Here And Now

Cathie Black is clear to become NYC Schools Chancellor, but an appeal is expected.

The Post praises outgoing commissioner Joel Klein.

Dick Dadey says 2011 is going to be a “horrible year of reckoning.”

Despite vigils across the state, layoffs of state workers are expected to take effect at the end of the week.

The Democrat and Chronicle wants the new public authorities watchdog office to have more power.

The NYS League of Women Voters says the new voting process needs improvements.

Catskill Casino project moves forward, but still awaits federal approval.

Victims in line for 9/11 health benefits are being instructed to avoid lawyers.

Rep. Pete King is blasting President Obama for his recess appointments.

Sen. Gillibrand is moving into her mom’s home in Albany., while looking for a bigger home in D.C.

The DN is calling for an immediate review of the snow response.

Post reports that some sanitation bosses responded slowly in protest of budget cuts.
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Courts Uphold Waiver For Black

Finally some good news for Mayor Bloomberg.

A state supreme court has ruled against elected officials and education advocates who argue that Cathleen Black is not qualified to be the New York City Schools Chancellor, and should not get a special waiver.

Black, the former chairman of Hearst Magazines, needed a waiver to become Chancellor because she doesn’t have a background in education. The state allows waivers when the candidate has exceptional background.

“This decision should bring an end to the politicking and grandstanding and allow us all to focus on what matters most: continuing to improve the quality of education we offer New York City’s public school children,” Mayor Bloomberg said.

“Cathie has been working hard and is ready to hit the ground running on Monday, her first official day on the job, and I know she is looking forward to building on the tremendous progress we’ve made over the past eight years.”

No word yet on whether or not their will be an appeal of this ruling.


Mayor Bloomberg is taking responsibility for the bad storm response.

He says there is still a lot of work to be done.

But, all city streets should be cleared by 7pm tonight.

Rep. Pete King wants answers to why some planes spent more than 10 hours on the tarmac at JFK.

It was moving day in the State Senate.

Senate Republicans say their Democratic counterparts overspent on staff by as much as $10 million.

The Rochester City Council will vote next week to set a date to replace outgoing Mayor Bob Duffy.

NYRA is now streaming races live in NYC, which they hope will increase their betting numbers.

The Times Union finally got a look at the Stockbridge Munsee casino contract.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown is proud of the city’s strong Kwanzaa history.

Redistricting prognostication has begun in Central New York.

Chris Gibson for President? Really?

Rep. Charlie Rangel thinks Obama will be elected in 2012, because he has moved to the center.

Sen. Schumer is one of several DC Pols who are still sitting on huge campaign war chests, despite this year’s election.

Christine O’Donnell could be in some trouble for allegedly spending campaign cash on personal items.

Here’s a really bad Hillary Clinton impression.

Log Cabin School

Since 2011 is a really slow election year, the Log Cabin Republicans are upping their efforts towards educating their members. On January 1st they are launching an initiative they call “Starting at 1″.

Log Cabin Chairman Gregory Angelo tells me he got the idea from Republican Lt. Governor candidate Greg Edwards, who pointed out to him that the date on January 1st is 1/1/11.

“Right now we have a politically savvy membership, and it’s time to take things to the next level,” Angelo said. “Starting at 1 is designed to take the enthusiasm we’ve seen from our members for everything from joining their local Community Board to becoming more involved in the Republican County Committee and even running for office.”

Angelo says he hopes this new plan will bring Gay Republicans out of isolation and make them more of a part of the GOP.

He suggested one thing they would like to do is get members up to speed on some of the parliamentary procedure in the state legislature. One example he brought up was explaining what it takes to get a same sex marriage bill to the floor for a vote.

Another goal is to provide Gay Republicans direct information, through email alerts, facebook, and twitter, on how to join other Republican organizations in the state, whether it be county committees, or groups like the New York State Federation of Republican Women.

Comptroller’s Office To Lead BP Lawsuit

Comptroller Tom DiNapoli just announced that his office will be leading a class action lawsuit against BP for its poor safety practices leading to the Gulf Coast oil spill. The other lead in the case will be the the Ohio Attorney General.

Now, you may be asking why the Comptroller’s office is involved in this. The answer is because the state’s $132.8 billion Common Retirement Fund owned roughly 19 million shares in the company when the catastrophe happened, and BP’s stock dropped nearly 40%.

“BP publicly distorted its safety procedures and its level of preparedness to respond to a catastrophe such as the Deepwater Horizon explosion, thereby misleading investors and causing the value of BP’s stock to plummet when the truth was exposed,” DiNapoli said.

“That’s unacceptable. As trustee of the Fund, our more than one million members, retirees and beneficiaries expect me to vigorously protect their interests. I will make sure that the Fund and all class members are properly compensated for their losses.”

State Of The State Venue Change (Updated)

Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo will not deliver his State of the State address in the Assembly chamber, as has been the custom for the past several decades. In a joint press statement, the Cuomo administration and the Speaker of the Assembly announced that he will instead speak from the Empire State Plaza’s Convention Center.

Obviously, there has been much talk about the political fight that Cuomo and Silver are likely to have over budget cuts, and controversial fiscal policies like a property tax cap. Moving the venue for the State of the State out of the Assembly chamber could be seen as a shot at Silver, though the joint statement attempts to put any of that speculation to rest.

