Cuomo At Somos: Fiscal Plan Helps Immigrants

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, speaking at the Somos el Futuro spring conference at the Crowne Plaza in Albany tonight, wrapped his fiscally conservative around the idea that newly arrived immigrants need jobs.

In his speech, the Democratic governor touted the on-time, $132.5 billion budget that closes a $10 billion deficit and reduces spending by 2 percent. Cuomo didn’t dwell on his recommended cuts to education and health care programs. Instead, he hit on the need to grown private-sector jobs around the state.

“I’ve spent many, many years in government, I’ve been all over this state,” Cuomo said in his speech to roughly 300 people. “I’ve never had a new immigrant come to me and say, ‘You know what I want Andrew? I want help with Medicaid, I want help with welfare.’ You know what they say they want? ‘Get me a job. That’s what they want.’”

He also hit on cuts that are popular with leaders in the minority community, namely his plan to close or consolidate juvenile justice centers that he says ship youthful offenders to unfamiliar areas.

The governor also gave a robust defense of legal immigrant and pledged to make state government more accessible to non-English speakers.

“When we get finished here in the next four years, every state agency will be accessible in the languages that New Yorkers speak because it’s their government and it should be accessible,” he said.

The speech went much better than the address given at the Black and Latino Caucus gala in February, when New York City Councilman (and one-time gubernatorial foe) Charles Barron interrupted Cuomo to protest the budget cuts.

After the speech, Cuomo defended his cuts.

“Everyone needs the economy to work,” Cuomo said during a question and answer gaggle with reporters after the speech.

Asked about the notion that he, a self-proclaimed progressive Democrat, has been labeled a conservative Republican on fiscal issues, said, “I’m a progressive Democrat who’s broke.”

NY1/YNN Poll Finds Tight Field For NYC Mayor

U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner holds a narrow lead in a hypothetical and crowded Democratic primary for New York City mayor, a NY1/YNN and Marist College poll found.

Weiner, a Brooklyn Democrat, garners 18 percent of the vote and former New York City Comptroller Bill Thompson, who ran a surprisingly close campaign against Mayor Michael Bloomberg received 15 percent.

John Liu, the current comptroller, receives 13 percent of the Democratic vote as does City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. Nine percent of Democrats say they would support Public Advocate Bill de Blasio while 4 percent would back Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer.

Weiner briefly considered running for mayor in 2009, but opted out. Bloomberg, a Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-independent, ran for a third term after the city’s term limits law was altered. He is barred from running for a fourth term.

“With no clear front-runner and a large number of undecided voters, this contest is likely to attract a crowd of candidates,” said Marist College pollster Lee Miringoff. “This is not unusual for an ‘open’ seat.”

Though city voters appear undecided as to who should occupy Gracie Mansion next, a whopping 62 percent surveyed said scandal-scarred former Gov. Eliot Spitzer shouldn’t run.

Twenty-nine percent of those responded that Spitzer, who resigned in the wake of a prostitution scandal in 2008, should run, while 10 percent are undecided.

The survey of 772 New York City adults, including 604 registered voters was conducted on March 22nd through March 24th, 2011. Adults 18 years of age and older residing in the five boroughs of New York City were interviewed by telephone. The survey has a margin of error of 3.5 percent.

EMBARGOED_Complete April 1st, 2011 NYC Poll Release and Tables


Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has the power to stop time in his chamber, which enabled him to technically deliver an early budget for Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Just how badly did the governor want an early budget, anyway?

“Democrats have an Andrew Cuomo problem.”

More unhappiness with Cuomo from the left.

Susan Sarandon thinks Donald Trump is “just trying to get attention.”

President Obama is returning to NYC April 6 for the Rev. Al Sharpton’s “Keepers of the Dream” gala.

Hoping to send a message to her would-be 2012 opponents, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand raised more than $3 million during the first three months of this year.

Roger Stone is at odds with Trump adviser Michael Cohen over The Donald’s fundraising, should his presidential bid turn out to be the real thing.

The state budget will force NYC to downsize its police and fire departments, Mayor Bloomberg says, but this will occur without layoffs.

It’s political baby season! Congrats to NYC Councilwoman Jessica Lappin on her son, Miles McMichael Wuertele.

Assemblywoman Nettie Mayershon’s spokesman explains why she’s retiring at the age of 86: “She just feels she’s accomplished everything she needed to accomplished in the Assembly.”

