Jan 12th - 5:06 pm
The Authorities Budget Office released a report today that identifies state and local authorities that have not filed a budget, annual and/or audit report for the most recent reporting period as required by new Public Authorities Law.
The release of this report is considered a public warning of non-compliance pursuant to Section (6)(2)(f) of the law.
Public authority reform, as you’ll recall, was a big priority for former Assemblyman/AG candidate Richard Brodsky, who liked to refer to the so-called shadow government as a “Soviet-style bureaucracy.”
Jan 12th - 2:49 pm
There has been much talk of second chances for Mayor Bloomberg in light of the most recent snowstorm to blanket the five boroughs with flakes.
But NYC Council Minority Leader Jimmy Oddo, who isn’t shy about speaking his mind when it comes to the Bloomberg administration, told radio host Curtis Sliwa last night that no matter how fabulous the response this time around, the mayor won’t likely be able to redeem himself from the last blizzard debacle.
“”I expect them to come out with their A game tonight,” Oddo said on AM 970 The Apple during a special,m post- storm evening edition of Sliwa’s show, which usually airs early in the morning.
“The ironic thing is even if they do a good job and we don’t have the same problems we had with the blizzard, I’m not sure they’ll get any credit for it. I think there’s been permanent damage done to their reputation.”
Bloomberg said earlier today that the response to this (considerably smaller) storm has been “exemplary.”
Oddo praised his Council colleagues for their day-long hearing Monday on the administration’s Christmas weekend blizzard response, saying he believed they “did right by the people in the city.”
“It was a fascinating day,” the Staten Island Republican said. “You had a deputy mayor sit there and tell the public that a decision about a snow emergency was reached without anyone notifying the mayor of the city of NY.”
“Now think about that. The guy has an iPad. He’s got a BlackBerry. He made millions of dollars in the technology field and no one thought to send him an e-mail.”
Jan 12th - 2:24 pm
It’s that time of year again…time to save the date for the 2011 LCA show (May 7).
Compliments of TU State Editor Casey Seiler, here’s a little taste of what’s to come in the nation’s oldest political gridiron show.
It revisits one of the highlights of the 2010 gubernatorial campaign, a little dust-up just north of here that we at CapTon like to call the “Sagamore Smackdown.”
Yes, it’s true. Yet again we find ourselves with a plethora of material for this year’s show. AND, it’s the first show of Cuomo II.
Hopefully, the governor will play ball and respond. He did during the 2002 gubernatorial primary, and knocked the ball out of the park, despite the fact that he was a very late add.
If Carl Paladino buys a ticket and shows up, I will eat my own hat.
Jan 12th - 1:52 pm
In the wake of the Arizona shooting, the Working Families Party is asking supporters to send an e-mail to “Right Wing talking heads and the advertisers who pay for their shows” to condemn what the labor-backed party’s leaders deemed “violent rhetoric” and ask them to stop “playing with fire.”
WFP Co-Chair Bob Master and Executive Director Dan Cantor refused to accept that the left also engages in the sort of heated political discourse that has been widely condemned since the Tucson tragdey – perhaps even with this very e-mail – writing:
“No, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Rupert Murdoch didn’t put the gun in the deranged shooter’s hands.”
“But they and their politician allies created the perfect storm of anti-government propaganda that, together with the NRA’s bought-and-paid-for gun laws, made an act of violence against a Democratic elected official inevitable.”
“…One phrase we’re sure you’ve heard is ‘extremists on both sides.’ But we’re not going to cede ground to those who wish to create false equivalencies. Only the Right’s extremists are validated every day by their leaders in Congress and the media, who have succeeded in pushing the boundaries of acceptable discourse with each passing debate.”
Master and Cantor specifically take aim at Sarah Palin for her “now infamous image” of crosshairs aimed at the districts of 20 Democrats, including Giffords.
“Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck may not be ready to tone it down, but the corporate advertising departments that pay their salaries are keenly attuned to public opinion,” the WFP officials said.
“It’s time to reflect and retreat when it comes to over-the-top rhetoric, and the corporations paying the bills need to be told that they too are accountable.”
Palin this morning released a video statement that accused reporters and political observers of “blood libel” in pointing the finger of blame at her. She said shootings like the one in Arizona “begin and end with the criminals who commit them, not collectively with all the citizens of a state.”
Jan 12th - 1:32 pm
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s office just announced the junior senator has boarded Air Force One to travel with President Obama to Tucson, Az. to attend tonight’s memorial service for the victims of last Saturday’s shooting.
Gillibrand, who has spoken often about her friendship with Rep. Gabby Giffords, will join other (unnamed in this press release) members of Congress at the University of Arizona Medical Center to visit the congressman’s husband, staff, and other victims and their loved ones.
“Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said that only in moments of darkness, can we see the stars.,” Gillibrand said.
“I hope in this time of sadness and loss, we can find new strength to come together as a nation and foster greater respect for one another.”
“We may never make any sense of this heinous crime, but I remember how Gabby so often urged people to stand up to the violent language that divides us, and focus on solutions. That is exactly what we need to do right now.”
“I want to thank President Obama for his compassionate leadership at this time of great national tragedy. My thoughts and prayers are with all the victims of this horrible tragedy, their loved ones, and with all Americans as we struggle to move forward together.”
UPDATE: As per the pool report, the other people on the plane are: Justice Anthony Kennedy, Attorney General Holder, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. Other House members: Paul Gosar, Trent Franks, Ben Quayle, David Schweikert, Jeff Flake, Clyburn, Wasserman Schultz.
Program note: We here at CapTon will be taking the president’s speech live tonight, and then will be taking calls from viewers. I’ll be joined by Syracuse Political Science Prof. Grant Reeher. That’s at 8 p.m. with a re-air at 11:30 p.m.
NOTE: Spelling of Tucson fixed. My brain is at home with the cat.
Jan 12th - 12:50 pm
The 27-member team tapped by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to come up with recommendations for overhauling New York’s behemoth Medicaid system will hold its first public meeting tomorrow afternoon.
The get-together will be held in the Blue Room on the second floor of the state Capitol and last from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., according to an alert blasted out this morning by StateWide Senior Action Council e-news, which also included the following shout-out:
“Thanks to Assemblymember (Richard) Gottfried for pushing to make these meetings open to the public.”
Earlier this week, Cuomo announced the creation of a Website for the Medicaid Redesign Team, which, like the Mandate Relief Team, is tasked with reporting back to him with proposals by March 1.
UPDATE: The location has been changed to Meeting Room 6 in the Empire State Plaza concourse, which can hold a bigger crowd. The time remains the same. Thanks to a sharp-eyed reader who pointed out the switch.
Tomorrow’s meeting is posted on the site.
This comes in the wake of criticism of Cuomo after he held a closed-door lunch at the executive mansion with majority legislative leaders.
(He’s also going to be meeting with minority leaders and rank-and-file lawmakers as he seeks to build early support for his fiscally conservative budget and top agenda items).
Critics said Cuomo’s meeting with Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was too reminiscent of the old “three men in a room” style of hashing out deals and not in keeping with the governor’s pledge to bring a new era of transparency to Albany.
Cuomo said Monday that he’s going to be taking his message to the people – starting, as it turns out, with an abbreviated version of his State of the State speech in Jamestown tomorrow morning. He also said he’ll be meeting with whoever he can, wherever he can to try to rally support for his proposals.
Jan 12th - 12:19 pm
After meeting with officials at the State Emergency Management Office to talk about the snow storming slamming much of New York, Governor answered questions about today’s report in the NY Post that several high ranking members of the New York State Police got raises in the past few weeks.
“Surprised. And shock. How bout that,” Cuomo said when asked for his reaction to the report. “We are going to be reviewing those raises. I am aware of the story that was in the press today and we are going to be reviewing it as part of the budget process. But I was surprised and I was shocked as I think most New Yorkers were.”
Cuomo went on to criticize the entire state salary structure, saying their are many areas of the state where it doesn’t make sense because commissioners make less than their deputies, and then turned his attention back to the issue of raises for state workers.
“Giving large raises at this point in time, in this context, when you know the fiscal problems the state is having, you know the state is in the middle of laying off 900 employees because of the budget problem. To be giving raises in that environment I think is problematic. I think it is insensitive,” Cuomo added.
Cuomo also answered questions about the snow storm. He refused to talk about the problems that arose during the late December snow storm that shut down much of New York City. And he dismissed a question suggesting that his appearance at SEMO was in some way intended to show up Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who was blasted for poor snow response during the last storm.
“I am here because this is my job. This is what the Governor should be doing. This is what state government should be doing. It should be working. It should be coordinating. It should be preparing. Agency heads should be working together. You should be anticipating winter storms are going to happen. Let’s get ready, let’s get prepared. This is the state government working.”
Jan 12th - 11:31 am
Assemblyman Dov Hikind, one of several Orthodox Jewish elected officials who were extremely critical of the Bloomberg administration’s response to the Christmas weekend blizzard, now has nothing but good things to say about the clean-up effort in the wake of the latest storm.
“Obviously, Sanitation’s job was made easier by significantly less snowfall than last month’s blizzard,” Hikind said in a press release.
“But I want to give credit where it’s due, and the Sanitation Department stood at the ready before the first snowflake even fell. This is the kind of reaction New Yorkers have a right to expect.”
Hikind noted that plow operators were working throughout Midwood, Brooklyn late last night and early this morning, adding: “I knew they could get it right.”
The Post reported several neighborhoods were targeted for a slowdown by Sanitation bosses last time around – including the Jewish-dominated Borough Park – because residents there are politically connected and generally well-heeled.
The alleged slowdown, which Sanitation bosses insist did not occur, is now the subject of investigations.
Hikind deemed the bungled response to the last storm a “disaster,” and was outspoken in his criticism of the mayor and the Sanitation Department for failing to live up to multiple promises to get the streets cleaned even five days after the last flake had fallen.
Jan 12th - 11:17 am
The Senate Democrats are poised to announce a new slate of leaders to head up the DSCC as the party licks its wounds in the minority and plots its 2012 grudge match (barring any special elections) against the GOP.
The line-up reflects the new power structure within the Democratic conference, which was also on display in Minority Leader John Sampson’s selection for ranking committee memberships and conference leadership posts.
All the key constituencies are represented: Upstate, women, Latinos, blacks, the suburbs and the power boroughs (Brooklyn and Queens).
As has been previously announced, Queens freshman Sen. Mike Gianaris will be chairing the DSCC, replacing Sen. Jeff Klein, who stepped down from his No. 2 deputy leader position and led a four-senator revolt from the Democratic conference.
The new co-chairs are Sens. Neil Breslin, who replaced Klein as Sampson’s deputy; Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Jose Peralta, who bumped Sen. Kevin Parker from the position of whip for the Democrats.
“With our new leadership team in place we will mobilze Democrats, strengthen our political operation and recruit good reform-minded candidates to win back the majority,” Gianaris said.
“I thank Senators Breslin, Stewart-Cousins, and Peralta for their committment and efforts in the days and months ahead. Their expertise and assistance will prove invaluable as we take the necessary steps to bring the Democrats back to the majority.”
In a series of interviews that followed his ascent to the DSCC chairmanship, Gianaris predicted the Democrats would be back in the majority prior to the 2012 elections.
But it appears at the moment that the GOP is safely entrenched in the majority, with some additional extra breathing room (at least when votes are concerned) provided by the foursome internally being referred to as the “Kleiniacs.”
Gianaris also pledged a full review of the DSCC, which is some $3 million in debt, thanks in no small part to its heavy reliance on big-ticket political consultants during the 2010 cycle. The former assemblyman, who is known for his fundraising prowess, said he would be bringing the committee down to the bare bones and then rebuilding.
The previous co-chair line up had been: Sens. Liz Krueger, Malcolm Smith and Antoine Thompson.
Smith, of course, lost most of his power in the wake of the 2009 Senate coup. He is no longer Senate president, and has been relegated to the position of conference secretary. Thompson lost his WNY seat to Republican Sen. Mark Grisanti in one of the most Democrat-dominated districts in the state.
Jan 12th - 8:08 am
SNOW!!! (The Times describes it as a “giant, amoeba-shaped” storm).
NYC public schools are open. (Sorry kids).
Some parents felt the Bloomberg administration/DOE took too long to make the school closing call.
Mayor Bloomberg took no chances this time and declared a snow-related weather emergency long before the first flakes fell.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo learned from Bloomberg’s mistakes and moved quickly to address the storm.
This is Bloomberg’s shot at redemption.
The federal government is suing NYC for overbilling Medicaid by “at least tens of millions of dollars.”
Cuomo recruited a former top Wisconsin health official to be his point man for overhauling Medicaid here in New York, but Wisconsin’s efforts didn’t result in savings.
Twenty-eight top State Police officials got raises worth almost $600,000 during the final days of the Paterson administration even as the former governor cut some 900 state worker jobs. But they won’t be keeping those increases.
Judges aren’t happy with the independent commission created to review their salary increases and want to form a union-like organization – an unusual and unprecedented move.
Sen. George Maziarz predicts the renegade independent Democratic conference members will eventually get committees to chair.