United Front For Turner

Republicans and Conservatives gathered in Forest Hills, Queens this morning in hopes of conveying a message of solidarity in the wake of a brief struggle over the selection of Bob Turner to run for ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner’s seat in NY-9, NY1′s Grace Rauh reports.

Turner was introduced at the event by Juan Reyes, the attorney and former low-level Giuliani administration aide (UPDATE: A reader insists Reyes was not, in fact, “low-level,” noting his last title was general counsel to the NYC Board of Standards and Appeals, and he also served as counsel to the NYC Loft Board) preferred by the Queens GOP to get the party’s nod in the upcoming Sept. 13 special election.

Supporters who had volunteered for Turner’s unsuccessful 2010 bid against Weiner stood behind the newly-minted candidate with re-purposed “Bob Turner for Congress” signs.

“I’m very gratified at the turnout,” Turner said. “I can hardly believe the volunteers didn’t toss their signage after the last election. I had thrown mine out. But apparently we have more believers here than we thought.”

Also on hand were state Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long and state GOP Chairman Ed Cox, both of whom backed Turner, a businessman who garnered about 40 percent of the vote in his failed effort to unseat Weiner.

Cox huddled last Friday with Brooklyn GOP Chairman Craig Eaton and his Queens counterpart, Phil Ragusa, who lost the internal power struggle over selection of the NY-9 candidate. Ragusa had preferred Reyes due to concerns over Turner’s alliance with NYC Councilman Eric Ulrich, who isn’t a Ragusa loyalist.

Ragusa and Eaton attended today’s event, too. Cox was the only party leader who spoke from the podium.

Turner said the country is “on the wrong course, adding:

“As I walk around this neighborhood and talk to friends and acquaintances, I see a continuing problem – a lack of hope that our direction can be fixed or fixed easily. There’s a crisis of leadership…We appeal to Washington for help, for leadership. They are directionless, and to my mind, clueless.”

Turner invoked the late President Reagan when he spoke of stimulating the economy, saying business needs to be “freed up” and not “crushed” with regulations and new taxes.

He made no mention of his Democratic opponent, Assemblyman David Weprin, from the podium, and didn’t mention Weiner, either.

Israel: GOP Moving Goal Posts

Speaking on CNN this morning, DCCC chairman and Long Island Congressman Steve Israel blamed the lack of a debt deal on House Speaker John Boehner. Israel says the Speaker and Republicans have moved more and more to the right whenever they get close to a deal.

“We unfortunately remain far apart because every time we get close the Republicans move the goal posts further to the right, further to the far right. Look, the recent past does not inspire confidence that we will be able to wrap this up. At the beginning of his speakership, Republican John Boehner was asked, ‘What are you going to do about the debt ceiling?’ He said, ‘We need an adult moment.’

Israel continued, “Since then, Eric Cantor the number two Republican leader, walked out on the talks. Two days ago, John Boehner said ‘I’m not going to participate in talks if it means that we’re going to have to close corporate tax loopholes.’ That is not acting like an adult. That is partisan game playing and the American people and our economy cannot afford that kind of partisan game playing.”

While neither side admits it publicly, a large reason for the fight over raising the debt ceiling and subsequent budget cuts is so the respective parties can position themselves for the 2012 elections. While the DCCC wasn’t heavily involved in the election of Kathy Hochul in NY-26, they are hoping to capitalize on her successful message of tackling debt without cutting benefits to Medicare.

Last week, the President and Democrats expressed a willingness to cut billions from Medicare and other health care programs in order to reach a deal with Republicans. In return, Democrats want some kind of revenue increase, which they think can be achieved by closing tax loopholes for certain corporations without raising the income tax level.

Here And Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Westchester and NYC today with no public schedule.

The Judicial Compensation Commission is meeting at 9 a.m. at 633 Third Avenue, 37th Floor, NYC. The get-together will be Webcast here.

The debt talks continue in D.C. today.

Republican, Conservative and Libertarian Party NY-9 candidate Bob Turner officially launches his campaign for ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner’s seat at 10 a.m. at Station Square in Forest Hills, the same spot where TR gave his “One Hundred Percent American” speech in 1916.

Weiner and his wife, Huma Abedin, looked “very much in love” (a witness said) while celebrating their 1st anniversary at a Miami steakhouse.

Commentator in Orthodox Jewish paper Hamodia says Assemblyman David Weprin paid a steep price for the Democratic nod to replace Weiner: “His very soul.” (The upset is over the observant Jew’s outspoken support and “yes” vote for same-sex marriage).

Midnight tonight is the fundraising deadline for the first six months of 2011. Final figures will be public Friday.

The 2013 mayoral hopefuls are sprinting to the finish.

The state Senate is likely to return to Albany sooner rather than later; the Assembly might have to come back, too, but hasn’t discussed that yet.

The Times wants the Senate to return and pass the health care exchange bill approved by the Assembly.

Nearly 5,500 employees spanning more than three dozen state public authorities raked in six-figure salaries last year, the DN reports.

