32BJ Praises Cuomo On Secure Communities Withdrawal

32BJ of the Service Employees International Union is praising the reported news that Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to temporarily withdraw the state from the federal government’s controversial “Secure Communities” program.

The program, which federal officials say makes it easier for Immigration and Customs Enforcement to track and monitor illegal immigrants, has come under fire from civil libertarians.

From Hector Figueroa, Secretary Treasurer of 32BJ:

“Governor Cuomo is right to suspend implementation of the deeply flawed Secure Communities program which does nothing to make anyone any safer. By targeting the people who take care of the sick and elderly, baby-sit our children and perform many of the jobs we all count on, Safer Communities runs counter to the best interests of our cities and towns.

“By pushing immigrants further into the shadows, and driving a wedge between them and everyone else, Safer Communities is actually undermining our security by destroying the trust police depend on with residents to do their job. Furthermore, asking police to take on immigration enforcement at a time of severe and crippling cuts to local services is a distraction few cities and towns can afford.

Cuomo is expected to make a full and formal announcement later this week.

Ethics Deal On Tap?

Legislative and good government sources say this is the week for an ethics deal to finally be announced down at the Capitol, although the final bill copy has yet to be released and – this being Albany – interested parties are warning that many things may come together and fall apart prior to a final agreement.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has been insisting for weeks now that he and Gov. Andrew Cuomo have a deal on ethics, while Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos has been characterized as the big sticking point. (Exhibit A).

Participants in this process were initially told by the second floor to expect an announcement some time this afternoon, but that has now been pushed back to tomorrow or perhaps even later.

Sources who have been involved to date have provided some details of what’s on the table. Some of this has been discussed before, some is new.

Cuomo spokesman Josh Vlasto’s official line on this: “Everything is circulating, including the common cold.” In other words, take everything that follows with a grain of salt; it’s all subject to change.

- On disclosure of outside income. There will be many more levels of disclosure with much smaller brackets, more or less mirroring the bill passed by the Legislature and vetoed by former Gov. David Paterson in February 2010. Redacting information on disclosure forms will no longer be allowed.

- On disclosure of clients, business and legal. All clients with whom a lawmaker has a direct relationship (ie: represents that person and/or entity in court) must be made public. Some exceptions for “sensitive” areas like matrimonial proceedings. The “direct” description is an interesting one because some of these lawmakers, like the speaker, for example, serve largely as rainmakers for firms and don’t do much actual representing of clients.

- On disclosure of donors for nonprofits. For the first time, entities with 501(c)4 tax status will have to make public the names of donors who give $5,000 or more. (One might refer to this as the NYPIRG rule, considering the fight the administration had with the goo-goo group over Medicaid reform).

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Goo-Goos Hope To Reignite Redistricting Debate

Remember the battle over independent redistricting?

Well, the news cycle, legislators and Gov. Andrew Cuomo seemed to all drop the issue of redrawing legislative lines by an independent commission at once with a loud thud as Albany’s fruit-fly attention span turned to an ethics overhaul, a property tax cap and same-sex marriage legalization.

But now Dick Dadey, the executive director of Citizens Union, and other good-government groups, are back in Albany to again lobby on the issue.

“Legislators today are again hearing firsthand how important redistricting reform is to their constituents,” Dadey said in a statement. “It is the 11th hour for redistricting reform in Albany, and advocates have a clear message: honor your campaign pledge and reform the redistricting process by the end of the legislative session. The general public deserves and demands a more fair and independent redistricting process for the 2012 elections.”

Dadey, along with the League of Women Voters and the New York Public Interest Research Group are conducting an afternoon lobby day on the issue.

Cuomo, who is touring the state on the big three agenda items that do not include independent redistricting, has said he would veto any lines drawn by the Legislature.

Redistricting for state and federal offices must be completed before the 2012 elections.

Jon Stewart: Not The Weiner I Remember

The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart couldn’t resist weighing on the mini-scandal du jour (AKA: Weinergate), which involves a certain NYC congressman who just so happens to be his former summer house roommate.

(The bit was excerpted on Morning Joe earlier today; it starts around the 3:30-minute mark of this video. Morning Joe characterized Rep. Anthony Weiner’s back-and-forth with reporters as the “Battle of the Bulge” – the BULGE! Get it?? UPDATE: The Stewart video now appears below…be forewarned, lots of references to the male (ahem) member).

“As a comedian this is a slam-dunk,” Stewart said. “Weiner name. Weiner picture. Where’s my check? But, as a friend, I really hope that this story is not true…And I do have my doubts about its veracity, have nothing to do with the circumstantial back-and-forth that seems to be going on.”

