Gillibrand’s Last-Minute Email

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand just shot supporters a last-minute fundraising appeal from her BlackBerry, informing them she’s just over $6,700 away from meeting her goal of $100,000 before the midnight second quarter FEC deadline.

Here’s the text of the junior senator’s message, forwarded by a reader who received it:

Dear XXXX,

This isn’t just another deadline. We’re less than 15 hours away from our filing period.

You know what is at stake. This campaign is only successful if we hit our goals each quarter, and your contribution today will ensure that we hit our number again.

I just talked to Ross and we have just over $6,700 left to raise. You can give online at or call the office at 212-481-2010.

Any amount helps even as little as $5.

Thank you for all that you do.


Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

So far, just one Republican has confirmed his intention to challenge Gillibrand in 2012 – Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos, who says he’ll spend up to $5 million of his own cash on the campaign.

Also eyeing the race are two of Gillibrand’s failed 2010 challengers, former Rep. Joe DioGuardi, whom she defeated in the November general election, and David Malpass, who lost the GOP primary to DioGuardi. Harry Wilson, who lost the state comptroller’s race to Democratic incumbent Tom DiNapoli, is being courted by some party leaders to run. He has yet to rule anything out.

How Not To Win Friends And Influence People (Updated)

Lesson 1: Insult the leader of the free world on live TV by describing him using a slang word for the male sex organ.

The media world is in a tizzy this morning after Time’s Mark Halperin did just that on “Morning Joe” after wondering aloud if the seven-second time delay was indeed in effect. Apparently, someone in the control room pushed the wrong button. (If you believe that…)

Halperin immediately apologized to both President Obama and the viewers. As Azi Paybarah notes, this isn’t the first time on-air cursing has taken place on the show.

A bit of a tempest in a teapot, but one that will likely be forgotten quickly enough by the 24-hour news media once the next gaffe occurs. As the host of a live show who suffers from serious truck-driver mouth, I feel for him. There but for the grace of G-d go us all.

UPDATE: A bigger teapot than originally thought. Halperin has been suspended indefinitely from his role as an analyst by MSNBC, which released the following statement:

“Mark Halperin’s comments this morning were completely inappropriate and unacceptable. We apologize to the President, The White House and all of our viewers. We strive for a high level of discourse and comments like these have no place on our air. Therefore, Mark will be suspended indefinitely from his role as an analyst.”

Halperin called this move “totally appropriate,” and offered another “heartfelt and profound” apology to the president, his MSNBC colleagues, and the viewers. He said he “deeply regrets” his comment.

Here And Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is holding two property tax cap “events” at private suburban residences today – one in Lynbrook (11:00 a.m.), the other in Pleasantville (1:30 p.m.)

Cuomo is expected to sign the so-called “big ugly,” which includes the cap, mandate relief and extension of the NYC rent laws, at the second event.

Pleasantville is in Westchester County, which has the highest property taxes in the nation. It’s also the governor’s home county.

Last night, the governor sent supporters an email (from his government account) with the subject line: “A property tax cap at last.” Sample text:

“For more than 15 years, both houses of the Legislature along with three governors have talked about a property tax cap for New York, but with no results. But now, for the first time in New York’s history, homeowners and businesses have the help they need.”

You get the idea. There’s also a link to the press release that announced the big ugly agreement.

Here are today’s headlines:

Four hundred and fifty-one state workers – most of them PEF members – are slated to receive layoff notices today. Those could be rescinded if the union strikes a contract deal with the Cuomo administration.

Ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, is reportedly taking a break from her job at the State Department – and her sexting husband – while he’s in rehab.

The National Organization for Marriage has vowed to spend $2 million in 2012 to oust the seven senators who flipped from “no” to “yes” on same-sex marriage between 2009 and last week.

While NY’s DEC is deliberating on hydrofracking, NJ Gov. Chris Christie has a bill to create the first statewide ban of the practice on his desk. It’s unclear if he will sign it.

The DEC will not release final gas drilling regulations Friday.

In his first press conference since March, President Obama called New York’s passage of a gay marriage bill “a good thing,” but did not endorse it outright.

More >


President Obama called New York’s same-sex marriage vote “a good thing,” but stopped short of endorsing the measure himself.

Top aides to former governors, legislative leaders try to make sense of the 2011 legisaltive session next Wednesday, July 13 at Baruch College with yours truly.

Ex-Rep. Dan Maffei joined the lobbying/law firm Manatt Phelps (also home to 2006 GOP gubernatorial candidate John Faso).

