Aug 5th - 4:44 pm
Stock market closed up after a roller coaster day following yesterday’s 512 point crash.
Good job numbers helped stabilize the market.
But Europe’s troubles continued to create fear.
A guy named Dow Jones (really!) tells the NYT he’s having a “wonderful day.”
Cuomo is trying to increase his fan base on Facebook.
Today, he announced that he is returning hundreds of thousands of dollars to saltwater fishers.
And the Governor announced a new deal to bring 100 jobs to New York City, and keep 1000 current jobs.
The DCCC launched an attack against Randy Altschuler, a Long Island Republican who isn’t yet in Congress, but would like to be.
Irony Alert – The Nassau Control Board, charged with balancing the county’s books, is $2m over budget according to the county comptroller.
Tom Ridge is no longer “the face” of hydrofracking.
Scandel-ridden Former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford says he is not returning to politics.
Rupert Murdoch was among the gawkers appreciating the Central Park Zoo peacock when it was briefly on the lam.
Jimmy McMillan is back in the headlines again.
NY Ranger and same-sex marriage advocate Sean Avery was arrested for shoving a police officer in Los Angeles.
Here’s Letterman’s top ten from last night, where he had some fun with the President’s 50th birthday.
Aug 5th - 4:43 pm
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is calling on Democrats to donate money to five women who are running as Democrats in the recall election in Wisconsin next week. There are 6 senate seats up for grabs in the Tuesday election, which was spurred on by the fight with Governor Scott Walker over unions rights. Then two more recall elections the following week.
*If you want to learn more about the Wisconsin recalls, I suggest you check out this link
Gillibrand set up a page at ActBlue.com, a Democratic fundraising website, asking for donations to Nancy Nusbaum, Sandy Pasch, Shelly Moore, Jessica King, and Jennifer Shilling. Political insiders in the Badger state suspect that two of three of them are likely to win on Tuesday.
As you might recall, Gillibrand recently created a group called “Off the Sidelines” to encourage women to run for office, citing statistics that show woman make up only 25% of state legislatures, and even less when it comes to Congress or executive mansions.
“These are trends we absolutely must reverse. That is why I created Off The Sidelines, to mobilize women and make their voices heard. The best way to make sure our values are represented is if we run and win,” Gillibrand wrote in a fundraising email to supporters.
“That’s what I did in ’06 and what Kathy Hochul did this year. And that’s what five strong Democratic women are doing in the Wisconsin recall elections against Scott Walker’s allies next Tuesday – just four days away.
Aug 5th - 4:22 pm
We saw this coming.
Now that Congress has passed a debt deal, the respective parties are using recent votes as fodder for political attacks. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has just released a robocall targeting NY-19 Republican Nan Hayworth as part of what they are calling their “Accountability August” tour.
Here’s the script:
“Hi, this is Clare from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee calling about Congresswoman Nan Hayworth’s vote to end Medicare in order to protect millionaires.
“You’ve paid into Medicare and deserve the Medicare benefits you’ve earned. But while you’re paying $6,400 more for your health care, Big Oil and millionaires will get big tax breaks. That’s not right.
“Everyone agrees we must cut spending and tighten our belt, but Hayworth has made the wrong choice.
“Please call Congresswoman Hayworth at xxx-xxx-xxxx and tell her to keep her hands off our Medicare!”
The DCCC is doing similar ads and robocalls across the country, hammering Republicans for failing to agree to any revenue enhancers during budget negotiations – like tax increases on the highest earners, or elimination of loopholes for specific businesses.
“House Republicans’ priorities are clear – they have repeatedly chosen Millionaires and Big Oil over Medicare and voters are holding them accountable for it,” said DCCC Chairman Steve Israel. “Republicans will have to explain to their constituents why they voted to end Medicare three times and raise seniors’ health care costs in order to protect tax breaks for millionaires and Big Oil. Republicans will have to defend the indefensible.”
To be clear, the debt deal that passed earlier this week doesn’t actually cut medicare spending. Though, House Republicans cut, cap, and balance plan did do so. So did Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan. Hayworth voted for both.
If the 12 person super committee cannot come to an agreement on further cuts, there are triggers in place that will force Congress to cut spending to health care and other entitlement programs, as well as military spending.