More >

The Weekend That Was

RIP Sisa Moyo, a longtime spokeswoman for the Assembly Democrats.

Moyo “distinguished herself as a respected and dedicated public servant during her more than two decades of service to this body and the people of New York,” Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said in a statement announcing her death.

Goodbye, News of the World.

Citing differences over tax revenues, House Speaker John Boehner pulled back from deficit reduction talks with the White House.

The Cuomo administration is rethinking a Medicaid billing system, eMedNY, that has cost the state close to $1 billion and is beset by cost overruns and flaws.

GOP NY-9 candidate Bob Turner wants to make the Sept. 13 special election a referendum on President Obama.

Turner’s selection as the Republican candidate was a loss for Queens GOP Chairman Phil Ragusa, who technically could have picked whoever he wanted since he controls the weighted vote.

In case ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner is having second thoughts about resigning, Jimmy McMillan is offering the Rent is Too Damn High Party line.

The Buffalo News sings the praises of freshman Sen. Mark Grisanti.

Mayor Bloomberg issued a statement in praise of Mr. 3,000, Derek Jeter.

NYC municipal unions are trying to wait out Bloomberg.

“I think she’s the front-runner now,” Hunter College’s Kenneth Sherrill said of NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s position in the 2013 mayoral field. “But being a front-runner two years ahead of the primary doesn’t get you much.”

Sen. Carl Kruger rejected a report that he’ll resign by the end of the summer to help cut a better deal for his so-called “boyfriend,” who is also facing corruption charges.

More >

Indy Party Backs Weprin in NY-9

From NY1 Political Director Bob Hardt:

Sources tell NY1 that the Independence Party is backing Democrat David Weprin in his special election bid to succeed Anthony Weiner in Congress.

Weprin, a Queens Assemblyman, was picked by the Democrats last week to run in a September special election for the remainder of Weiner’s Congressional term.

The Republican and Conservative parties have tapped Bob Turner, who got about 40 percent of the vote when he ran against Weiner last year.

Weiner got nearly three thousand votes on the Independence Party line last year.

It’s Official: GOP Picks Turner for NY-9

As we reported earlier, Bob Turner will be the Republican candidate in the ninth congressional district race.

Here’s the full release:

“At a meeting between Queens County Republican Party Chairman Phil Ragusa and Brooklyn Republican Chairman Craig Eaton, Bob Turner was officially chosen to be the Republican Party’s candidate to run for the vacant congressional seat in New York’s 9th district.

Ragusa and Eaton, along with State Republican Party Chairman Ed Cox, all united behind Turner, a successful businessman, who ran a strong race in this district in 2010 against now disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner.

According to Queens Chairman Phil Ragusa, “We are very pleased to have such a capable and experienced candidate to win this seat. Bob ran strongly against the incumbent last time, and we know he has the momentum now going into this special election to win and send a strong message to Washington that the people need real change for the American people.”

Brooklyn Chairman Craig Eaton added, “Bob Turner is the best candidate to win this race due to his experience as a businessman and leader in the community. He will be a great representative in Congress to fight for the middle class and the struggling small business owner who are the backbone of our country.”

The choice came down to two extremely qualified candidates, Turner and Juan D. Reyes, a lifelong Forest Hills resident, former Giuliani administration official, and attorney who had previously worked in Washington for Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole and the National Republican Party. Reyes withdrew his name from consideration and endorsed Turner in a strong show of Party unity.

Upon receiving the endorsement, Bob Turner said, “I am pleased and grateful to receive the support of the Queens and Brooklyn Republican Party’s,” Turner continued. “I am especially grateful to the Chairmen, Phil Ragusa and Craig Eaton, for having such confidence in me and my ability to run this race. We are united going into this, with a great campaign team coming together, that will make this a very successful effort. I believe our message of bringing real world experience and fiscal sanity to Washington will resonate with the people in the 9th district, and I look forward to representing them in Washington.”

Upon stepping aside and announcing his support for Turner, Juan Reyes said, “I am very happy to support Bob Turner for Congress and will gladly help him win this race for the Republican Party. He is a highly qualified candidate with strong business experience who ran a good race last year. I look forward to seeing him serve the people of our district in Congress.”

Turner added, “Juan Reyes is an outstanding candidate who is a rising star in the Republican Party. I look forward to his support in my efforts to win this election, and am glad I can count on him to help reach out to the large Hispanic community here.”

Turner will face off against Democrat David Weprin, who was just elected to his brother’s State Assembly seat last year. Weprin, who doesn’t reside in the 9th district, was supported by the Queens Democratic Party to try to help the seat in Democratic hands until it can be eliminated in the redistricting process next year.

Turner will hold his first press conference on Monday, July 11th at 10:00 AM at Station Square in Forest Hills at the spot where former President Theodore Roosevelt made his historic “One Hundred Percent American” speech in 1916.”