There’s some irony in calling Cuomo a liberal champion just because of same-sex marriage.

A Catholic blog takes a dim view of Maureen Dowd’s interview with Cuomo.

Lloyd Blankfein and former Gov. David Paterson debated which one of them is more unpopular.

Mayor Bloomberg is at odds with Cuomo over the potential closure of Indian Point.

The NYLCV gave the Legislature a “B” for environmental progress this year, up from last year’s C.

Bloomberg wants $600 million back from the CityTime contractor.

Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch praised Cuomo, criticized Obama and side-stepped questions about his sexuality in a wide-ranging interview.

AG Eric Schneiderman designated 14 employees to serve as public integrity officers around the state.

A second defendant was acquitted of all charges related to the Deutsche Bank tower fire.

NYRA’s COO/executive vice president will depart at the end of this year’s meet.

The NYC Council approved the $66 billion budget, 49-1, with the lone “no” vote coming from Charles Barron.

An appeals court judge appointed by George W. Bush sided with the Democrats on health care reform.

The state approved more charter schools, even as the co-location argument rages in NYC.

The US Senate Democrats might nix the July 4th recess.


Turtle power!

Bloomberg: Thank Skelos For Gay Marriage

Even though he voted “no” and continues to believe marriage should be defined as a union between one man and one woman, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos deserves credit for allowing the bill to come up for a vote last week, Mayor Bloomberg said.

“In the end, it was Skelos’ decision to whether to bring this to the floor,” Bloomberg said. “If he had not brought it to the floor, it would not have happened. It was three out of the four Republicans. If they hadn’t voted for this it wouldn’t have happened.”

Bloomberg’s comments came after his sit-down with the first Republican to announce he would break with the majority conference and vote “yes” on the bill: Rochester Sen. Jim Alesi. (The mayor, who is infamous for his trouble with names, could not for the life of him get the pronounciation of the senator’s name right; it’s Ah-lee-see, not Ah-leh-see).

The mayor said Alesi had served as “the tipping point in the debate” over same-sex marriage and showed “courage” in coming forward.

Of course, it’s not really nearly so simple as all that.

Most people with a passing knowledge of Monroe County politics believe Alesi, who was already on the outs with local GOP and Conservative leaders for his (now dropped) lawsuit against two constituents whose property he injured himself on while trespassing, took a calculated risk here in hopes that would land himself some newfound donors – and voters – from the LGBT community in 2012.

And while the mayor has been quite outspoken in his support of same-sex marriage and even made a special trip to Albany to lobby the GOP conference on the bill, the vote wasn’t devoid of politics for him either.

Bloomberg, as you’ll recall, is the Senate GOP’s largest individual donor and contributed close to $1 million to help the Republicans re-take the majority last year.

There was already talk (including from the lone Democratic “no” vote, Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr.) prior to last Friday’s vote that Bloomberg – and his deep pockets – would be in part to blame if Skelos refused to let the bill come to the floor or if it made it there and died due to a lack of GOP support.

Carlucci: Town Clerks Should Enforce Law

Sen. David Carlucci, D-Clarkstown, criticized in a statement today an Oswego County town clerk who refuses to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

“A Town clerk in their capacity as a marriage license officiant executes licenses like an officer of the court,” Carlucci said. “One cannot simply pick and choose which laws to follow and which to not.”

Barbara MacEwen, the town clerk in Volney (population 6,094) told YNN that she isn’t comfortable with approving licenses for same-sex couples.

“I really wouldn’t feel comfortable putting my name on a marriage license and I don’t really call it a marriage because a marriage is between a man and a woman. God said that in his word.”

But Carlucci, a former town clerk himself, said he’s signed marriage licences for marriages he personally did not approve of.

“There were times in my tenure where I granted marriage licenses incarcerated convicts,” he said. “I issued those licenses without pretense to what their crimes were because despite my personal views of their crimes, in our state, convicts are afforded the right of marriage.”

Sampson Credits Duane With Same-Sex Marriage Success

In his remarks on the end of the regularly scheduled 2011 legislative session, Senate Minority Leader John Sampson heaps credit on Sen. Tom Duane, D-Manhattan, for the passage of the same-sex marriage bill.

“…I want to commend Senator Tom Duane for his relentless advocacy on behalf of his community and all New Yorkers. Senator Duane changed hearts, changed minds, and in the process, helped change the course of history. None of this could have been possible without him,” Sampson said.

Duane, who is openly gay and HIV positive, carried the marriage bill in the Senate that passed 33-29 on Friday. Duane in particular seemed key in winning the support of Sen. Carl Kruger, the Brooklyn Democrat who is facing federal bribery charges.

Kruger was a no vote in 2009, but switched this year. Kruger and Duane sit next to each other in the backrow of the Senate chamber, frequently talking to one another. Kruger was outed on front page of The New York Post when he was first hit with the bribery charges, but has denied he is gay.

Cuomo Email Touts Marriage Passage

Gov. Andrew Cuomo sent an email to supporters celebrating the passage of same-sex marriage in the Legislature and takes particular note of Cuomo’s hands-on involvement in the effort.

Governor Cuomo believed this issue came down to a question of fairness and civil rights. The Governor worked alongside an unprecedented, bipartisan coalition of organizations and supporters to build momentum in every region of the state for passage of marriage equality legislation.

With the world watching, the Legislature passed marriage equality at the end of the legislative session, making New York the largest state to legalize marriage for all of its citizens.

Cuomo had gathered the state’s LGBT lobby leaders earlier this year in Albany to warn them against the same in fighting that led to the bill’s 2009 defeat in the Senate.

The organizations formed an umbrella group with press done by Cuomo ally Jennifer Cunningham, New Yorkers United for Marriage, in order to consolidate lobbying efforts and follow a Cuomo-style brand of message discipline.

Cuomo met personally with fence-sitting lawmakers and was involved in the crafting of the religious exemption amendment, which would prove key in winning Republican support.

Cuomo sent out a similar message from his official government email on rent control and the ethics overhaul.

Two Birds, One Fundraising Appeal

With the June 30 FEC deadline looming, Rep. Jerry Nadler is trying to capitalize on two of the biggest recent victories for New York Democrats: The legalization of same-sex marriage and Rep. Kathy Hochul’s win in GOP-dominated NY-26.

In a fundraising appeal bearing the subject line “Stonewall or Stonewalled?”, Nadler, a Manhattan Democrat who is perhaps the most liberal member of the state’s congressional delegation, praised the “amazing work” of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the Legislature and LGBT advocates for last week’s historic gay marriage vote.

The congressman highlighted his own efforts on behalf of the gay community, including a bill he’s dubbed the Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act that prevents legal same-sex marriages from being recognized by the federal government.

“Unfortunately, the reactionary Republican majority in the House of Representatives has so far shown absolutely no willingness to advance these key legal protections for LGBT Americans,” Nadler wrote.

“Unless Democrats take back the House in 2012, we will not likely see progress in Congress on these crucial issues.”

Nadler also revisited Hochul’s special election win in NY-26 – a race that largely turned on Rep. Paul Ryan’s proposal to overhaul Medicare.

The Democrats hoped to replicate the forumla for her victory, but were temporarily side-tracked by Weinergate. Not that the scandal-scarred congressman has finally resigned, the party is apparently ready to dust off the Hocul argument again.

“The Republicans’ goal to jettison Medicare is by no means their only aim, and they will not stop until they have stonewalled all progress and rolled back every social advancement of the last century, including a woman’s right to choose and the right to collective bargaining for working Americans,” Nadler wrote. “And we cannot let this happen.”

Interestingly, Nadler isn’t necessarily raising for himself. He’s in a very safe district, and even the re-drawing of his lines will not likely endager him any time soon.

Instead, Nadler said he wants to finish the quarter with a big number so he can “continue my efforts to support progressive candidates all over the country,” like Hochul, whom he helped financially prior to the May 24 special.

For safe members like Nadler, the ability to help colleagues with fundraising builds coalitions and power bases.

Schneiderman Names Public Integrity Officers

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman today announced the appointments of 14 public integrity officers around the state.

The officers are meant to act as local watchdogs and be go-to officials for citizens who spot local political corruption. The public integrity officers are being placed in regional attorney general offices, Schneiderman’s office said.

“When it comes to combating local public corruption, the people of New York State deserve a dedicated ‘cop on the beat.’ Having a public integrity officer in each one of our regional offices will go a long way to root out corruption and address the concerns of taxpayers in every corner of New York State,” Schneiderman said. “Our talented team of public integrity officers will give everyday citizens a place to take complaints where they know they can and will be examined without fear or favor.”

Speaking as a former newspaper reporter who covered small communities, local public corruption can be a tough nut to crack. Many small towns have tight-knit power structures with little to no patience for being called out on malfeasence or cops on the beat to stop them. Just look at Bell, Calif.

A full list of the public integrity officers is after the jump. More >