Dec 2nd - 4:48 pm
Republican Congressman Pete King has been silent on whether Rep. Charlie Rangel deserves to be censured… that is until now.
Speaking on the floor of the House just prior to the vote, King said he plans to vote against censure.
“Censure is an extremely severe penalty. In the more than 200 year history of this body, only 22 members have been subjected to censure. None in more than a quarter century,” King said.
“If expulsion is the equivalent of the death penalty, censure is life imprisonment.
“I have found no case where charges similar or analogous to those against Congressman Rangel resulted in censure — a penalty thusfar reserved for such serious violations as supporting armed insurrection against the United States and the sexual abuse of minors.”
UPDATE: Here is video of King’s remarks:
King’s full remarks appear after the jump.
Dec 2nd - 4:10 pm
…It may take a while. But the show has begun. To refresh your memory, here’s the text of the censure resolution under consideration.
The Sunlight Foundation is streaming the debate live. (See below).
Rep. Zoe Lofgren, chair of the ethics committee, presented its recommendation for censure – not reprimand, as Rangel has been advocating – saying that while it is “painful to sit in judgment on our colleague” it is the “constitutional duty” of House members to do so.
Dec 2nd - 3:16 pm
Revised NYC turnout numbers from the general elections indicate 220,128 more voters than originally thought cast ballots on Nov. 2, which means some 16 percent of the vote wasn’t counted on election night.
This allows New York to redeem itself from the ignominious status of place dead last in turnout nationwide this year and in the nation with fewer voters going to the polls than in any midterm election for at least three decades.
Not surprisingly, considering the more than five-to-one enrollment edge Democrats enjoy in the five boroughs, the Democratic Party saw the greatest difference, jumping by 180,239 votes now that the official numbers are in.
The Working Families Party also did well, seeing its tally increase by 13,164 votes.
According to WFP spokesman (for one more day) Dan Levitan, it’s now a “near certainty” that the labor-backed party has managed to improve its ballot status, jumping to Row D, while the Conservatives jumped to Row C and the Indys fell two lines to the WFP’s old Row E.
NYC Board of Elections spokeswoman Valerie Vazquez told City Room:
“After a 16-hour day there’s room for error. Poll workers have to take the report that prints out after the polls close, manually input that to a Return of Canvass form, and then it goes to the Police Department where civilian employees punch it into computers.”
Dec 2nd - 2:54 pm
Sen. Dave Valesky sat down for an extended interview with intrepid YNN reporter Bill Carey to explain in greater detail why he had decided to abstain during the Democratic conference vote held Monday night at which his colleagues voiced support for keeping Sen. John Sampson at the helm for another two years.
Valesky said he was motivated to keep his powder dry by his constituents, who are sick and tired – “as I am” – of the “status quo” at the Capitol, addind: “The fact that it raises eyebrows is an unfortunate commentary, I think commentary on the state of politics in Albany.”
Valesky said there had been “no prior notice” of the vote, which upset him. He was equally disturbed by the fact that a number of the incoming freshmen were not present to voice their opinion on who should lead them going forward.
Dec 2nd - 2:16 pm
…And, here we go again. We just received the following notice from the Senate Republicans:
FROM: SENATOR KENNETH P. LAVALLE
TO: REPUBLICAN SENATORS
SUBJECT: SENATE REPUBLICAN CONFERENCE
Senator Sampson has informed Senator Skelos that there will be Session on Tuesday, December 7, 2010 at 12:00 p.m. Therefore, Senator Skelos has asked me to schedule a meeting of the Republican Conference for Tuesday, December 7, 2010, at 11:00 a.m., in Room 314 of the Capitol
UPDATE: And now we have this statement from Sampson, courtesy of the Senate Democrats’ press office:
“I am calling the Senate back into session on Tuesday, December 7th to vote on the proposed reorganization of the New York City Off Track Betting Corporation.”
“I have spoken to our colleagues across the aisle to urge bipartisan cooperation and action on this and other outstanding issues before the state, such as appropriating federal funding to keep our educators working.”
“New York faces extraordinarily difficult times and tough choices, but the decision to meet our obligation and work together should be unanimous. In the past, when Democrats and Republicans have worked together, the results worked for New Yorkers.”
“This week, we must once again push aside partisan divides and unite behind our shared responsibility to put the best interests of the people first.”
Dec 2nd - 2:08 pm
Sen. Kevin Parker’s much-delayed trial on felony assault charges from his alleged attack on a NY Post photographer back in May 2009 is finally underway.
Jury selection took place Tuesday and the prosecution has since called seven witnesses, the last of whom is scheduled to testify next Monday.
If he’s found guilty, Parker faces a potential seven-year prison penalty. He would also have to give up his Brooklyn seat, although it’s in a safe Democratic district, and so that wouldn’t likely impact the yet-unresolved balance of power question.
The trial was supposed to occur this past summer – Aug. 16, to be exact – around the same time that Parker’s primary battle with fellow Democrat Wellington Sharpe was heating up. (He succeeded in surviving that fight and then went on to win the general election on Nov. 2).
There has been ample speculation about why the Senate decided to pack it in early on the evening of Monday’s special session while the Assembly toiled into the wee hours of Tueday morning and then returned later Tuesday afternoon to pass, among other things, the NYC OTB bailout bill and a hydrofracking moratorium that had been passed by the Senate earlier in the year.
