Stewart Weighs In On NY-9

Jon Stewart weighed in on the ninth congressional district victory last night, the first time he’s done so since his former roommate Anthony Weiner resigned in a sexting scandal.

Stewart expressed shock the former Mayor Ed Koch endorsed Republican Bob Turner over David Weprin, though he has a history of crossing party lines.

And he mocked the celebrity endorsement of Sha Na Na’s Jon “Bowzer” Bauman for Weprin.

“Ask your parents,” Stewart said to the Gen-Y crowd, “to ask their parents.”

Reed: No Worries On Redistricting

U.S. Rep. Tom Reed isn’t concerned that the upset election of Republican Bob Turner in the ninth congressional district will mean he faces the possible elimination or consolidation of his district next year.

New York is expected to lose two seats in the coming round of redistricting and speculation has focused that the NY-9 will be erased, while an upstate district will be eliminated as well.

And with so many relatively new House members in western and central New York, two newbie members could either be pitted against each other or in an election against a longtime representative who is well-known and well-funded.

But unlike his neighbors that include Democrat Kathy Hochul and Ann Marie Buerkle, Reed has slightly more tenure — albeit barely. He won a special election to replace Eric Massa in 2009 and then won a full term outright in 2010.

Interviewed on The Capitol Pressroom earlier today, the Republican praised Turner’s win in the heavily Democratic district, but said he didn’t expect it to be a harbinger of his district’s demise.

“At the end of the day, I think we’ll be just fine, keep working hard and let the people decide in November,” he said.

Asked if he’s been to Albany to lobby the redistricting issue, Reed said he had, but also talked to state lawmakers on a variet of issues.

“We’ve been up and talking with the state Senate leaders and the Assembly, not just on redistricting,” he said. “We’ve been in Albany many times for many different reasons.”

‘Not Something We’re Used To Doing In New York’

Rep. Pete King just Tweeted a video of himself introducing the newest member of New York’s congressional delegation, Rep. Bob Turner, shortly after his swearing in on the floor of the House this morning.

Turner’s surprise win in NY-9 on Tuesday brings the number of Republicans in the delegation back to eight. (For you CapTon viewers, both myself and state GOP Chairman Ed Cox miscounted during last night’s show and mistakenly pegged the number at six, with Turner as the seventh).

King is the dean of the GOP portion of NY’s delegation and was once one of just two Republican members – along with ex-Rep. Chris Lee, whose seat is now held by a Democrat. The Long Island lawmaker joked at the outset of his remarks that “this is not something we’re used to doing in New York.”

He got some laughs and a smattering of applause. King called Turner “a great friend and a great human being” who will make an “outstanding congressman.” Rep. Charlie Rangel, a Harlem Democrat and dean of the delegation, then presented Turner to the House, and the newbie congressman received hearty cheers and a standing ovation.

Turner has some catching up to do when it comes to learning the rules of the House. He mistakenly started speaking before being formally recognized by House Speaker John Boehner. Turner took being interrupted by Boehner in stride, turning to the speaker and asking: “Now?”

Turner pledged never to forget that he had been elected in an “important bipartisan election,” adding: “It’s the only way it can be done in New York City.” In other words, no matter how thrilled GOP leaders are about Turner’s win, if they think they’ve got aanother Tea Partier in their midst, they’re wrong.

Unshackle To Cuomo Administration: Use Design-Build

Unshackle Upstate, a Rochester-based pro-business group, urged Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration in a letter sent this week to use his emergency powers to rebuild roads and bridges damaged by floods throughout northern New York.

Executive Director Brian Sampson writes in the letter sent Wednesday to State Director of Operations Howard Glaser that the governor can initiate the “design-build” method, which consolidates work under a single contract so the work flow is funneled through a single source from concept to completion.

From the letter:

“Given the current fiscal realities – that the state and local governments face significant financiallimitations that will affect their ability to pay for the rebuilding roads, bridges, schools and other publicinfrastructure – we urge you to take immediate steps to reduce the cost of rebuilding the roads, bridgesand schools that have been damaged.To that end, I urge Governor Cuomo to use his emergency authority to expedite the repair andreplacement of roads, bridges and other infrastructure by authorizing the use of alternative projectdelivery methods such as design-build in those counties subject to federal or state disaster declarations.”

