NYers United For Marriage Launch Mailers

The coalition of advocacy groups in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage this year are launching a new, 200,000-strong mailer in support of the issue.

“More New Yorkers support marriage for committed gay and lesbian couples than ever before and we want to make sure they are heard,” said Brian Ellner, New York’s Senior Strategist for the Human Rights Campaign.

“This mailer will provide New Yorkers an opportunity to speak to their legislators directly and voice their support for marriage equality.”

The mailer highlights a Nassau County couple: “We want to invite you to our son’s wedding. Sadly, he’s not allowed to get married.”

(NOTE: Nassau County is a key battleground in the state Senate. The county includes a district that used to be represented by yes-on-marriage Democrat, Craig Johnson, who was ousted by a no-on-marriage Republican, Jack Martins. Another Nassau County Republican, Sen. Kemp Hannon, has been a perennial target for several cycles now).

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who wants a bill that would legalize gay marriage by the end of the regular session, said this week he would not introduce a bill unless he’s certain it would pass the Republican-led Senate.

Cuomo said he didn’t want an “instant replay” of 2009, when the Senate, then in Democratic hands, voted down the measure 38-24.

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Here And Now

Today’s “People First” tour stops don’t include Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Cabinet members hitting the road include: DOT Commissioner Joan McDonald (Canandaigua, noon), ESDC CEO Ken Adams (White Plains, 11 a.m.), DEC Commissioner Joe Martens (Kingston, 1 p.m.), Ag and Markets Commissioner Darrel Aubertine (Watertown, 3 p.m.)

Assemblywoman Jane Corwin on her chief of staff’s altercation with Jack Davis: “Jack Davis did not behave very well…I have cameras on me all the time. I have people parked in my front lawn. You know, I’ve had people follow me up and down the streets with cameras, and I try to answer questions, and I don’t hit anybody.”

The YouTube video of the supposed assault left both the Davis and Corwin campaigns with some explaining to do.

The Davis camp called the incident a “put-up job” and insists a second video exists, but the GOP is not releasing it.

Unlike the Republicans, the DCCC has no plans to send prominent surrogates to join the NY-26 fight and help Kathy Hochul, although some big names (Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer, for example) are trying to assist her.

It was Corwin’s support of Rep. Paul Ryan’s Medicare overhaul vs. Hochul’s record as a Hamburg town board member at yesterday’s debate.

Some Tea Partiers are anxious to distance themselves from Davis.

Mayor Bloomberg was the main target of yesterday’s union-backed march on Wall Street.

Pictures and photos of the protest can be found here.

“Rather than being downtown protesting, it might have been more useful if they were up in Albany with our administration protesting,” Bloomberg said.

Cuomo’s low-key gay marriage strategy, according to Jacob Gershman: “People familiar with the governor’s thinking say his administration is trying to coax more votes by gradually ratcheting up pressure instead of twisting arms.”

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Extras

Two Queens men were busted on terror and hate-crime charges after allegedly plotting to attack Manhattan synagogues with grenades and assault rifles.

The Empire State building was also a possible target.

Rep. Pete King thinks NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly is the “best person” to head the FBI.

He’ll probably have to wait another two years for that promotion, though.

Democratic donor and gadfly Bill Samuels likes NYC Public Advocate Bill de Blasio for the 2013 mayors race, calling Rep. Anthony Weiner “too shrill” and “ridiculous”.

That’s probably not exactly how de Blasio wanted to kick off his campaign, says Josh Benson. Although this will probably be forgotten two years from now.

The tracker who accused Jack Davis of assaulting him is Assemblywoman Jane Corwin’s chief of staff.

David Catanese wonders: “Why would the Corwin campaign allow a top staffer with ties to candidate — rather than a college student or unaffiliated GOP volunteer – to confront and provoke Davis?”

David Bellavia wasn’t always so pro-Davis.

Now that the DCCC has hit the airwaves in NY-26, the NRCC is poised to unleash its first round of ads – $265,000 worth – on Monday.

