Dec 10th - 1:18 pm
ICYMI on last night’s CapTon or this morning’s memo: PEF President Susan Kent says her union is open to backing someone other than Gov. Andrew Cuomo next year – perhaps even a Republican, which would be only the second time in the union’s history that it has endorsed a non-Democrat for governor.
“We do have a democratic process in my union where we have regional PACs and then the executive board that will weigh in,” Kent told me in response to a question about whether PEF might consider endorsing a challenger to Cuomo in 2014.
“But I can tell you right now with the sentiment of my membership and what we’re seeing in terms of just further erosion of public sector jobs and services that people need, it seems to be a extremely distinct possibility. And we really are looking for – whether it’s Democrat or Republican, whether it’s a third party candidate – someone to step up that is going to really speak out for working people.”
PEF broke with several big public sector unions that remained neutral on Cuomo in 2010 and gave the then-state attorney general its endorsement. The thinking of union leaders at the time was that it would be better to be on the all-but-certain-to-win new governor’s good side, particularly with contract negotiations looming.
But when Cuomo actually took office, PEF didn’t fare any better than the state’s largest public employee union, CSEA, when it came to wrangling a new contract. In fact, the PEF talks lasted longer and were even more acrimonious, despite the union’s 2010 nod.
Disappointment among the PEF rank-and-file with the endorsement process and the subsequent contract contributed to the ouster of former union President Ken Brynien by Kent and her team in 2012. Kent, who pledged to take a harder line with the Cuomo administration, is clearly sensitive to that fact, and she is determined not to repeat Brynien’s mistakes.
The unions are unhappy with Cuomo on a number of fronts. There’s lingering resentment from the Tier IV battle, but more pressing is the slew of prison and mental health facility closures that the governor has undertaken without legislative input.
In 2002, PEF endorsed its first-ever Republican gubernatorial candidate, backing incumbent Gov. George Pataki against Democratic state Comptroller H. Carl McCall, who had beat back a quixotic (and short lived) primary challenge from Cuomo (then fresh off his stint as President Clinton’s HUD secretary). The union had also endorsed former GOP Sen. Alfonse D’Amato for re-election in 1986.
If CSEA and NYSUT again decide to take a pass on Cuomo in 2014, and PEF joins in, it could be more difficult for Cuomo to land the support of the AFL-CIO – an umbrella organization of labor unions that has a weighted endorsement process. Then again, it’s a safe bet Cuomo will have plenty of labor support, especially from the more conservative trades and his longtime ally, SEIU 1199.
Also, it would be difficult for the public sector unions to outright endorse a Republican challenger if that candidate is Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, who has had his share of battles with CSEA over the years.
You can watch my entire interview with Kent here. She also discussed the recently pension-related bankruptcy ruling in Detroit and what that might mean for New York.
Dec 10th - 1:09 pm
Democratic Sen. Ruben Diaz, ever the one to march to the beat of his drum, is appearing alongside Republican Chairman Ed Cox and Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, a potential GOP contender for governor next year against Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The state Republican Party was more than happy to break the news that Astorino was added to the guest list on Tuesday; the event with Cox and Diaz together was announced yesterday. Also due to appear is Democratic Assemblyman Marcos Crespo.
The event, a Toys For Tots charity drive with the U.S. Marine Corps, is being held on Monday at the Rafael Hernandez School in the Bronx.
Diaz, a Pentecostal minister, is one of the more socially conservative members of the state Senate, and is a prominent opponent of both abortion and same-sex marriage.
Dec 10th - 12:14 pm
A 13-page report from a commission led by former state Comptroller H. Carl McCall and former Gov. George Pataki found $2 billion worth of recommended tax cuts spread out through 2018, and also provides a carrot-and-stick approach for getting local governments to live within the state’s cap on property tax increases and consolidate services.
In addition to recommending the so-called circuit-breaker approach for property taxes and cuts to business taxes such as a complete phase out of the 18a assessment surchage for utilities, the commission called for linking the tax cap, consolidating services and individual tax credits for homeowners.
In sum, the move appears aimed at goading local officials into shrinking their governments while also providing an incentive for homeowners to back local consolidations and sharing of services in order to receive what is essentially a tax freeze.
Indeed, the move would likely apply more pressure on — or incentive to, depending on your point of view — local governments and school districts to budget within the property tax cap, which was approved in 2011.
Local governments can override the cap with a two-thirds majority of a governing body’s approval.
The cap on local property tax levy increases is generally at 2 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower.
The freeze would work like this: In the first year, homeowners eligible would see a tax rebate that’s equal to the amount of an increase in their tax bill.
By the second year, the homeowners in municipalities living within the tax cap would receive a receive of their tax increase if the local government is taking “meaningful concrete steps” toward a permanent structural savings such as sharing services or consolidating local governments.
The goal appears to make it so that individual tax savings will in theory become more apparent for homeowners if local governments find ways to merge or share.
“Only through such bold steps can New York hope to achieve a long-term reduction in real property taxes,” the commission’s report found.
Cuomo at a news conference on Long Island announcing the report acknowledged the difficulty in consolidations, which have been opposed when put before voters in the past.
