Cuomo: DOT Analysis Shows Speed Cameras Save Lives

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday called attention to a Department of Transportation analysis touting the safety speed cameras near schools provide.

The report is being released as the speed camera program for New York City is due to lapse at the end of this month on July 25 after the state Senate did not vote on a provision extending it.

Cuomo has called for the state Senate to return and take up an extension bill, which has previously been in approved in the Democratic-controlled Assembly.

“It is beyond the pale that Republicans in the State Senate refuse to support speed cameras in the face of overwhelming evidence that this technology saves lives,” Cuomo said. “The Senate Republicans are putting politics over the lives of children. The Assembly has passed the bill and the Senate Democrats support it—now it’s up to Senate Republicans to decide whether young people live or die.”

The report from the DOT found fatalities in zones around New York City schools decreased from 18 a year on average to 8 a year after cameras installed. At the same time, total crashes were reduced 15 percent, and injuries from crashes were done 17 percent.

Speed is also a factor: When a pedestrian is hit at 40 mph, there is an 85 percent chance of death. The chance of a fatality drops to 5 percent when a person is hit at 20 mph.

There are 144 communities in the country that have speed camera programs.

Klein Picks Up Labor, Diaz Nods

Sen. Jeff Klein this week continued to rack up a series of endorsements from establishment figures and entities, including Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., and key labor unions.

“I am proud to receive the endorsement of my long-time colleague Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. Borough President Diaz and I have worked together for many years to improve the quality of life for Bronx residents, transform our infrastructure, create economic development and jobs, and enhance services and tourism for all who visit, work and live in our borough,” Klein said Thursday in a statement.

“Our partnership is built on our shared commitment to serve our hometown and our neighbors through progressive, effective public policy and investment, and I am honored to have his support.”

Klein on Wednesday was endorsed by District Council 37, the largest public workers labor organization in New York City.

“DC 37 stands with Senator Jeff Klein because he has fought for our member’s rights and benefits, he shares DC37’s progressive values and, time and again, he has demonstrated his commitment to ensuring economic and social justice for all,” the union said.

“Senator Klein has worked to pass landmark legislation for working families, including the $15 Minimum Wage, Paid Family Leave, Universal Pre-K, and the SAFE ACT. During these difficult times, when there is so much hostility to working families in Washington DC, we need strong progressive leadership in Albany and that is why DC37 is proud to endorse and support Senator Klein.”

And Klein on Tuesday was endorsed by the New York City Uniformed Firefighters Association.

Klein is the former leader of the Independent Democratic Conference, which folded in April and its members re-joined the mainline Democratic conference in the state Senate under a push backed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Under the arrangement, Klein became the deputy minority leader in the chamber.

Multiple former IDC members face primary challenges this September.

Klein is being challenged in the Sept. 13 vote by Alessandra Biaggi.

Earlier this year, Klein was accused by a former staffer of forcibly kissing her in a 2015 incident. Klein has denied the allegation and has sought an investigation by the Joint Commission on Public Ethics.

Ocasio-Cortez Fundraises For Teachout

Democratic congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez released a fundraising email on Thursday for attorney general candidate Zephyr Teachout.

The emails seeks $3 donations from supporters.

“I’m incredibly proud to endorse Zephyr’s candidacy for New York Attorney General. The checks on corporate donations are completely broken — and it’s up to us to fix them,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote in the email. “But first, we need to counteract the influence of corporate-backed politicians by electing candidates that refuse all corporate money.”

Teachout is one of four Democrats seeking the attorney general nod in a Sept. 13 primary.

Ocasio-Cortez upset Rep. Joe Crowley in a Democratic congressional primary last month, become a touchstone for progressive candidates who are running anti-establishment races this year.

Teachout has excelled at raising small-dollar contributions in her previous races.

In the email, the lower dollar amounts were cast as an effort to rid the system of large-dollar contributions.

“Dark money plagues our democracy,” the email states. “It corrupts the democratic power of working-class voters and protects an economic system that undermines our interests. With incredibly large, and often anonymous donations, large corporations drown out the voices of the constituents our representatives are supposed to protect.”

Tenney Attacks Brindisi, Name Checks Trump In First TV Ad

Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney’s first TV ad of the Ny-22 race is not subtle.

The spot goes right for the political jugular of her Democratic opponent, Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi. It ties him to the polarizing figure of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, (who, by the way, he has said he won’t support to continue in her leadership role if he’s elected to Congress), and also deems him too liberal to represent the upstate district she has held since 2016.

