Kriss To The Post

Today is Erik Kriss’s first day at The New York Post’s Capitol bureau.

Kriss was the bureau chief for the Syracuse Post-Standard (back when the P-S had a bureau in Albany) and then moved to the dark side, becoming a spokesman for the Department of Correctional Services and later the Division of Budget.

State Editor Fred Dicker said Kriss will be running The Post’s day-to-day coverage at The Capitol. He replaces the ever-deligent (and Jimmy Vielkind doppleganger) Brendan Scott, who took a job in Hong Kong.

Though he became a PR guy, Kriss never forgot what it was like to be a reporter and remained a helpful, informative source of information.

Welcome back to the LCA, Erik!

Here And Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Westchester County and NYC with no public schedule.

Mayor Bloomberg, joined by Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs and Health Commissioner Thomas Farley, will announce “key findings” about NYC’s restaurant grading system at 10:30 a.m. at Sparks Deli in Queens. (28-31 Borden Avenue between 27th and 29th Streets).

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver joins MTA, community and NYC elected officials to open the new William Street entrance to Fulton Street subway complex at 1 p.m.

All eyes will again be on Washington today as House leaders whip votes for the debt ceiling deal announced last night.

Conservatives are unlikely to go for the agreement, which means Democrats are crucial to its passage.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was noncommittal last night. Chris Cillizza explains why.

More headlines…

The Nassau Coliseum referendum is today.

The DN urges voters to reject the “cockamamie” scheme to replace it by borrowing $400 million that is being pushed by County Executive Ed Mangano.

Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle is “seeing the writing on the wall” about her district being eliminated in 2012, and is reaching out, ramping up her fundraising in hopes of saving herself. Democrats think they can defeat her the old-fashioned way – at the ballot box.

Rep. Gary Ackerman, whose Queens district is potentially vulnerable to elimination, thinks the “Weiner option” – killing NY-9 and an upstate GOP seat – is the best solution to NY’s two-seat loss problem.

Cuomo hired Joe Rabito, a former top aide to his close ally, Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings, to be No. 2 at OGS after the IG quietly cleared him of charges he put politics before public service. A federal lawsuit continues to push that allegation.

State Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs signed a likely lucrative contract with Hess Corp. to drill at one of the summer camps he owns on the NY/Pennsylvania border.

More >

The Weekend That Was

We may (finally!) have a debt deal in the works.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is on board with a debt-reduction deal, but defense cuts remain up in the air.

The WSJ is live-blogging the details as they trickle out.

Polls show neither the right or the left will be thrilled by the potential deal.

Obama reached out to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to try to get a deal.

NYC’s House Democrats were deeply involved in the call for Obama to invoke his 14th Amendment powers and unilaterally raise the debt ceiling.

Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch, who wrote “Giuliani: Nasty Man,” said he would consider crossing party lines yet again and endorsing “modern Republican” Giuliani over Obama in 2012.

Koch’s comments came during an interview on AM 970, The Apple Saturday morning.

Todd Clausen laments about the lack of young professionals on Cuomo’s Rochester-area economic development council: “(I)t’s missing a youthful voice and someone who hasn’t been boxed in by years of traditional thinking, politics or dinosaur concepts.”

The Poughkeepsie Journal reminds Mid-Hudson council members that there’s “no solution for overnight success here.” More >

King Hopes For Debt Deal ‘By Monday At The Latest’

Rep. Pete King sent out this video just afternoon today. In it, the Long Island Republican says he’s hoping for a debt deal tomorrow or Monday “at the latest.”

“Hopefully this will resolve in the next 48 hours,” said the congressman, who pledged to stay in touch with his constituents via YouTube.

The deadline is Tuesday, as you know. So, it seems like this could come down to the wire. Veteran Albany watchers are used to this sort of thing.

Perhaps that’s why Gov. Andrew Cuomo was so thoroughly convinced Congress and the White House won’t let the country default for the first time in its history – so convinced, in fact, that he’s not bothering to make contingency plans for the state in case his gut is wrong on this one.

Other governors are not nearly as confident in the deal-making abilities of our nation’s leaders. Massachusetts, for example, is making plans – just in case.

Obama Again Urges Compromise To Clean Up ‘Mess’

President Obama used his weekly address to again call for a debt ceiling deal as the deadlock continues down in D.C. and the Tuesday deadline looms ever closer.

“Democrats in Congress and some Senate Republicans have been listening and have shown themselves willing to make compromises to solve this crisis,” Obama said.

“Now all of us – including Republicans in the House of Representatives – need to demonstrate the same kind of responsibility.”

Obama scolded House Republicans for spending “precious days” hammering out the deal the Tea Party freshmen could support. The proposal retooled by House Speaker John Boehner was rejected by the White House and the Senate Democrats long before it passed last night along party lines – 218-210.

The House Republicans are planning to return the favor to the Senate Democrats by rejecting Majority Leader Harry Reid’s plan – the one Obama likes – in a symbolic vote today.

The president said Boehner’s plan would hold the economy “captive to Washington politics” because it requires another vote in just a few months – one that would be tied to a balanced budget amendment.

Obama didn’t specifically call out the Tea Party, but did allude it, saying members of Congress have a responsibility to come up with a bipartisan plan that everyone can live with, “not just one faction of one party.”

He insisted there are “multiple ways” to break the logjam, noting the two sides aren’t terribly far apart on the dollar amount in spending they want to cut.

The Republican response was delivered by Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona, who said the GOP has tried its best to come up with a deal everyone can live with, adding that the Democrats “need to work with us.”

Kyl also noted the financial troubles that have beset several EU counties and accused Obama of being interested in a “European” style of big government that the US can’t afford.

Weekend Open Thread

The debt deadline is Tuesday. Still no deal (as of this morning). Enough said.

Be well.


President Obama’s approval rating has hit 40 percent for the first time ever in a Gallup poll.

Obama hasn’t slept in recent nights due to the looming debt crisis, according to a senior administration official.

Potential electoral fallout from the debtpocaplypse.

NYC Comptroller John Liu released an advisory outlining default impacts on NYC, estimates $1.1 billion a month in Social Security benefits would be denied city residents.

Westchester County is the only government in NY whose Aaa bond rating is at risk of a downgrade by Moody’s if the Aug. 2 deadline isn’t met.

A White House list of local elected officials nationwide calling for a debt ceiling compromise includes Bloomberg and state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, but not Cuomo.

Rep. Bill Owens anticipates this stalemate will continue through the weekend. “I think if it’s going to break, it’s going to break Sunday night.”

Rep. Pete King is in House Speaker John Boehner’s corner.

NARAL deems all the would-be 2012 GOP presidential contenders unacceptable. (Surprise).

Mayor Bloomberg announced plans for commemorating the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11. President Obama and former President Bush will both participate, as will former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Gov. George Pataki.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed land bank legislation into law.

He also signed bills extending a slew of county sales taxes.

Sen. Greg Ball, who obviously missed the “Senate GOP loves Cuomo” memo, deemed the governor’s economic development councils a “power play.”

Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano has hired two former Senate GOP staffers – Abe Lackman and John McArdle – to advise him on budgetary matters.

Rasmussen: House Speaker John Boehner’s favorables are up slightly, but his unfavorables are at their highest level so far this year.

Bob Turner, 2.0.

Maybe losing that CNN show was the best thing for Eliot Spitzer?

Scerets of First Ladies past and present.

Bloomberg teams up with the Sierra Club’s executive director to take on coal.

A blogger who wrote about Senate Minority Leader John Sampson declined to say he was paid by John Sampson’s campaign committee.

AG Eric Schneiderman is crusading to restore Americans’ faith in mortgages.

The way the state calculates sick leave credits would change under the contract Cuomo negotiated with PEF.

David Hyde Pierce: McDonald’s SSM Vote Was ‘Extraordinary’

Actor David Hyde Pierce, who’s in his native Saratoga Springs to make his SPAC debut (with the Philadelphia Orchestra) this evening, explained to reporters earlier today why he decided to contribute to Sen. Roy McDonald after last month’s gay marriage vote.

Pierce married his partner, Brian Hargrove, in California in 2008 during the brief window when same-sex marriage was legal in the Golden State.

Both Pierce and Hargrove gave McDonald $5,000 after he crossed the aisle and voted “yes” on the gay marriage bill along with three fellow Republicans. Their support, combined with 29 of the 30 Democratic votes in the chamber, enabled Gov. Andrew Cuomo to claim victory in his quest to see New York became the largest state in the nation to let same-sex couples legally wed.

“The fact that Senator McDonald, especially because…the Republican Party has not been particularly behind us in this state, it was very courageous of him,” Pierce said.

“And he did it because he thought it was the right thing to do. And forget this particular issue, the idea of a representative doing the right thing is so extraordinary that we thought it deserved support.”

(Thanks to YNN’s Vince Gallagher for this video).

Dilan Knocks Senate GOP On Prison Count

Sen. Martin Dilan, D-Brooklyn, is blasting the Senate GOP for what his statement calls “stonewalling” on following the prison-counting law passed in 2010.

Dilan, the Senate Democrats’ representative on the commission that is charged with redrawing legislative boundaries, known as LATFOR, claimed that Republicans are ignoring public opinion when it comes to dealing with the redistricting process.

“There is absolutely no reason, excuse or legal reason for the majority’s defiance of state law,” Dilan said in a statement. “LATFOR has the resources, time and legal obligation to comply with the law.”

New district lines for federal, state and local offices must be done every 10 years based on fresh census data. The process has been derided by good-government types as a means of keeping incumbents in power.

The lawmaker-driven LATFOR is moving forward with not taking into account the population of prisoners were they last lived, a provision that was inserted into the 2009 budget.

Some Senate Republicans — those with prisons in their districts who stand the most to lose if the law is recognized — are suing to overturn the law.

But good-government groups have sided with Democrats in saying they oppose any process that counts prisoners in the facility they reside in, not their last known address. New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice sent a letter this week urging LATFOR to follow the 2009 law.

Cuomo has vowed to veto any lines not drawn by what he deems to be an independent panel, possibly making the whole argument moot.

Cuomo Unveils Chairmen of the Board

In what I’m nick-naming the Sinatra Committee (chairman of board, yagetit?), Gov. Andrew Cuomo today unveiled a super committee of economic-development chiefs to oversee the 10 regional economic development councils.

The 13-member Chairman’s Committee for the Regional Economic Development Councils, will be charged mainly with facilitating the concerns of and coordinating with the regional groups and resolve intra-regional differences.

The committee will be chaired by Lt. Gov. Bob Duffy.

“I am proud to be leading the Chairman’s Committee and I look forward to implementing Governor Cuomo’s vision for economic development across our state,” Duffy said in a statement. “This committee will offer support and guidance to the Regional Councils as they focus on revitalizing their local economies. All Councils, and all regions of our state, will benefit from our coordination and cooperation.”

The committees that Cuomo and Duffy have been rolling out all week are meant to compete with one another to develop job-creation ideas in order to obtain a piece of a $1 billion pie. Cuomo has said the system is based on the federal model of competitive grants for states.

The Sinatra Committee is composed of members from labor, public and private higher ed, agriculture and business lobyists, as well as CEOs like Kodak’s Antonio Perez. In other words, the committee has a lot of competing and varying interests, which, in Cuomo’s overarching strategy of commissions and panels, isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Recall that Perez was put in charge of Cuomo’s SAGE commission, whose activities are expected to ramp up later this year.

A full list of the committee is after the jump.

More >