The Cuomo administration has so far been prasied for its handling of the storm damage. Glaser, esepcially has received kudos for the response as the governor’s point man on the management. Cuomo praised the speedy re-opening earlier this week of Route 73 in Essex County, a vital North Country artery.

It remains unclear how much the damage will cost New York directly in the long run, though cabinet officials yesterday pegged it at $100,000 to the state. Total damage is expected to exceed $1 billion.

Sampson will be a guest on the show tonight to talk more about the need for infrastructure repair.

2011UUDesignBuildLetter

IDC Denies Redistricting Deal With Skelos

Indepedent Democratic Conference spokesman Rich Azzopardi strenuously denied a report in today’s Daily News that the four-member bloc had reached a back-room accord with Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos to keep favorable district boundaries in place during the coming round of redistricting.

“It’s amazing what anonymous political operatives hear when they take off their tinfoil hats,” Azzopardi quipped.

A deal between the IDC and Skelos, if it’s indeed real, would certainly raise eyebrows in Albany and make for some serious frowns from good-government groups.

In particular, Sen. David Valesky, D-Oneida, has been a longtime supporter of creating an independent redistricting commission, a move that’s supported by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Valesky himself denied the agreement, too, on The Capitol Pressroom.

“There was no dicussions, no deals, I’m not sure who that source is or where that came from,” he said.

And while Senate Democrats have accused the breakaway faction that includes Sens. Jeff Klein, Diane Savino, David Carlucci and Valesky of working hand in glove with Skelos’ 32-member majority conference, IDC members insist they are in favor of independent redistricting in 2012.

Still, the IDC has taken steps recently to preserve itself come 2012. That includes the formation of a political action committee and has met with Skelos to talk legislative issues over dinner in New York City.

So far, it’s unclear what utility the PAC will serve. It could be used to expand its membership, perhaps with some help from Republican Sen. Mark Grisanti, R-Buffalo.

Grisanti, one of the four lawmakers to vote yes for the same-sex marriage, hasn’t rule out switching parties when he runs for re-election. He defeated Democratic Sen. Antoine Thompson by a razor-thin margin in 2010 in a district where GOP voters are heavily outnumbered.

And, according to The Buffalo News, Grisanti hasn’t ruled out joining the IDC, either.

While Azzopardi this morning said he wouldn’t want to “talk in hypotheticals,” he heaped praise on the rookie lawmaker’s record.

“The members of the IDC have a tremendous amount of respect for Sen. Grisanti, including his gutsy stand on marriage equality and his ability to work with (Buffalo Democrat and fellow frosh) Sen. Tim Kennedy on making SUNY 2020 a reality,” he said.

Sounds like something of a love letter to me.

AG To Hold Storm Damage ‘Office Hours’

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman plans to hold “office hours” at special events around the state to help answer questions for storm-related damage.

The impact of storms Lee and Irene left flood damage through a swath of upstate New York, including the Southern Tier, North Country and Hudson Valley.

“After the storms have subsided and the cameras and attention disappear, people across New York will still be struggling to get back on their feet. Our regional offices are always open, but to make it even easier for storm victims, we are going directly to the communities that have been impacted,” Schneiderman said in a statement.

Disasters like the flooding in upstate have made some victims confused as to whether they qualify for aid or can collect insurance.

The Cuomo administration has also warned insurance companies to not turn away policy holders who are seeking to rebuild from the storm. And the Federal Emergency Management Agency issued a statement last week saying some victims of Irene are unaware they would qualify for either federal aid or a low-cost loan.

A list of Schneiderman’s office hours and locations is after the jump.

More >

Here And Now

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

At 10 a.m. Mayor Bloomberg will join NYC Health Commissioner Farley at the Gotham Center in Queens to announce smoking in the city has reached an all-time low.

RNC Chairman Reince Preibus said Bob Turner’s win in NY-9 was “a complete and total repudiation” of a president “in love with his own voice.”

Turner pledged to “keep it real” and not buy into his own hype as a self-described GOP “messenger,” adding: “I now have a job to do.”

“I will be ready to take the fight into ’12, no matter what the district is called, and I just don’t know who the opponent will be,” said Turner, who will be sworn in this morning.

Despite Turner’s claim, the Cook Political Report’s Dave Wasserman expects the GOP to sacrifice Turner to protect Republican Rep. Michael Grimm’s Staten Island district.

