Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s redistricting reform bill somehow became law tomorrow, all but nine of the Senate districts would fail to comply with the one percent standard of devision his legislation establishes.
That’s not terribly surprisingly, since the current standard is +/- 5 percent of the target 306,000 people per district.
But if you look at the numbers below, you’ll notice that all nine of the Long Island districts are darn close to Cuomo’s 1 percent, while those in the more Democrat-heavy borough of Queens are all over 4 percent.
Basically, the Senate Republicans (who controlled the redistricting process the last time around) appear to have overpopulated Democrat-heavy districts while underpopulating GOP-held districts in order to maximize their sphere of influence.
Senate Democratic spokesman Austin Shafran noted that the Democrats received some 240,000 more votes than the Republicans in the November 2010 election – a point they’ve been hitting often as they push for redistricting reform – despite the fact that the GOP accounts for just under 25 percent of registered New York voters.
“Only way a 25 percent party received nearly a quarter of a million fewer votes than their opposition and stay in power is through the selective and hyper-partisan drawing of lines,” Shafran said.
“This fundamentally turns the notion of one person one vote on its head and that’s a democratic principle protected by the 14th Amendment.”
Feb 18th - 2:00 pm
A second upstate school districts has taken steps to voluntarily freeze salaries for administrators. The first school was Bethlehem School District outside Albany. Now, the West Genesee School District outside Syracuse has also taken steps to freeze salaries. In a statement, Governor Cuomo praised the decision.
“I commend the administrators and faculty of the West Genesee School District who have taken a voluntary salary freeze. These are the type of tough but smart decisions school districts across New York should be making. West Genesee clearly understands the economic pressures we are facing and other school districts should follow this example.”
In the past week Cuomo has been trying to re-frame the education budget debate, arguing that his $2.8 billion in proposed cuts over the next fiscal year can be achieved through reducing bureaucracy and without hurting students.
Feb 18th - 12:58 pm
Former Gov. David Paterson is rooting for his old boss, Eliot Spitzer, to succeed on CNN, but just in case the whole TV host thing doesn’t work out for him, Paterson wants to make one thing clear: He’s available.
“He hasn’t invited me on (his) show, but I do talk to him from time to time,” Paterson told Don Imus on Fox Business Network. “I thought he should have invited me on his show.”
“…I think the show’s very good. He’s very bright. He’s glib. He has an opinion on everything and he expresses it well. He does a very good show. If it doesn’t work out, I’m always there to take his place.”
Paterson also reiterated that he believes his successor, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is “doing great,” adding:
“I think it’s the legislators who are crying for a change, not the governor, because has made it very clear what we need to do to get this economy back on track and he is doing the business of the people.”
Feb 18th - 12:45 pm
As per the Post’s Dave Seifman and the NYT’s John Eligon, here’s the paperwork from Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr.’s effort to get the state Independence Party to cough up the $1.1 million Mayor Bloomberg personally contributed to its housekeeping account in 2009.
Essentially, the DA accuses Indy leaders of being complicit in the alleged theft of Bloomberg’s money by GOP operative John Haggerty, who is fighting that charge. (The case is due back in court on March 14; Haggerty’s attorney, former AG Dennis Vacco, is seeking to have the matter dismissed).
Vance has reportedly frozen all party bank accounts in preparation for seizing its assets. State Indy Chairman Frank MacKay told Seifman he’s anxious to tell his side of the story during a March 8 show-cause hearing, insisting the party has done nothing wrong.
The WSJ’s Michael Howard Saul reported last December that the Indys had tried to give back Bloomberg’s $1.1 million, but the mayor refused to take the money at Vance’s request.
The DA said he would prefer that the cash be turned over to his office, although in the long run, cash taken by forfeiture is legally required to be returned to the wronged party.
Feb 18th - 12:21 pm
Apparently, there’s going to be a little excitement at caucus weekend.
NYC Councilman Robert Jackson, who chairs the Council Education Committee and is an original plaintiff in the CFE case, is going to lead a protest Saturday against record setting education aid cuts proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the rollback of the settlement payout.
Jackson and a host of like-minded advocates will march from the Empire State Plaza to the Executive Mansion and back. I imagine there will be lots of chanting and signs.