“My doubts stem from this. No way. No (expletive) way…In real life, my memory is this cat had a lot more Anthony and a lot less Weiner. This is not, this is NOT, what I remember. I’ll be honest with you, the only thing that Anthony Weiner and this gentleman here appear to have in common is that they both lean hard to the extreme left. BOOM!”

Carroll On Cuomo’s Q-Poll ‘Clean Sweep’

Gov. Andrew Cuomo ran the table in today’s Quinnipiac Poll and his popularity may be helping individual members of the Legislature, spokesman Mickey Carroll said.

“The overall numbers for him are so good that individual assemblymembers and senators come up positive. You have to imagine some of that tracks from Gov. Cuomo.”

“In this poll it’s a clean sweep for Gov. Cuomo,” he added.

Carroll said it was especially surprising to see Cuomo do well with the on-time state budget, an area that garnered 57 percent approval from voters.

“Budgets are politicians graveyards,” he said. “At this stage of the game, Gov. Cuomo is riding high and eveything is coming up roses for him.”

De Blasio Raises For 50th

While one of his potential 2013 NYC mayoral opponents is fighting with reporters over a lewd photo sent from his Twitter account, NYC Public Advocate Bill de Blasio is planning a big 50th B-Day cash fundraiser with a few of his nearest and dearest.

A reader forwarded an invite to the June 23 event, which features many labor leaders (including UNITE HERE’s John Wilhelm, who is de Blasio’s cousin) as co-chairs, vice chairs and members of the host committee.

Another interesting name that stuck out: Sean Coffey, one of the failed 2010 Democratic AG contenders. Also, two prominent lobbyists – Allison Lee and Sid Davidoff – and Democratic donor/reform gadfly Bill Samuels, who recently made headlines by verbally smacking Rep. Anthony Weiner (in the pre-Weingergate days).

This event is also being touted by de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, who was a fixture on her husband’s 2009 public advocate campaign. In an email to de Blasio supporters, McCray (who met her husband in the Dinkins administration and is now in the campaign mailing business) wrote:

“When I turned 50, I didn’t hold a fundraiser, but then again, maybe I should have. That sound you hear is our children laughing at how old we’re getting.”

“…As you likely know, Bill has spent his adult life working for tenants, parents, school children, and those who need our help the most. Crossing the 50 year mark is an important milestone for most, and I am confident the next 50 will give Bill even more opportunities to serve New Yorkers and our great City.”

Individual tickets are $500. Chairs are being asked to raise $10,000, vice-chairs $4,950, sponsors $2,500, and host committee members $1,000.

06.23.2011 – Waldorf (6)

8 NY Dems Join House GOP On Debt Vote

As expected, a bill to raise the national debt ceiling was overwhelmingly rejected in the House last night, with 82 Democrats joining the Republican conference in voting “no” and sending a message to the White House that it needs to bend on deeper spending cuts before the country should be allowed to borrow more money.

All seven GOP members of the NY congressional delegation voted “no”, along with the following eight Democrats: Tim Bishop, Joe Crowley, Brian Higgins, Steve Israel, Bill Owens, Charlie Rangel, Louise Slaughter and Ed Towns.

Some of those make a lot of sense, considering the high profile nature of the debt discussion heading into the 2012 election cycle.

Bishop and Towns are likely to have tough races next fall. Bishop is facing a likely re-match from his 2010 GOP opponents, Randy Altschuler. (One of Altschuler’s defeated primary opponents, George Demos, is vowing to run again, too).

Towns, assuming he runs again, might be primaried by one of more fellow Democrats, including Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, who already has an exploratory committee set up.

Higgins and Slaughter, who represent relatively conservative areas in WNY, could end up with primary challenges, too, depending on how their districts are reconfigured in the next round of redistricting. The House’s newest member and star, Congresswoman-elect Kathy Hochul, who is being sworn in this afternoon, might be redrawn into either of those districts, which would be problematic for everyone involved.

(Hochul artfully dodged questions about primaries, although she did tell me the day after her upset victory that she doesn’t expect to be involved in any Democrat-on-Democrat battles next year).

Owens is in a GOP-dominated district and is facing a rematch against his 2010 GOP foe, Matt Doheny.

Israel, who heads the DCCC, isn’t in any trouble that I can see, politically speaking. But both he and the newly-minted DNC chairwoman, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, voted “no” on this, as did House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, which makes this look like a leadership vote.