“They’re now spending money defending a safe Republican seat with a self-funder running,” a Democratic operative said of the NRCC. “Win or lose, it’s already a loss for them.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and school advocates are battling over numbers.

Doug Muzzio says Cuomo is keeping a low profile to inoculate himself against “gaff-itis”.

Religious leaders want Cuomo to quit the federal Secure Communities program.

Emmy Award wining sportscaster Len Berman supports same-sex marriage.

A bipartisan bill introduced in the Assembly and Senate would standardize penalties for simple mariuana possession.

A top staffer for the Senate Democrats is moonlighting.

Check your property tax ranking.

NYSUT: Don’t Forget To Vote

With school budgets around the state before voters on Tuesday, the state United Teachers union is reminding voters to head to the polls in a new radio campaign.

“Voters across the state — including NYSUT members — should look closely at the budget proposals put forward by their local districts, and determine if they invest in children and in the future or if they are destructive to their communities,” said NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi in a statement. “Once they make that determination, we encourage them to get to the polls on Tuesday and vote accordingly.”

The campaign comes as school districts face depleted funding after the 2011-12 state budget cut $1.2 billion in education aid to districts. And it comes as the debate over the state’s sky-high local and school property taxes heats up.

While district leaders say living within a 2 percent cap as proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo could have a crippling effect, Cuomo has said schools must root out waste, abuse and bureaucracy.

DiNapoli 2014

Six months after his first statewide election victory, state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is already preparing for his next go-round in 2014.

The comptroller’s revamped 2010 campaign committee “DiNapoli 2014″, is hosting a fundraiser (I think his first major event since the elections last fall) next Thursday in Woodbury on Long Island. Tickets run from $100 per person (friend) to $1,000 (host).

The invite email reads:

“As Tom’s friends and supporters, you know he has done so much in such a short time to restore a sense of ethics, responsibility and sound fiscal thinking to Albany.”

“Not only has the Comptroller’s office identified hundreds of millions of dollars in waste and abuse in the State, but he has also made the office more accountable and transparent with monthly public reports and online records. Please show him you believe in his work and support him on May 19th.”

DiNapoli had just $23,476 in his campaign account as of mid-January.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has not only renamed his 2010 campaign committee, but also already has “Cuomo 2014″ swag, made it fairly clear last year that he was only lukewarm about the idea of seeing DiNapoli elected to the post he was given by his former legislative colleagues after the resignation of scandal-scarred former Comptroller Alan Hevesi.

Cuomo never endorsed DiNapoli, preferring to stay, as he put it, “officially neutral.”

He did, however, clear him of any guilt in the pay-to-play pension fund scandal, robbing Republican contender Harry Wilson of a significant campaign issue.

Wilson came just shy of defeating DiNapoli, and might have actually pulled off an upset had Carl Paladino not been atop the GOP ticket. He hasn’t formally ruled out another run, but he hasn’t ruled it in, either.

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AG Gives Talk In Troy On Energy

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who is more or less keeping out of the media spotlight since taking office in January, appeared in Troy Wednesday night to speak to the Independent Power Producers of New York’s annual conference.

The unpublicized keynote address was given on a topic that Schneiderman has been making part of his overall strategy as AG: safe energy.

Schneiderman has been making an effort to take on what he considers to be potentially environmentally hazardous energy concerns, including the Indian Point nuclear plant in Westchester County and the push for a controversial natural-gas extraction method known as hydraulic fracturing.

Though Schneiderman has taken a hard line against both the nuke plant and hydrofracking, the address was praised by IPPNY President and CEO Gavin Donohue.

“Yesterday, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman addressed the IPPNY’s 25th Annual Spring Conference. While we may not agree on every issue, Attorney General Schneiderman’s willingness to engage in a constructive dialogue with our members is a meaningful step forward for our organization, our agenda, and all New Yorkers who are concerned about energy and environmental security in our state.
“The Attorney General’s clear commitment to an evidence-based approach in dealing with such controversial issues as the long-term sustainability of nuclear power plants in New York, including the Indian Point plant in Buchanan, and hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale is encouraging as we continue to debate the importance of these sources of energy. We appreciate his effort to partner with us and look forward to cooperating with him in the years to come.”

It’s somewhat different that we’re learning about Schneiderman’s trip to Troy after the fact. The AG has made few public appearances in Albany, much less the Capital Region as his predecessor, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, took a forceful stance on Indian Point after Schneiderman raised concerns.

Brown: Albany Not Working For Cities

In welcoming Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown decried the deterioration of state government and knocked Albany for failing to help struggling upstate cities.

“I know that Albany, unfortunately, has not been working for our cities,” he said. “It’s time for Albany to do something for us.”

Brown, a former state senator and a Democrat, noted the frustrations and antipathy that residents of the economically struggling western part of the state have toward state government.

“For Buffalo and western New York, I speak for many of us when we say that we’ve been ashamed from what we see in Albany,” Brown said. “The time to change the tone and the attitude is now.”

Cuomo remains popular in western New York, one of more conservative regions of the state, likely due to his austerity budget sailing through the Legislature before the April 1 deadline.

Davis Camp: GOP Video Is Blair Witch-style Setup

While Jack Davis remained on the lam today, Curtis Ellis, campaign manager for the NY-26 third party candidate went on the defensive in his absence–saying the video shot by Jane Corwin’s chief of staff was a setup to discredit Davis.

“They want to talk about what we don’t see in the Blair Witch Project-style video,” said Ellis.

“Shaky camera, some little boy squealing like an 8-year-old girl, which is exactly how old Jane Corwin was when she claims to be a successful businesswoman. They need to talk about what they’re going to do for the people of New York.”

DCCC Hits The Airwaves In NY-26 (Updated)

The DCCC is finally getting involved on behalf of NY-26 Democratic candidate Kathy Hochul, releasing an ad that slams both independent candidate Jack Davis and GOP Assemblywoman Jane Corwin on Medicare.

The Buffalo News reported earlier this week that the national committee had purchased $250,000 worth of air time in WNY.

This is the first overt sign that the D.C. Democrats are, in fact, taking an active interest in this race – despite the fact that there is widespread speculation that the district might no longer exist after the next round of redistricting. Sources have informed me, however, that the DCCC has been helpful in behind-the-scenes ways (field, volunteers etc).

The NRCC has so far been content to let Corwin self-fund her ad campaign, although the Karl Rove-affiliated American Crossroads is committing up to $650,000 for an air war prior to the May 24 special election.

At this point, a number of observers have suggested that the NY-26 race will turn on the subject of Medicare, specifically the proposal by Rep. Paul Ryan to overhaul the publicly-funded health care program for seniors.

But numbers whiz Nate Silver has cautioned against reading too far into whatever the results of this extremely close contest turn out to be, noting upstate NY congressional races have proven to be rather quirky in the past.

UPDATE: The NRCC weighed in with a response, which appears after the jump.

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Cuomo Backs Hochul, But No Formal Endorsement (Yet)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he would back Democratic congressional candidate Kathy Hochul in the special election in the 26th district, but stopped short of fully and formally endorsing her.

“I obviously support Kathy 100 percent and however the campaign wants me to help it would be my pleasure,” he said.

During a question and answer session with reporters, Cuomo suggested it would be up to Hochul’s campaign as to when and where the formal endorsement would be held.

“I’d rather do it the way the campaign wants me to do it,” he said. “However, I can be helpful I will and I’ll leave it to her and the campaign to make that decision.”

Polls show that the special election between Hochul, Republican Jane Corwin and independent Jack Davis is coming down to the wire. A full-throated Cuomo endorsement, who is wildly popular in western New York, could give Hochul an edge.

Cuomo ignored a question in Albany last week as to whether he’d endorse Hochul.