Extras

The weather outside is frightful! And the NY Times live blogged about it.

Mayor Bloomberg is defending the city’s response to the Blizzard of 2010.

PA Gov. Ed Rendell isn’t happy about the Eagles-Vikings game being postponed due to the storm.

Reform advocates insist Cuomo doesn’t need the legislature to start fixing state government.

Finger pointing has begun in states poised to lose clout due to census results, including here in NYS.

Outgoing Assemblyman Richard Brodsky had some parting thoughts on his pet project: public authorities reform.

RNC Chairman Michael Steele lost the support of another former ally in his bid for a second term.

Republican presidential hopefuls face a tough road ahead.

Politico compiled a list of the best quotes of 2010 and Jimmy McMillan makes the cut.

They also have a rather amusing piece on the best and worst political clips on YouTube.

Americans admire President Obama and Sec. of State Hillary Clinton most of all.

First The Hill named her the third most beautiful person in Washington (and Harry Reid called her the Senate’s hottest member), now Sen. Gillibrand is on the Moms on the Hill list.

NJ Gov. Chris Christie is being tight-lipped on his New Year’s resolutions.

Sarah Palin is now embracing the word she coined.

Jimmy McMillan Prepares For Presidential Run

Surely you didn’t think you’d heard the last of the Rent Is Too Damn High party candidate, Jimmy McMillan.

Now, the fast-talking, mustachioed New Yorker is preparing to take on Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election.

mcmillan

He made the announcement last week and explained his decision in a Christmas Eve interview with Curtis Sliwa on AM 970 The Apple.

You can listen to a portion of the interview here: McMillan Explains Presidential Run – AM 970

Here are a few other gems from the interview…

On why he’s unofficially announcing his run for president:

“What I want to do is let the people know that I’m not playing.  The President Barack Obama has made a sandwich, but he forgot to put the meat between the bread.  And that’s what I’m here to do.”

On how he ran an “effective” campaign on just more than $16:

“I master-minded social media, marketing, advertising, the publicity and didn’t spend a dime to do it.  No one in America has asked me.  I’ve been invited to come to London, Australia, China, Egypt and places like that.  But not one American college has invited me to talk to find out, what is it that you did?  How did you do it?”

On his beard:

“I don’t know what made me do this, Curtis.  I wanted to be different… I said I don’t want to look like nobody, but me.  I want my own identity.  So I let my beard grow… and then I began to shape it up.”

NYC Under Snowy Siege

This account of how the city is coping with the copious amount of snow comes courtesy of NY1′s Josh Robin:

Ever since John Lindsay got caught on the wrong side of the snowplow in 1969, New York City mayors prize little more than cleaning up the white stuff ASAP.

No different for Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is already nursing a bad cold and doesn’t need the headache of 8.4 million gripes. Crews are out in force, deficit be damned, but Hizzoner also got lucky; the sixth worst snowstorm in modern city history fell amid Christmas vacation.

The storm paralyzed much of the five boroughs. Giant snow drifts abound and even Broadway is a slick mess. It’s much worse in the so-called outer boroughs. The only totally clear spot this reporter has seen is City Hall (seen here).

IMG00170-20101227-1233

More than 100 ambulances got stuck and the FDNY is “holding” more than a thousand calls. Response times are up, though the department insists no more than on summer scorchers.

The subways and commuter rails are especially socked. The MTA took the extraordinary step yesterday of shutting the entire Long Island Rail Road, the largest commuter rail network in the nation. Ditto for Metro-North, which runs north of the city. And then there was the Numbers 7 and A…for several hours each, both had trains stuck mid-track, stranding straphangers for hours.

“I think you had some isolated instances around the system where trains are stuck,” insisted MTA chief Jay Walder, an appointee of Gov. David Paterson.

“In just about every case we were able to get trains to stations, allow people to discharge from a station so they were in a location where they could – you know – get where they want to go or at least be warm and be safe in what they were doing. This was an enormous storm.”

As for the roads, Bloomberg’s sanitation commissioner says it’ll all be cleared by tomorrow. The warming weather will also help. Otherwise, be prepared for a snow shovel brigade to descend on City Hall. The walkway is clear.

Sen. Kruger Slams City’s Snow Response (UPDATED)

Sen. Carl Kruger is slamming city officials for their slow response to the first blizzard of the season.

The Brooklyn Democrat is calling on the City Council’s sanitation committee to hold emergency hearings to address what he is calling the city’s “colossal failure.”

His strongly-worded press release comes following reports that FDNY EMS is working on a three-hour delay for critical cases and a 12-hour delay for non-critical cases.

“At 1 p.m. today there was already a backlog of 1,300 critical calls,” Kruger said.

“How many people are going to die today because our streets haven’t been cleared?”

Kruger says the main streets in his southern Brooklyn districts still haven’t been cleared and he compared the situation to the so-called “Lindsay debacle” following a blizzard in February 1969.

More >

Here And Now

Hope everyone had a lovely holiday weekend.  I’m holding down the CapTon fort today and tomorrow, so feel free to send your comments, questions and tips my way: liz.alesse@ynn.com

Now to the news…

Not to worry!  Liz B’s flight across the pond took off without a hitch… but thousands of other travelers were not so lucky this weekend.

Mayor Bloomberg and other city officials held a press conference yesterday about the first major storm of the season.

Bloomberg says the city’s budget concerns won’t hamper its blizzard clean-up efforts.

A look back at a scandal-scarred, deficit-plagued year in state government.

The DN blames Albany for New York’s slow population growth and the loss of two Congressional seats.

Sixteen years later, the Cuomo’s prepare for their return to the Executive Mansion.

Andrew Cuomo’s transition team provides a glimpse of the kind of tight ship he’s likely to run as governor.

The governor-elect plans to hit the ground running.

The NYS DOT reminds you to be kind to your local snowplow operator.

The state is getting creative about making ends meet.

The State Democratic Party and the “Paterson for Governor” campaign are facing eviction.

The TU thinks GOP Rep. Pete King is “on the verge of making a national spectacle of himself” and suggests he drop the idea of holding hearing on the radicalization Muslim culture in America.

Republican OK Senator Tom Coburn has no regrets about his handling of the Zadroga bill.

The law firm that successfully sued the city in the wake of 9/11 is trying to cash in on the recently passed Zadroga bill.

A look back at the career of disgraced state Senator Vincent Liebell.

It cost a lot to lose to Sen. Larkin.

The Post defends Gov. Paterson’s decision to commute the sentence of John White.

More >

Holiday Weekend That Was

For all our blog fans in New York City, and anyone who was planning on traveling through the Northeast this week, sorry about the snow. Here is the latest. And here.

Times Union wonders why Senate Republicans didn’t respond to calls for redistricting reform last week.

Bob McCarthy warns that the war over re-drawing the lines has already begun.

NY Post is questioning a non-profit that Senator Eric Adams founded over missing state funds.

New York Times urges Andrew Cuomo to raise taxes in order to deal with the state’s financial problems.

Larry Levy is the latest to reflect on the legacy of David Paterson.

NY Post is praising outgoing Inspector General Joe Fisch.

Outgoing NYC School Chancellor Joel Klein has some regrets.

John Liu has spent a lot of time running for mayor, the NY Post suggests.

NY Pols think Obama has his swagger back.

Joe Biden said same-sex marriage is inevitable in America, during Friday’s Good Morning America.

Ashley Dupre explains why she won’t go see “Client 9″.

One quick reminder. My colleague Liz Alesse will be taking care of the blog for the next two days. Her email is Liz.alesse@ynn.com

Holiday Weekend Open Thread

Hello everyone, and Merry Christmas to those to whom it applies!

Liz A. here.  Liz B. is out of the country on a much-deserved vacation, so we’ll do our best to keep you up to speed in her absence.

In the meantime, feel free to vent or reflect here about the last year in NYS politics and what you anticipate in the Cuomo era.  Have at it!!