PEF: Cuomo ‘Misinformed’ On Labor Deal

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s statement today that the Public Employees Federation was offered a similar labor agreement to the deal taken by Civil Service Employees Association leaders is incorrection, President Ken Brynien insisted.

Cuomo said on Talk 1300-AM this morning that the union was offered a deal similar to CSEA’s, which included a pay freeze and less generous health-care benefits.

Cuomo is trying to achieve $450 million in workforce savings built into the state budget plan for the 2011-12 fiscal year and avoid layoffs. The administration has already sent out up to 321 layoff notices ahead of the job reductions.

But Brynien insisted in a statement that Cuomo’s claim was incorrect.

The governor must have been misinformed about the offer made to PEF.

While some progress has been made in negotiations over the past week, the latest proposal PEF received from the state (delivered to the union Thursday, July 7) differs significantly from the tentative agreement with CSEA in several key areas, especially regarding health benefits. It’s disappointing to see the state continuing to use the threat of layoffs to hold hostage our members, their families and the state services on which New Yorkers rely. During the past 10 days of negotiations, hundreds of our members have received layoff notices; this, even though we already have offered proposals that would provide the budgetary savings the state needs to avoid layoffs.

Extras

On the six-month anniversary of the Tuscon shooting that nearly killed Rep. Gabby Giffords, Mayor Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns group calls on President Obama to take action.

Arizona GOP are struggling with how to run against the recovering Congresswoman.

Mayor Bloomberg’s ex, Susan, put her penthouse back on the market, asking $13 million – up from $11.5 million in 2009.

Walter Pavlo: “On behalf of convicted white-collar felons, and for those yet to be indicted, I think (Eliot) Spitzer needs to get back into law but this time as a defense lawyer.”

Archbishop Timothy Dolan’s “afterthoughts” on losing the same-sex marriage battle.

In a letter to local town and city clerks, Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice warned any refusal to grant gay marriage licenses could be subject to criminal prosecution.

The House passed a measure to prohibit chaplains from performing same-sex marriages on military bases regardless of a state’s law.

Founder of Freedom to Marry is latest voice to call on Obama to back same-sex marriage.

No deal on debt ceiling yet.

US Senate Dems Campaign Committee is barking up the wrong tree on this one.

Nate Silver takes the long view on what today’s job numbers might mean for the 2012 Presidential campaign.

Alan Dershowitz has beef with Manhattan DA Cy Vance.

Goodbye Giants training camp.

Chris Christie’s Democratic rival almost had more problems than his Republican opponent.

From the Department of Irony.

Here is Joe Martens talking to New York Now.

Carlucci Raises ‘Serious Concerns’ With Fracking Report

The draft guidelines for monitoring and permitting high-volume hydraulic fracturing in New York are giving Sen. David Carlucci pause, according to a letter he sent to Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens.

The DEC released its draft report on process commonly known as hydrofracking last week and the report was published for general consumption on the agency’s website today.

Hydrofracking involves extracting natural gas through a mixture of chemicals and water. It’s opposed by environmentalists who say it could harm the water table.

The DEC’s recommendation is to allow high-volume fracking in some areas of the state, but prohibit in the Syracuse and New York City watersheds.

Carlucci, like environmental groups did earlier this week, said prohibting fracking in those areas is an implicit statement that the process is dangerous.

“Although I am pleased that the New York City and Syracuse watersheds will be exempt as they are unfiltered water sources, it does however raise a troubling paradox,” he wrote. “If the threat of potential pollution is too great to subject the New York City and Syracuse watersheds too, why would it then be acceptable to subject water sources in the rest of the state to the same potential contamination?”

If high-volume fracking is allowed, no permits will be issue this year, Martens said last week. Some environmental groups want a total and complete ban on hydrofracking, including high-volume, horizontal fracking.

Letter to Dec Final[1]

Griffo: Prison Closure Will Hurt

The Capital Tonight team is in Utica today for a summertime roadshow in the lead-up to the Boilermaker race this weekend.

We caught up with Sen. Joe Griffo, R-Rome, to chat about the economic impact of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to close the Oneida state prison, the largest of the seven facilities on the chopping block.

Griffo called the decision “disappointing” and added that it would impact the area both economically and socially.

It’s disappointing, because we believe these facilities stack up well. And we’re going to try to make an appeal based upon the information and the argument on merit. But utlimately the idea is to save the jobs in this area because there are a number of other facilities in the area. So it will have a negative impact right now not only from an economic standpoint but a social standpoint.

The plan announced last week by Cuomo largely spares the upstate region, especially the North Country, which has many communities that rely on prisons as an economic driver. Two of the facilities due to close are in the New York City area, while the rest are medium-sized prisons save for Oneida.

The plan is expected to save $72 million in the 2011-12 fiscal year and $112 in the 2012-13 fiscal year. It’s part of Cuomo’s plan to downsize the prison system, which has 3,800 vacant beds. It’s also possible some of the jobs would be saved by moving them to other facilities.

We also talked about the economic transition the area could experience with the nanotech center being built at SUNY IT and the impact of the Boilermaker on local tourism.