It’s unclear, however, if the governor will be around to hear this public display of disappointment. He is expected to attend the caucus weekend, but his press office has not yet released his formal schedule.
Last year, Cuomo made an appearance at the closing black-tie gala on Sunday night, which caused a lot of political intrigue since he sat at the head table with then-Gov. David Paterson at a time when it appeared the two were headed for a potentially bruising and racially-charged primary.
Feb 18th - 11:38 am
Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb told me on CapTon last night that his staff has identifed some unspecified “flaws” in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s redistricting reform bill, which might spur his conference to propose amendments – or even an entirely new piece of legislation.
Kolb, along with Senate Minority Leader John Sampson and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, signed former NYC Mayor Ed Koch’s reform pledge last fall, agreeing to co-sponsor independent redistricting commission legislation by March 1.
The leader said he remains supportive of the concept of redistricting reform, but insisted there “can’t be any even slight advantage to anybody.” He is so far unconvinced that Cuomo’s bill accomplishes that.
“We believe there might even be a problem constitutionally on the equal protection clause, in terms of fair representation, the demographics about upstate, downstate, you know, the island and all that enters into pla,” Kolb said.
“I’ve been at the forefront of saying: Nonpartisan independent redistricting…If we’re not there on this bill, we’ll have our own bill that is a better bill if we think this bill is flawed.”
“It’s not just about the pledge. It’s the pledge that we think would make better government. If we end up modifying or amending the governor’s bill to make it really a good bill I have no problems supporting the governor’s bill with amendments. If he’s not willing to amend his bill, that’s when we’ll come up with our own suggestions.”
Feb 18th - 9:48 am
Although it appears NY-26 GOP leaders are coalesing around Assemblywoman Jane Corwin to run for former Rep. Chris Lee’s seat, Iraq War veterans are lobbying on behalf of another would-be candidate: David Bellavia.
Kieran Michael Lalor, founder of the Iraq Veterans for Congress PAC, send a fundraising appeal this week on Bellavia’s behalf, calling him “the real deal” and “an authentic hero,” noting he was nominated for the Medal of Honor and Distinguisehed Service Cross and was awarded the Silver Star for his actions during the Second Battle for Fallujah.
Bellavia also received the Bronze Star, three Army Commendation Medals and two Army Achievement Medals, Lalor said.
“As a decorated veteran, David Bellavia has demonstrated selfless service to country. As a principled conservative he is right on the issues,” Lalor wrote.
“The special election will be held in just a few weeks and we need to make sure that this dynamic and honorable man has the resources he needs to win.”
Lalor himself ran for Congress in 2008. He lost that year to Democratic incumbent Rep. John Hall, who was toppled this year by Republican Rep. Nan Hayworth.
The NY-26 Republicans have set up a screening process to select a candidate for the yet-to-be-called special election. The final interviews will take place this Sunday.
According to the Lockport Journal, the GOP leaders extended an invitation to Bellavia to interview. Others who will be screened include: Corwin and Amherst Town Supervisor Barry Weinstein.
Feb 18th - 9:28 am
Assembylman Dick Gottfried, who is serving on the Medicaid redesign team, told me last night that entity is unlikely to meet Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s March 1 deadline of cutting $2.85 billion from next year’s budget, which means the health commissioner would be empowered to make those reductions himself.
“I do not believe we will be able to come up with $2.85 billion in savings that can be realized this year,” the Manhattan Democrat told me.
“…As long as the state’s political process is committed to no new taxes, which is again not my view, then I think we are inevitably headed to significant and not very good – very bad – cuts in Medicaid reimbursement to providers, which in many instances will mean community-based providers that will be suffering real losses.”
Gottfried told me he thinks the Medicaid team, which is reviewing some 49 cost-cutting proposals, might be able to come up with $2.85 billion worth of savings in the long term.
But Cuomo’s budget relies on some $4 billion worth of savings – including the Medicaid reduction – in the next fiscal year.
As the WSJ’s Jacob Gershman noted this morning, Cuomo is moving to expand the powers of the executive branch far beyond that of his predecessors. The Legislature is able to increase, strike or decrease numbers in Cuomo’s budget, but it isn’t able to amend language, which means they have to negotiate with the governor to get him to amend things like giving the DOH commissioner unilateral control to cut Medicaid spending.