Donald Trump gave $50,000 to Rahm Emanuel’s Chicago mayoral campaign in December 2010 – and that wasn’t the only Democratic cash he passed out in Illinois.

The Donald, an environmentalist?

Trump fired back at Robert De Niro, saying the actor is “not the brightest blub on the planet.”

One thing for sure, the Donald is in some desperate need of advice”

Joke candidate” of the moment.

Melania Trump hawks her QVC collection and opines on what kind of style a first lady should have.

Raoul Felder on the odds of Kate Middleton and Prince William staying together: “The royals do not have a good marital history. Statistically, divorce breeds divorce. It doesn’t look good, but one never knows.”

Haley Barbour won’t run for president.

Mayor Bloomberg thinks President Obama needs to schmooze more.

Obama is coming back to NYC Wednesday to do some more fundraising.

Is Gov. Andrew Cuomo, ready to “rock and roll” the Senate GOP on rent control?

LG and former Rochester Mayor Bob Duffy defends his former schools chief, Jean-Claude Brizard, the soon-to-be head of Chicago’s public school system.

The FDNY and NYPD are getting some superhero marketing help.

Most voters still favor the repeal of the health care reform law.

The NYISO released its annual review on the state’s electric system.

Redistricting, animated.

Former NYC Schools Chancellor Joel Klein is “more of a pizza man.”

Bloomberg downplayed code violations at city-owned buildings, saying most of them are in pretty good shape.

Skidmore students celebrate their sexuality and support Planned Parenthood.

Francis: No SAGE Role For Layoffs

Spending and Government Efficiency Commission co-chairman Paul Francis said the committee, which met for the first time today, won’t make recommendations that would result in state-worker reductions.

“I think the commission is really focused on broader issues of operational improvement,” Francis said after the meeting. “And I don’t exepct the commission will be looking at any kind of specific employee reduction.”

His comments reflect what Director of Operations Howard Glaser said on Talk 1300-AM on Friday, namely that the commission wouldn’t play a role in laying off state workers.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed $450 million in state worker concessions, which was approved in the final budget. Cuomo and the major state worker unions, CSEA and PEF, are currently in negotiations (Glaser also said Friday they would go 24-7 starting today).

Cuomo has said 9,800 layoffs can be avoided if the unions agree to fewer benefits and wage freezers.

The SAGE commission is expected to present its first report in November.

Gas Tax Attack

It’s that time again…as prices at the pump creep ever upward, politicians are rushing to soothe the savage public by calling for – you guessed it! – a gas tax holiday!

This latest incarnation comes compliments of Sen. Greg Ball and Assemblyman Jim Tedisco.

The Republican duo are proposing to suspend the three separate state taxes on fuel: The 8-cent excise tax, the 8-cent sales tax and the 17-cent Petroleum Business Tax – during the busy four-day Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day holiday weekends.

The lawmakers estimate this would provide consumers an immediate savings of 33-cents per gallon of gasoline – about $5 to $6 a fill-up.

Meanwhile, the state Conservative Party is also getting in on issue, too, by re-launching its petition (which appears after the jump) to eliminate the 4 percent state gas sales tax.

Party Chairman Mike Long noted that the last time the petition launched was back in 2001 with the support of then Assemblyman John Faso (who also just so happens to be a CapTon guest tonight…serendipitous!) That call didn’t go anywhere, but the Conservatives remain undaunted.

“At that time gasoline taxes were soaring and localities were reaping a windfall due to the fact that local gasoline tax collections are based on a percentage rather than the flat rate the state charges,” Long said in a press release.

“Gasoline prices are higher now than they were in the last surge and we are renewing our call for tax relief for the consumer.”

The chairman told me during his CapTon interview that doing away with the gas tax would be a much better use of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s time – in his opinion, anyway – than the push for legalization of same-sex marriage.

Local Sales Tax on Gasoline

Chairman Long: Trump ‘Harping’ On Birther Issue May Help Obama

State Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long sat down with me for a CapTon interview that will air tonight (8 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.) Topics include: Gay marriage and his no-endorsement-for-you line in the sand, the gas tax and – of course – The Donald.

Long said he hasn’t sat down with Trump “in quite a few years,” but is more than willing to accept his Conservative conversion. As for his potential 2012 presidential bid, the chairman agrees with Mayor Bloomberg that the birther issue is something the Republicans should really just leave alone.

“Look, I think it attracts a lot of momentum. It gets a lot of people excited. It raises the issue,” Long told me.

