Committee To Save NY’s Latest Pro-Cap Ad: ‘Digging’

The business-backed Committee to Save New York is out with its latest TV ad – a companion spot to the imminent “People First Tour” that Gov. Andrew Cuomo and members of his cabinet are launching to promote the governor’s top post-budget priorities: The property tax cap, ethics reform and legalization of same-sex marriage.

The ad, entitled “Digging”, focuses just on the tax cap, which is mired in the Legislature at the moment.

The Senate GOP passed Cuomo’s 2 percent bill early in the session, and Majority Leader Dean Skelos says he won’t accept any watering down or negotiating. (At least one of his members disagrees with that position).

Meanwhile, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is about to introduce his own short-term cap bill that will likely feature exceptions not included in the governor’s plan. Cuomo said – through a spokesman – that the Assembly bill is a “non-starter.”

The CSNY spent about half of the $10 million is raised to help Cuomo in the budget battle, which turned out to be fairly one-sided – thanks to the sidelining of SEIU 1199 and the GNYHA. The committee plans to spend the remainder of its cash to help promote agenda items on which its members agree with the governor, and that will not include the rent laws, thanks to the participation of REBNY and big real estate developers.

The script for “Digging”, which notably doesn’t point any blaming fingers, is as follows:

“Each year, New Yorkers are forced to dig deeper, digging deeper into their pockets to pay their property taxes. Taxes shooting up higher and higher, driving families and businesses out of New York. In just 10 years, the typical property tax bill has soared by 80 percent, crushing taxpayers, sending jobs to other states. Governor Cuomo’s plan will cap property taxes to help families and businesses and create jobs here at home. Tell the Legislature to support the governor’s plan.”

A Ranger For Gay Marriage

As per today’s NY Times sports section (interesting placement), here’s the video Rangers forward Sean Avery recorded for the HRC’s New Yorkers for Marriage Equality campaign in which he becomes the first professional sports figure in the state to declare his support for letting same-sex couples legally wed.

So far, the individuals participating in this campaign have been largely limited to celebrity actors, musicians and dancers (Sam Waterson, Lucy Liu, Russell Simmons, Bill T. Jones etc.) and political figures (Barbara Bush, David Dinkins, Ed Koch, Mayor Bloomberg).

Avery’s participation is being touted by gay marriage advocates as being particularly significant given the homophobia that abounds in the world of sports. (Exhibit A: The recent case of Kobe Bryant). As the Times’ John Branch reports:

No active male player in a major American team sport has declared his homosexuality, and homosexual slurs remain in use to insult opponents and officials.”

Avery, a 31-year-old from Pickering, Ontario, has played nine seasons in the N.H.L. Known as a fashion-conscious, on-ice agitator, he has never been afraid of what others think of him.

“The places I’ve played and lived the longest have been in West Hollywood, Calif., when I played for the L.A. Kings, and when I moved to New York, I lived in Chelsea for the first four years,” Avery said in a phone interview.

“I certainly have been surrounded by the gay community. And living in New York and when you live in L.A., you certainly have a lot of gay friends.”

Avery, who reportedly has a fondness for fashion and “nice suits,” is SoHo resident, and also has a home in LA. The HRC’s Brian Ellner praised the hockey star, calling him “a leader – on and off the ice.”

And there’s a bit of a tongue-in-cheek moment in the video when Avery says he treats everyone “the way I expect to be treated.” Avery has been voted the NHL’s most hated played, led the league in penalty minutes and is known as one of its most unpopular antagonists.

Weekend Open Thread

Some possibilities for discussion….

- Rudy Giuliani says he could be “probably be talked into” running in 2012.

- President Obama met Cairo, a dog that took part in the mission that killed Osama bin Laden and the only member of the SEAL team to be identified by name as of yet.

- Al Qaeda confirmed the death of Osama Bin Laden Friday, but pledged to continue its holy war aimed at destroying America.

- By pushing forward with his threat to lay off 4,100 teachers, Mayor Bloomberg is possibly imperiling a significant legacy issue: Improvement of the NYC public school system.

- Bloomberg renewed his call for the repeal of LIFO, saying that without it, the “greatest carnage” will be in the neediest districts.