The Republicans now have a “head start” in redistricting, according to ex-Assemblyman Arthur Kremer, but, he warned, ” there’s no guarantee they can keep it.”

Following Turner’s win, it’s now possible there will be two “fair fights” (in other words, primaries) in 2012, thanks to redistricting – one between Republicans downstate, and another between WNY Democrats.

Giddy GOP leaders suggested their presidential candidate – as soon as they settle on one – could carry Democrat-dominated NYS for the first time since 1984 when Ronald Reagan won here.

WFP Executive Director Dan Cantor says “the right is in charge of the narrative right now.”

The NY Times worries Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will use Turner’s win as yet another reason to refuse to make any compromises with the Palestinians, and again slams ex-NYC Mayor Ed Koch for playing a “cynical game” with his party line-crossing NY-9 endorsement.

Under fire for selecting Assemblyman David Weprin as a candidate, Rep. Joe Crowley insisted the Democrats would have won if NY-9 was only located in Queens (when he happens to be party chairman).

More >

DiNapoli Reports Sluggish Growth For CRF

The New York State Common Retirement Fund recorded a sluggish 1.8 percent growth in the first quarter of 2011, Comptroller Tom DiNapoli announced this afternoon.

DiNapoli pegged that the relatively poor performance on the roller coaster stock market and uncertainty in European markets.

“The financial markets have shown increased volatility as the economy struggles to build momentum,” DiNapoli said. “These are challenging times as we continue to grapple with sluggish job growth and concer over European sovereign debt. However, the Fund continues to be among the strongest in the nation and we have a diversified investment strategy and long-term perspective to help manage these market conditions.”

The fund stands at $146.98 billion and grew about $480 million over the last quarter. The first quarter ended June 30.

It’s not all terrible news, however, since the CRF is performing better than this time last year. At the time, the fund reported a negative 4.38 percent rate of return.

Extras

Bob Turner on his first full day as a congressman-elect: Sleep deprived and growing more media-savvy.

“(I)f the name ‘Weiner’ had been on the ballot, this district would still be held by Democrats.”

State Sen. Diane Savino recorded a video for US Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s “Off the Sidelines” campaign to get more women involved in politics.

Chris Smith thinks Gillibrand could draw a “real Republican opponent” in 2012 if the Democrats continue their downhill slide.

Gillibrand brought a photo of flood damage to the Senate floor while making her pitch for more federal disaster aid.

Another winners and losers list, this time with a Jewish focus.

Alex Isenstadt puts Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the “losers” column and calls the WFP/labor “winners” (Not sure I agree, but he makes a good argument in both cases).

Ben Smith believes the Democrats’ claim Jewish voters will “come home” in 2012 is probably true.

Queens Republicans, traditionally a very fractious bunch, took a break from infighting to enjoy their moment in the sun.

A comparison of Congressman-elect Bob Turner’s key policy positions versus those of his predecessor, ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner.

It’s Anthrax Day – officially! – in the Bronx.

Cuomo has established an $8 million appliance grant program for those who lost appliances during the recent tropical storms Irene and Lee.

Brooklyn BP Marty Markowitz insists he hasn’t yet made a final decision about 2013 and still believes he would make an “excellent mayor.”

More layoffs, but no tax increases, proposed by Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano.

The state’s estimated costs for damage related to Tropical Storms Irene and Lee is approaching $100 million.

Bike sharing is coming to NYC.

Fiala: Lee Different Than Irene

Flood damage from the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee that hit the Southern Tier is complicated by the fact that it directly impacted an urban area like Binghamton, Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Barbara Fiala said today.

Fiala, a former Broome county executive who has been tapped to lead the storm response in the area, said the damage from the flood was far more extensive than the 2006 event.

And while there’s no total damage assessment figure for the flooding, Fiala said it will take a while to return the area to normal.

The damage from Irene, which largely affected the Catskills, North Country and Hudson Valley, was devastating to many small communities around the state, but was largely and generally confined to rural areas.

“This has a large urban core that’s been affected. In that urban core, there’s senior housing under Section 8, some low-income housing that’s affected a large number of people and in the 2006 flood that didn’t happen so this seems wider spread and people are without homes. A lot of the small business are looking for help to cleanup. It’s going to take a while, but it’s going to be an ongoing process and the governor is very committed to helping.”