Dec 2nd - 12:59 pm
The Journal News is reporting that soon-to-be-former Sen. Vincent Leibell won’t be assuming the Putnam County executive post he won in November on Jan. 1 as originally planned.
The Journal News’ Michael Risnit writes:
Vincent Tamagna, the Republican chairman of the nine-member Legislature, would not say why Leibell would not take the oath in a month’s time but said he is working now on a transition government that will involve appointing an executive officer.
Asked this morning whether Leibell, who won election Nov. 2, would succeed him, County Executive Robert Bondi, who decided not to seek re-election this year after 20 years in office, said that question would be answered this afternoon. Bondi would also not talk about specifics.
Anthony Scannapieco, the longtime Putnam Republican elections commissioner, said Wednesday that it was his understanding Leibell would be facing a legal proceeding in White Plains.
Federal investigators subpoenaed records this summer in connection with a large home Leibell built in Patterson. There apparently is a connection here with attorney Anthony Mangone, who recently pleaded guilty to corruption charges.
Leibell decided to forgo seeking re-election to the Senate seat he held since 1994 to run for county executive instead.
Soon-to-be-former Assemblyman Greg Ball won a primary over the GOP’s preferred candidate, Somers Town Supervisor Mary Beth Murphy, and then defeated Democratic Westchester County Legislator Mike Kaplowitz in the general election.
Dec 2nd - 12:53 pm
The Working Families Party is losing its spokesman, Dan Levitan, who is poised to join the political PR/consulting firm BerlinRosen.
Levitan, who will turn 28 next week, confirmed his last day working for the labor-backed party is tomorrow. He has been flacking for the WFP for about three-and-a-half years, and during that time, (at least in my opinion), has acquired an uncanny capability of channeling both the inflections and vocabulary of WFP Executive Director Dan Cantor.
“BerlinRosen is the leading progressive public affairs firm and I’m very excited to be joining the team,” Levitan said.
“They are great strategists, great flacks, great at elections, great with policy, and they are great people. They take on tough fights, win more than most, and they do it for some incredible clients.”
“I am also proud to be leaving the WFP on a high note. There hasn’t been a boring day in these three and a half years, and way more victories than defeats. The Working Families Party has become one of the most successful progressive projects anywhere in the country, and the best is yet to come.”
Dec 2nd - 9:12 am
Ah the indignity of being a lame duck, everyone feels free to take pot shots at you.
The latest to tee off on Gov. David Paterson is Broome Community College President Kevin Drumm, who sent an e-mail message to the campus community in which he railed against a 2 percent budget cut coming from Albany that will hurt institutions of higher learning like his.
“His approach is the chicken’s way to slough off the hard public policy decisions,” Drumm wrote of Paterson. “I don’t know what this governor is smoking.”
“…I can’t even begin to tell you how many open positions we have right now that we can’t fill because we can’t afford them.”
According to the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin, BCC has already lost about $2 million worth of state funding due to budget cuts, and the additional 2 percent reduction adds up to about $175,000.
The college’s 2010-2011 budget, which was approved by the Broome County Legislature, is $48.8 million, with $6.8 million coming from the county and another $1 million from the college’s reserve fund. The remaining cash comes through state aid and tuition.
Drumm noted that the state’s budget increased this year, and proclaimed himself “baffled” as to why the administration doesn’t feel compelled to support community colleges at a time when applications are up because the cost of four-year schools is out of reach for many students.
“Clearly the money is going out there somewhere,” he said. “…I don’t think they’re looking at the real impact of these decisions.”
Dec 2nd - 8:37 am
Sen. Dave Valesky issued the following statement to his hometown paper, the Syracuse Post-Standard, about why he was the lone member of the Democratic conference to abstain from voting to keep Sen. John Sampson on as leader for the next two years:
“This kind of vote requires deliberation and consideration.”
“It didn’t need to happen Monday night, there was absolutely no notice it would be taking place, and several of the new senators-elect were not present to have their voices heard, so I abstained.”
Valesky, as the Post-Standard points out, is the highest-ranking upstate senator. He lived through a tough challenge this fall from Republican Andrew Russo, who made much during the race of the upstate/downstate divide.
As far as I can tell, three of the incoming senators weren’t present for the vote:
- Tony Avella, of Queens, apparently was informed there would be a vote, but was otherwise engaged and couldn’t make it to the Capitol for the lame duck session. Avella told me during a CapTon interview last week that he is a Sampson supporter.
- The Hudson Valley’s David Carlucci was in Albany, but left early to attend to business in his district. He told me he wasn’t informed about the impending vote. Carlucci has made it quite clear that he has not yet decided whether to support keeping Sampson as leader.
- Tim Kennedy, of Buffalo, was also in Albany. He arrived late to the closed-door conference meeting, I’m told, and wasn’t allowed in because the man he defeated in the September primary, Sen. Bill Stachowski, was already inside. (It still remains a mystery to me why outgoing senators were allowed to cast a vote on who will be leader for a session they won’t be attending).
Kennedy met later with Sampson for over an hour and pledged his support to the Brooklyn Democrat, according to one Senate source.
UPDATE: Another Senate source informs me that while the outgoing lawmakers were allowed in the room for this debate, they did not cast votes. Nor, apparently, did the two Senate Democrats who remain in limbo because their races have yet to be officially called: Craig Johnson (7th SD) and Suzi Oppenheimer (37th SD).