- The Post calls Bloomberg a “fibber.”

- Senior House Republicans recommitted to their Medicare overhaul plan.

- Paul McCartney is reportedly engaged to MTA Board member Nancy Shevell (the ex-wife of failed 2010 US Senate candidate Bruce Blakeman).

- It looks like playwright Tony Kushner will get his honorary CUNY degree after all.

- Julia Roberts penned an OpEd with Hillary Clinton about the benefits of cleaner burning stoves in developing countries.

Boehner To Stump For Corwin Monday

Another sign that Republicans are concerned about the 3-way race in NY’s 26 Congressional District. We just received a press advisory telling us that House Speaker John Boehner will appear with Republican Jane Corwin at a campaign stop in Depew.

According to recent reports, internal polling has this race too close to call. With Corwin, Democrat Kathy Hochul in a statistical deadheat, and 3rd party candidate Jack Davis only a few points behind. The numbers have given Hochul a boost in fundraising.

Last Friday, Siena College released a poll showing Corwin up only 5 points.


NYC Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott broke up a fight between two reporters (TV and blog) at City Hall this morning.

Eighty-four percent of Americans think it’s likely Pakistan knew where Osama bin Laden was hiding.

Chris Smith tries to explain why Mayor Bloomberg seems to be “playing nice” with the governor.

Cuomo spokesman response to the Bloomberg budget: The governor “looks forward” to working with the mayor to rebuild the NYC economy.

Bloomberg’s budget includes a plan to increase parking meter rates throughout the city – a proposal the NYC Council has already scuttled once.

The NEA became the first labor union to formally endorse President Obama’s re-election bid.

The president met with members of the “full assault force” that killed bin Laden.

The NFIB urged Cuomo not to water down the tax cap.

ESPA released a video of pro-gay marriage faith leaders.

Rudy Giuliani on his relationship with ex-NYC Council Speaker Peter Vallone Sr.: “We could kid each other, we could have drinks together, cigars together. And we still had plenty of battles, but it usually meant that we could figure out a common ground.”

Newt Gingrich hired a campaign manager.

The CUNY Board is holding an emergency meeting Monday to reconsider its decision to block playwright Tony Kushner from getting an honorary degree from John Jay.

VOCAL-NY fliered outside the Women for Cuomo fundraiser today. (The woman in this shot looks a lot like semi-First Last Sandra Lee).

Sen. Greg Ball has a new campaign account.

Bieber cuts deal with Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice.

Paladino’s Ex-Campaign Manager Mails On Tax Cap

Carl Paladino’s former campaign manager Michael Caputo, a protege of political trickster Roger Stone, is mailing Tea-Party advocates urging them to support Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 2 percent cap on local property taxes.

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s budget has come a long way since I first wrote you on January 31st. We won some battles for fiscal sanity and we lost some. But the Governor succeeded in passing an on-time balanced budget without tax hikes – quite an accomplishment in our dysfunctional state capital.

Caputo earlier today distributed a quote from Paladino supportive of the governor’s cap. The measure was approved in the Republican-led Senate, but faces a tougher time passing the Democratic-controlled Assembly.

In his letter, Caputo also touts the efforts to cut into the state’s Medicaid program, one of the costliest programs in the country. Paladino was able to ride a wave of Tea Party support in the Republican primary to surprisingly defeat former Rep. Rick Lazio last September.

Cuomo plans to travel the state in order to fire up voters on the cap, which already enjoys broad supporter, according to polls.

Caputo Tax Cap

WFP Raising For Hochul Off Internal Poll

The labor-backed Working Families Party has seized on a leaked internal poll that shows Democrat Kathy Hochul statistically tied with Republican Jane Corwin as a fundraising tool, sending out an email that urges supporters to contribute to the Erie County clerk’s congressional campaign.

The WFP’s Bill Lipton fired off the missive that appears below after POLITICO reported a Global Strategy Group poll conducted for Hochul’s campaign showed she’s trailing the GOP assemblywoman by just one percentage point, 31-30, while independent Jack Davis netted 26 percent of the vote.

