Breslin Contradicts Spokesman’s Account Of Sobriety Test Incident

The TU reports this morning that Sen. Neil Breslin admitted he had been drinking the night he was pulled over by a State Police trooper and given a field sobriety test (which he passed), directly contradicting a Senate Democratic spokesman’s account of the incident.

From the story:

“I had a couple of glasses of wine. Period,” Breslin, D-Bethlehem, said. “If I didn’t think I was fine, I wouldn’t have driven.”

The senator spoke briefly before a Wednesday evening banquet for the Whitney M. Young Health Center. For a week, Breslin has declined to answer repeated inquiries about the details of the evening, when he was given a field sobriety test by a State Police officer and, as he said, drove himself home.

This week Breslin revealed that a state trooper administered a field alcohol breath test, but he refused to authorize police to share the results of that test or any other information with the public.

Breslin said he had attended two events on the evening in question (Oct. 19): A fundraiser at a Central Avenue bar for Schenectady County Legislator Susan Savage, a Democrat who is challenging veteran GOP Sen. Hugh Farley, and a cocktail party at the Dale Miller restaurant for the Civil Service Employees Association.

Previously, Senate Democratic spokesman Austin Shafran had told both me and the TU that the senator was “absolutely” not drinking on the night he was pulled over. We had quite a back-and-forth about why the senator had been given a field sobriety test if he had given the trooper no reason to suspect that was necessary.

Breslin told the TU a completely different story, saying he had indeed indicated to the trooper that he had “a couple” of glasses of wine and then got in his car to drive home.

He said Shafran’s account of the incident, which the spokesman said he gave after speaking with the senator and members of his staff, was “absolutely wrong” and insisted he hadn’t wanted Shafran to speak for him in the first place.

The senator, who is running for his his eighth term against Republican Bob Domenici and Reform Party candidate Michael Carey, insisted: “I’ve told you the truth, I have nothing to hide. So let’s let it go at that, OK?”

Breslin refused to allow the State Police to release any information about his traffic stop. He also went to great lengths on Oct. 21 to avoid speaking to a YNN reporter camped outside his Capitol office for several hours, waiting behind closed doors while his staff informed the reporter he wasn’t present. The senator eventually spoke to the reporter, and gave him much the same account as Shafran had given to me.

Here And Now

Andrew Cuomo has ripped state government, calling it a “joke,” but he had no trouble giving campaign cash to Democratic organizations, many of which are run by state lawmakers.

Cuomo, a serious gearhead, says he plans to keep driving his collection of muscle cars (and a motorcycle) if and when he’s elected governor. But what about the security detail? “They will have to catch me,” he told the NYT. “I think security is overdone anyway.”

Carl Paladino described Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand as Sen. Chuck Schumer’s “little girl.”

Schumer is navigating a fine line between trying to help his friend, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, live through next Tuesday and maneuvering for his leadership post.

Rochester Mayor Bob Duffy says he’s fine with being the No. 2 to the man he calls his “soul mate.”

Paladino refused to discuss a NYT report on how he engineered the sale of his ailing aunt’s home to the woman who would become his mistress.

Cuomo is pummeling Paladino with NYC voters, 73-12, according to a new WSJ poll.

The same poll found Rudy Giuliani and the Rev. Al Sharpton are two pols New Yorkers would most like to see exit the public stage.

Paladino and Cuomo received The Onion treatment.

New York has the worst individual income tax, fifth-worst unemployment insurance tax and ninth-worst property tax, a new report found.

More >


No. Eliot Spitzer isn’t making a comeback this fall, no matter what the Oneida County Board of Elections might say.

Metroland endorsed Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins for governor.

The Queens Gazette endorsed GOP/Conservative Harry Wilson for state comptroller.

The AARP released its NY governor voters guide.

Local and county sales tax collections are up slightly, according to Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.

ESPA’s PAC endorsed DiNapoli, praising him for taking “the lead in advocating for full equality, holding corporations accountable for the way they treat their LGBT employees and directing his agency to be among the first to fully respect the marriages of same-sex couples performed in jurisdictions in which they are lega.”

Assemblyman Vito Lopez hired a criminal defense attorney.

Mayor Bloomberg urged voters to call or tweet Election Day problems after the Sept. 14 “royal screwup.”

David Malpass’ PAC endorsed Randy Altschuler and Ann Marie Buerkle for Congress.

More on Bloomberg 2012.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is still trying to sell her Hudson house.

The Uniformed Firefighters Association and the Uniformed Fire Officers Association endorsed Sen. Eric Schneiderman.

Senate Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson raised a lot of last-minute campaign cash.

Former NYC Comptroller Jay Goldin is endorsing Harry Wilson tomorrow in his office at the Empire State Building. (No link).

Azi Paybarah finds a Carl Paladino supporter on New Dorp Lane in Staten Island.

The Oneonta Daily Star endorsed Richard Hanna.

Name that mayor.

Bloomberg is headed to Rhode Island to boost gubernatorial candidate Lincoln Chafee.

Ground was broken for the Aqueduct racino. The Senate Democrats were nowhere to be seen.

Here’s Paladino defending the honor of his dog, Duke, against the evil New York Times.

Hook Out

Who will shut off the lights at the end of the Paterson administration?

Gov. David Paterson just announced the departure of his long-suffering communications director, Morgan Hook, who is resigning effective Nov. 12 to assume that same title for SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher and the University Administration.

“Morgan has been an invaluable member of my administration and I thank him for his counsel and tireless work on behalf of the State,” Paterson said in a press release.

“During Morgan’s tenure in my administration, he has worked closely with me and displayed incredible dedication. I wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.”

More >

Al Sharpton, Mass Transit Champion

The Rev. Al Sharpton made an impassioned speech last night at Transportation Alternatives’ Rider Rebellion rally, taking state lawmakers to task for failing to figure out a way to permanently fund mass transit at a time when the MTA Board has approved yet another subway fare hike.

“We have a state that can find money to build stadiums and developments but can’t find money for people to ride to work and to school every day on mass transit,” Sharpton said.

“This is not about money. This is about will and the priorities on money. We can disagree on politics. We can disagree on ideology. But there should not be a disagreement that the rich use the public funds and the public funds available in Albany as their personal piggybank while the poor has to continue paying hikes to ride subways and having services cut back.”

NOTE: A reader just wrote in: “Didn’t the state just bail out the MTA to the tune of 30 billion?” Yep.

But the payroll tax that was part of that deal hasn’t been generating as much cash as expected, and, as TA and the Drum Major Institute pointed out in a recent white paper, the MTA’s current budget gap is $900 million and counting.

Bill Clinton Robos For Schneiderman

Andrew Cuomo isn’t the only Democratic statewide candidate getting a boost from former President Clinton.

The Democrats’ top surrogate, who was in Brooklyn yesterday to endorse the AG for governor and rally his base, has recorded a robocall for the party’s nominee to replace Cuomo as the state’s top attorney: Sen. Eric Schneiderman.

Here’s the script:

“Hello, this is President Bill Clinton. I hope you’ll join me in voting for Eric Schneiderman for New York State attorney general. He’s been a good leader for reform. A pro-choice reformer who tossed out a corrupt senator of his own party. He’ll continue Andrew Cuomo’s work fighting corruption and protecting New Yorkers. So on this November 2, please, join me in voting for Eric Schneiderman for attorney general.”

Schneiderman and his GOP opponent, Staten Island DA Dan Donovan, are locked in the tightest of the statewide contests. According to the most recent Siena poll, Donovan is trailing the Manhattan lawmaker by seven percentage points.

As of the 11-day pre-general filing, Donovan was also trailing badly in the money race, which hampers his ability to fund a last-minute TV blitz.

According to this head-to-head comparison, the senator is vastly out-spending the DA when it comes to TV air time – especially in the upstate markets, which should be an area where the Republican does well.

Donovan held a fundraiser Monday night that was headlined by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Mayor Bloomberg, former Gov. George Pataki and former NYC Mayor Ed Koch. It was initially billed as likely to bring in $2 million, but that was later scaled back to $1 million. Now, according to David Freedlander, the figure is somewhere closer to $275,000.

De Blasio vs. Pataki

NYC Public Advocate Bill de Blasio is stepping up his pressure on George Pataki, launching a Website from which visitors can send a blast e-mail to the former Republican governor, demanding that he disclose the names of donors to his Revere America committee.

There’s also an accompanying Web video, which appears below.

This is all part of the downstate Democrat’s crusade against the US Supreme Court’s Citizen United decision that removed the fetters on corporate political spending.

Pataki is using the cash he raises through Revere America to travel the country and call for the repeal of “Obamacare” and also run TV ads against select Democratic House candidates in New York and New Hampshire (ahem, 2012) who voted “yes” on the health care reform law.

Because Revere America is a 510(c)(4), Pataki does not have to disclose the identity of its donors. He told me during a CapTon interview last week that he’s all for transparency and disclosure, but also worries about corporate donors being “targeted and boycotted” if their identities are revealed.

Demand Disclosure: Revere America from Bill de Blasio on Vimeo.

NARAL Mails In AG, Senate Races

After having a change of heart on the Senate Democrats after getting Leader John Sampson’s promise of a vote on the Reproductive Health Act, NARAL Pro-Choice NY is now going all-out in hopes of keeping the majority in Democratic hands in hopes of seeing that actually happen.

The abortion rights group dropped more than 35,000 last-minute mailers in six Senate districts – SD 7, SD 11, SD 35, SD 37, SD 40, and SD 44.

The pieces are both positive (saying Albany “can get something done for women” in 2011 in a mailer that boosts Democratic Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins) and negative (linking Republican Assemblyman Greg Ball to Carl Paladino).

NARAL also launched both mailers (20,000) to women voters on Long Island and two radio ads (you can listen to one of them here, they’re running on Long Island’s WALK 97.5FM) highlighting Staten Island DA Dan Donovan’s record on abortion rights.

The group has been extremely outspoken in its support of Donovan’s Democratic AG opponent, Sen. Eric Schneiderman, acting as one of his main surrogates.

Naral Ball Hr Rev


Bloomberg Robos For McCarthy

Mayor Bloomberg is going all-out to return the favor Rep. Carolyn McCarthy paid him when she crossed party lines to endorse his successful bid for a third term last fall, campaigning with the Democratic congresswoman this morning and also recoding a robocall on her behalf.

Here’s the script:

“Hi, this is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. I’m calling to ask you to vote for my friend, Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy. I’ve known and worked with Carolyn for years. She’s a tireless advocate for Long Island families, and an effective bipartisan congresswoman with a long history of working to create jobs and protect jobs.”

“You can count on Carolyn to stand up for Long Islanders and the state of New York. Please vote on November 2nd and return Carolyn McCarthy for Congress so she can continue to do what’s right for us. Thank you.”

McCarthy is facing a tough challenge from Republican Fran Becker, who is getting a boost from House Minority Whip Eric Cantor tomorrow.

Silver Coming Around On Redistricting?

Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch told me last night during a CapTon interview that he has been in touch in recent weeks with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver – the lone legislative leader who hasn’t signed the NY Uprising redistricting reform pledge – and believes the two can come to an agreement.

Koch referred to Silver as “my good friend,” which is a switch. The two veteran Democrats engaged in a bit of heated back and forth last spring when the former mayor first launched his PAC and pledged to call everyone who wouldn’t join his effort an “enemy” of reform.

As recently as last week, Koch called on Silver’s fellow Democrats to “throw the bum out” of his leadership post. But last night, he was sounding far more conciliatory.

“I’ve been in conversation with Shelly several times over the last few weeks; we’ve mantained a good relationship,” Koch told me.

“He said his mother doesn’t like the fact that I referred to him as a bum. But I said: Shelly, that’s just a political bum…He has to understand, and I’m really sorry that I caused his mother consternation.”

“But I said to Shelly, ‘We’re going to stay in touch,’ and he said, ‘Yes.’ Because this matter isn’t resolved until the legislation is brought before the legislative body, and that will be after January. And I am of the belief that between now and January that Shelly and I can come to an agreement. I hope so.”

“And I hope this turns out that he’s the leader…Let this be another area where he comes to the rescue of the state…He’s a bum until he changes. But we also said many times that anyone who decides to join us will be like the Prodigal Son. Will be welcomed.”