Aug 5th - 3:27 pm
Freshman lawmakers in Albany often have trouble getting their bills through both the Senate and Assembly, even if they are in the majority. But that’s not the case with Senator Mark Grisanti. This week, the Governor signed a handful of his bills into law, bringing his total to 15 bills.
“My work is still not done in Albany, I had a very busy first legislative session and I plan to have an even busier second session starting January 2012, My staff and I are currently working on our legislative agenda, which includes job creation initiatives, tax credits to small business owners, education reform, and legislation to help the environment,” said Sen. Grisanti.
Grisanti’s productivity is likely in part because of the political reality surrounding his district. Democrats out number Republicans there by almost 6 to 1, so Grisanti is expected to be a big target in the 2012 elections – no matter how the legislature redraws the district lines.
More about the five bills signed into law this week are after the jump.
Aug 5th - 12:36 pm
Senate Republicans have released the expenditure report for the last 6 months of the 2010-2011 budget year. The report shows that they spent $48 million, which is $3.3 million less than the previous 6 months when Democrats were in control of the Senate.
The report covers the period between October 1, 2010 and March 31, 2011. The first 3 months the chamber was under Democratic control, before Republicans were sworn into office and regained the majority in January. Almost immediately, the GOP blasted their Democratic colleagues for running a $7.7 million deficit.
Back in January, Senator Sampson claimed he had taken immediate steps to cut $10 million from the budget, and blamed the cost overruns on his conference being too generous to the Senate GOP.
Senate Republicans were quick to fire back. They say they actually spent millions less than the $22.5m budget they were given following the June 2009 coup.
The report also shows that Senator Pedro Esapda Jr. received more money than any other Senator, $749,803, even though he was only in office for 3 of the 6 months. He lost re-election, and in December he was stripped of his leadership posts after he was indicted on federal corruption charges.
“Why didn’t Senator Sampson or any other Senate Democrats put their foot down and demand that Espada stop the spending, even after he had been defeated? It just goes to show what a mistake it would be to put the spend-happy Democrats back in charge of the Senate,” Scott Reif, spokesman for Senate GOP said.
Senate Republicans also say they have cut staff significantly since returning to the majority. Under Democratic control there was 342 majority staff members in four major areas. Now, there are only 84.
Senate Democratic spokesman Mike Murphy responded to the report saying “”we have significantly cut spending and like all New Yorkers will continue to do more with less.”
Here’s a link to the full report.
Aug 5th - 12:29 pm
This week’s moment of irony comes compliments of the New York Council of Nonprofits’ Doug Sauer, who was kind enough to join me on CapTon last night.
For the past eight years, NYCON has run the state’s only free training program for nonprofit board members and executive directors at entities that receive funding from OASAS, the DOH AIDS Institute and Center for Community Health , OPWDD, OMH and OCFS, educating individuals on a wide range of pertinent topics including reading 990s and audits, and evaluating executive compensation.
Yes, nonprofit executive compensation – the very topic Gov. Andrew Cuomo has charged a new task force with investigating in connection with organizations that receive state funding.
Here’s where the irony kicks in.
Despite the fact that this program has been extremely successful, training some 8,700 people at an annual cost to the state of about $190,000 – $39,400 per agency – it appears that it will be discontinued, or at least dramatically scaled back, due to a lack of funding.
According to Sauer, DOH no longer wants to serve as the program’s lead agency. OPWDD and OASAS are interested in continuing, but it’s unclear whether they’ll be able to come up with their share of the cash.
In the meantime, all the scheduled training sessions from October through December are on hold. (The brochure for the 2011 trainings appears after the jump).
The training program was created in the late 1990s when the Senate Republicans were investigating execessive compensation and lack of board governance at nonprofits that provided mental health services for the state. The government response, according to Sauer, was to “education, not regulate.”
Sauer, who is serving on a non-profit reform committee created this summer by AG Eric Schneiderman, expressed frustration that the state has “no comprehensive policy” when it comes to non-profit organizations.
He doesn’t understand why anyone would axe the lone program actively involved in education board members and agency heads about how to oversee non-profits and what to look for to prevent scandals like the one recently exposed by the New York Times.
