Nov 17th - 8:39 am
State Education Commissioner David Steiner, who is under intense pressure to either grant or deny a waiver to Mayor Bloomberg’s NYC schools chancellor pick, Cathie Black, is keeping a fairly low profile these days, but he did respond to a letter from minority lawmakers who hoped to meet with him prior to his decision.
Steiner did not grant the request from black, Latino and Asian elected officials who had expressed “serious reservations” about Black for a meeting today, but did lay out his plans for proceeding on the request for Black’s waiver, writing:
“I intend to convene a screening panel consisting of representatives of the State Education Department and appropriate educational organizations for review and advice.”
“The panel will be provided the application and supporting documentation for its review and consideration. I will give guidance to the panel about the questions it should consider in reviewing the application and materials. Following the advice of the panel, I will render a decision on the waiver request.”
“Nothing in the law or regulation prescribes a time frame for this process. However, I am mindful of Chancellor Klein’s scheduled date for departure and the necessity for prompt action.”
I spoke briefly yesterday with Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, who spearheaded the effort to send the original letter to Steiner. The Brooklyn Democrat hadn’t yet decided whether he would be responding to the commissioner with yet another letter, or perhaps a phone call, but did tell me he found Steiner’s response lacking.
Jeffries said he’s particularly concerned about that panel Steiner referenced, and would like to know who’ll be serving on it and how those people will be chosen.
Nov 17th - 8:00 am
Most of Rep. Charlie Rangel’s potential successors are keeping mum on whether they think he should resign.
Rangel’s allies are having trouble imagining a future without him in it.
The congressman’s punishment for the 11 counts of ethics violations on which he was found guilty will be decided Thursday. The recommendation must be voted on by the full House.
The TU thinks Rangel could have saved face by forgoing his re-election bid this fall.
Mayor Bloomberg said he has “no skills to be the secretary of the Treasury.”
The mayor will announce $1.5 billion to $1.75 billion in cuts to the city’s budget later this week as he grapples with a $3 billion shortfall.
A spokesman for Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo said SEIU 1199 was initially left off the health care transition team due to “an inadvertent error in the release.” (Link fixed).
Bloomberg’s NYC schools chancellor pick, Cathie Black, brushed off critics and insisted: “I will be the next chancellor.”
David Freedlander wonders if Bloomberg is really grooming Black to be his successor in City Hall. (That is, of course, if she makes it into the chancellor’s office).
Nov 16th - 7:03 pm
Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo was not aware of a major development project that has been a focus for his LG, Mayor Bob Duffy.
Streetsblog sees Cuomo’s transportation transition team as a “step backwards” from Eliot Spitzer’s team four years ago.
The Empire State Games is off again.
The Blue Dogs are worried Speaker Nancy Pelosi could hurt Democrats’ chances in the South in 2012 if she’s elected minority leader.
Mayor Bloomberg would like Rep. Charlie Rangel to stick around.
NYC Council members will introduce a resolution calling on state Education Commissioner David Steiner to deny NYC Schools Chancellor-in-waiting Cathie Black her waiver.
Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch thinks Rep. Charlie Rangel should resign for the sake of his health.
The Republican who took President Obama’s US Senate seat will vote “yes” on the Zadroga bill.
New York college students are will miss Four Loko.
Assemblywoman Deborah Glick rebuked Assemblyman Mark Schroeder for calling out Speaker Sheldon Silver.
Sen. Chuck Schumer says the FDA is poised to announce that using caffeine as an addative in alcoholic drinks is unsafe.
Gov. David Paterson opines on the state of the Mets.
NY Archbishop Timothy Dolan is the surprise winner of the US Catholic Bishops’ presidency.
Staten Island Republicans think Cuomo’s transition team is more of the same.
Assemblyman Rory Lancman presented a report that showed workplace violence is going up at state agencies and public authorities.
Esquire’s Tim Heffernan indulges in a little Spitzer bashing.