“There’s a clear choice in the race for Congress,” Tenney said. “For months, Anthony Brindisi has dishonestly attempted to portray himself as an independent, and a moderate. It’s time voters learned the truth.”

“Anthony Brindisi is a hardcore liberal who voted for the (Gov. Andrew) Cuomo/(Assembly Speaker Sheldon) Silver agenda 97 percent of the time. In Congress, Brindisi would be a reliable vote for Nancy Pelosi’s extreme agenda.”

Tenney, an outspoken and loyal supporter of President Trump, also doesn’t shy away from that role in this ad, saying she is “fighting for Trump’s agenda” in D.C., despite the fact that Democrats are trying to use that against Republican incumbents in congressional contests across the state.

Tenney, who is known for making controversial statements, has never sought to temper her conservatism, and has consistently run from the right in all her races.

In the 2012 presidential election, the GOP candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, won NY-22 by less than one percentage point, but Trump claimed victory there with a 16-point margin in 2016.

The ad, titled “Fail or Succeed,” is actually a joint effort by Claudia Tenney for Congress – the congresswoman’s campaign committee – and the National Republican Congressional Committee. It will air on broadcast television for the next two weeks in Utica and Binghamton, according to her campaign’s press release.

There was no mention of the size of the buy.

Here’s the script:

“(Announcer): Nancy Pelosi and Anthony Brindisi’s liberal agenda is too extreme for upstate New York. Under Nancy Pelosi, and Anthony Brindisi our economy crashed.

Reckless spending. Devastating unemployment. Higher taxes.

Claudia Tenney is fighting for President Trump’s agenda in Washington. Stopping bad trade deals. Better jobs. Higher wages. A growing economy. Middle class tax cuts.

Claudia Tenney. Standing with President Trump and fighting against Nancy Pelosi and the Washington liberals.

(Claudia Tenney): I’m Claudia Tenney and I approve this message.”

Make The Road Action Endorses Grechen Shirley

The progressive advocacy organization Make the Road Action on Thursday endorsed Democratic congressional candidate Liuba Grechen Shirley in her bid to unseat Republican Rep. Peter King on Long Island.

“Well before Liuba was even thinking about running for office, she was standing with members of our community to hold Peter King accountable and demand that he listen to us,” said Nicole Nunez, one of the group’s members and a registered voter in the 2nd congressional district.

“Now that he has continued to fail to take us into account and stand up to the racist Trump agenda, there’s no better person to replace him. After recently becoming a citizen, I’ll be proud in November to cast my first vote for Congress for Liuba Grechen Shirley, who I know is going to stand up for common-sense immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship, health care for all, and economic opportunity for everyone in our district.”

Grechen Shirley successfully beat an establishment-backed candidate in the June congressional primary, DuWayne Gregory, to win the party’s nomination.

“I’m honored to receive Make the Road Action’s endorsement. MRA is a critical voice here on Long Island and across the state for the rights of marginalized people,” she said.

“Their advocacy is integral in protecting immigrants and working-class communities of color. I’ve been proud to stand with MRA at rallies and events as a community member, and I look forward to working with them as a member of Congress to fight for all residents of New York’s Second Congressional District.”

New Choice NY Contacts State Workers Over Union Dues

From the Morning Memo:

Public workers in New York this week were contacted by one of the post-Janus ruling organizations informing non-members of their right to opt out of paying dues to labor unions.

The group New Choice NY sent an email Wednesday to several hundred thousand state and local employees telling them they do not have to pay dues or re-sign a membership card if they don’t want to.

“You now have a real choice,” the email states. “For decades, public employees in New York were told to pay the union or quit their job. Those days are over.”

The email comes weeks after the U.S. Supreme court ruled in Janus v. AFSCME that public-sector labor unions can no longer require the payment of “agency fees” from non-members.

The ruling is seen as dealing a blow to public worker labor organizations and their ability to collect revenue.

Still, labor unions have prepared for the ruling, holding membership drives and personal contact efforts to bolster their ranks ahead of a potential drop-off in dues deductions.

The New York State United Teachers union has started a “recommitment” campaign for workers as well to personally contact workers. NYSUT has said its dues do not fund political activities, which are fueled through a voluntary account by members.

New Choice NY’s email tells workers they should be under no pressure to act either way.

“If and when a union rep asks you to sign or re-sign a membership card—and you don’t want to sign—you have every right to say no,” the email states. “What’s more, you’re certainly under no obligation to sign it right there and then.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has sought to soften the blow of the Janus ruling for labor groups through legislation approved earlier this year. Cuomo has also back administrative efforts to limit the information organizations contacting state and local workers can obtain in an effort to crimp their campaigns on opting out of dues payments.