Gillibrand’s Home Finally Sells

It has been a good month, professionally speaking, for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who saw a number of legislative successes – from the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to the passage of the 9/11 health care bill.

And now comes news of yet another win for New York’s junior senator – this time on the domestic front. The Register-Star reports Gillibrand and her husband, Jonathan, have finally sold the historic home they’ve been trying to unload for some nine months.

On Dec. 5, the couple sold their five-bedroom house with Hudson River views for $1.3 million to Time magazine managing editor Richard Allen Stengel and his wife, Mary Pfaff Stengel.

The property first went on sale in April at a price of $1.71 million. By October, it had dropped to $1.48 million. A Gillibrand spokeswoman told the paper that the senator, who spends much of her work week in Washington, D.C., wanted to move with her husband and two young sons to Albany to be closer to family.

The Gillibrands have owned this house for seven years. At first, it was a part-time residence, as Gillibrand, a Capital Region native, was wrapping up her life in NYC in preparation for her first run for public office.

This became an issue in her 2006 campaign against then-GOP Rep. John Sweeney, who sought to portray his Democratic opponent as a carpetbagger out of touch with upstate values.

Paterson’s 24 Christmas Pardons

Gov. David Paterson announced this morning that he has issued 24 more pardons to immigrants subject to deportation because of their prior convictions.

At a press conference in his Manhattan office (which started 36 minutes late), Paterson had some strong words for the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office, which he said is casting too wide a net and catching small fish while trying to keep the US safe from terrorists.

“As we tighten and strengthen our laws on those highest offenders, there is no reason that we should be as inflexible and insensitive for those who have committed comparably smaller crimes, particularly when there’s only one offense,” Paterson said.

“I believe in rehabilitation and redemption. ICE clearly does not.”

UPDATE: Here’s the press release with the names and background information of the pardonees.

Paterson said the people he has pardoned have “paid their debt to society” and are now “otherwise enterprising citizens.” He said he recognizes the power of pardons and insisted he has only utilized it in the interest of “justice.”

He spoke of one man who committed a misdemeanor crime 37 years ago and is now facing deportation.

Another man shot and killed an intruder who was sneaking into his window, the governor said. The DA declined to charge the man with murder, but he was convicted on an illegal weapons charge. “ICE ignores the law because there was a death in the incident,” Paterson said.

The governor lamented that crimes that were once not considered deportable offenses now are classified as such. He suggested people who pleaded guilty to those crimes years ago might not have done so had they known the law would change.

Prior to today’s announcement, Paterson had already granted 9 pardons to immigrants convicted of crimes that included drug possession, robbery, and attempted murder. All were subject to deportation as a result of their convictions.

This past May, the governor set up a panel to weigh pardons for people facing deportation. He set an Oct. 1 deadline for applications and received 1,100 pleas.

During the press conference, Paterson was grilled about the controversial commutation he issued yesterday to John White, an African-American man who was convicted of manslaughter in the 2006 shooting of a white teenager, Daniel “Dano” Cicciaro Jr.

The governor was criticized for announcing the commutation prior to speaking with the Cicciaro family. Paterson admitted that “in retrospect I would have sought the victims’ input.” He said he spoke with Cicciaro’s parents for about an hour this morning.

Paterson refused to disclose the details of that conversation and insisted he would not have changed his mind about White’s commutation had the talk taken place prior to his granting of it.

He did, whoever, say Cicciaro’s mother has raised some “issues” that he will “think about over the holidays.”

Bruno’s Appeal

As expected former state Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno’s attorneys have filed an appeal of his January 2009 indictment on federal corruption charges, arguing in part that the theft of honest services statute under which he was convicted has been invalidated by the US Supreme Court.

The attorneys argue that the government “rolled the dice” in its case against Bruno and “cannot get a ‘do-over’ simply because it got the law wrong.”

The feds have said they should be allowed to take another crack at the former Rensselaer County Republican by filing a superceding or new indictment against him using a different legal arguement this time around.

But Bruno’s attorneys say the government is barred under the double jeopardy close of the Constitution from pursuing any additional chares.

Bruno Appeal 12/23/10