I’m a little confused about Crowley, the Queens Democratic chairman, although parts of his district trend toward the conservative, and also Rangel, who is very liberal, but also is coming off a tough election cycle during which he was censured for ethics violations and fended off multiple primary challenges.

As CapCon notes, GOP Rep. Chris Gibson has expressed a willingness to raise the debt ceiling, if spending cuts are involved. Last night’s vote was a symbolic one, however, and Gibson toed the party line.

Q Poll: ‘Clean Sweep’ For Cuomo

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo continues to enjoy higher-than-average job approval and popularity ratings – even among Republicans.

Sixty-four percent of New York voters like the fact that the governor regularly departs Albany to take his message directly to the people. Fifty-two percent Cuomo has been sufficiently accessible to the news media – a feeling I’m willing to bet any amount of money that the majority of LCAers don’t share.

“There’s not a single negative number for New York Gov.Andrew Cuomo,” said Q pollster Mickey Carroll. “He even gets a positive score, almost 2-1, on that bugaboo that haunts mostelected officials – the budget.”

“New Yorkers like him personally and they like his policies. Voters even say 40 – 32 percent that Gov. Cuomo has broken with Albany’s time-honored decision making by ‘three menin a room’ and opened up the process to other legislator.”

Cuomo’s popularity seems to be rubbing off a bit on his fellow Albany denizens.

Voters approve, 42-39, of the job their local Assembly member is doing and approve, 51-34, of the job their state senator is doing. However, they still disapprove, 62-25, of the job the Legislature is doing overall.

New Yorkers are in an approving mood, generally speaking. President Obama gets his highest rating (60 percent) since February 2009, while Sen. Chuck Schumer is at 60 and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is at 53 – one point shy of her all-time Q poll high of 54 in Feburary.


Here And Now

The Legislature is back in town today, and the sprint to the June 20 finish of the 2011 session officially begins.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo hears another NYSUNY2020 presentation in the Red Room at noon.

The “Rescue Ink” men are in town to attend animal advocacy day hosted by Sen. Greg Ball and Assemblyman Jim Tedisco, LOB well from 9:30 a.m. to noon.

Redistricting reform and rent laws advocates are in town. The Senate’s in session at 3 p.m. The Assembly’s due in at 2 p.m.

Down in Washington, the ceremonial swearing-in for Congresswoman-elect Kathy Hochul with House Speaker John Boehner is scheduled for 2 p.m., pending votes.


Sarah Palin had pizza with Donald Trump in NYC. The Donald said: “I’d love her to run.”

But what about an endorsement/2012 ticket? “She didn’t ask me for that.”

Palin said she’s not going to make a decision in 2012 for “many weeks now.” (See above link).

Rep. Anthony Weiner did not answer direct questions about whether he sent a lewd photo to a young woman on Twitter. Instead, he engaged in a testy exchange with reporters.

Weiner follows just 198 of the 40,000-some people following him on Twitter, and a number of those are good looking younger women. The Post wants the congressman to get law enforcement involved in the alleged hacking of his account.

The Capitol Police have no active investigation into the incident.

Weiner’s prolific Tweeting has slowed considerably.

With no public announcement, Cuomo tapped billionaire and campaign contributor Howard Milstein to head the Thruway Authority.

More >

Track Your Senator On Same-Sex Marriage

Capital Tonight, YNN, and NY1 are happy to bring you this interactive tool tracking where each senator stands on the controversial issue of same-sex marriage.

By our tally, there are 8 undecided senators. Democrats Shirley Huntley, Joe Addabbo, and Carl Kruger. And Republican Sens. Alesi, Ball, Hannon, McDonald and Saland. There are 28 senators on the record opposing the measure, and 26 supporting it.

Here’s a quick rundown of how you can use this tool. First thing you will see is a graph showing the current balance just mentioned above. To find a specific senator, you can click on one of the maps, Upstate, NYC, or Long Island and click on their respective districts. If you are just looking for the undecided senators, the easiest way to find them is by clicking on “Find Senator”. Then you can click undecided, and pictures of all 8 of them pop up (a quicker link to get here is coming shortly).

Whenever you click on a senators district, or picture, you will see an information tag about the senator pop out on the right. We have put in a short write up about the senators position on the issue. Also, if you click on the Senator’s name, or district number in the pop out box, a new page will open on the senator’s official website.

We plan to update this map throughout the rest of the legislative session and onward if the bill doesn’t come to the floor. Whenever someone says something new about same-sex marriage, or changes their position on the issue, we will change the map.

As always, we welcome criticism. So please feel free to send us comments on this page. Or email us at feedback@capitaltonight.com.