Dec 10th - 4:54 pm
President Obama sought advice from the master of triangulation.
Mayor Bloomberg talked immigration reform with fellow captains of industry.
Ralph Nader offers 21 reasons why he believes Bloomberg can win nationally.
NYC Public Advocate Bill de Blasio analyzed the Citizens United impact on the 2010 elections.
The pink slips to some 900 state workers are in the mail.
Reps. Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney sang in support of the Zadroga bill.
“Fifty is nifty” for Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb.
Howie Hawkins and his fellow Greens are pushing Cuomo to do ethics reform before he tackles the budget.
Nearly two-thirds of respondents to a RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll say GOP control of the Senate will improve Cuomo’s chances of achieving fiscal reform.
Gov. David Paterson is being coy about whether he’ll sign or veto the hydrofracking ban.
Bill Clinton is auctioning himself off (again) to help settle his wife’s 2008 presidential campaign debts.
Glenn Thrush breaks down the extremely strained relationship between Sen. Chuck Schumer and Obama.
The Rev. Al Sharpton liked Cuomo’s first round of staff appointments.
Sen. Betty Little is soliciting names for the APA Board of Commissioners.
Bill Thompson is still fighting the 8,255 tickets his 2009 mayoral campaign received for illegal posters.
Ambassador Richard Holbrooke was hosptialized.
Robocalls will soon be regulated in New York.
Dec 10th - 4:30 pm
…another settlement announcement from outgoing AG/Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo in relation to his pay-to-play state pension fund probe.
This time the agreement is with the Washington, D.C.-based private equity firm Paladin Homeland Security Holdings, LLC, which agreed to adopt the Public Pension Fund Reform Code of Conduct and also reduce its management fees on a $20 million fund investment.
The agreement announced today arises out of Paladin’s efforts to obtain an investment in 2003. Paladin retained former Liberal Party head Raymond Harding at the suggestion of Hank Morris, the chief political advisor to then-state Comptroller Alan Hevesi.
Paladin apparently initially tried to retain Morris as a placement agent, but he referred the firm to Harding to “reward” him (unbeknownst to Paladin) for his years of loyalty to Hevei, according to Cuomo.
Paladin eventually received a $20 million investment from the fund in 2004, and paid $300,000 in fees to Harding. In 2005, Morris hit Paladino up for contributions for Hevesi’s re-election bid and eventually received $25,000.
“The state pension fund is a valuable asset held in trust for retirees and supported by taxpayers,” Cuomo said.
“The fund does not belong to party bosses or campaign fundraisers. Through this investigation, we will continue to restore and protect the integrity of the state pension fund.”
Dec 10th - 3:44 pm
Following the death of the NYC OTB bailout bill in the Senate earlier this week, the Senate Republicans today announced creation of a task force that will “develop long term solutions to the issues facing the racing industry.”
Formally entitled the Task Force on the Revitalization of the Racing Industry in New York, the group will be chaired by Sen. John Bonacic and also include:
Sen. Roy McDonald (one of two GOP senators to vote “yes” on the bailout; the other was Sen. Frank Padvan), Sen. Joe Griffo, Sen. Mike Nozzolio, Sen. Hugh Farley (who got caught up chatting with GOP Leader Dean Skelos and missed the vote, although he voted “yes” to move it out of the Rules Committee) and Sen. Marty Golden.
“Rather than just debate short-term solutions, we need to come up with ways to strengthen the racing industry, to encourage job retention and creation, and ensure long-term stability,” Skelos said.
“The task force will gather input from everyone involved with and impacted by racing in New York and make recommendations to address these issues in ways that benefit the industry, the fans and taxpayers.”
Dec 10th - 3:37 pm
No Labels, a centrist group trying to galvanize the political middle after an election cycle dominated by extremes, will kick off at Columbia University Monday with an appearance by Mayor Bloomberg, who continues to deny his interest in running for the White House even as he seems to be positioning himself to do just that.
Neither a third party, nor a stalking horse for any presidential candidate or other candidates, No Labels is a new way of looking at politics, and a growing movement of Americans united in the belief that our political leaders don’t have to give up their labels, but rather need to be able to put them aside at times to do what is best for America,” the press release trumpeting the event states.