“Speaker Silver noted that with the state in fiscal crisis and with excitement over the incoming administration mounting, the overwhelming response for invitations now exceeds the limited seating capacity available in the Assembly Chamber, the traditional venue,” the statement says.

It goes on to say the Governor-elect wishes to invite members of the public to the speech, so they anticipate a larger crowd. A lottery will be used to determine who from the public gets tickets.

“The change in setting is a metaphor for the change we must undergo as a state,” said Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo. “We must reconnect with the people and rebuild a relationship of trust.”

Senator Skelos is also quoted in the release, praising the decision. You can read the entire release after the jump.

On Talk1300′s “Live from the State Capitol with Fred Dicker” the Governor-elect just said he has also asked both Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos to speak at the state of the state address. Both have accepted.

“The legislature is a large part of this process and I want to develop that relationship,” Cuomo told Fred Dicker.

At several points during the interview, Cuomo made it clear that the decision to change venues plays into a larger message that he is trying to repair the negative image of government.

“We have to get people believing in government again. We have to rebuild that relationship. Why not invite the people of NY to see the state of the state,” Cuomo said.

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Here And Now

Dominating the headlines still is snow, snow, snow, snow.

NY Post thinks snow response failures has hurt Bloomberg’s legacy.DN agrees.

While the snow is over, the travel nightmare is not.

Andrew Cuomo will be splitting time between the Executive Mansion and his current home in Westchester.

Auburn Citizen is backing good government groups pushes for reform.

Many Senate staffers will be getting pink slips in the New Year as Republicans take control of the chamber.

The ballot spots are set for the next four years, with the Conservative and Working Families Party moving up.

PEF and CSEA are holding vigils today for state workers who are about to be laid off.

Buffalo News is calling for wine in grocery stores, sure to be another fight at the capitol this budget year.

Times Union thinks the Court of Appeals dropped the ball in the Johnson v. Martins case.

Rochester Mayor Bob Duffy announced a big downtown development deal, probably his last big accomplishment before he leaves for Albany.

Rep. Pete King is planning to go after wikileaks money.
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NY1 scored an exclusive interview with NYC Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty, who admits the storm “got ahead of us.”

The blizzard horror stories keep coming in.

Rep. Pete King is schooling the newest members of NY’s Congressional delegation on redistricting.

Rep. Charlie Rangel has started a legal defense fund.

Rangel also thinks the President’s successes during the lame duck Congressional session saved him from a 2012 primary challenge.

The comptroller and IG nabbed a Suffolk Co. contractor for overcharging the state to the tune of $272K.

Mayor Bloomberg is asking for patience.

Newark’s mayor is personally responding to residents’ tweets for help.

Meanwhile, NJ Gov. Chris Christie is riding the storm out in Disney.

Hawaii’s governor hopes to dispel conspiracy theories about Pres. Obama’s birthplace by releasing documentation proving he’s a US citizen.

The White House is taking extra precautions to make sure no shirtless pictures of the President are taken during his holiday trip to Hawaii.

Pres. Obama’s support among Democrats is still solid, but Sarah Palin has lost some traction among Republicans.

Palin’s popularity is also slipping among fellow Alaskans.

He’s Back!

Carl Paladino has been heard from, but not seen since his loss to Andrew Cuomo in the race for governor.

He sent a not-so-friendly letter to our very own Liz Benjamin (which he CC’d to the entire Capitol press corps), and just this week, he penned a missive to ESDC Chairman Dennis Mullen.

Today, the Buffalo businessman reemerged in the flesh.  He paid a visit to YNN’s Buffalo newsroom to use the studio for an interview on FOX News.

Afterward, he agreed to chat with YNN reporter/anchor Doug Sampson on the condition that no questions be asked about the election or his feelings about the results.

He had plenty to say, however, about his former rival, Andrew Cuomo, and his handling of several high profile cases.

Paladino is particularly incensed about the handling of the Alan Hevesi plea deal.  At about the three minute mark, he suggests his letter to Liz may be the reason the former NYS Comptroller has not been sentenced yet.

At the end of the interview (10-min. mark), he returns to the subject of the so-called “nasty gram” he sent to Liz.

“I wasn’t only talking to Liz Benjamin.  I was talking to the entire press corps about doing their job, about what journalism is really about. And they didn’t do that,” he said.

“We saw editorializing on the front page solely by the appointment of who they were sending out to go and do things… And it was wrong and shallow and disingenuous.  I watched Liz very shallowly go into topics.  And I was pointing out some of those topics that she could go in greater depth.”

(Well, with all due respect, Mr. Paladino, I have to disagree… but then I’m biased.)

As for his future plans, Paladino hasn’t ruled out another go at politics.

“I’m going to stay active in fighting for New York.  As to politics, I haven’t made any decisions on that.  But I’m, uh, that was Act One, Scene One for me,” Paladino said.

The LCA Honors Jay Gallagher

Friends, family and former colleagues gathered in the LCA office this afternoon to pay tribute to Jay Gallagher who lost his year-long fight to pancreatic cancer last May.

A plaque in his honor now hangs in the office where he spent more than two decades.

It reads, “In loving memory of a dedicated journalist, friend and mentor.”

Here’s just a bit of what Jay’s wife, Emily, and his colleague, Joe Spector, had to say today: