Here And Now

The Cuomo family will return to the executive mansion tonight for the private swearing in of New York’s 56th governor, Andrew Cuomo.

Cuomo will take the oath of office at 10 p.m. – two hours before he officially takes over as governor from David Paterson. (Just in time for the 11 o’clock news!)

Not all the nation’s 26 new governors are following Cuomo’s frugal lead with their inauguration ceremonies.

Cuomo is not, however, alone is eschewing full-time executive mansion life.

Albany High students will be performing at Cuomo’s scaled down inauguration at the Capitol tomorrow.

Local restaurants and caterers aren’t pleased with the bare bones celebration Cuomo has planned.

“When you got phone calls from Eliot, he was telling you what to do or he was yelling at you,” said Partnership for NYC President said Kathryn Wylde. “It was either an order or an invective. When you get a phone call from Andrew, sometimes he is so subtle that you hang up wondering what it was really about.”

The Times wants Cuomo to get a move on in introducing an omnibus ethics bill, jettisoning a tax cap and generally cleaning up Albany.

The rise of Andrew Cuomo, in pictures.

Get your State of the State tickets here. (On Jan. 5 in a new location).

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Lots of coverage of the Rattner settlement today. Here is a sampling. More. More. More.

Cuomo is taking the oath of office a few hours before Jan. 1st.

Nick Confessore explains Andrew Cuomo’s “art of the phone call.”

The Business Review has 5 things to look for in 2011.

A NYT photographer reflects on the final days of Mario Cuomo’s administration.

The signs have been changed in the Senate chambers.

The Department of Criminal Justice says hate crimes are up, mostly targeting Jews.

Mayor Bloomberg says he doesn’t believe reports that sanitation bosses instructed workers to slack off.

But he says he will investigate to see if they are true.

The Mayor says plows have now hit every city street.

One person defending Bloomberg. Rep. Charles Rangel.

Deputy Mayor taking heat for tweeting that sanitation workers were doing a good job.

President Obama is having so much fun on vacation, he is staying an extra day.

Rochester Mayor Bob Duffy sat down with YNN’s Seth Voorhees for an extended interview where he said, “Hey, I am an old basketball player. I can throw elbows as well as anybody if it comes down to it. But, I prefer not to. That is a last resort.”

Paterson Counsel Gets Appointment

Governor Paterson has appointed his counsel, Peter Kiernan, as the chair of the state Law Revision Commission, replacing Robert Pitler.

The job does not require state senate approval. It also is an unpaid position, responsible for examining and considering changes to current laws and reporting back to the legislature annually.

“Peter Kiernan has been an outstanding Counsel and a trusted member of my Administration,” Governor Paterson said. “I am very pleased to appoint him as Chair of the Law Revision Commission.”

Peter J. Kiernan has been Governor Paterson’s Counsel since November 2008.

More Paterson Pardons

Governor Paterson has just released another, and likely final, round of pardons. As was expected, all of them are related to immigration issues.

Here they are:

• Khamsay Chanthavilaychit received a pardon for an August 2003 conviction for the Class A misdemeanor of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree, for which he was sentenced to a three-year term of probation. Chanthavilaychit was brought to this county at age two, as a war refugee from Laos, and he has been gainfully employed for the last 16 years. He is currently facing removal after being placed in proceedings when he applied for and was denied naturalization.

• Aqustin Prado was convicted of the misdemeanor offense of seventh-degree possession of a controlled substance in 1993, for which he was sentenced to a conditional discharge and performed five days of community service. In the 17 years since this conviction, he has led a law abiding life, is a home owner, and is married and the father of two young daughters.

• Clint Ramos was convicted of four counts of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree in June 2001, and he was sentenced to five years on probation. At the time of his conviction, Ramos was severely drug addicted, but he has since overcome that addiction and has been a sponsor for more than 10 persons in recovery. Ramos has become an award-winning costume and set designer and is well-known and respected in the New York Theater community. His pardon application has received overwhelming support from numerous members of that community, who describe him as a brilliant and innovative artist as well as an asset of real value to the American theater.

Caputo: “I Told You So”

Former Paladino Campaign Manager Michael Caputo has re-emerged to take a shot at Andrew Cuomo. In Italian. He just sent a press release entitled, “Te l’avevo detto”, which means “I told you so.”

He goes on to blast Cuomo for letting another “VIP Democrat” get a walk. Of course, he is referring to Steve Rattner, the former Obama administration car czar who agreed to pay $10 million in fines. Caputo says the fine is “paltry” because it is less than 10 percent of Rattner’s annual income.

And then he sent a link to the ad below, from the Paladino campaign.


Paterson Cuts Deal Over ICE Enforcement

Governor David Paterson just announced that he has reached a deal with the Department of Homeland Security to make sure that Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials focus their attention on illegal aliens who pose the greatest risk to public safety.

Just this morning, on WOR’s “The John Gambling Show”, Paterson talked at length about his research into the issue of immigration as part of the pardon process, and about how he often found that ICE officials were targeting people who were contributing to society, but were being deported for minor offenses that took place decades ago in many cases.

“We have serious problems out there and I was surprised at the amount of energy being spent on these people who aren’t committing crimes,” Paterson told Gambling.”

In the statement, Paterson says advocates for immigration reform brought the matter to his attention. They expressed concern that the old agreement focused too much on minor offenses, which discourages aliens from cooperating with police.

“While I am very concerned with protecting the civil rights of immigrants, I am equally cognizant of the fact that this State is a prime target for terrorism,” Governor Paterson said. “This new agreement balances the homeland security and civil liberties issues that have surrounded the Secure Communities initiative.”

“I continue to believe it is appropriate and important for New York State to share information with the Federal government that could protect us from terrorist attacks. However, advocates have raised valid concerns, which is why I instructed my staff to renegotiate the agreement with the Federal government.”

Paterson signed the agreement earlier this week, on December 28th.

Rattner Agrees To Pay $10m To End Pension Probe

Andrew Cuomo is just hours away from stepping down as Attorney General, but he isn’t done with his work yet. His office just announced that the AG has reached a deal with former Obama Car Czar Steve Rattner, in which Rattner will pay a whopping $10 million in restitution to the state as part of Cuomo’s ongoing pension probe.

Rattner, the founder of Quadrangle Group, LLC, will also be banned from appearing in any capacity before the state public pension fund for 5 years.

As part of the agreement, Cuomo will drop two lawsuits he filed against Quadrangle and Rattner alleging they paid off Hank Morris in order to obtain nearly $150 million in pension fund investments.

“I am gratified that we have been able to reach an agreement in this case, as it resolves the last major
action of our multi-year investigation,” Cuomo said.

“The state pension fund is a valuable asset held in trust for retirees and supported by taxpayers. Through the many cases, pleas and settlements in this investigation, I believe we have been able to help restore and protect the integrity of the state pension fund.”

Over the past few months, Rattner has been a vocal critique of Cuomo. Telling Charlie Rose in an interview that Cuomo was an overzealous prosecutor who let his emotions get in the way of the facts.

But, in the press release today, Rattner makes this statement.

“I am pleased to have reached a settlement with the New York Attorney General’s Office, which allows me to put this matter behind me. I apologize if during the course of this process there is anything I did that may have made reaching this agreement more difficult. I respect the work of the Attorney General and his staff to ensure that the New York State Common Retirement Fund operates properly and in the best interests of New Yorkers.”

The whole press release is after the jump.

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Hawkins Advice For Cuomo: Tax The Rich

Green Party Candidate for Governor Howie Hawkins is urging Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo not to make steep budget cuts, and instead increase taxes on the rich or eliminate the stock transfer tax rebate which provides Wall Street firms with billions of dollars each year.

Hawkins has sent a letter to the Governor-elect making his case for many of the positions he ran on in the election. Cuomo campaigned with a pledge not to raise taxes, detailed in a series of policy books. But, public opinion polls have historically shown there is a lot of support for increasing taxes on the richest state residents, and many of the more liberal Democrats in the legislature are likely to push for some increase in taxes to help restore cuts to health care and education.

You can see Hawkins entire letter after the jump.
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Silver: Talk Of Criminal Charges For Sanitation Workers Is “Hyperbole”

Speaker Sheldon Silver is taking a much different view of the NY Post article alleging that certain Sanitation department bosses specifically instructed workers to respond slowly to routes in order to make a point.

During an interview this morning on “Live from the State Capitol with Fred Dicker” on WDGJ, Silver said he didn’t believe the post story. And when asked about talk of criminal charges, he dismissed it as “hyperbole.” Silver attributed the slow clean up to the size of the storm, and the fact that hundreds of sanitation workers have been laid off over the past year.

Fred Dicker also asked the Speaker about Governor-elect Cuomo’s decision to move his state of the state speech out of the Assembly Chamber. Silver suggested that the people of New York could care less where Cuomo delivers the speech, and made the point that the public cares more about results than speeches.

Silver went on to insist the decision was based solely on the fact that there is more interest in this year’s speech than in the past.

“We can’t fit these people. It is a fire hazard,” Silver said.

State Of The State Lottery

The Cuomo administration has released details about the lottery for the public to get tickets to the State of the State address next Wednesday.

Anyone interested has to register online at before the first of the year.

As we reported yesterday, the event has been moved from the traditional location in the Assembly Chamber to the larger Empire State Plaza Convention Center.