Jan 12th - 8:08 am
SNOW!!! (The Times describes it as a “giant, amoeba-shaped” storm).
NYC public schools are open. (Sorry kids).
Some parents felt the Bloomberg administration/DOE took too long to make the school closing call.
Mayor Bloomberg took no chances this time and declared a snow-related weather emergency long before the first flakes fell.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo learned from Bloomberg’s mistakes and moved quickly to address the storm.
This is Bloomberg’s shot at redemption.
The federal government is suing NYC for overbilling Medicaid by “at least tens of millions of dollars.”
Cuomo recruited a former top Wisconsin health official to be his point man for overhauling Medicaid here in New York, but Wisconsin’s efforts didn’t result in savings.
Twenty-eight top State Police officials got raises worth almost $600,000 during the final days of the Paterson administration even as the former governor cut some 900 state worker jobs. But they won’t be keeping those increases.
Judges aren’t happy with the independent commission created to review their salary increases and want to form a union-like organization – an unusual and unprecedented move.
Sen. George Maziarz predicts the renegade independent Democratic conference members will eventually get committees to chair.
Jan 11th - 5:57 pm
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has pledged to get out of the “beltway” of Albany and make his cost-cutting case directly to New Yorkers, is poised to hit the road later this week in an (aptly named) “Take it to the People Tour.”
Sources familiar with the governor’s plan say he’s expected to start out in Jamestown (which a reader described as “last outpost in New York before you reach the wild, wild, west”), on Thursday morning, (Jan. 13).
Cuomo is scheduled to speak some time between 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. at Robert H. Jackson Center.
Jackson was the chief prosecutor at Nuremburg and a US Supreme Court Justice. The Jackson Center is the only facility in the US commemorating the service of a member of the nation’s highest court. Its board of directors is charied by former LG Stan Lundine, who served with Cuomo’s father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo.
Cuomo is expected to deliver a modified version of his State of the State speech, and the entire event will take about an hour. The governor is also believed to be planning a stop in Watertown, but it’s not clear if that’s going to be on the same day.
This approach is sort of a modified version of something former Gov. Eliot Spitzer did in 2008 when he delivered two State of the State addresses – one in Albany and another upstate (in Buffalo).
Jan 11th - 5:14 pm
Rep. Gabby Giffords is breathing on her own, and her doctor says she has a “101 percent chance” of survival.
Roger Ailes reveals to Russell Simmons that he has told Fox News’ anchors to “shut up, tone it down.”
Bloomberg on the latest snow event: “We recognize that we did not do the job that New Yorkers rightly expect of us in the last storm. We intend to make sure that does not happen again.”
This time, it’s an emergency.
Bloomberg has tire chains on one of his official Suburbans.
Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith is sorry.
Bloomberg insists he’s in charge no matter where he is – even if he’s out of the country.
State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is going against type.
Strangest confluence of special interests…perhaps ever?
Park attendance is up.
Rep. Pete King’s 1,000-foot gun ban is just, well, impossible to enforce. And a little silly.
AQE started an e-mail campaign to alert the governor against “devastating” budget cuts.
Lobbyists lament having to stand in line to access the Capitol just like some average citizen…the nerve!
Hillary Clinton has not changed her position on gay marriage.
MMA fans are out to prove they are “average, everyday people” and not “meatheads.”
“Client 9″ director Alex Gibney on Ashley Dupre’s role in the Eliot Spitzer scandal: “She’s got big breasts. She likes to have her picture taken. It’s all good…Turns out she was a bit player.”
Jan 11th - 4:36 pm
Here’s Rep. Peter King earlier today at a Mayors Against Illgeal Guns press conference with his longtime ally and the organization’s founder, Mayor Bloomberg, calling for something rather unusual, coming from a GOP elected official: A gun ban.