It’s also worth noting that the program specifically deals with agencies that have been at the center of scandals like OPWDD – again exposed by the NYT – and receive a considerable amount of state aid through Medicaid.
In addition, Sen. Shirley Huntley introduced a bill this past session that would require OPWDD, OMH and OASAS to establish minimum training requirements for all board members and trustees of nonprofits and facilities subject to the jurisdiction of their offices.
Aug 5th - 7:46 am
Gov. Andrew Cuomo makes an announcement regarding saltwater fishing licenses at 11 a.m. at the Freeport Boatmans Association in Nassau County.
Mayor Bloomberg has no public events scheduled.
European and Asian markets continued their downward slide ahead of Wall Street’s opening this morning.
Cuomo quietly changed the compensation for plum patronage posts, so state Civil Service Commission and State Liquor Authority are now paid on a per-diem basis, rather than getting annual salaries for jobs that require just a handful of meetings each year
A source said people were “encouraged” by the departure of Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith and his replacement by insider Cas Holloway because it indicates an awareness that the Bloomberg administration is “adrift” in the third term.
Goldsmith’s habit of stressing management theory over political pragmatism did not fly in New York.
The young black and Latino men Bloomberg hopes to help with $130 million worth of privately-funded programs expressed skepticism that his effort would work.
The largely minority listeners of Mark Riley’s WWRL radio show flooded his phones with rants about Bloomberg’s latest project, surprising the host.
One of the founders of City Year thinks Bloomberg’s initiative is great.
Says Michael Powell: “(Y)ou cannot write of this mayor and his good works without reckoning with his personal and policy contradictions, and with the questions that might be raised about government by personal checkbook.”
As his time in public office winds down, Bloomberg has become more overt about his philanthropy.
Some observers hope President Obama will follow Bloomberg’s lead.
Formerly of Upstate America, Mark Dunlea and Judith Enck are part of a wave of white residents who have transformed traditionally black Bed-Stuy, which is now barely 60 percent African American – down from 75 percent 10 years ago.
Aug 4th - 5:36 pm
There’s a deal to re-open the FAA, according to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Despite the debt deal, the Dow tanked in a big way.
More bad financial news: The yield on ultra-short-term U.S. government bonds is less than zero.
The state dinner-crashing Salahis were “celebrity” guests at Sen. Greg Ball’s polo match fundraiser in Connecticut last month.
Why President Obama shouldn’t stress about turning 50.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the Power NY Act of 2011 into law.
Other signings and vetoes from Cuomo today.
Manhattan has a contested Civil Court race.
Cuomo wants DNC Executive Director Patrick Gaspard, “the favorite son of New York,” to come home after the president is re-elected (assuming he’s re-elected) in 2012.
Sen. Tom Duane had a change of heart and is cutting Assemblyman David Weprin “some slack,” but not everyone in the LGBT community is so forgiving.
Weprin, the Democratic candidate in the NY-9 special election, refused to say whether he supports Obama for re-election in 2012.
UPDATE: A Weprin spokeswoman said: “David supports the President for re-election next year. The real question is if Bob Turner supports John Boehner and his plan to end Medicare.”
Attending animal fights in New York is now a misdemeanor.
The last time a major upgrade to the state’s animal fighting laws occurred was during the tenure of another guy named Cuomo.
New York’s entrepreneurial activity gets an A+ from researchers at the University of Nebraska.
Despite Sen. David Carlucci’s best efforts, the Mid-Orange correctional facility is still on Cuomo’s chopping block.
The governor declined to use the “l” word (that would be “layoffs”), but did say “we will do what we said we were going to do” if the CSEA and PEF contracts aren’t ratified by rank-and-file union members.
A new addition at the DEC.
Some transit advocates believed departing Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith was the reason behind the scaling back of some Bloomberg transportation initiatives.
Sen. Chuck Schumer is taking on sick ticks.
Howard Wolfson, political junkie and trend-setter, was the first subscriber of Mike Allen’s Politico Playbook, which passed a major milestone today.
Hillary-for-president chatter is back.
Aug 4th - 4:53 pm
Howie Hawkins, who elevated the state Green Party to official party status – complete with a ballot line – thanks to his performance in the 2010 guberntorial election, told me during a CapTon interview today that he believes the national Greens will again run a candidate for president in 2012, regardless of what toll that might take on President Obama.