The state Department of Labor on Wednesday also released guidance for employees with questions post-Janus.

“The Supreme Court’s Janus decision is a direct attack on organized labor, and as long as I am Governor of New York, we will do everything in our power to protect union members and support the labor movement,” said Cuomo, who has had his own rocky relationship with public-sector over concessions in contracts during his first term.

As he entered his second term, that relationship has since been patched up for Cuomo and public labor.

“This guidance will inform employers of their obligations and employees of their rights so they know they remain protected under state law.”

Mystery Check Sent To Erie County Clerk

From the Morning Memo:

A Buffalo Common Council member is trying to figure out why his long-time campaign treasurer wrote a large check to another local politician without his consent.

Democratic Councilman David Rivera said his staff notified him Tuesday, when new state campaign finance reports came out, that he had given $5,000 to Erie County Clerk Mickey Kearns.

Rivera said that accounted for more than half of the total amount of money in his campaign account, and he doesn’t believe he has ever contributed more than $250 to a single individual – let alone written a 4-digit check.

Confused, he reached out to the bank and learned the check has been authorized by his treasurer of roughly a decade, Edwin Martinez. Rivera then reached out to Martinez, but has not been able to get in touch with him. He believes he’s out of the country, and so the mystery persists.

“To this day, I’d like to find him and talk to him about what was behind this,” Rivera said of Martinez.

Rivera was able to get in touch with Kearns, a former colleague on the Council as well as a former state assemblyman. The clerk said he knew nothing about the contribution. and refunded the full amount to Rivera yesterday.

The councilman said he has opened a new campaign account, and will send a letter today to the state Board of Elections asking that Martinez be replaced as treasurer. He said he is embarrassed and perplexed by the incident, and has asked the Erie County District Attorney’s office to open a formal investigation.

Kearns confirmed the details of Rivera’s story, noting the two are long time friends and he immediately returned the money when the matter was brought to his attention.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City.

President Donald Trump meets with the Secretary of Defense, and then has lunch with the Secretary of State. In the afternoon, Trump hosts the Pledge to America’s Workers event.

At 8 a.m., the Citizens Budget Commission will welcome Attorney General Barbara Underwood as the guest speaker at its trustee breakfast, The Harvard Club, 35 W. 44th St., Manhattan.

At 9:15 a.m., Democratic gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon, state Senate candidate Jessica Ramos and NYC Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer will host a press conference on dangerous subway conditions, (near 7 platform at Jackson Heights–Roosevelt Avenue/74th Street, Queens). Following the press conference, they will travel on the 7 line to Woodside, Queens station to greet riders.

At 9:30 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul and DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos deploy recycled materials on Long Island Sound as part of the largest expansion of artificial reefs in state history, Kings Park Bluff, 794 Old Dock Rd., Kings Park.

At 10 a.m., NYC Councilman Donovan Richards holds a rally to demand better A train service in Eastern Rockaway, Mott Avenue A train station, corner of Mott Avenue and Beach 22nd Street, Queens.

Also at 10 a.m., Cuomo makes an announcement, 1100 Bergen Street Community Garden, 1107 Bergen St., Brooklyn.

At 10:30 a.m., NYC Councilman Andy King and Stand Up For A Better Community will hold a press conference and rally in support of development that will benefit the community, 1825 East Gun Hill Rd., the Bronx.

Also at 10:30 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will visit an apartment at New Settlement Houses, and then make an announcement about the progress of the administration’s affordable housing plan, 1561 Walton Ave., the Bronx.

At 11 a.m., elected officials, students and concerned community members rally outside of Cuomo’s office to protest tuition going up $200 again at CUNY and SUNY schools, Cuomo’s New York City office, 633 Third Ave., Manhattan.

Also at 11 a.m., the Buffalo Erie Niagara Land Improvement Corp. board meets, Brisbane Building, 403 Main St., fifth floor conference room, Buffalo.

Also at 11 a.m., “The Capitol Pressroom” features Chele Chiavacci Farley, Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, Assemblyman Clyde Vanel and more, WCNY.

At 1:30 p.m., state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and Westchester County Executive George Latimer hold a press conference about unclaimed funds owed to local residents, White Plains Public Library, 100 Martine Ave., White Plains.

Also at 1:30 p.m., NYC Public Advocate Letitia “Tish” James holds a press conference regarding the Trump administration’s proposed “gag rule” on reproductive health care options, 1 Centre St. S., Manhattan.

