UFT Calls For Same-Sex Marriage Passage

The United Federation of Teachers is joining the chorus of groups pushing for same-sex marriage legalization in New York this year, signing their name to the New Yorkers United For Marriage coalition.

“Our union prides itself on a diverse membership and as a champion of equality we believe that it is time for all New Yorkers to be treated equally,” said Michael Mulgrew, President of United Federation of Teachers. “This is a civil rights issue and we are calling on New York State’s Legislature to pass marriage equality legislation and give all New Yorkers the right to marry the person they love.”

The coalition has attracted a few of the public and private-sector unions to join the campaign, including 32BJ, CWA District 1 and 1199 SEIU.

New Yorkers United For Marriage, formed at the urging of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, has attracted a broad coalition of advocacy groups and gay-rights organizations.

A vote to legalize same-sex marriage failed in the then-Democratic-led Senate in 2009, 38-24. But several of the senators who voted no have since left the chamber. And some of the past no votes, including Sens. Roy McDonald, Kemp Hannon and Stephen Saland are undecided.

A Conservative Dissenter

Erie County Conservative Chairman Ralph Lorigo, calling in to respond to my previous post, said he doesn’t intend to “draw a line in the sand” on gay marriage when local candidates seek his endorsement.

That puts Lorigo at odds with the state Conservative Party, which recently passed a resolution barring any candidate – either for state or local office – from running on its ballot line (Row C) if he or she doesn’t agree with the party’s opposition to same-sex marriage.

Lorigo, whose party endorsed Democratic Assemblyman Mark Schroeder’s Buffalo comptroller bid even though he has voted “yes” on gay marriage, said he personally has a “difference of opinion” on this issue with the assemblyman. But in this instance, Lorigo said, social issues take a back seat to fiscal conservatism.

“I don’t think he’ll be voting on gay marriage as comptroller,” Lorigo said. “Fiscally, he’s very responsible, and my body believes be’s entitled to our endorsement based on what he’s looking for in this situation.”

“…Different jobs have different responsibilities, and in my world, we have an economic crisis in the state of New York. It needs to be handled by people who are fiscally conservative, and that’s absolutely true of Mark Schroeder. He’s low man on the totem pole with (Assembly Speaker) Sheldon Silver. That should say worlds about this guy.”

Lorigo said he’s personally “strong in the conviction that New York should not pass gay marriage,” but added: “On the other side of the coin, I have no problem with the equal rights part of it. I have a problem with calling it ‘marriage’, I’m OK with the civil union part of it.”

Lorigo said he did not participate in the state executive committee vote on the gay marriage resolution. He’s had a bit of a communication breakdown with the state party since he primaried Long’s preferred candidate, Rick Lazio, for Row C in the 2010 gubernatorial race, the chairman said, although he allowed that might be due in part to the fact that he changed his email address after it was hacked.

Long: Schroeder Endorsement ‘Ill-Conceived’

A reader wrote in late last week to question the Erie County Conservative Party’s endorsement of Democratic Assemblyman Mark Schroeder for his city comptroller run, noting the nod runs counter to the state party’s recent passage of a resolution barring any candidate who supports gay marriage from running on Row C.

Schroeder not only voted “yes” on same-sex marriage in 2009, but also spoke in favor of the bill on the floor.

Erie County Conservative Chairman Ralph Lorigo told The Buffalo News: “There was not even a need for Mark to speak.” He noted the assemblyman’s longtime support from the party in both his county legislature and Assembly runs.

But state Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long told me this morning that the endorsement of Schroeder was “ill-conceived”, adding:

“If it was within the confines of my capability of saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’, and that of the state executive committee, (Schroeder) would not have gotten the endrosement.”

“..If you would call Ralph Lorigo, he would tell you the comptroller’s office has nothing to do with gay marriage. Number one, that’s not true. Number two, you can’t have it both ways. You can’t go dipping into the trough for patronage jobs and close your eyes to what an assemblyman did that was wrong.”

Long admitted he has “no authority” to do anything about this endorsement, since the office in question is located entirely within the confines of Erie County borders. (The state executive committee can only intervene if offices and/or districts cross county lines).

More >

Here And Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Westchester County and Albany with no public schedule.

Mayor Bloomberg is in Brazil for a gathering of the C40 mayors he is spearheading with President Clinton.

The House is scheduled to vote on a “clean” debt ceiling-raising measure today.

It’s all but certain to fail because Republicans are insisting on spending cuts.

Michael Powell captures Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s need to control without questioning: “The state is his muscle car, and he’s not letting go of the steering wheel.”

Rep. Anthony Weiner has hired an attorney to look into potential civil or criminal actions in Weinergate.

He’s not getting the cops involved, however. Meanwhile, opponents are comparing Weinergate to the Craigslist scandal that felled ex-Rep. Chris Lee.

Weiner dismissed the incident as a prank and received support from his former boss, Sen. Chuck Schumer.

The lewd photo at the center of this uproar doesn’t match up with other images Weiner has Tweeted.

Peter Ingemi isn’t buying it.

Another alleged maid attack by a foreign executive.

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Holiday Weekend Update

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is marching in the 92nd annual Staten Island Memorial Day Parade at noon and the 84th Annual Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade at 2:30 p.m. (Mayor Bloomberg will be at that second event, too).

Congresswoman-elect Kathy Hochul will be sworn in on Wednesday and will officially resign as Erie County clerk that same day.

Hochul’s spokesman says she’s interested in serving on the House Agriculture and/or Homeland Security committees. (No link).

The newest member of the House came from modest means.

Former Rep. John LaFalce on Hochul: “She will automatically have stature. She comes in with far greater capacity than almost any other freshman congressman I can recall.”

The fact that Cuomo didn’t send a congratulatory statement to Hochul and didn’t stump for her in person during the NY-26 special election race did not go unnoticed.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos rarely speak, but when they do, the senator’s hearing loss might be a factor in their troubled relationship.

The woman who received a lewd photo from Rep. Anthony Weiner’s Twitter account says she’s never met him.

Nicola Cordova said she’s been a target for an on-line stalker since she signed on to follow the congressman on Twitter and he followed her back.

“Anthony’s accounts were obviously hacked,” Dave Arnold, a spokesman for Mr. Weiner, told The Associated Press. “He doesn’t know the person named by the hacker, and we will be consulting on what steps to take next.”

DCCC Chairman Steve Israel abruptly issued a statement that his marriage is over.

Eight state senators are undecided on gay marriage. They include three Republicans: Jim Alesi, Steve Saland (both of whom voted “no” in 2009) and freshman Greg Ball.

More >

Coy Giuliani Shrugs Off 2012 Poll

Rudy Giuliani shrugged off the CNN poll released Friday that found he is leading the field of would-be GOP presidential candidates, insisting he hasn’t yet made up his mind whether he’ll run in 2012.

“When you’re not a candidate, you’re always leading,” the former NYC mayor said prior to delivering the commencement speech at Cornell earlier today. “I learned that many, many times, running for mayor and other, other positions. So I don’t pay much attention to that.”

“It’s a very good field of candidates, and I want to make sure the Republican candidate has the best possible candidate to run. And if at some point along the way, I think it’s me, then I’ll decide to one. If I think it’s someone else, then I’ll support them. I don’t gauge myself. I let other people do that.”

Giuliani, who is headed to New Hampshire next week, sidestepped questions about his “very good friend” Rep. Pete King, who re-ignited the Giuliani trial balloon by insisting the failed 2008 contender is in fact “very close” to launching a second White House bid. (King also said he would run if Giuliani doesn’t, and the former mayor returned the favor, praising the Long Island Republican to the skies).

“Would I endorse Pete King? I’d endorse Pete King for anything…He is probably one of the most pre-eminent members of Congress,” Giuliani said. “Probably one of the biggest experts on national security that we have in the country. A man of intense integrity. A tremendous patriot…A remarkable public servant.”

Asked what is going to factor into his final decision – whenever that comes – Giuliani replied:

“I would have to make a decision about whether I think there is a Republican who would be a really good opponent for President Obama that could win. If I thought there was, I’d support that person. If somehow I came to the conclusion that it would be me, then I would probably do it. That’s not on my mind right now.”

Weinergate?

Conservative bloggers are having a field day at the expense of uber-liberal Rep. Anthony Weiner, who is claiming that someone hacked his Twitter account and send a (headless) picture of a man in his underwear sporting an erection to a woman who is not the congressman’s wife.

Weiner, a prolific Tweeter known for his inventive use of hashtags, married Huma Abedin, a longtime aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in the summer of 2010.

Gawker – the site responsible for breaking the Craigslist scandal that tanked former GOP Rep. Chris Lee – has the timeline of the inappropriate Tweet, which was first reported by Andrew Breitbart.

The woman to whom the picture was sent has since deleted both her Facebook and Twitter accounts. Very odd.

The photo was sent in the midst of some very mundane Tweeting by the congressman about hockey and Tivo.

Shortly before 1 a.m. this morning, Weiner Tweeted: “Tivo shot. FB hacked. Is my blender gonna attack me next? #TheToasterIsVeryLoyal.”

Hours later, he added this: “Touche Prof Moriarity. More Weiner Jokes for all my guests! #Hacked!.”

Weiner, a (usually?) savvy user of social media, has run one unsuccessful NYC mayoral campaign (in 2005, he bowed out to avoid a runoff for the Democratic nomination), took a pass on the 2009 race and is eyeing 2013.

Holiday Weekend Open Thread

Stay safe out there. We’ll be checking in from time to time. Have fun. – LB

Extras

An early Extras to get your three-day weekend started. We’ll be checking in – particularly tomorrow, when Rudy Giuliani is scheduled to deliver the commencement at Cornell University. Lots of things to ask the former NYC Mayor. In the meantime, some pre-Memorial Day headlines:

Be safe out there.

Rasmussen shows both Gov. Chris Christie (who’s not running) and Mitt Romney (who is) within single digits of President Obama in NJ.

Romney has a sense of humor.

Giuliani’s leading the GOP field in a new CNN poll.

Texas Gov Rick Perry is reconsidering 2012.

NARAL Por-Choice NY’s loss is Mayor Bloomberg’s gain.

Bloomberg’s interview with BBC World News America is airing on PBS Channel 13 at 5:30 p.m. this afternoon. (No link).

Assemblyman Mark Schroeder landed the Conservative Party line for his Buffalo comptroller bid.

Meghan McCain admires Rep. Anthony Weiner for his ability to land a “hot” wife. (Huma Abedin).

Jim Geraghty thinks Rep. Tim Bishop could be in trouble – again.

An arrest in the CityTime scandal.

Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell thinks taking Medicare off the table is “silly talk”.

Romney refused to say whether he would sign Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget, but supports its goals.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand wants the USS Slater to get landmark status.

Defending Chris Ward

Following The Post’s report this morning that Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to axe Port Authority Executive Director Chris Ward, despite the fact that he’s widely credited with jump-starting the long-delayed construction at Ground Zero, the NY League of Conservation Voters and Transporation Advocates released a statement this afternoon praising his leadership.

TA’s Paul Steely White called Ward “an innovative and effective public servant”, while the NYLCV’s Marcia Bystryn deemed him “talented and forward-thinking”.

I’m not sure that’s going to be enough to save Ward, one of two high-profile David Paterson appointees Cuomo decided to retain after he took office in January (the other is MTA Chairman Jay Walder), but it demonstrates that he doesn’t intend to go down without putting up something of a fight.

I’ve never heard anything but praise for Ward, who generally eschews politics for a sort of no-nonsense, get-things-done approach. (Prior to joining the Paterson administration, he was managing director of the General Conctractors ASsociation of NY). A Cuomo source informed the Post that changing leadership at the Port Authority was always in the cards.

Advocates Praise Port Authority Director Chris Ward