Baby Count vs. Census Count

Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera, a Bronx Democrat, today released what she deemed “undisputable evidence” that the 2010 Census undercounted New York City in the form of NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Bureau of Vital Statistics statistics on all births and deaths in the five boroughs.

The data shows that from a period of 8 years beginning in 2001, there more than 999,280 children born in NYC while 456,499 people died. Extrapolated over the decade covered by the Census, Rivera said, that comes out to 1,249,000 births compaed to 571,000 deaths.

“The evidence is crystal clear,” the assemblywoman said. “We had over a million children born during the past 10 years in New York City alone, but if we believe the US Census, the population of New York City only grew by slightly over 166,00 residents.”

“What I want to know is what happened to all the children who were born in New York City? They just didn’t push their own baby carriages out of our state.”

“We have schools so over-crowded; they are bursting at the seams. New Yorkers can’t find affordable housing because the demand is huge and our streets are congested with pedestrians and automobiles.”

“It is beyond ridiculous that based on the figures and the reality of life in the City that we have to accept Census numbers that are obviously and critically wrong. This terrible undercount will cost New York City billions in federal aid for our schools, roads, hospitals and infrastructure over the next decade.”

The Bloomberg administration is formally challenging the 2010 Census data, while a number of elected officials are calling for a federal investigation of the count.

Census Undercount Chart 2001-9

In Defense Of Silver

Michael Benjamin, a Bronx Democrat, was the former assemblyman who warned me not to “count Shelly out” in the wake of Nick Confessore’s story about the dimming of the ultimate Albany chess master’s star now that Gov. Andrew Cuomo is on the scene.

I asked Benjamin, who has always been a big Silver supporter, if he cared to expand on that view, and here’s what he wrote:

“The NYT and the media like to paint Shelly as a one-dimensional person. Clearly, he’s not. He’s Lao Tzu, Miyamoto Musashi, General George S. Patton, Moise Dayan, and Muhammad Ali all rolled into one.”

“He’s the willow in the gale storm that bends with the wind, instead of the mighty oak that snaps. Shelly is a loyal to the Democratic Party’s core principles and its standard-bearers. He’s loyal to the institution that is the Legislature (and by extension, its Members).”

“Speaker Silver leads by consensus and, as you know, he’s the Democratic conference’s chief negotiator. He brings back the best deal possible under the circumstances. He’s really an honest broker. (If were the NFL Players Assn, I’d want Shelly representing my players.)”

“Governor Cuomo is well-aware of these aspects. He and Shelly are two masters of their political arts. We need to legalize mixed martial arts so NYers can see the Cuomo-Silver match-up first-hand and up close (like how I pitched support for MMA?)”

“Since the media likes conflicts with clear winners and losers, they should recognize that this political match will go the limit (i.e., 12 rounds, 9 innings, pick your sport, except cricket!).”

Budget Bills!!! Votes Start Today In Senate (Updated)

Are here. (Transportation, economic development and environmental conservation).

And here. (Merges the office of victim services into the division of criminal justice services; merges the department of correctional services and the division of parole into the department of corrections and community supervision and makes conforming technical changes in law; eliminates the NYS foundation for science, technology and innovation and transfers functions to the department of economic development).

From what I’m hearing, the Legislature is hoping to wrap up its work and get all the bills printed by tonigh, with the exception of the health care bill, which probably will get pushed to tomorrow.

That means lawmakers won’t have very much time at all to read two key pieces of the budget (remember, school runs aren’t expected out until tomorrow, either) before they start to vote on the 2011-2012 budget – not that that’s anything terribly new.

As the DN’s Glenn Blain noted, the Legislature is pushing the on-time envelope here, and the possibility of a fully completed early budget is remote at the moment. That means Cuomo won’t be able to break his father’s record (recall the last early budget was achieved during Mario Cuomo’s first year in office).

As for the three-day aging process, Gov. Cuomo said during Sunday’s Red Room press conference announcing the budget framework that he’s willing to provide messages of necessity if necessary. And if he wants the budget to be on time, it looks like he’ll have to do just that.

UPDATE: Senate GOP spokesman Scott Reif tells me that in the “interest in getting an on-time budget,” the Senate will start passing budget bills today – as in later this afternoon. The Senate is scheduled to go into session at 3 p.m.

No word back from the Assembly yet.

Somos, Take II

It’s that time of year again – time for Democratic elected officials and would-be candidates (and perhaps even a few Republicans, too) to trek to Albany to pay homage to the increasingly powerful – and fast-growing – Latino community at the biannual Somos el Futuro conference.

I have yet back on whether Gov. Andrew Cuomo will be attending the three-day confab in Albany this weekend.

As you may recall, his almost no-show at the post-2010 election Somos in Puerto Rico caused something of a mini insurrection among attendees. Assemblyman Feliz Ortiz, chair of the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force, which hosts the Somos conferences, made a bit of a public stink about that – and he ended up getting results.

Cuomo showed up at the tail end of the conference and spoke at a Monday morning breakfast. A number of people extended their stays to catch the then-governor-elect, but others had to leave to get back to work.

Ortiz was pleased by Cuomo’s change of heart and called his visit a “good beginning” for the new governor, who had come under fire during the election for the lack of diversity on the statewide Democratic ticket.

Former Gov. David Paterson also attended the November 2010 Somos, and Ortiz organized a sit-down between the incoming and outgoing executives, who very nearly were competitors in the never-realized primary.

Skelos: Thanks To GOP And Cuomo, Albany Works Again

ICYMI: Here’s Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, insisting during a CapTon interview last night that his conference was not “steamrolled” by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, but rather served as a vital partner with him in landing an (almost) budget deal that would not have materialized had the Democrats been in control.

Skelos rejected the idea that Cuomo threatened the Legislature into submission by holding the extender bill option over lawmakers’ heads, saying:

“Bottom line here: There was communication. There wasn’t yelling and screaming. When you shout at each other, you don’t hear what the other person is saying. Then you’re not listening to each other.”

That sounded to me like a dis on former Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who was, of course, the self-professed steamroller, although he was more often than not rolled by the Legislature – particularly Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

I asked Skelos if he agreed with the characterization by the DN’s Ken Lovett of Cuomo as a functioning steamroll, and he replied:

“I don’t believe so, and I don’t think he really wants to be referred to this way. He had a vision as to what direction this state should go. He proposed that in his February budget and also in his March amendments. We have a $132 billion budget, $132.5, and we’ve stayed within that framework – the Legislature and the governor.”

“I believe it’s the government functioning. There’s a lot of talk about dysfunction in Albany, and I’m removing the ‘dys’ part of that, and we are now functioning.”

More >

Anthony Weiner, Reformed Scofflaw

A Roll Call report this morning reveals members of Congress are carrying at least $15,000 worth of outstanding parking-related fines – from expired meters to speeding camera violations – despite the fact that they have immunity from many routine tickets in the District of Columbia when they are on “official business.”

Three-quarters of those tickets, worth about $11,500, were in default at the time of the Roll Call survey, having gone more than 60 days, and in some cases years, without payment.

Among the scofflaws was NY Rep. Anthony Weiner, who racked up nearly $2,180 in tickets from May 2007 to early March, including, according to this report, “some instances in which he appears to have incurred multiple violations at the same time, such as failing to display current tags while parked in a taxi stand zone.”

After being contacted for this story, the congressman paid up, according to his spokesman, Dave Arnold, who said:

“All of the Congressman’s parking tickets have been paid. He is pleased to have helped decrease the D.C. budget deficit.”

Members of Congress are allowed to park at “available curb space” and avoid tickets while they’re working, as long as they’re using vehicles with official plates issued by their home state – not the House or US Senate. They are still required to obey restrictions for rush hour parking, loading zones and fire hydrants.

Lawmakers also have to follow the same traffic laws as everyone else, which means no speeding and no blowing red lights.

Reisman To The Rescue!

I’d like to take this opportunity (before one of my blogging competitors does it for me) to introduce you to our soon-to-be newest CapTon member: Nick Reisman.

Regular CapTon viewers might recognize him as a frequent member of our Friday reporters roundtable. He became a go-to roundtabler a few months ago, and quickly got bumped to the top of our invite list, thanks to his insights and his willingness to trek to YNN’s Watervliet Avenue Extension studios after a long week chasing news at the Capitol.


Nick will be filling a reporting hole left by the departure of former CapTon contributor and Twitter enthusiast, Kaitlyn Ross, who moved on for a much warmer opportunity in Florida.

You’ll be seeing him first on the blog, and then later on the screen as he joins me in making the transition from ink-stained wretch to TV reporter – a switch with which he’ll be assisted by CapTon’s Mike Whittemore. Look for the two of them at our Capitol Bureau, sharing some rather cramped (not for long, we hope) quarters with Erin Billups, of NY1.

I’m very much looking forward to his arrival – and not only because it means I will get some much-needed assistance on the blog.

Nick is only 26, but he has several years of reporting under his belt. He graduated from SUNY Albany in 2007 with a degree in History and journalism and then interned at Gannett and the NY Daily News (my alma mater).

His first reporting gig was at The Post-Star in Glens Falls, where he started for 2-1/2 years. He’s now a member of Gannett’s Albany Bureau. Longtime Journal News readers might be familiar with the name “Reisman.” That’s because Nick’s father, Phil, is a veteran columnist for that newspaper (also a Gannett publication).

Nick has only been covering the Capitol for just under a year, but he has proven himself to be a very quick study. His writing is clear and his questions of elected officials are pointed. He is also a very able blogger, often beating me to the punch over at Politics on the Hudson.

I hope you’ll join me in welcoming Nick aboard. Look for him to start posting here in the coming days. He sent me this quote about his impending move:

“I can’t wait to get started on The CapTon team. The show and the blog both drive the conversation in state government, which is very cool.”


The intra-conference romance between Sens. Jeff Klein and Diane Savino gets its second Page Six mention in just over a month with the following item entitled “Open Couple” (it’s nothing near what you think):

” State Sen. Diane Savino is relieved she can finally talk openly about her romance with state Sen. Jeff Klein, sources say, after Page Six first reported on their relationship last month.”

“She was quoted saying recently of dinners in Albany, ‘Sometimes it’ll just be me and Sen. Klein.’ We heard “Klavino” didn’t want to make it public because it would be used as fuel by political opponents. Klein’s spokesperson denied any secrecy: “The only thing Jeff Klein is trying to hide about his relationship is the fact that she makes him watch ‘Jerseylicious.’”

I have so far not been able to confirm that the Savino is actually a fan of the reality show, but she has been known to hotly defend the term “guido” – a la “Jersey Shore” – so I wouldn’t be completely surprised.

UPDATE: Savino answered my “do you really watch ‘Jerseylicious’?” text with a two word response: “Of course!”

The Staten Island Democrat has been the focus of several articles with a non-political focus lately, including a star turn in the NY Times’ weekly “Sunday Routine” feature, which also made mention of Savino’s relationship with Klein.

The first Page Six item on the duo Albany insiders call “Klavino” dubbed them “Albany’s Brangelina.”

Savino’s comments to her hometown paper, The Staten Island Advance, about Klein being a “nice, white, Jewish lawyer senator” sparked a bit of controversy, with one of her colleagues – Sen. Shirley Huntley – saying that sounded “a little bit racist.” (Not that Huntley lacks for her own problems, but that’s another story altogether).

Savino said her words were taken out of context, explaining to NY1 that she had been asked about the reaction of her family to Sen. Klein and responded: “(M)y grandmother, who happens to be 99, said that she was happy about who he was. But she’s still holding out hope that he might turn out to be Italian.”

Savino also questioned why her personal life is suddenly attracting so much interest, saying: “The my idea of my having an actual date being news is pretty silly considering the context of the state and the issues we’re dealing with.”

Here And Now

State lawmakers will spend the day continuing to try to hammer out those final details of the framework budget agreement announced lare Sunday afternoon. Some headlines while we wait…

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has been diminished by Cuomo’s power, Nick Confessore writes. But the Rockefeller Institute’s Bob Ward notes: “The role for the Legislature often is to wait out a governor – and certainly the speaker has proven he’s a master of that.”

Under his deal with legislative leaders, Cuomo will have the final say on prison closures and communities that lose facilities will get less economic development aid to ease their transitions.

One person familiar with the talks on the prison portion of the budget said the Senate Republicans “just gave up and completed folded…like a cheap suit.”

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is waiting for more details on the budget.

In response to criticism that Sunday’s deal is lacking in specifics, Cuomo spokesman Josh Vlasto said: “The programs have been agreed to, the pots of money have been agreed to and the concepts have been agreed to.”

Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman warned the $170 million funding loss for the court system will require hundreds of layoffs.

The budget battle hasn’t put much of a dent in Cuomo’s popularity.

Fred Dicker says Cuomo pulled off “the near-impossible” in getting the Legislature to go along with most of his executive budget through “force of will and a fierce work ethic.” He also gives some of the credit to two previous governors: David Paterson and George Pataki.

The Cuomo and Bloomberg administrations traded barbs over the budget.

The DN praises Cuomo’s budget performance, but wants more – namely mandate relief and a LIFO repeal.

More >


ADDED: Senate Democrats are unhappy over another round of rules changes the GOP is planning to push through.

What’s not in the budget deal: A lot of stuff that’s pretty popular.

Mayor Bloomberg called the Albany budget deal an “outrage.”

“No silver lining for schools” in the budget, says NYSSBA Executive Director Tim Kremer.

The Medical Society is “more than disappointed” about the lack of a med-mal cap in the budget agreement.

Greg David names the “fathers” of Cuomo’s budget victory: Larry Schwartz (still working on the second floor) and former Gov. David Paterson.

New York’s “Wisconsin moment”?

Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan isn’t convinced the millionaire’s tax is completely dead.

Sen. John Bonacic says the millionaire’s tax “may still be alive as we go down the road.”

AQE hasn’t given up hope yet.

Michael Caputo thinks counties should be able to opt out of Medicaid.

The entire Queens state Senate delegation is calling for a federal investigation into the 2010 Census numbers.

Senate Minority Leader John Sampson plans to raise campaign cash by letting freshmen colleagues roast him.

Cuomo signed legislation extending federally-funded unemployment insurance benefits through 2011.

Members of Congress are trying to help Bloomberg do an end-run around a Supreme Court ruling that blocked his demand that all taxis become fuel efficient.

VOCAL-NY is planning a “non-millionaires” rally at the Capitol Wednesday. (This one could go all night).

Sen. Chuck Schumer wants a safety audit of the LI Expressway.

Embattled Sen. Carl Kruger thanked his supporters and shared his home phone number.

A reporter explains how he wasn’t really locked in a closet by VP Joe Biden, and Biden’s staff apologizes.

Ex-White House spokesman Robert Gibbs might get a Facebook gig.

The Times has launched its digital subscriptions.