On whether Cuomo will follow through on his nonpartisan redistricting pledge, one “Albany guy” tells Josh Benson: “”The threshhold question here is ‘what will Eleanor Randolph let Cuomo get away with?’”

Bloomberg appointed a new chief pension administrator.

Sen. Suzi Oppenheimer is the 2011 recipient of the William Hoyt Environmental Excellence Award.

The CBC analyzed the school aid cuts.

Rep. Michael Grimm adopted a 9-week-old teacup Yorkie named Sebastian.

The feds approved a $1.5 billion increase to electric companies that will send bills soaring for the next three summers.

Meet The Littlest LCAer

The LCA has a new member.


The Times Union’s intrepid Jimmy Vielkind today is celebrating the birth of Brooke Rose Vielkind, born at 12:52 p.m. on March 31 (nearly beating the on-time state budget!)

Jimmy reports that Brooke Rose and her mother, Katherine Rose Nadeau, are healthy and recovering at home.

Here’s how the new dad describes his daughter:

“Brooke came out pink as a peppermint pig, with a nicely fuzzed head (some blondish strands, some light brown…the genes are still fighting) and, when she shares them with the world, eyes the color of Levis.”

“We are so proud of her already…She’s meeting her grandparents today, and all agreed she’s a sweet, happy, beautiful little girl. We just say she’s perfect.”

Congratulations – and Mazel Tov! (from LB) – to Jimmy and Katherine!

AG Taps Independent Counsel On NARAL

AG Eric Schneiderman, who recused himself from investigating the alleged financial improprieites that led to former NARAL Pro-Choice NY President Kelli Conlin, has tapped an independent counsel to handle the matter.

Schneiderman selected John H. Doyle III, who, like half the attorneys in NY, it seems, worked for former Manhattan DA Robert Morgenthau (albeit at the US attorney’s office), is currently in private practice at the firm of Reed Smith LLP. He’s co-chair of the firm’s Professional Responsibility Committee.

(NOTE: My mistake. Schneiderman didn’t work for Morgenthau, but clerked for two years in the US District Court for the Southern District after graduating from Harvard Law and before going into private practice).

Doyle will be reviewing the Conlin case – this is not to be confused with a full investigation, I’m told, and his services are coming without any cost to the taxpayers.

“Mr. Doyle is a distinguished attorney of unquestionable character and integrity,” said an AG spokesperson. “He has agreed to provide his services without compensation and New Yorkers can be confident that he will conduct a thorough review of the matter.”

Doyle worked in the US attorney’s office on two occasions, from 1966 to to 1971, where he was assistant chief of the Criminal Division. And then again from 1979 to 1980 where he was chief of that same division under Robert B. Fiske, Jr.

According to his bio on the Reed Smith Website, Dolye has a range of experience in civil and white collar criminal litigation, securities law, attorney discipline and the RICO statute.

He has tried civil cases in the areas of professional liability, lender liability, Lanham Act, shipping industry disputes, and preferential payments to bank creditors in bankruptcy. He has handled internal corporate investigations by public companies of alleged insider wrongdoing and leaks from Board of Directors’ meetings.

So this situation will be right up his alley.

Conlin abruptly departed her post on Jan. 21 with no explanation.

We here at CapTon exclusively reported back in February about a forensic audit that uncovered extensive alleged financial misconduct by the nonprofit head, including questionable credit card charges, a $17,000 reimbursement on a Hamptons summer rental and more than $100,000 worth of car service.

NARAL had a long-standing relationship with Schneiderman when he was a senator. The non profit endorsed his 2010 AG run and was deeply involved in his campaign, with Conlin often serving as a surrogate and joining the AG-elect on stage on election night.

In addition, Schneiderman’s father, Irwin, sits on NARAL’s board, although he stepped down temporarily during his son’s successful bid to become New York’s top attorney.

The Manhattan DA’s office launched an active criminal investigation into Conlin. NARAL did not endorse the DA, Cy Vance Jr., during the 2009 Democratic primary.

Gillibrand: Giffords Is Walking, Talking

After a stop in Troy earlier today, Sen. Kirstin Gillibrand provided reporters with an update on the status of her friend, Rep. Gabby Giffords, whom the junior senator visited last week at the Texas rehabilitation center where she’s recovering from the head wound she sustained during the Jan. 8 Arizona shooting.

“I can tell you she is going great,” Gillibrand said. “She’s an unbelievable, strong woman who inspires me every single day with her courage and her determination to overcome this horrible crime committed against her.”