” But look, I believe the President was born in the United States. And I understand, for whatever reason, the President’s not walking around with his birth certificate, OK? I just think in a lot of ways, it’s a non-issue and it doesn’t help anybody.”

“If anything, it may be winding up helping Obama.”

This isn’t the first time I’ve heard someone on the right suggest Trump, with his history of contributing to Democrats and praising the president, is in fact a stalking horse for the left.

Grimm’s Gun

The Democrats are rather gleefully forwarding around a lengthy New Yorker story (April 25 edition) that details former FBI agent-turned-Congressman Michael Grimm’s involvement as the undercover Mob-connected hedge fund whiz Michael “Mikey Suits” Garibaldi in a 2002 case known as “Wooden Nickle.”

The part the Dems are particularly interested in comes at the tail end of the report, highlighting a lawsuit brought against Grimm back in the summer of 2000 by a former NYPD officer who claimed Grimm brandished a gun and misused his FBI authority after getting into an argument with another man over a woman (Grimm’s date, the man’s estanged wife).

A nightclub employee recalled that Grimm had told all the white people to leave at one point and had been “really aggressive and violent.”

Grimm’s side of the story: He was jumped by his date’s husband and four other guys. He had been carrying his gun all night, even though it wasn’t allowed inside the club, but flashed it “only” when he pulled out his badge. He insisted he hadn’t threatened to kill anyone, adding: “That’s not my personality. I don’t need to speak that way. A guy with a gun who knows how to use it doesn’t need to say anything.”

Neither the NYPD nor the US Justice Department would provide information about this incident. Grimm said: “I was one hundred percent by the book and fully exonerated.”

2011 5[1].02 the Mark [New Yorker]

Trump: ‘I Like To Vote’

…except when he thinks his vote isn’t going to matter – like, say, in GOP primary contests in Democrat-dominated NYC. Then, he thinks: Why bother?

Asked by Fox News this morning about the NY1 report that he skipped voting in primary elections for 21 years, the real estate magnate and potential 2012 GOP contender replied:

“In terms of the general election, my record is very good. I mean, generally speaking, I like to vote. I’m a believer in voting, I will tell you.”

“So when they don’t run a Republican candidate, or when the Republican’s scheduled to get 6.2 percent of the vote, it’s sort of pretty tough to travel 1,000 miles in order to vote.”

That traveling 1,000 miles reference is a nod to Trump attorney Michael Cohen’s argument that “for one of the greatest international businessmen who travels all over the country and the world, (The Donald’s) voting record is very, very good.”

Trump changed his enrollment to the Democratic Party in 2001, where his vote arguably would have counted considerably more. But documents show he ignored that party’s primaries as well, missing the 2001 and 2005 mayoral primaries.

In 2002, not only did Trump miss the Democratic primaries for statewide offices, but records show he also skipped the general election. Trump has contested that claim, insisting he voted in every general election and threatening NY1 reporter Michael Herzenberg that he would pay a “big price” for being wrong.

So far, however, Trump has failed to produce any documents that indicate anything contrary to what the Board of Elections has on file.

Labor Hosts Gay Marriage Strategy Breakfast

RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum forwared this invite to an upcoming breakfast meeting he’s hosting with AFL-CIO President Denis Hughes at which labor leaders will strategize for and discuss the “upcoming fight” over same-sex marriage and other LGBT issues.

The event is being held on May 11 in Manhattan.

Appelbaum, as you’ll recall, is an outspoken advocate who came out in a very public fashion back in June 2009.

He was also a very early supporter of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and was the first labor leader to publicly call for then-Gov. David Paterson to step aside and clear the way for Cuomo to avoid a potential nasty – and racially charged – intra-party battle. (We all know how that one ended).

The labor community was divided – rather deftly – by Cuomo during the 2010 gubernatorial campaign, with the trades coming out early and strong in support of him and the publics rather reluctantly coming along – or not, in the case of CSEA and NYSUT.

There was a similar divide during the budget battle, which sidelined 1199 SEIU and arguably tanked the pro-millionaire’s tax push in the process.

But Cuomo’s progressive post-budget policy agenda clearly is providing a rallying point for the left, including the more liberal labor unions.

It remains to be seen whether all of this coordination and unity has any impact on the Senate vote, particularly when state Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long has made it clear this is a line-in-the-sand issue for him – a potential problem for the Senate Republicans as they gear up for the next fight for the majority in 2012.

