Apr 25th - 12:10 pm
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).
Apr 25th - 11:52 am
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.
Apr 25th - 11:39 am
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.
Apr 25th - 11:06 am
Have you purchased your LCA Show tickets yet? If not, what are you waiting for?
This year’s show, A Fistful of Cuomos, will take place May 7 and tickets are still available.
Below is one of the revue’s finest rebuttals in its history, shot by then-Gov. Eliot Spitzer (which, considering all that has happened here in the last four years, is far weirder and funnier).
This year’s rebuttals will be done by the Independent Democratic Conference of Sens. Jeff Klein, Diane Savino, David Valesky and David Carlucci and by Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is yet to commit, but he hasn’t turned us down, either.
Apr 25th - 10:40 am
The campaign to push New York real-estate mogul and reality-show host Donald Trump to run for president is holding areception in Las Vegas (where else?) on Thursday that is slated to be hosted by several GOP groups.
The event, sponsored by Spring Mountain Republican Women, Active Republican Women of Las Vegas, Southern Hills Republican Women and Draft Trump 2012 is drawing comparisons to the Donald and other Republican television-star-turned-political-star, President Ronald Reagan.
Titled from “Ronald to Donald” the poster for the event issues the call to “bring back the Reagan revolution.”
Nevada is also an interesting spot for the event. It’s considered vital for former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney to gain some traction in the state in order for him to keep his front runner status.
UPDATE (from Liz B): A reader reminds me that Trump is scheduled to be in Vegas over the weekend to attend the lavish marriage of Steve Wynn to British divorcee Andrea Hissom. The event is reportedly to span several days, and will rival the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
Apr 25th - 10:03 am
The New York chapter of the League of Women Voters — whose domain is usually ethics and government reform legislation — is joining the growing campaign for legalizing gay marriage.
From the League’s news release:
“The time to allow loving and committed couples to marry is long overdue, and we are thrilled to lend our support to this effort,” said Betsey Swan, President of the League of Women Voters of New York State. “The League has always advocated for fundamental fairness and equal protection under the law. It hurts all New Yorkers when some families are denied the respect, protections and responsibilities of marriage. We are very pleased that the majority of New Yorkers now agree.”
New Yorkers United For Marriage, which is earning plaudits from conservatives for its subtle tactic of attracting a broad political spectrum, also includes the Log Cabin Republicans, The Empire State Pride Agenda, Freedom to Marry, The Human Rights Campaign and Marriage Equality New York.
A gay marriage vote failed in the Democratic-led Senate in 2009, 38-24.
Support from the League of Women Voters comes as good-government advocates are also pushing for a new ethics package, including provisions that would require great disclosure of lawmakers’ outside income. So far — and despite statements from Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, — specific legislation is yet to materialize.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said he wants both measures — gay marriage legalization and an ethics bill — to cross his desk this year.
Apr 25th - 8:32 am
It’s Week II of the Legislature’s extended spring break, so perhaps we’ll have a quiet time in Albany…Hope springs eternal.
Another WikiLeaks report, this time on Guantanamo detainees.
At least eight former elected officials appointed to posts in the Cuomo administration kept their campaign accounts, although some are now in the process of closing them (after being questioned by the AP).
Former Lt. Dan Choi joined an Easter Sunday demonstration outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral to protest the Roman Catholic Church’s opposition to same-sex marriage.
Sen. Diane Savino on speculation she followed her “man”, Sen. Jeff Klein, into the IDC: “It’s insulting, and frankly, it’s insulting to all female legislators Anyone you talk to will tell you I’m not the type of person to follow any man, anywhere…Not that he’s not worth following.”
Three NY House freshmen – Michael Grimm, Nan Hayworth and Ann MArie Buerkle – are holding fast to their opposition to raising the nation’s debt ceiling. (The story pegs the number at five, but Rep. Chris Gibson isn’t one of them).
Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos is reportedly worried some GOP members will leave if required to disclose the entirety of their outside legal fees under an ethics reform, further threatening his hold on the majority.
While upstate residents worry about prison closings on the loss of jobs, many who live in Ossining would love to see Sing Sing shuttered.
The Post launched a four-part series on school-employee disciplinary hearings.
It’s the annual list of silly bills, compliments of Jacob Gershman.
Apr 24th - 4:30 pm
Trying to make an issue of where President Obama was born is a “terrible mistake” for GOP 2012 hopefuls, Bloomberg said.
The former “deputy mayor for mollification”, Dennis Walcott, insists he has sufficient “spine” for his new job as NYC schools chancellor.
“You’re Sandra Lee, go whip something up.”
Cuomo likes to portray himself as a man of the people, living in slightly less-than-upscale Mount Kisco. But the home he shares with Lee is actually in the very tony town of New Castle.
The Buffalo News maps a course for Cuomo for the remainder of the legislative session.
UAlbany leaders are worried Cuomo is overlooking the campus in the discussion about the future of higher ed in New York.
In the last 20 years, Donald Trump’s companies have sought protection from creditors to avoid financial collapse at least three times.
Bloomberg called Trump “a New York icon”, but refused to take a position on his potential White House bid.
The real estate mogul who may be a presidential candidate skipped out on 21 years of primary voting, according to an exclusive NY1 report.
Trump insisted: “I voted in every general election…You’re going to pay a big price because you’re wrong…I have records that I voted and so does the Board of Elections…I signed in at every election.” (He did not provide said records).
Apr 23rd - 10:22 am
It was supposed to be a quiet time in Albany, with the Legislature on Week 1 of its extended spring break.
But, as it turns out, there was plenty of news to go around – from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s spearheading of a coordinated campaign to push the gay marriage bill through the Senate before the end of the session to his formal appointment of SAGE commission members to the revelation of Donald Trump’s (non) primary voting record.
So, plenty to discuss. I’m sure you’ve got ideas, too.
Happy Easter weekend, to those who are celebrating.
Apr 22nd - 5:35 pm
Donald Trump sent another hand-written note to a blogger.
Daily Intel’s Dan Amira is jealous.
Here’s the deposition in which Trump admits his net worth varies depending in part on his mood.
Bret Michaels is replacing Jerry Seinfeld at the charity golf tournament put on by Trump’s son.
Trump and Rep. Anthony Weiner once had something in common: Support for a single-payer healthcare system.
Trump is maintaining his lead over his potential GOP 2012 rivals.
Something else to worry about: Water frogs.
Americans are divided over whether Earth Day has helped raise environmental awareness.
The RFK Bridge is now lit with new, more energy-efficient bulbs.
Solar energy is making a comeback in NY.
Mayor Bloomberg insisted there’s “a lot” of evidence of ticket-fixing in the NYPD.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced protection of 99 acres in the heart of Long Island’s central pine barrens.
Curtis Sliwa’s prostate surgery was successful.
Here’s the latest video from the Strengthen Social Security campaign: