Dec 3rd - 11:20 am
The state Conservative Party sent a memo today to senators poised to return to Albany next Tuesday, urging them to rejected the NYC OTB bailout passed by the Assembly during this week’s lame duck session.
“According to the ‘Statement in Support’ on file with this bill, it is an acknowledged fact that since the State’s takeover in 2008, the NYC OTB has remained insolvent and gone even deeper in debt due to many enumerated reasons,” the memo states.
“Obviously, it was in dire fiscal constraints when the State took control in 2008. The simple fact is that the NYC OTB is unable to produce a profit and it is time to stop supporting it with the taxes taken from hard working men and women who have other needs for their own money.”
“A business that is incapable of turning a profit should not be bailed out repeatedly. Taxpayers must not be forced to pay for mismanagement, bad decisions, and an inflated work force.”
“Fiscal sleight-of-hand, including the renaming of OTB and making minimal concessions, will not change the fact that NYC OTB will continue to increase the public’s exposure and cost taxpayers even more in the future.”
“It is time to stop investing in an organization that has been insolvent for far too long and has no real incentive to change the way it does business; it does not need to when they know they can be bailed out again. It is time to stop the cycle.”
Dec 3rd - 11:08 am
Actor and anti-hydrofracking advocate Mark Ruffalo recorded a Web video thanking legislative leaders for passing a moratorim on the controversial natural gass drilling method and calling on Gov. David Paterson to sign the measure into law.
“Our state Legislature has become the first in the country to resist the pressure of the gas industry. Our voices were heard and democracy worked,” Ruffalo, a Hudson Valley resident, says.
“Even after they pumped over $1 million into lobbying efforts to defeat the moratorium, our lawmakers did their own research and listened to New Yorkers. Thank you Senate Majority Leader John Sampson and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver for making the moratorium a priority.”
Ruffalo urges New Yorkers to call Paterson and insist that he sign the bill, which was passed by the Assembly very early Tuesday morning during the lame duck session. (The Senate had passed it before leaving Albany at the end of the regular session).
The bill was not part of Paterson’s session agenda, and he didn’t seem terribly pleased by the fact that the Assembly had taken it up while in Albany this week. The industry is not terribly pleased that the bill also puts a stop to verticle drilling.
Since the Senate passed the bill first, it controls the timing of when the legislation gets delivered to the governor for his consideration. I’m trying to determine whether it has been sent, and if not, when it might be. UPDATE: The bill was delivered to Paterson Wednesday, which means he has 10 days from then to take action – either signing the measure or vetoing it – or it automatically becomes law.
Dec 3rd - 9:08 am
Sen. Roy McDonald, who holds former Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno’s old seat, reacted to the news of the legal woes besetting his former colleague, Vincent Leibell, by suggesting the time might be ripe to not just reform the Legislature, but downsize it.
McDonald told CapTon’s Kaitlyn Ross that “both parties have a lot of black clouds,” adding that Leibell’s expected guilty plea to federal corruption charges is “an illustration of the necessity for reform, and do it immediately, total disclosure immediately, things like myself and other people have called for and signed up for.”
“It is also, I think, an opportunity to review the structure of the state Legislature, the Assembly and the Senate,” McDonald continued.
“They have become too big, too all-powerful. I kind of like the structures in places like Texas and New Hampshire where they pay their legislators a lot less money and they require their legislators to meet less time…I think the legislative process should be citizen legislators and not full-time legislators. I think the legislative process should be one that’s totally open and transparent.”
McDonald’s idea is a switch from what one usually hears from legislators and pundits, which is that making serving in the Assembly and Senate a full-time job, banning moonlighting and boosting the base salary from $79,500 (which hasn’t changed since 1999) would help cut down on corruption at the Capitol.
UPDATE: State Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs sent a statement accusing McDonald of hypocrisy, noting (as a commentor did, too) that he has a job at a bank outside his elected post. Jacobs’ statement appears after the jump.
Dec 3rd - 7:51 am
Andrew Cuomo has been quietly talking to union leaders to avoid an all out fight come January.
Charlie Rangel got support from several unlikely places yesterday.
DN thinks Rangel got his “just deserts.”
Governor Paterson is already being speculated as a possible replacement to Rangel.
Utica Observer-Dispatch is the latest paper to call on Paterson to sign the Hydrofracking moratorium bill.
Republican Senator Vincent Leibell has officially resigned from the Senate, and is expected to be in court today.
The news is creating shock waves in the Hudson Valley.
While the Senate is coming back next week, there is still no sign that they will be able to pass anything.
Senate Democrats are spinning today’s NYCOTB shutdown, saying the Paterson Administration cares more about politics then saving thousands of jobs.
Senate Republicans say, if they are coming back, they should address the $315m deficit gap.
Dec 2nd - 7:11 pm
NYC OTB is closing tomorrow regardless of the Senate’s plan to return to Albany next Tuesday to try again to pass the bailout.
Mayor Bloomberg said President Obama “needs some better advisors.”
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver thinks the judicial pay commission could be a model for legislative pay.
Former Bronx BP Adolfo Carrion hinted about a future run for office.
AFSCME has launched a campaign to “Stop the Lies” about public employees.
The Westchester County Conservative Party has a new chair.
Former state Parks Commissioner Carol Ash made her debut as a nonprofit advocate for parks.
We’re already talking about the Iowa presidential straw poll.
NYC lost its bid to host the FIFA World Cup in 2022.
Obama said FIFA made the “wrong decision” to let Qatar host the cup contest.
The NYPD got an award from PETA.
Democratic consultant Blake Zeff talked about AG-elect Eric Schneiderman’s pre-primary strategy to prevent Andrew Cuomo from endorsing Kathleen Rice.
Schneiderman lays out his agenda.
The 7th SD is still up in the air.
NYC Schools Chancellor designee Cathie Black is still working for Hearst.
The Partnership for NYC launched a program to spur development of financial technology companies.
Dec 2nd - 6:59 pm
Here’s the breakdown of who voted how on Rep. Charlie Rangel’s censure (all are Democrats unless otherwise noted). Overall, it was 13 yeses, and 16 nos.
AYES: Mike Arcuri, Tim Bishop, John Hall, Brian Higgins, Steve Israel, Dan Maffei (a former Rangel aide), Chris Lee (Republican), Carolyn McCarthy, Michael McMahon, Scott Murphy, Bill Owens, Tom Reed (Republican), Paul Tonko.
NAYS: Gary Ackerman, Yvette Clarke, Joe Crowley, Eliot Engel, Maurice Hinchey, Peter King (Republican), Nita Lowey, Carolyn Maloney, Greg Meeks, Jerry Nadler, Charlie Rangel, Jose Serrano, Louise Slaughter, Ed Towns, Nydia Velazquez, Anthony Weiner.
Dec 2nd - 6:52 pm
Here’s footage of Rep. Charlie Rangel’s floor speeches today – both before and after he was formally censured by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Dec 2nd - 6:24 pm
Well, that was sort of…anticlimactic.
Rep. Charlie Rangel was censured by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who looked positively stricken as she summoned him to the well to receive his punishment. I would even say that he took it better than she did, because after it was all over, he stood up and gave a speech that ended thusly:
“I know in my heart that I’m not going to be judged by this Congress.”
“But I’m going to be judged my life, my activities, my contributions to society, and I just apologize for the awkward position that some of you are in. But at the end of the day …compared to where I’ve been, I haven’t had a bad day since.”
Rangel also said, yet again, that he wanted to “make sure that this body and this country would know that at no time has it ever entered my mind to enrich myself, to do violence to the honesty that is expected of all of us in this House.”
During a post-censure press conference, Rangel called the vote “political.”
Dec 2nd - 5:40 pm
An amendment proposed by Rep. G.K. Butterfield, of North Carolina, that would have given Rep. Charlie Rangel his wish of the less stringent punishment o f reprimand over censure has failed.
The final vote was 146-267 with 21 not voting.
According to NY1′s Grace Rauh, who is covering this story in Washington, D.C., the entire NYC delegation, with the exception of Rep. Mike McMahon (who lost his seat in NY-13 to Republican Congressman-elect Michael Grimm) voted in favor of the amendment.
At the moment, a recorded vote on the resolution to censure Rangel is still taking place. It’s currently 270-55 with 109 members yet to vote, but that’s already sufficient for passage.
UPDATE: The final vote: 233-79. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is calling Rangel to the well to be censured right at this very moment.
Dec 2nd - 4:53 pm
Unless he goes on a political spending binge over the next four weeks, Gov. David Paterson will end his gubernatorial tenure with $225,263 in his campaign committee coffers, according to his 27-day post-general election report.
Paterson stopped fundraising after announcing last February (less than a week after formally declaring his candidacy) that he would not run for the job he inherited from former Gov. Eliot Spitzer in March 2008 following Spitzer’s post-prostitution scandal resignation.
At the time, Paterson had about $3 million in his campaign account – considerably less than his would-be primary opponent, now-Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo.
Since then, he has been steadily tapping that cash to pay off his considerable legal bills stemming from the twin probes Cuomo handed off to former Chief Judge Judith Kaye on the David Johnson domestic violence case and the Yankees World Series tickets scandal (that one has yet to be resolved, and is in the DA’s hands).
This time around, Paterson didn’t spend any money on attorneys. In fact, he dropped just $7,689, most of which went to wages for the skeleton crew managing his political books.
The filing indicates Paterson returned $69,850 worth of campaign contributions to six different donors – HTC, the state Court Officers Association, the state Supreme Court Officers Association, Christopher Boies, Bernard Schwartz, and the state Anesthesiologists PAC.
But I’m told by a source with knowledge of the governor’s filing that these are not new refunds. Rather, they are replacement checks for money sent June 7th for contributions over the general election limits that were not cashed by recipients.
There is nothing in election law that prevents former elected officials from tapping their campaign cash after they leave office. In fact, that’s a time-honored practice employed routinely by sitting lawmakers-turned-lobbyists to sprinkle goodwill on their former colleagues.
In at least one instance, the wife of a former senator who died (the late Ron Stafford) continued to make contributions to charities and his onetime fellow Republicans from her husband’s campaign committee long after he had passed away.