But, he said, it’s necessary to get the country’s highest property taxes under control.
“Corporate America did this 30 years ago,” he said.
McCall, whom Cuomo unsuccessfully challenged in 2002 Democratic primary for governor, was more pointed, saying: “Why are the property taxes so high? It’s because of the spending of our towns and local governments,” he said.
Dec 10th - 11:27 am
Former Gov. David Paterson ruled out a run for the Harlem seat held by longtime Democratic Rep. Charlie Rangel.
In a statement released Tuesday morning, Paterson said he hoped Rangel would run for another two-year term later this year as he mulls whether to run for re-election and interviews potential successors.
And he praised Rangel as an “exemplary leader.”
“Since leaving the Governor’s office I have had the good fortune to explore many exciting opportunities in broadcasting and other private endeavors while continuing to be active in public service at the MTA and also finding time to travel and spend time with loved ones. I anticipate a number of exciting opportunities in the coming weeks and months, but running for Congress will not be one of them.”
For what it’s worth, Assemblyman Keith Wright — who has also been named as a potential Rangel successor — has said he’s certain the 83-year-old will run again.
Paterson currently has a drive-time radio show co-hosted with Guadrian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa.
The full statement:
As a long-time resident of Harlem I have always had a very strong affinity for the issues and events that impact the 13th Congressional District. I have also always believed that answering the call to public service is an endeavor that can only be undertaken at one hundred percent capacity, unwavering in the commitment required to effectively represent those that would elect someone to lead. Over the past months speculation surrounding the possibility of attempting to potentially succeed Congressman Charles Rangel has arisen and, with the 2014 election cycle rapidly approaching, I would like to make it clear that I have no intention of running for Congress in the 13th District, either now or in the future.
Since leaving the Governor’s office I have had the good fortune to explore many exciting opportunities in broadcasting and other private endeavors while continuing to be active in public service at the MTA and also finding time to travel and spend time with loved ones. I anticipate a number of exciting opportunities in the coming weeks and months, but running for Congress will not be one of them.
Further, Charles Rangel has been an exemplary leader in our community and continues to fight every day for the people throughout the entirety of the district. It is my hope that he will run for re-election and continue to be our representative in Washington.
Dec 10th - 11:16 am
The state Court of Appeals in a ruling released Tuesday sided with a Fox News reporter who authorities in Colorado are trying to compel her to reveal her source.
In a 4-3 ruling, the court found that the state’s shield law applies to reporter Jana Winter, who had reported on the contents of a notebook written by alleged Colorado movie theater shooter James Holmes.
While officials wanted to know who her source was for obtaining the notebook, lawyers for Winter argued that she was protected under the state’s shield law for reporters.
In the majority opinion, Judge Victoria Graffeo stressed it was not granting the state’s shield extra authority in another state and that its ruling was narrow:
And lest there be any confusion, we reiterate that the issue we confront is whether a New York court should issue a subpoena compelling a New York journalist to appear as a witness in another state to give testimony when such a result is inconsistent with the core protection of our Shield Law. Thus, the narrow exception we recognize today, which permits a New York court to consider and apply New York’s journalist’s privilege in relation to issuance of its own process — a subpoena — in a narrow subset of cases, is not tantamount to giving a New York law extraterritorial effect.
In a dissenting opinion, Judge Robert Smith — the father of BuzzFeed editor Ben Smith — said just because the communication took place in New York doesn’t mean the state’s shield law applies.
“I do not think this is a proper case, however, because the allegedly privileged communications took place wholly in Colorado, and the New York Shield Law does not apply to them,” Smith wrote.
Dec 10th - 11:02 am
Republican Congressional candidate Lee Zeldin will tap into his Albany connections on Dec. 17 at a fundraiser here in the state’s capital city.
The fundraiser for his NY-1 campaign will be held at the law offices of Featherstonhaugh, Wiley & Clyne, LLP, where partner James Featherstonhaugh is head of the New York Gaming Association.
Tickets to the reception range from $500 as the minimum to $1,000 as the “suggested” contribution.
Zeldin, a state senator from Suffolk County, is one of two Republicans vying for the chance to take on incumbent Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop in what is expected to be a closely watched race next year.
Dec 10th - 6:50 am
A winter weather advisory is in effect across the tristate area from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. New York City will be hit with the brunt of the storm. Though things could get serious in Western New York by tomorrow night.
(New this morning). At 10:30 a.m., Gov. Andrew Cuomo will receive the (delayed) report from his second tax relief commission, SUNY Old Westbury, Student Union Center Building, Multi-Purpose Room, 223 Store Hill Rd., Old Westbury.
At 10 a.m., Buffalo-area organizations and residents hold rally supporting Raise The Age NY campaign to stop treating 16 and 17 year olds that commit crimes as adults, Erie County Holding Center, 40 Delaware Ave., Buffalo.
At 11 a.m., the Assembly Agriculture Committee and Task Force on Food, Farm and Nutrition Policy will hold a public hearing on promoting New York farm products, Roosevelt Hearing Room C, Legislative Office Building, 2nd Floor, Albany.
