Aug 20th - 12:10 pm
The Oneida Nation’s Ray Halbritter is fighting fire with fire in a letter calling out Mayor Bloomberg for saying Gov. David Paterson should get himself a “cowboy hat and a shotgun” to ratchet up the fight to collect taxes on cigarettes told on Indian land.
“(T)hese remarks incite dangerous fringe elements in an already volatile situation,” Halbritter, the Oneida Nation Representative and CEO of Nation Enterprises, wrote in a letter to the mayor.
Halbritter noted that early settlers often used “brute force” to take what they wanted from Native Americans, adding:
“For you to suggest that New York State follow that disturbing and immoral pattern today is more than simply disrespectful. It implies that, even in the 21st Century, the dominant society thinks there is nothing wrong with continuing to encroach upon the rights – through force, if necessary – of the first Americans.”
He goes on to note that Bloomberg is Jewish and that the Jewish community would be up in arms if a politician had urged the governor to “wear a red armband and hold a shotgun” to confront Jewish people “who defend their lands as we defend ours.”
Aug 20th - 11:23 am
Democratic AG hopeful Sen. Eric Schneiderman is out with his first TV ad of the election season, which highlights his liberal credentials by noting his efforts on gun control and drug law reform and pledges he’ll support a “color-blind justice system for all New Yorkers” if elected.
“For decades, New Yorkers’ lives have been improved by the hard work and progressive leadership of Eric Schneiderman,” said the Manhattan Democrat’s campaign spokesman James Freedland.
“From his work to get crack dealers out of our neighborhoods, to his leadership as founder of Legislators Against Illegal Guns, to his legislation ending the unfair and discriminatory Rockefeller Drug Laws, Eric has been the progressive champion for justice New York needs as Attorney General.”
This comes on the heels of Schneiderman’s endorsement by The Amsterdam News. He’s now the third AG contender to hit the airwaves, behind Sean Coffey and Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice. (She’s got two ads up, actually, both of which were released this week).
Aug 20th - 10:11 am
The Amsterdam News, the nation’s oldest continuously published black newspaper, has weighed in with the first newspaper endorsement of the AG’s race, backing Sen. Eric Schneiderman to succeed Andrew Cuomo has New York’s top attorney.
The editorial board has good things to say about all five Democratic AG contenders, but decided to go with the Manhattan lawmaker because “(he) has been a stalwart defender of the rights for our community.”
“As attorney general, Schneiderman says he will to bring real reform to the state. One of these reforms is an innocence unit within the criminal division that, when appropriate, will examine prior convictions to ensure that justice is done,” the editorial states.
“He will work to protect the environment and make sure that our water is safe, starting with preventing dangerous gas drilling upstate until the methods are proven safe. He will endeavor to protect the people of the state by reforming unfair market practices in the financial sector while, at the same time, ensuring faith in our own public sector.”
“His agenda is too numerous to go into in its entirety, but it is aggressive and ambitious. If anyone can accomplish these goals, it is Eric Schneiderman, and that is why the New York Amsterdam News endorses him for attorney general.”
Aug 20th - 10:00 am
The imam behind the mosque proposed near Ground Zero, Feisal Abdul Rauf, has been tarred as a terrorist sympathizer with ties to extremist groups by critics like GOP/Conservative gubernatorial candidate Rick Lazio, who are using the religious leader to make a case against the $100 million project.
That description doesn’t sit well with Joan Brown Campbell, director of religion at Chautauqua Institution, not-for-profit, 750-acre educational center in Western NY where Rauf is an adviser and has spoken on several occasions.
“It’s really outrageous,” Campbell told The Buffalo News in response to Lazio’s characterization of the imam.
“I have known Imam Feisal for 10 years and have worked with him. He has been very much a peacekeeper….”Every time, he has spoken about the terrorists and decried their actions. He’s been extremely clear about that.”
Aug 20th - 9:28 am
A reader forwarded this “save the date” announcement for a fundraising being hosted by Democratic donor and 2002 LG contender Dennis Mehiel next month that will feature House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The Sept. 27 event, which will be held at the home of Mehiel and his wife, Karen, to benefit the DCCC, costs a whopping $50,000-per couple for hosts, $34,000 per-couple for a category being touted as “speaker’s cabinet” and $5,000 for an individual just to get in the door.
The shindig is just over three weeks before the midterm elections in which observers now agree the Democrats are very much in danger of losing control of the House – even though that would require the GOP to flip more than three dozen seats around the country.
Here in New York, eight congressional races are viewed as in play: NY-1, NY-13, NY-19, NY-20, NY-24, NY-25, NY-29 and NY-23.
Just this week, Pelosi made headlines in New York by wading into the mosque debate. She initially said the decision about how to “go forward in New York is up to New York. But then called for an investigation into where the funding for those opposing the mosque is coming from.
This was an attempt to turn the tables on opponents who want the developers’ funding probed. But it backfired, opening up a new line of attack for Republican candidates, who immediately put House Democrats on the hot seat as to whether they agreed with their leader’s request.
Aug 20th - 9:11 am
Michael Allegretti, one of two Republicans vying for to take on Democratic Rep. Mike McMahon on Row B in November, is out with the second TV ad of his campaign in which he pledges to help “fix this mess” in Washington, D.C.
The ad, which will be running on cable stations throughout NYC, is pretty straightforward. It features the candidate walking on the street in front of a vacant storefront and talking about the economic hardships in the 13th CD.
At one point he says “I live here, too”. (He is a lifelong resident of the district, but only recently moved from Brooklyn, which makes up a very small portion of the 13th, to Rosebank, Staten Island).
Here’s the script:
“Our community is on the verge of bankruptcy. Our streets are choked with traffic. Our infrastructure is crumbling. Businesses are closing, our homes are being foreclosed and people are continuing to lose their jobs. In Washington, bailouts, reckless spending and this healthcare scheme are making things worse.
My name is Michael Allegretti and I live here, too. I’ve created jobs and I can help fix this mess. I’m Michael Allegretti and I approved this message.”
Aug 20th - 8:30 am
Gov. David Paterson this morning rejected claims that his offer of state-owned land as an alternate location for the mosque proposed near Ground Zero would violate the constitutionally mandated separation of church and state, insisting such transfers “are done all the time.”
“No one ever talked about giving them land,” Paterson said, a bit testily, during an early-morning interview on “The Takeaway” radio show. “This is when outlets create a straw man and then knock it down.”
“These transactions have to be made at arms length, but it wouldn’t necessarily be difficult at all because they own the land that exists now,” the governor continued.
“So, there are land transfers swaps. These types of situations are done all the time. As a matter a fact there’s an attempt to relocate a Greek Orthodox church that was destroyed in 9/11. So, a little research would clear up any misgivings about the state getting involved in that type of activity. It happens all the time.”
Aug 20th - 8:07 am
The wife of the imam behind the mosque proposed near Ground Zero vowed to press forward with the project and said opponents need to be educated “on the issue of Islamophobia.”
Her husband, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, landed in Bahrain to begin his three-day State Department-sponsored tour, about which there are scant few details.
The 23-year-old Queens resident who scouted the location for the mosque said he was under the impression the developers were only building a community center.
Muslims in New York have mixed feelings about the project.
Rudy Giuliani called the mosque “divisive.”
Gov. David Paterson is holding out hope for a compromise.
Charles Krauthammer thinks the mosque backers should take Paterson up on his offer.
The Post praised Archbishop Timothy Dolan for offering to mediate.
Former President George W. Bush isn’t weighing in on the mosque controversy, but his former advisers are, and they’re warning Republicans to tone down their rhetoric.
New York construction workers vow they won’t work on the mosque.
Greg Sargent thinks the controversy surrounding the mosque will put a big dent in the fundraising effort to build it.
Aug 20th - 7:21 am
In response to criticism from the NYC SBA and firefighters unions for his use of graphic 9/11 images in ads, GOP/Conservative gubernatorial hopeful Rick Lazio’s campaign responded by accusing AG Andrew Cuomo of “hiding” behind labor when it comes to the mosque.
“9/11 is a painful memory for all New Yorkers, especially for the first responders and families who lost loved ones, which is precisely why this Mosque should not be built in this location,” said Lazio’s communications director David James.
“Had Andrew Cuomo done his job on July 7th when Rick Lazio stood with victims’ family groups and called on the Attorney General to lift the curtain on who was backing the Cordoba Mosque, we may have avoided this divisive debate.”
“We have yet to hear from Andrew Cuomo and today he is hiding behind the political unions who endorsed him in order to muffle the public outcry from those New Yorkers, and victims, who want answers on these serious questions of public safety.”
Maggie Haberman and Celeste Katz have already weighed in the relative wisdom of this approach, noting Cuomo has indeed taken a position on the mosque by saying its a matter of religious freedom and can’t be blocked.
Let’s be clear: Even though neither of those unions have formally endorsed Cuomo, they are clearly fronting for him here and attempting to move the discussion away from the mosque – a touchy subject for Democrats ever since President Obama weighed in, and out, and in again – and onto the politicization of Ground Zero, which is basically the equivalent of kicking a hornets’ nest.
Aug 19th - 5:44 pm
Chicago Mayor Richard Daley says enough about the mosque, what about the 9/11 memorial?
Gov. David Paterson insisted support is growing for relocating the mosque further away from Ground Zero.
Sen. Neil Breslin was caught giving wrong information about the prior approval insurance bill he sponsored.
AG Andrew Cuomo was greeted in Ithaca by some 200 anti-hydrofracking protestors.
Carl Paladino to Rick Lazio: “I’m no Hillary Clinton.”
A former DEC employee will pay $15,000 to settle charges that he violated the Ethics Law.
The governor signed “Ian’s Law.”
Mayor Bloomberg wishes the president had spoken out earlier about the Zadroga bill.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand used David Malpass’ ad as a fundraising tool.
The IG accused HESC of playing favorites with student loan payments.
YouTube is not happy with Doug Biviano.
Rep. Anthony Weiner’s “Jewfro” gets props.
Mayor Graham interviewed the Manhattan Madam.
Staten Island DA Dan Donovan released a Medicaid fraud recovery plan.
Reshma Saujani is taking it to the community.
While Cuomo was campaigning upstate, his office was busy handing out subpoenas.
Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Warren Redlich weighs in on the mosque, calling Paladino a “bigot” and Lazio a “hypocrite.”
City Room is running a “design a better ballot” contest.
Here’s Bloomberg working the grill at Assemblyman/Brooklyn Democratic Chairman Vito Lopez’s annual senior citizens picnic at Sunken Meadow State Park. (Other electeds on hand included: Paterson, Gillibrand, state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice, NYC Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and many others.