The Long Island lawmaker called the Arizona shooting “a bitter attack against democracy, not just against Congresswoman Giffords herself, but against the whole system and against her constituents,” adding:
“I’ll be introducing in the next several weeks legislation which would make it a federal crime to carry a weapon within 1,000 feet, that is attended by the president, the vice president, members of the Senate, members of the House of Representatives, cabinet officials – including the CIA director – as well as federal judges.”
King insisted the intent behind this ban is not to create a special class of citizens afforded additional protection because they’re public officials, but rather “to protect the public and the staff members and innocent bystanders” who attend events with politicians who might be targets.
Jan 11th - 3:23 pm
An extremely sharp-eyed reader caught a very unfortunate – yet extremely pertinent – typo in the press release this afternoon announcing the Senate Democrats’ leadership and ranking committee posts.
The quote is attributed to Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson, the Democratic conference chairwoman, who said:
“I am delighted to be a part of a conference that appreciates its diversity, regionally, ethically, racially, economically and politically.”
“Last year we made significant legislative progress, passing no-fault divorce, new protections for victims of domestic violence, and guaranteeing equal access to legal defense for those otherwise not in a position financially to protect themselves. I am very confident we will continue to make great strides this year.”
(I added the boldface type for emphasis).
I’m fairly certain the word whoever wrote this intended to use was “ethnically” – with an “n” – but unfortunately, that one little letter makes a world of difference, particularly when you consider the AEG scandal that played a large role in the Democrats’ loss of the majority.
Jan 11th - 2:49 pm
During a CapTon interview last night, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. John DeFrancisco shot down the suggestion the GOP might be open to reauthorize the so-called millionarie’s tax under the pretense that to do so would not technically be breaking the “no new taxes pledge.”
“There’s no way the Senate Republicans, in my mind, are going to reauthorize the millionaire’s tax. I just don’t see it happening,” the senator told me.
“We’ve pledged no new taxes and I’m sure that that pledge is going to be honored. We want to be consistent, especially when we have a partner with the governor on that issue, why would be back off of that pledge?”
During a Q-and-A with reporters outside his office yesterday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo reiterated his opposition to continuing the millionaire’s tax past its sunset date at the end of the year, which is something members of the labor community and select Assembly Democrats (albeit not all of them) have been pushing.
Jan 11th - 2:10 pm
Senate Minority Leader John Sampson released the full list of his ranking committee and leadership assignments today, revealing he is moving to shore up his support with three key constituencies within the conference: Hispanics, women and upstaters.
As has been reported (H/T CapCon), Sen. Neil Breslin is Sampson’s new No. 2, replacing Sen. Jeff Klein, who stepped down from the post and then promptly bolted the conference, taking three fellow caucasian conservatives with him.
So, that takes care of the upstaters (not that Sampson had much choice in the matter since the only other true upstater is Sen. Tim Kennedy, and he’s a little new to be elevated to leadership).
I’ve already written about the new roles for Hispanic members of the conference, one of whom, Sen. Jose Peralta, bumped Sen. Kevin Parker from the position as whip.
Parker is the ranker on the Energy Committee (recall that he lost his chairmanship and leadership post after he was indicted on assault charges and was later found guilty of two misdemeanors).
A number of women are now in leadership roles, including: Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson (conference chair), Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins (leader for conference operations), Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky (vice conference chair), Sen. Velmanette Montgomery (assistant Democratic whip), and Sen. Shirley Huntley (assistant Democratic leader for Intergovernmental Affairs).
Sen. Liz Krueger, who was speculated to be in line to replace Klein as the deputy Democratic leader, is ranking member on the Civil Service & Pensions and Social Services committees.
She no longer has a titled position on the Finance Committee, which she once vice chaired. Sen. Carl Kruger, who was the chariman, is the ranker. (Just to be clear, Krueger is still on the Finance Committee, but she’s not the ranker).
Sen. Malcolm Smith, who was the Senate President – a title he retained, but was stripped of almost all power following the ’09 coup – is secretary of the Democratic conference and ranker on Banks.
