Suffolk Consv Chair To Candidate Cox: Drop Out

Suffolk County Conservative Chairman Ed Walsh is calling on Chris Cox to drop his bid for Congress in Long Island’s 1st CD and back one of his two primary opponents, Randy Altschuler, reasoning it has become clear Cox “does not have a viable path to victory” against the Democratic incumbent, Rep. Tim Bishop.

“When faced with the prospect of a Republican primary being waged by Stephen Lebate in the 2nd Congressional District earlier this year, Republican Party Chairman John Jay LaValle’s response to a press query was that Mr. Lebate would have to ‘choose between whether he would do what is in the best interest of the man or the mission,’” Walsh wrote in a letter to Cox today.

“It’s now time for you to heed Chairman LaValle’s advice in the 1st Congressional District. Christopher, you should withdraw your candidacy and support Randy Altschuler. Our shared responsibility for taking back this seat must be about the mission and not the individual; it’s the right thing to do for Suffolk County and for America.”

Altschuler is the Conservative Party’s designee in NY-1.
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Bloomberg Raises For C. Johnson

Mayor Bloomberg is making good on his pledge to assist senators who support key aspects of his agenda, regardless of their political affiliation, by lending his name to a fundraiser next Monday to support Democratic Sen. Craig Johnson.

The $1,000-a-head event is being held at the Manhattan home of Michael Del Giudice, a founding member of the private equity company Rockland Capital and a former aide to ex-Govs. Mario Cuomo and Hugh Carey.

Johnson has been a fierce proponent of charter schools, which is one of Bloomberg’s pet issues. (Recall that this issue has also become a cause celebre of late for certain New York hedge funds, which are backing primary challengers like Basil Smikle, a former Bloomberg aide, against charter opponents like Sen. Bill Perkins).

Johnson isn’t the only pro-charter Democrat to benefit from Bloomberg’s assistance. The mayor has also leant a fundraising hand to Buffalo Assemblyman Sam Hoyt, who is facing a tough re-election bid this fall.
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NARAL Pro-Choice NY For Schneiderman

NARAL Pro-Choice NY today endorsed Sen. Eric Schneiderman for attorney general, choosing the Manhattan Democrat over the lone woman in the race, Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice.

The organization’s president, Kelli Conlin, who has a long-standing relationship with the Senate Democrats, did not shy away from highlighting Schneiderman’s time in Albany, saying he has been a “vocal and absolute advocate for women’s reproductive health and rights” during his “decades” in public service.

“As a senator, Eric has been a sponsor of every pro-choice piece of legislation in New York,” Conlin continued.

“As a friend and ally, he has stood with NARAL Pro-Choice New York at every rally and event. Eric has truly defined himself as a longstanding leader on an issue that is of the utmost importance to New Yorkers.”

“We know that as Attorney General he will do everything in his power to protect and advance reproductive rights. Eric will be a strong leader, a staunch ally, and a champion for New York’s women and families.”

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Cuomo Expands Pension-Padding Probe (Again)

Wearing his AG hat again today, Andrew Cuomo released a preliminary report detailing pension padding abuses uncovered in his ongoing probe and sent out 23 more letters sent to public employers asking for payroll information.

The AG and would-be governor also launched a new Website called – what else? – nypensionpadding.com so the public can review the report, examples of data collected, and suggested best practices to help curb overtime abuses, along with other information related to the investigation.

The report analyzed data from 50 of 64 employers representing 3,688 retirees from 2009 and indicate employees are boosting their overtime to inflate their pension benefits by wracking up overtime hours in their final years of employment.

“Our ongoing investigation into pension padding has so far identified problems that transcend occupation, region, or job title,” Cuomo said in a press release.

“More critically, we have developed solutions and tactics that, if implemented, can reduce the abuses of the pension
system. While we expand the scope of our probe, I urge all public employers to closely examine how they can improve the way they do business for the sake of the state and taxpayers.”

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Rangel And The Draft

Embattled Rep. Charlie Rangel is again bucking the Democratic establishment (namely the Obama administration) by calling for a mandatory draft to highlight his opposition to any more tax dollars going to fund the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

“In my view, no additional tax dollars should be appropriated for hunkering down in Iraq and Afghanistan, where taxpayers have already spent over $1 trillion,” Rangel wrote in a statement about the war funding resolution that he is reading this morning at a press conference in front of the Times Square military recruiting station in Manhattan.

“…From here on, all expenditures should be for one purpose: to safely bring our brave and exhausted troops home. in order to fulfill one’s moral responsibility to this democracy, anyone who supports this, or any war, should also support a compulsory military draft.”

The congressman is also distributing a full-color flyer that features photos of the 74 NYC residents who have fallen while serving in these two wars.
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Wilson’s Five-Point Reform Plan

Republican state comptroller candidate Harry Wilson today released a five-point reform plan designed in part to address the pay-to-play practices that have been the focus of AG Andrew Cuomo’s ongoing investigation of the office and the pension fund, resulting in several guilty pleas and indictments.

Wilson is discussing his plan with reporters this morning on a conference call, explaining that this is the first in a series of white papers that will address the “historical problems in the comptroller’s office…that extend beyond just the previous administration.”