I recalled the 2000 election, when Ralph Nader’s candidacy on the Green Party line complicated matters for the then-Democratic contender, VP Al Gore, (the question of whether Nader was a spoiler and thus responsible for the presidency of George W. Bush continues to be debated in certain circles).
When I asked Hawkins, who worked on Nader’s campaigns, whether he would still support a Green Party candidate running if it might cost Obama the election – a possibility, considering his current poll numbers – Hawkins replied:
“I heard Paul Krugman last night call Barack Obama the latest Herbert Hoover or something like that. His economic policies are very conservative, so you begin to wonder if it would make that much of a difference.”
“The voters will have to make up their mind on that, whether a vote for Green is creating a situation where a greater evil may get elected.”
“But, the fact is there are real issues that need to be raised. We shouldn’t be going into austerity in the midsts of a recession that could extend into a long depression with all the demand being pulled out by government cutbacks at the local and national level.”
The Greens ran former Democratic Rep. Cynthia McKinney in 2008. McKinney, who was the first black woman to represent Georgia in the House, wasn’t on the ballot in all 50 states and finished fifth in November with 161,603 votes.
The national Green Party is holding its annual meeting in New York (at Alfred University) starting tomorrow. The selection of this state by the party was partly to recognize Hawkins’ success last year.
Hawkins, who has run for quite a few offices at this point, refused to say whether he’ll make another attempt at the governor’s office in 2016. He’s running for a local seat in Syracuse (again), and that is his main focus at the moment.
Aug 4th - 3:37 pm
Former Indianapolis Mayor Stephen Goldsmith has resigned his post as deputy mayor of operations with the Bloomberg administration, a job he has held for just over a year.
Goldsmith, who replaced former Deputy Mayor Ed Skyler last May, will be replaced by Caswell Holloway, who once served as Skyler’s chief of staff and has been Department of Environmental Protection commissioner since 2010.
According to a press release, Goldsmith – also a Harvard University management guru, is leaving to pursue “private-sector opportunities in infrastructure finance.”
Tapping Goldsmith, who had never before lived in NYC and was not a member of Bloomberg’s inner circle, was an unusual move for the mayor. He liked to promote from within for bullpen jobs – particularly one like this, which basically requires whoever holds it to run the day-to-day operations of the city.
UPDATE: A NYC lawmaker observes that Bloomberg went outside his comfort zone for appointments twice during the third term, and both times he failed: First with ex-NYC Schools Chancellor Cathie Black, replaced by an inner-circle member, former Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott; and now with Goldsmith.
Goldsmith had a major setback early in his tenure during the Christmas blizzard, bearing the brunt of the blame for the botched clean-up operation. (As it turned out, this was not the first time Goldsmith was brought low by a snowstorm).
Below you’ll find Goldsmith’s statement, in which he references the fact that Holloway “has developed a career in New York.” That reads to me like an acknowledgment that he never really got the hang of working in the Big Apple, with all its odd political quirks, tribes, and long-simmering feuds.
“This week, I informed the Mayor of my decision to resign my job as Deputy Mayor of Operations. This job has been a special opportunity to contribute to the City of New York and further the substantial accomplishments of Mayor Bloomberg.”
“I am proud of the work we have done over the last year to pass an aggressive budget, and put in place the foundation and plans for dozens of initiatives and best practices that will dramatically further customer service and cost savings in the City. Over the last month, I received important overtures in an area with which I have long been associated – infrastructure finance.”
“After thirty years of long hours in public service, the change will provide me, at age 64, with more flexibility for me and my family and a secure foundation for our future. In addition, I intend to continue my academic work and the school year is about to start.”
“Now that we have the ball rolling on our initiatives, I am comfortable that the person taking over for me will do an exceptional job moving things forward. Cas is not just a colleague, but a friend and a person who I trust to take over for me, and whose talents are among the most exceptional I have seen in my public career. He has developed a career in New York, and will accelerate the agenda and build on the progress we have made.”
“It has been a unique honor to be part of the high performing Bloomberg team. City Hall and the agencies are truly alive with the spirit of service and innovation.