La Bore Spa Breakfast

‘Tough As Nails’ Corwin Threatened To Sue Ed Koch

An interesting piece in today’s Buffalo News portrays Assemblywoman Jane Corwin, the GOP/Conservative contender in the NY-26 special election, as a ruthless behind-the-scenes political player who is often mistaken by her opponents – at their peril – as a meek as retiring back-bencher.

How tough are we talking here? Well, tough enough not to take any of this “enemy of reform” garbage from some 86-year-old downstater, apparently. Here’s how the story opens:

When former New York City Mayor Ed Koch came to town last year to stump for his Albany reform agenda, one of the first people he called out was Assemblywoman Jane Corwin.

The words “enemy of reform” were barely out of Koch’s mouth before the normally cautious and guarded Corwin was on the phone looking to set Koch straight.

What followed was a spirited exchange with a Koch aide in which a livid Corwin threatened to sue the former mayor’s reform group.

“He was wrong,” she said. “He was challenging my integrity, and that’s why I reacted so strongly. I was really angry because what he was doing did not allow for an adult conversation.”

That’s the Jane Corwin people rarely see.

That lawsuit never materialized – at least not that I’ve seen.

Corwin also gets props from Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb for standing up to the infamously tough-talking (and, at times, bombastic) former Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, and for not shying away from talking about the “indiscretion” of her 2008 primary opponent, fellow Republican Michael Cole, who spent a drunken night on the floor of an Assembly intern’s apartment.

(The married father of two insisted nothing untoward happened, but was censured anyway).

Koch Accuses Silver Of ‘Bottling Up’ Redistricting Bill (Updated)

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is blocking a bill that would create an independent commission to redraw legislative districts, former New York City Mayor Ed Koch charged this morning.

Koch, speaking on The Capitol Pressroom this morning, called the powerful Manhattan Democrat “the key” to the measure’s passage.

“The key is Shelly Silver. He’s bottled up the bill by introducing it. I have a meeting scheduled with him shortly. We’re going to ask him to please allow a vote, because a majority of his members, Democrats, but there are Republicans as well who signed the pledge, would like to see the impartial redistriciting and the key is Shelly saying I will allow a vote.”

Koch has trained most of the fire from his New York Uprising campaign on Senate Republicans, whose leadership he accuses of reneging on the pledge which included creating the commission in time for 2012.

The Senate did approve a constitutional amendment for an independent commission to draw the lines back on March 14, but that would not in effect until at least 2022.

Republicans have also claimed the effort it is a partisan one meant to help Democrats, who hold an enrollment advantage in the state.

But Silver, unlike Senate Republicans, did not sign onto Koch’s pledge.

Koch said Silver was fearful of losing significant support in his lower Manhattan Assembly district during a fair redistricting process.

“What Shelly would like to do is draw his own lines,” Koch said. “He would have a much more difficult time in getting re-elected because there is a large Asian group that would be expanded into that district that would give him a contest.”

Update: A reader points out that a large swath of Silver’s district already includes Chinatown. In addition, Silver won his last election by a pretty comfortable margin. Indeed, it seems unlikely — but not totally impossible — a serious challenger could be fielded against Silver within his own district.

Levi: We Need To Do Better

Empire State Pride Agenda Executive Director Ross Levi said on the Capital Pressroom radio show this morning that the coalition of groups backing gay marriage legalization this year can be more effective than the 2009 effort to pass the measure.

From his interview:

“We obviously need to do better. Certainly one way we’re trying to do that is show the LGBT community is united and speaking with one voice. That is why the pride agenda has joined with other national and state organizations to form New Yorkers United for Marriage.”

The campaign announced earlier today that the League of Women Voters’ New York chapter was joining the effort as well.

The late 2009 vote in the Democratic-led Senate failed 38-24 and was disheartening to gay-rights groups who feared more failed votes in a blue state like New York would slow momentum for same-sex marriage in other states.

This year’s effort, with a governor who needs to shore up his standing with the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, is seen as a more concerted effort by the groups. Levi said his office is working on several lawmakers who are seen as being on the fence. Those mentioned in the past include GOP Sens. Mark Grisanti of Buffalo, Greg Ball of the Hudson Valley, and Democrats Shirley Huntley, Joe Addabbo, both of Queens.

Levi also responded to an email sent out by Sen. Ruben Diaz, D-Bronx, an ardent opponent of gay marriage, who said he was the subject of hate mail from pro-same-sex marriage people over the weekend. Levi said name-calling was wrong, but added:

People who feel the sting of discrimination sometimes respond in very emotional ways. That’s very human. People respond very strongly when they feel they’re being attacked.