Jan 11th - 1:50 pm
Rep. Louise Slaughter told reporters yesterday that elected officials “know the risk” their jobs carry, and then launched into a recollection of periods in her own political career when she was the target of threats.
The WNY Democrat remembered back when she was chairing the Public Safety Committee as a county legislator and dealing with what she called “mob battles” (she didn’t go into detail).
“They gave me a mirror and a stick to show me how to check underneath my car in the morning,” the congresswoman said.
“So, I understand what goes with this job. But it shouldn’t have gotten to this extent, where concealed weapons can just take you out.”
(Recall also that the congresswoman – or rather, her district office – was the target of an attack during the health care reform debate. She had a brick thrown through her office window).
Slaughter, like so many of her colleagues, said she hopes the Arizona shooting spurs Democrats and Republicans to get together and “really talk about what we can do to cool down this country.”
She also says that discussion should include what people hear on the “airwaves,” adding that she really “resents” some of what she hears on talk radio.
Jan 11th - 1:21 pm
As the Senate Republicans prepare to take another crack at reforming the rules governing how the chamber is run, Sen. Dan Squadron sent a memo earlier today to his colleagues urging them to maintain the changes made following the ’09 coup and suggesting some additional changes.
Some of the Brooklyn Democrat’s proposals – equal division of all office resources, for example – are highly unlikely to fly with the newly-re-empowered Senate GOP.
Others, like reform of the member item process, have a better shot – if for no other reason than it’s unclear whether there will even BE member items this year, thanks to the $10 billion budget deficit. How hard could it be to overhaul the rules on something you’re not even going to get?
Plus, in the wake of the NYC Council slush fund scandal and former Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr.’s corruption mess, most people agree more member item oversight is a good idea.
Sen. John Bonacic and several of his GOP colleagues have been tapped by Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos to come up with a set of new Senate rules by Jan. 18 when the changes are expected to be formally adopted.
Bonacic, who has been advocating for a more equitable chamber for some time, told me during a CapTon interview last night that he expects it will take some time to convince his majority colleagues to get fully on board.
Jan 11th - 1:01 pm
Determined not to repeat the mistakes of Mayor Bloomberg and, to a lesser extent, his predecessor, former Gov. David Paterson, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is taking pre-emptive steps to prepare for the snow storm baring down on NYS.
Cuomo announced he has directed the state Office of Emergency Management to activate the Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan and open the State Emergency Operations Center to ensure resources and equipment from relevant agencies are ready to clear the roads and respond to storm-related issues.
“With weather forecasts calling for a significant snow event across large portions of the state we have taken steps to mobilize and coordinate our response with the appropriate state agencies in order to ensure a safe and timely clean-up,” Cuomo said in a press release.
“I urge all drivers to use caution on our roadways and to be courteous and careful when in proximity to snow plows and salt trucks.”
Cuomo’s office has been coordinating response efforts with relevant agencies and authorities including: DOT, the State Police, the Thruway Authority, the Public Service Commission, LIPA, New York Power Authority, SEMO, the Port Authority, the Division of Military and Naval Affairs, and local highway departments.
A long list of numbers – from DOT trucks standing by throughout the state to power company workers at the ready – appears after the jump.
Bloomberg has been taking a steady lambasting since his administration’s botched response to the Christmas weekend blizzard. (The latest: The mayor was apparently in Bermuda when the storm hit and arrived home belatedly to deal with the fallout).
This storm – the third in less than three weeks to hit NYC – will allow the Bloomberg administration a chance to redeem itself. It’s supposed to be another biggie (recall that the last one was pretty much a bust, and the over-the-top response from City Hall amounted to shooting a flea with a bazooka).
Heading into a difficult budget battle, the last thing Cuomo needs is a screw-up on something as basic as snow removal that costs him to lose face with the public and see his approval rating drop the way Bloomberg’s has.