At 2 p.m., advocates and New Yorkers who have lost family members due to reckless drivers present a formal invitation to Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan to come back into session and bring a bill to extend and expand New York City’s school zone speed safety camera program to a full vote, Million Dollar Staircase, state Capitol, Albany.

At 3 p.m., Rachel May, candidate for state Senate in District 53, and Zephyr Teachout, candidate for state AG, will appear together at May’s campaign headquarters to meet supporters and formally endorse each other’s campaigns, 2817 James St., Syracuse.

At 5:30 p.m., Bay Ridge residents and other interested parties rally to demand the release of delivery man Pablo Villavicencio from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody, Fort Hamilton Army Base, 101st Street and Fort Hamilton Parkway, Brooklyn.

Headlines…

President Donald Trump says he would hold his Russian counterpart responsible for the 2016 election meddling that handed him a surprise White House win, and said he told President Vladimir Putin during talks in Helsinki, Finland, that another round of election meddling would not be tolerated.

“I let him know we can’t have this,” Trump said in an interview with “CBS Evening News,” seeming to contradict an answer he gave earlier in the day. “We’re not going to have it, and that’s the way it’s going to be.”

Two weeks before his inauguration, Trump was shown highly classified intelligence indicating that Putin had personally ordered complex cyberattacks to sway the 2016 American election, and ever since, has tried to cloud the very clear findings that his own intelligence leaders have unanimously endorsed.

FBI Director Christopher Wray said that Russia continues to use fake news, propaganda and covert operations to “spin up” Americans on both sides of hot-button issues to sow discord in the United States.

Trump is considering turning over former US ambassador Michael McFaul to Moscow for questioning.

The new US Embassy in Jerusalem will reportedly cost over $20 million — nearly 100 times President Trump’s original estimate.

Maria Butina, the 29-year old Russian woman accused of working as a spy in the US, attempting to sleep her way into powerful political circles and set up a “back channel” to the Kremlin, must stay behind bars until her trial, a judge ordered. She pleaded not guilty, but didn’t get bail.

A top Iranian official claimed Iran rejected eight requests to meet with Trump last year.

Facebook, facing growing criticism for posts that have incited violence in some countries, said it would begin removing misinformation that could lead to people being physically harmed.

Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook chief executive, said in an interview that he would not automatically remove denials that the Holocaust took place from the site – a remark that caused an uproar online. Hours later, he tried to clarify his comments.

Lin-Manuel Miranda has joined forces with former First Lady Michelle Obama and some other famous friends to launch a new voter registration nonprofit called When We All Vote.

Former President Barack Obama called for women to get more involved in social movements because men have been “getting on my nerves.”

Nearly 20 House Democrats – including Long Island Rep. Tom Suozzivoted to express their support for ICE, distancing themselves from the “abolish ICE” movement and pointing to Trump — not the agency — as the problem.

Demonstrators protesting Trump and his administration gathered at rallies in cities across the country – including NYC and Syracuse – with a goal to “confront corruption and demand democracy.”

American taxpayers dished out more than $200,000 on accommodation, airfare and security for a single business trip Eric and Donald Trump Jr. took to Dubai shortly after their father’s inauguration.

European authorities fined Google a record $5.1 billion for abusing its power in the mobile phone market and ordered the company to alter its practices, in one of the most aggressive regulatory actions against American technology giants and one that may force lasting changes to smartphones.

Three Syracuse students who met Ivanka Trump during her visit to Central New York last week have been invited to the White House today to witness the president signing an executive order to address vocational education.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon has picked up her first endorsement from a state legislator: Queens Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi, whose father, former state Comptroller Alan Hevesi, was put behind bars by Cuomo in 2011 for his role in a widespread state pension fund pay-to-play scandal.

With less than two months before the Democratic primary in New York, Cuomo has maintained a formidable lead over Nixon, with large, double-digit margins in all demographic groups, according to a new Q poll.

Joe Percoco, a former top aide to Cuomo should be sentenced to “a significant” term in prison to send the message to Albany that bribery doesn’t pay, prosecutors said.

“This court is well-positioned and should send a strong message to those who might consider following in this disgraceful tradition,” prosecutors told Judge Valerie Caproni. “In short, a significant prison term for Percoco is warranted both in light of the extent of his corruption and to promote general deterrence.”

GOP gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro is demanding a federal probe of Cuomo’s office, saying it violated federal privacy laws by forwarding the names of college scholarship winners to the governor’s campaign for an ad.

More >

Extras

President Trump appeared to say that Russia was no longer targeting the United States, contradicting his own intelligence chief just a day after promising that his administration was working to prevent Kremlin interference in the upcoming midterm elections.