“She’s walking. She’s talking. She’s doing eight hours of speech therapy, physical therapy and trying to get back on track, and I can tell you she’s doing great. And I have great hopes for her to return to Congress.”

Gillibrand did not address the speculation that Giffords might actually try to join her in the Senate. The Times reported earlier this week that some of the congresswoman’s most ardent supporters are already hypothesizing what her TV commercials would look like if she chose to seek the seat GOP Sen. Jon Kyl is vacating next year.

It’s far too early to tell how much of her abilities Giffords will regain, and if she’ll even be interested in returning to politics at all after her ordeal.

The congresswoman is expected to make her first public appearance since the shooting next month when her husband, Capt. Mark Kelly, lifts off from Florida for a two-week space shuttle mission.

Espaillat: Property Tax Cap, Rent Regs Similar

Extending (and possibly expanding) rent regulations in New York City is similar to capping property taxes, Sen. Andriano Espaillat, D-Manhattan, said on NBC New York.

Espaillat, who represents now-Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s former upper west side Senate district, was careful to not say the two issues are “linked” as Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, initially suggested.

“It’s a runaway train,” Espaillat said of property taxes. “I would not be against that, but we also have the issue of rent stabilization. If we’re going to save homeowners, we should also help tenants. I think we should look at those issues moving forward.”

The Republican-led Senate already approved a 2 percent cap on property taxes on Jan. 31, a day before Gov. Andrew Cuomo introduced his budget. Rent regulations in New York City and parts of suburban counties are due to expire June 15.

Then again, Sen. John Flanagan told Newsday earlier this month that a tax cap might be dead, barring a reduction in costly state mandates.

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Bellavia Withdraws From NY-26 Race

Iraq War veteran David Bellavia has formally withdrawn from the NY-26 race, admitting in a letter to the state Board of Elections that he filed an “insufficient number of valid signatures” to get onto the ballot for the May 24 special election.

Bellavia also acknowledged that he missed the deadline for filing an acceptance to run on his self-created “Federalist Party” line.

MJ called over to the state Board of Elections and was informed that four candidates have been certified to appear on the ballot. They include: Assemblywoman Jane Corwin (GOP, Consverative, Indpendence Party), Erie County Clerk Kathy Hochul (Democrat, WFP), Ian Murphy (Green Party) and Jack Davis (Tea Party).

Davis filed 12,015 signatures in his bid to get onto the ballot as an independent. (The required amount is 3,500). Davis’ campaign sent out the following statement from the candidate:

“The people of Western New York understand that both parties have failed to deliver what we need – jobs for the American people. Our independent campaign gives the voters a real choice. When I go to Washington I will fight for the working men and women of this district.”

CD26 Bellavia Federalist Party fax notice 3[1][1].31.11_2

NYSP: ‘No Evidence Of Credible Threat’ In Email

As you may have heard, there were some threatening emails sent to reporters and a few members of the legislature early this morning. We know have an official, and brief statement from the NYSP indicating that there is no evidence of a credible threat.

Here is the release.

“The New York State Police, Troop G, Loudonville and the New York State Police Computer Crimes Unit are currently investigating multiple complaints of threatening e-mails received by local and state politicians this date.

The e-mails are similar in content. At this time, there is no evidence of a credible threat. Due to the sensitive nature of this investigation, no other comments or details will be released at this time.”

Spitzer: Cuomo ‘Wrong’ On Millionaire’s Tax, Medicaid Reform

Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer says he’s been trying to “avoid commentary” on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s performance todate, but couldn’t help himself when asked by the West Side Spirit to opine on the governor’s first 75 days in office.

The former governor-turned-CNN host said he disagrees with Cuomo about “certain calls,” adding:

“I think his absolutely no millionaire’s tax was, in this moment of crisis, wrong. Just as I thought extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy was wrong.”

“We talk so much about shared sacrifice, and if you look at the pincers of wealth accretion for those at the top over the past 30 years, the genuine deficit crisis that has been created, not just the sort of crisis out of the crisis which is the recession, which is a revenue crisis, but at the long-term structural deficit, we’ve been squeezing government by dropping rates, which would have been fine if the economy had grown.”

“But when it doesn’t, the question is how are we going to pay for basic things like education, infrastructure, health care. I disagree with him on that.”

Spitzer took issue with Cuomo’s strategy of putting health care players with a vested interest in the Medicaid debate – namely GNYHA and SEIU 1199 – onto the redesign team that hashed out a reform and cost-cutting strategy that included sweeteners for the industry (the indemnity fund, living wage) in exchange for accepting spending cuts.

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