That is, of course, a swipe at the current comptroller, Democrat Tom DiNapoli, who has repeatedly insisted that he inherited an ethical mess from his predecessor, Alan Hevesi, who was forced to resign after pleading guilty to a felony charge of misusing state employees to assist his ailing wife, but also remains in Cuomo’s crosshairs in connection with the pension fund scandal.

DiNapoli himself was dragged into the probe back in April when Cuomo said his office had looked at a meeting that took place on the comptroller’s watch with a representative of Global Strategy Group, which settled with the AG for $2 million, a client seeking to do business with the fund and someone from MirRam Group.
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Chris Cox’s Spin, Turning Abandonment Into ‘Transition’

Congressional candidate Chris Cox’s campaign released a curious statement shortly after 10 p.m. last night in response to some strong reporting by POLITICO’s Maggie Haberman about the mass exodus from his operation by former advisors to Sen. John McCain.

The statement, attributed to the candidate himself, was in response to “published reports regarding changes in campaign personnel” and insisted the recent defections were, in fact, a “transition” as Cox gears up to battle for the GOP and Conservative lines.

“In preparation for the upcoming September primaries for the Republican and Conservative Party ballot lines, our Congressional campaign team is shifting some personnel,” Cox stated. “This shift will allow our team to move from the initial organizational phase to a more tactical phase.

“We have put in place the necessary systems and technologies to win a highly targeted congressional race. This first phase has focused on listening to the priorities of Suffolk County voters, and now it is time to harness the overwhelming grassroots support we have already developed including the support of the Suffolk County 9-12 Project.

“Our sole goal is to unseat the liberal Democratic incumbent who remains out of step with the people of his district.

“From my own work on behalf of fellow local Republicans such as Lee Zeldin and Tim Mazzei, it’s clear that the old adage is still true – all politics is local – even in 2010.”

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Here And Now

Kerry Kennedy hasn’t ruled out running for elected office, but this year plans to vote for the “person who makes the best lasagna” for governor, and she thinks that’s her ex-husband.

The Sampsonmobile?

Mayor Bloomberg is now leaning toward a smoking ban at the city’s parks and beaches.

Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. on the state Democratic Party’s attempt to disenroll him: “Every aspect of this is Cuomo. The fact that he has other stooges speaking for him, he’s pulling the strings on this.”

Richard Lipsky thinks the Democrats are being awfully selective in their outrage against Espada.

The TU notes the “official and political overlap” in the move to boot Espada from the Democratic Party’s ranks, but doesn’t come to his defense.

The DN calls the Democrats’ effort “pure grandstanding.”

The Auburn Citizen would like to see the senators – not party leaders – deal with Espada.

Gov. David Paterson is set to deliver some 6,700 vetoes to the Legislature today.

Assemblyman Robin Schimminger thinks Paterson vetoed old member items in an attempt to get the Legislature “back to the table.”

The Senate may return to Albany as early as next week, and could pass a texting-while-driving ban when it gets here.
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Extras

Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. came to Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada’s defense.

AG Andrew Cuomo declined to discuss the state Democratic Party’s efforts to oust Espada from its ranks, saying: “I think the party’s position speaks for itself.”

Wayne Barrett catches Team Lazio’s timing typo.

New York’s first-in-the-nation paperless ticket regulations sets the stage for other states to follow suit.

Sen. John McCain’s advisers have abandoned congressional candidate Chris Cox en masse.

Queen Elizabeth addressed the UN for the first time since 1957.

Bill Singer will not be watching Eliot Spitzer on CNN.

City Hall news grades Mayor Bloomberg’s third term performance to date.

Could the decriminalization of marijuana save the Democrats this fall?

Cuomo is suing over alleged discrimination at housing complexes in Glenville and Brooklyn.

Rudy Giuliani was in the Hamptons.

The NYPD’s Paul Browne was once approached by the KGB.

As expected, Bloomberg endorsed Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett for governor of Wisconsin.

An about-face from Richard Lipsky, who praises NYC DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.

The Managed Funds Association (who knew?!) is urging the governor to reconsider the nonresident hedge fund managers tax. (He has already started backing away from it, even though it was his to begin with).

State lawmakers are planning to eliminate the sales tax on all livery cars in NYC.

US Senate candidate David Malpass reportedly has $2.4 million on hand.

CapTon viewer Peter McKee took the following photo of the “budget” finally arriving at the state Capitol. (We think the truck might have contained fireworks for the Price Chopper 4th show, which would be very fitting, no?)

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And Then There Was One

The state Lottery Division has disqualified two of the three proposals it received last month from bidders vying for the Aqueduct racino contract, saying their proposals “did not conform with the requirements of the competition and, instead, attempted to negotiate for terms more favorable to the bidders.”

One of the two was submitted by the SL Green, Hard Rock International and Clairvest Group consortium and the other by Penn National Gaming. Neither agreed to submit a signed MOU as required by the state, instead offering versions that included “material deviations,” the Lottery said.

(The very long laundry list of issues the Lottery Division raised with the two disqualified bidders appears in full after the jump. Both bidders are being refunded their $1 million entry fees).

That leaves Genting New York (which is the local arm of a Malaysian-based gaming operation) as the last bidder standing, but it still has to go through the procurement review process, according to a Lottery spokeswoman.

If Genting fails to make it through the process and doesn’t pass muster with the Senate, Assembly and Gov. David Paterson, then it’s back to the drawing board – for a third time – in the search for a racino operator.
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