…Hours later, the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said that Trump was in fact answering a different question, and that “we believe the threat still exists.”

Former Vice President Joe Biden said he would decide whether he would run for president in 2020 by January.

The Democratic National Committee is alleging in court filings that it was turned away by the Secret Service when attempting to deliver a lawsuit to Trump’s son-in-law and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner.

A former White House stenographer, Beck Dorey-Stein, who joined the White House in 2012 during Barack Obama’s presidency, said she resigned because Trump was “lying to the American people.”

Hillary Clinton’s former campaign press secretary is rejecting former FBI director James Comey’s endorsement of Democratic candidates in the 2018 midterm elections.

New York City and a coalition of states filed separate lawsuits against the Trump administration for withholding a federal law enforcement grant from so-called “sanctuary” jurisdictions.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo widened his already daunting lead over Democratic challenger Cynthia Nixon over the last two months, according to a new Q poll. He’s ahead 59 to 23 percent, compared to 50 to 28 percent in a May survey.

Nixon has been steadily picking up endorsements, many from the same progressive networks that backed Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in her upset primary victory in June over Rep. Joseph Crowley. But that support has not seemed to move the needle among the poll respondents.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro said that he supports allowing large-scale hydraulic fracturing in New York as part of a “closely monitored” test program in the Southern Tier.

Cuomo proclaimed today “Billy Joel Day” in New York at the celebration of the singer’s 100th lifetime performance at Madison Square Garden. As part of the celebration, Joel’s piano will be displayed at Madison Square Garden.

Catholic New York, “America’s Largest Catholic Newspaper,” accuses Cuomo – a Catholic – of playing political games with abortion rights.

The New York State Education Department has appointed Jaime Aquino as the new distinguished educator for the Rochester City School District.

Police say three state workers have been taken to a hospital after becoming ill in their Albany office when one of them opened a letter from a foreign country.

One of Mayor Lovely Warren’s earliest cabinet-level appointees who spearheaded her education agenda has resigned. Allen Williams quietly departed City Hall a little more than two weeks ago to pursue other unspecified interests.

New York could become the third state in the country to require employers to provide bereavement leave to workers who lose a family member, and only the second to mandate that such leave be paid.

Following an undisclosed issue regarding his recovery from surgery in March to remove oral cancer, former Buffalo Bills quarterback and Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Kelly will travel to New York for an “unexpected” checkup.

Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick, while “troubled” by guilty verdicts in a corruption trial involving a friend, says he hasn’t decided what he’ll do with campaign contributions from now-convicted Syracuse executives.

NY-21 Democratic candidate Tedra Cobb has a new campaign manager as of Monday. Mike Szustak, who took over the campaign during the primary, said he no longer has that job, and has been replaced by Anna Sorenson.

Republican NY-21 Rep. Elise Stefanik has nearly $1.6 million cash on hand for her re-election campaign — 17 times what Cobb has in the bank at this point.

Legalizing marijuana would likely reduce the number of people who choose to smoke synthetic marijuana, known by many as “spike,” according to the New York State Department of Health.

Advocates scrambling to assist hundreds of asylum seekers flown from the southern border to the Albany County Jail say detainees are arriving confused and disoriented.

Disgraced mogul Harvey Weinstein wants a judge to toss a lawsuit accusing him of destroying Ashley Judd’s career because she rebuffed his sexual advances, claiming he never defamed the star, but simply offered his opinion that she was very difficult to work with.

Sharks.

Bronx Council Delegation Endorses Cuomo

A half-dozen members of the New York City Council’s Bronx delegation on Wednesday endorsed Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s re-election.

Cuomo was endorsed by Council members Andrew Cohen, Andy King, Mark Gjonaj, Ritchie Torres, Vanessa Gibson and Rafael Salamanca.

Torres at one point was considered a potential replacement on the ticket for Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who was being courted as a potential congressional candidate.

The Bronx remains a potential stronghold for the governor’s re-election prospects, with its leaders, including Marcos Crespo and Carl Heastie, backing his re-election as well.

“Governor Cuomo has worked to reform the criminal justice system and create equal opportunities for all New Yorkers,” Torres said in a statement.

“His New York Youth Jobs Program incentivize businesses to hire at risk youth by providing them with tax credits. This not only helps the economy by providing more jobs but gives New York’s youth the opportunity to live out the American Dream. He created the Excelsior Scholarship, has made the largest investment in public school funding in state history and has led the nation on efforts to rebuild Puerto Rico. Governor Cuomo is looking out for future generations of New Yorkers and I’m proud to endorse him for re-election.”