“No Labels believes that the answers to challenges we face get lost in the political posturing that all too often results in nothing getting done to help the American people.”
“No Labels will create a space where ideas can be judged on the merits, not their conformity to pre-fabricated stereotypes. The point is not whether America moves left or right; it’s whether we move forward. And that’s what the majority of Americans are yearning for.”
“Some refer to it as the center of American politics wedged between the parties, though No Labels sees it differently, larger.”
Some noteworthy (and Bloomberg-related) folks who are expected to speak and/or sit on a panel:
- “Morning Joe” host/former GOP Rep. Joe Scarborough, who has been mentioned as a potential Bloomberg running mate. (His co-host, Mika Brzezinski, will be on hand, too).
- Indiana Rep. Evan Bayh (also mentioned as a potential Bloomberg running mate).
- Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (a former Blue Dog congresswoman-turned-left-leaning-senator who hasn’t always seen eye-to-eye with Bloomberg, and may even face a challenge in 2012 from his longtime companion, Diana Taylor).
- Sen. Joe Lieberman, whom Bloomberg helped in 2006 when he lost the backing of the Democratic Party following his defeat in the primary by Ned Lamont.
- Grammy-nominated singer AKON who will sing the “No Labels” theme song…(!)
The full participant list appears after the jump.
Dec 10th - 3:12 pm
…And now we have PEF joining CSEA in slamming Gov. David Paterson for going forward with his plan to lay off 898 state workers prior to his depature from the governor’s office at the end of the month.
The statement appears in full below, but here’s a taste:
“Gov. David Paterson should be ashamed that the final act of his administration will be to punish union members and their families because he wanted to score cheap political points.”
“Paterson will no doubt try and place blame on the unions. He will claim these layoffs could have been avoided
and on that point, we agree. Time and again, the governor was presented with many options for cost
reductions but instead he chose to cut the jobs of 900 workers.”
Dec 10th - 3:02 pm
I received an e-mail today from Paul Newell, one of two Democrats who ran unsuccessful primary challenges to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver in the fall of 2008 – the first opponents the powerful Manhattan lawmaker had received from inside his own party in two decades.
Newell was touting several screenings next week of “Excuse Me, Mr. Speaker,” a 75-minute documentary about his long-shot run, at 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday and 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday The Tank in Lower Manhattan.
Silver cruised to an easy win that year over both Newell and his other little-known primary opponent, Luke Henry.
The speaker won 68 percent of the vote thanks in no small part to the combined efforts of his allies in labor and the Working Families Party and in spite of the fact that he was widely lambasted by editorial boards and even saw the NY Times back Newell.
The win further solidified Silver’s power in Albany and his standing within his own conference. He was not similarly challenged this year, although there’s talk he’ll face another primary in 2012 from Columbia graduate student Ed Chen.
(Newell ran for district leader in 2009 and won; he has not yet ruled out an Assembly run in 2012).
Dec 10th - 1:07 pm
One more down, one more to go.
Democrat Tom Roach has conceded in the 89th Assembly district race. Incumbent Republican Robert Castelli announced on Facebook that his opponent called him a short time ago to concede.
“I congratulated him on running a fine campaign,” Castell posted on his wall. “Earlier, Supreme Court Justice Les Adler ordered the Board of Elections to certify the results of the race. We have won. I would like to thank all of my supporters, volunteers and staff for their support during this campaign. I could not have done it without you.”
This leaves only one Assembly race still to be decided. Ballot counting continues in 100th district where Republican Tom Kirwan currently has a 64-vote lead over incumbent Democrat Frank Skartados, according to Assembly Minority Spokesman Josh Fitzpatrick.
Republicans have now picked up eight seats (50 total) in the Assembly and could pick up one more pending the outcome of the Kirwan/Skartados match up.
UPDATE: Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb just released a statement on the victory. He’s stoked to say the least:
“Fifty is nifty! That is what Assembly Republican Leader Brian M. Kolb said this afternoon, proudly declaring victory in Assemblyman Bob Castelli’s re-election to the 89th Assembly District.
Without question, 2010 has been a banner year for Assembly Republicans: we won all nine of our open seats and successfully returned every one of our incumbent Members seeking re-election, making us the only Legislative Conference to do so in 2010.
So, the scorecard for the 2010 elections is that we will be coming back to Albany with at least 50 Members, and we brought back all of our incumbents who had sought re-election. Frankly, we could not have asked for a better outcome. Our entire Assembly Republican Conference is looking forward to a successful and productive 2011.”
Dec 10th - 11:57 am
The war of words continues between CSEA President Danny Donohue and Gov. David Paterson over the outgoing governor’s plan to lay off some 900 state workers prior to his departure from office at the end of the month.
Donohue just released a statement calling this a “terribly sad time for New Yorkers,” particularly the employees receiving pink slips and an “uncertain future because of Governor David Paterson’s failures.”
“As I stated the other day when calling on the governor to rescind this misguided action, everyone but the governor and some other politicians seem to understand that laying people off is bad for the economy,” Donohue continued.
“It takes away paychecks that would be spent in local communities, loses taxes that would otherwise be paid and eliminates front-line employees who actually deliver necessary services that help generate revenue.”
“It is also a cruel and unnecessary action in this holiday season that will hurt innocent families. No one should ignore the human misery that the governor’s plan will cause to real people.”
“The layoff plan is nothing but political spite for CSEA holding the governor to a negotiated contract and his no-layoff pledge, as his administration mishandled every opportunity for cooperation and alternative approaches.”
Dec 10th - 11:52 am
It’s hard to overstate the severity of the break in New York’s labor movement over news that Gary LaBarbera, president of the Building and Construction Trades Council, is teaming up with business and real etsate interests to form new committee that will back Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo’s war with the public sector unions.
One union source who hails from the more progressive wing of labor (the trades tend to lean more conservative), deemed his private sector colleagues “the Benedict Arnolds,” adding: “Building trades are not really a union, they are enablers of their employers.”
When I noted that there’s been plenty of pragmatism on the progressive side, too, (I was thinking specifically of some unions that fought Mayor Bloomberg’s eventually successful push to extend term limits and then turned around and endorsed him during the campaign), he replied:
“There is a difference between endorsements and kicking and spitting on fellow trade unionists when they are already on the ground and fighting for their lives.”
I also spoke with a source in the trades, who defended his side’s actions by noting that the public sector unions have steadfastly refused all efforts by Gov. David Paterson to cut costs – from furloughs to pay freezes to layoffs – while the private sector unions have repeatedly offered concessions to keep their members employeed.
“Nobody feels good about this,” he insisted. But they won’t take a concessions. They’ll sue. They’ll sue. They’ll sue.”
“Where’s the money going to come from? Oh, we’ll take it out of the capital budget so the 40,000 unemployed construction workers can become 60,000. That’s an act of war.”
Dec 10th - 11:14 am
Gov. Paterson says the US Senate’s failure to begin debate on legislation aimed at providing health care for sick 9/11 first responders is a shame.
Paterson also said the issue has nothing to do with party politics and the entire body is to blame for its failure to pass.
“These are people elected to the United States Senate,” said Paterson.
“They knew what happened on Sept. 11th. They saw the way our country was attacked. They also knew the Environmental Protection Agency made it clear within the first month that it was safe to live and work there. At that time I didn’t believe them.
The 57-42 vote yesterday in Washington, DC fell short of the 60 needed to start a debate on the measure.
Paterson went on to say that he was aware that the Environmental Protection Agency made a bad decision in letting people live and work near ground zero after the attack.
“At the time we were all trying to act in harmony, we didn’t want to criticize each other, but those of us that gathered that day were concerned that in an attempt to promote harmonious reaction and showing we were not going to be pushed away from our democracy by the terrorists, that we were endangering lives. We now know that that’s true.”
Paterson made the comments at a news conference this morning after signing Judicial Compensation Legislation. The bill will create a special commission to look at setting a new standard of judicial pay.