The internal poll was conducted May 2-4, which is about two weeks after Siena was in the field. The Siena poll showed Hochul 5 percentage points behind Corwin, with Davis at 23 percent.

Dear XXXX,

One percent – that’s how far behind Kathy Hochul is right now in her campaign in NY’s 26th Congressional District, according to the latest poll.

We already told you why this race matters: it’s become a referendum on Paul Ryan’s Republican budget proposal to kill Medicare. We knew it would be a close race, but we had no idea how close. That’s why we’re going to do everything we can to put Kathy over the top.

Will you help us? If you already chipped in $15, please give another $10 today. What’s another $10 in the fight to save Medicare? The Working Families Party is going all in and we need you with us.


Davis Campaign Decries NRCC Calls

Jack Davis is crying foul over phone calls being sent into NY-26 by the NRCC that apparently sound like they’re coming from his campaign.

I haven’t heard the script of the calls (if you’ve got it, or a recording, please send), which were reported yesterday by Roll Call. But Davis’ campaign manager Curtis Ellis sent out the following email to the candidate’s mailing list and also provided a copy to the members of the press:

Dear ______,

I’m writing to you because voters in Western New York have been receiving irritating phone calls pretending to be from the Jack Davis campaign. These calls are not from our campaign.

The calls begin by saying that they have information on Jack Davis. If a voter hangs up, the callers call back again.

The calls are being made by the Republican National Committee in Washington DC. While these type of dirty tricks are par for the course for Washington DC insiders, the Jack Davis campaign won’t stoop to this level to win an election. This type of behavior is inappropriate and wrong. Our campaign would never make calls like this and would like to reassure voters about our volunteer callers:

We always begin by explaining we are calling on behalf of Jack Davis.

We never repeat rumor or false statement about another candidate.

We never call after 8:30 p.m. at night.

This is an important election for our future. I hope that you will consider supporting Jack Davis. If you would like to volunteer for our phone bank or canvass operation, please click here.


Curtis Ellis
Campaign Manager, Jack Davis for Congress

LCA Show Tickets Still On Sale

Never fear!

There’s still time to pick up tickets for the 111th Legislative Correspondent Association show. Seats go for $300 for the black-tie Saturday event. Tonight is the dress rehearsal and admission is free, although we ask that folks bring non-perishable food donations for the Food Bank of Northeastern NY.

Interested parties can call Jean Gutbrodt at 518.455.2388.

This year’s event — A Fistful of Cuomos — will be held at the Convention Center of the Egg. The show features journalists singing in goofy costumes and rebuttals from politicos.

And here’s a taste of rebuttals of years past, this one coming from New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg:

Why They’re Marching

In the wake of Mayor Bloomberg’s bad news budget announcement, the labor-led coalition planning a week of action that culminates with a march on Wall Street on May 12 has released a collection of Web videos featuring march participants explaining why they decided to get involved.

The video that appears below stars Mike Kink, who departed his post with the Senate Democrats not long ago to head up the Strong Economy For All Coalition. Kink and the May 12 Coalition are calling for the city to “make millionaires pay their fair share” – a push that echoes the failed effort to extend the three-year PIT increase scheduled to sunset at the end of the year.

The coalition released a report that it maintains “lays out the corporate welfare giveaways, tax loopholes, mega-contracts, and bad lending practices that each cost the city hundreds of millions of dollars – at the time when the city is debating some of the harshest budget cuts since the fiscal crisis of the 1970s.”

“There’s a real alternative to the Mayor’s all-cuts-all-the-time budget proposal,” Kink said. “Our report shows that the city could get over $1.5 billion in cost savings and fair-share taxes from big banks, millionaires and hedge funds to prevent the worst cuts.”

“Making big banks and millionaires pay their fair share is the right approach in such difficult times – working and poor New Yorkers shouldn’t have to shoulder the entire burden of closing the budget gap.”

There’s also a “virtual rally” against Bloomberg’s budget going on today on the May 12 Coalition’s blog and Twitter.

Bloomberg, who is not only a billionaire, but also the richest man in NYC, has long held that taxing the wealthy is not a good idea. He recently panned President Obama’s call to tax the rich during an interview on Fox News.