Here’s Cuomo reacting to Rangel’s conviction on 11 ethics charges:
Nov 16th - 7:02 pm
Eyebrows were raised earlier today when Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo’s health care transition team was announced and including pretty much everyone under the sun – even industry bigs like GNYHA President Ken Raske and HANYS President Dan Sisto.
Everyone, that is, except a representative from SEIU 1199.
The speculation mill immediately kicked into high gear, with the obvious assumption being that Cuomo was trying to send not-so-subtle message to the health care workers union at a time when he is preparing to do budget battle with various special interests – particularly organized labor.
But, as it turns out, Cuomo did actually include 1199 President George Greshman on the committee. He wanted the union leader on his side all along, I’ve been told, and just forgot to include Gresham’s name on the list is all – a mere oversight, and certainly not something to be misinterpreted.
“We have been informed by the Governor-Elect’s office that 1199 SEIU is indeed on the Health Transition Committee,” said union spokeswoman Leah Gonzalez.
“George Gresham, president of 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East has been appointed to the
Health committee and the union will be attending the committee’s first meeting scheduled for tomorrow.”
Nov 16th - 5:46 pm
Here’s the letter from US Attorney for the Northern District Richard Hartunian to former Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno’s attorney William Dreyer, conceding Bruno’s conviction on two felony corruption charges will likely be dismissed and seeking support for new charges to be brought against the former lawmaker.
As the Post reported this morning, the likelihood of that happening is…well, zero. Bruno has beefed up his legal team with the addition of Albany Law School Prof. Michael Hutter, an appeals expert, and is readying an appeal of his conviction.
Nov 16th - 5:29 pm
Rep. Tim Bishop’s campaign spokesman just released a statement slamming Republican Randy Altschuler’s camp for challenging the residency status of the Democratic congressman’s parents, who voted for their son in NY-1 with absentee ballots sent from Florida.
According to the spokesman, Jon Schneider, Bishop’s 86-year-old father, Howard, is an 11th generation Southampton Village native. He’s also housebound and thus was unable to travel home, so he and his wife, Catherine, cast their ballots through the mail.
“Howard and Catherine Bishop have the right to vote for their representative in Congress, including when one of the candidates is their own son,” Schneider said.
“Challenging the residency of a bedridden, lifelong Southampton native after Randy Altschuler moved to Long Island two years ago to run for political office demonstrates the depths to which his campaign will sink to win.”
“Randy Altschuler needs to stop challenging legitimate voters and allow votes to be counted.”
As you’ll recall, Bishop was initially declared the winner on election night, but a recount flipped the race on its ear and put Altschuler ahead by close to 400 votes. If that lead holds, Altschuler will be the second Jewish Republican in the House.
Nov 16th - 5:22 pm
Congressman-elect Richard Hanna (NY-24) expressed interest earlier today in the newly-created leadership post created by the House GOP in a nod to the clout – and size – of its incoming freshman class.
Asked by YNN’s Casey Bortnick if he would be keen on holding such a post, the Republican businessman replied:
“Yeah, I would. Of course I would. I’m interested in moving up as quickly as I can, getting to a place of responsibility. I think the more you know, the more responsibility that you have, the better leader you can be and the better representative you can be for your district.”
“So, that’s my goal, to be the best representative I can possibly be for each and every one of the 600,000+ people in my district.”
Hanna, who defeated Democratic Rep. Mike Arcuri on Nov. 2 (his second attempt at unseating the incumbent congressman), didn’t specifically throw his hat into the ring for the position. His answer strikes me more as a “sure, why not?” sort of thing, and less of a “heck, yeah, I’m in” sort of thing.
Already there are two contenders – South Dakota’s Kristi Noem, who was considered the frontrunner for the job; and South Carolina’s Tim Scott, the first black Republican elected to Congress from the South since Reconstruction.
Bortnick is trying to interview all the House freshmen down in Washington, D.C. for orientation this week.
He also caught up with Republican Ann Marie Buerkle, who is in the nation’s Capitol even though her race in NY-25 hasn’t yet been called. She said she felt a responsibility to be able to “hit the ground running” when – and if – she’s declared the winner over Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei.
Nov 16th - 4:41 pm
The latest on the Sen. Craig Johnson vs. Jack Martins race, as per Senate Democratic spokesman Austin Shafran:
- Johnson now trails by just 133 votes.
- Over the first four days of absentee/affidavit ballot counting, Johnson cut the margin by nearly 75 percent (from 491 down to 133 = gain of 358 votes).
- Eight EDs remain to be counted in the 16th AD, plus all of the 21st AD.
“With each new vote tally, Martins’ slim lead is quickly slipping away and Johnson is moving forward along a clear path to victory – counting every vote,” Shafran said.
I’m sure the GOP is going to take issue with this characterization. Newsday’s William Murphy reported earlier today that Martins was ahead by 180 votes by midday.
UPDATE: Here’s what the Republicans have to say about the 7th SD, as per Scott Reif:
Following the counting of absentee ballots in Johnson’s hometown of Port Washington, Martins now leads by 165 votes.
Election workers will now begin opening absentee ballots in the Martins-friendly areas of Manhasset (won 2-1 by Martins), Mineola (Martins’ hometown), and New Hyde Park (next door to Mineola), before moving into the Republican base of the 7th Senate District (the 17th and 21st Assembly Districts).
These latest developments ensure that Jack Martins will be the next Senator for the residents of the 7th Senate District in Albany.
Nov 16th - 4:07 pm
Labor activist Jonathan Tasini, one of five Democrats who unsuccessfully tried to oust Rep. Charlie Rangel in the Sept. 14 primary, is the first to call on the embattled Harlem congressman to step down after he was found guilty of 11 of 13 ethics charges by a House committee earlier today.
He did not, however, call for Rangel to resign, because he wanted to afford the congressman the “presumption of innocence.”
“With the unanimous vote by the House ethics committee today, it is now time for Rep. Rangel to leave Congress,” Tasini wrote in a press relase.
“He can no longer effectively represent the people of the 15th Congressional District. The Democratic Party in the House of Representatives will have a huge challenge in the coming two years as it fights to defend the American people from a barrage of legislation coming from the soon-to-be Republican House majority that seeks to turn back the clock in the country a decade or more.”
“Charles Rangel cannot help in that battle and he will be a drag on our efforts to reclaim the House in 2012 and defend the White House. The country cannot afford that.”
Nov 16th - 3:28 pm
Here we go again…
It looks like GOP Leader Dean Skelos stands to inherit Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson’s headache of a razor-thin 32-30 majority if he manages to take back control of the chamber when the various recounts are over.
Senator-elect Patrick Gallivan, the former Erie County sheriff who was elected to take the seat of his fellow Republican, retiring Sen. Dale Volker, told me during a CapTon interview he will follow the lead of soon-to-be-former WNY Sen. Bill Stachowski and hold up the budget in hopes of landing a UB 2020 deal.
Actually, Gallivan went even further than that.
“I’ll talk beyond UB2020 and SUNY empowerment,” he said. “If it’s an issue that I believe in, and it’s something very important to the citizens of Western New York, to the citizens of the 59th district, if I have to stand and hold things up, then so be it.
“I’ll stand for the things that I believe in, stand up for the citizens. And if it’s holding up the budget of the entire state moving forward, then that’s something I would be willing to do, if necessary. Let me add though, I certainly hope it doesn’t come to that.”
Gallivan said he plans to support Skelos for leader, but he is coming to Albany as a fairly independent agent.
He had Volker’s support, but defeated the local GOP’s candidate (former Erie County Republican Chairman Jim Domagalski) and only received some $36,000 from the SRCC as of the 11-day pre-general filing, so he’s not really beholden to anyone.