Also at 11 a.m., LG Bob Duffy speaks at the New York State Police Academy graduation ceremony, Convention Center, Empire State Plaza, Albany.
At noon, parents, elected officials and vaccine safety activists protest passage of rule that requires all New York City children receive annual influenza vaccinations, City Hall steps, Manhattan.
At 2 p.m., NYC Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio participates in the National Women’s Law Center and Strong Start for Children Campaign’s #InvestInKids Tweetchat. Follow here: http://www.twitter.com/billdeblasio.
At 2:30 p.m., Mayor Bloomberg Mayor launches what the city is calling the “nation’s largest continuous outdoor public WiFi” zone on 125th Street in Harlem.
At 5 p.m., Lehman College administrators and professors participate in a memorial service and scholarship fundraiser in memory of Kisook Ahn, who was killed in the Metro North derailment, faculty dining room, Music Building, 250 Bedford Park Blvd. West, the Bronx.
Also at 5 p.m., Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, former Gov. David Paterson, Guardian Angels founder and President Curtis Sliwa and City Councilman Mark S. Weprin talk about city and regional issues during public discussions broadcast live on talk radio station WNYM “The Answer” 970 AM; Statler Grill, 136 W. 33rd St., Manhattan.
At 6:30 p.m., state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli holds a fundraiser at the Park Lane Hotel, 36 Central Park South, Manhattan.
At 6:45 p.m., DL21C holds its 21st Annual Holiday Bash with Circolo PD New York and special guest Ignazio Marino, the new mayor of Rome, Italy, Revel Lounge, 10 Little West 12th Street, Manhattan.
From 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh holds his annual holiday cocktail, The Globe Bar, 158 E. 23rd St., Manhattan.
The report from Cuomo’s second tax commission, which will be delivered this morning, will reportedly include a “circuit breaker” to provide property tax relief but nothing on the PIT cut that one of two co-chairs, former Gov. George Pataki, was pushing.
“Andrew M. Cuomo, the governor of New York, and Billy Joel, the New York-bred singer-songwriter, seem to be having a moment.”
Cuomo insisted his rare trip to Washington, D.C. – which included his first overnight stay outside the state since taking office – had nothing to do with his potential 2016 ambitions.
Ben Barnes, a longtime Washington lobbyist and former lieutenant governor of Texas who attended Cuomo’s breakfast fundraiser, said the governor talked about economic development, cutting taxes, making New York state more friendly to business.
The Moreland Commission is solely focused on the Legislature, but since 2005, nearly 300 executive branch employees have been arrested, charged or investigated – including 123 since Cuomo took office.
Cuomo was the only governor among eight in the northerneast who declined to sign a letter calling for stronger pollution controls on nine midwestern and southern states. (DEC Commissioner Joe Martens signed instead).
A coalition of good-government groups called on Cuomo to launch a statewide effort to push for the recommendations contained in the preliminary report from the Moreland panel on public corruption — including a major overhaul at the state Board of Elections.
Two leading gun control groups gave New York a B+ in their annual scorecard analyzing gun laws across the nation.
Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s administration has told SL Green that it supports the company’s 1 Vanderbilt project, slated to be a high-rise office tower west of Grand Central Terminal.
Carmen Farina, a leading chancellor contender, not only shares an educational philosophy nearly identical to de Blasio’s, but helped to construct the mayor-elect’s beliefs during the decade she has advised him on school issues.
Dec 9th - 5:02 pm
Democratic activists in early presidential states have concluded there’s no way Gov. Andrew Cuomo will run in 2016 – whether Hillary Clinton is in the race or not – due to his absence from the national stage.
Sandra Lee says the governor makes a slow cooker pasta sauce every Sunday and she and the girls “aren’t allowed in the kitchen.”
State GOP Chairman Ed Cox is participating in Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr.’s annual “Toys for Tots” Christmas in the Bronx event.
Many of NYC’s major clothing stores tried to defuse the “shop and frisk” scandal by agreeing to an anti-profiling policy demanded by civil-rights activists led by the Rev. Al Sharpton.
Former NYC Mayor David Dinkins has joined the Sharpton, Russell Simmons, Marc Morial, and Rabbi Marc Schneier in saying “No to K.O.”
Buffalo real estate developer Carl P. Paladino makes another appearance on Fox Business Network this evening.
Commissioners from New York’s county boards of elections support a single state and federal primary date in June.
Rep. Pete King: “You should ask (NJ Gov.) Chris Christie if me being in the race disqualifies him.”
Abby Huntsman, a co-host of MSNBC’s “The Cycle” interviewed her father, former governor and presidential candidate Jon Huntsman, complete with the title “Family Exclusive.”
After losing the GOP NYC mayoral primary, John Catsimatidis now wonders if Mayor Bloomberg wasn’t on to something with his push for nonpartisan municipal elections.
Cuomo has finally named the members of his anti-hunger task force, which advocates have been calling on him to do for some time.
The NY Post appears to have ID’ed the do-little medical nonprofit cited in the Moreland Commission report.
NYCLU has some advice for NYC Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio.
Sadly, Prime NY is not having a holiday party this year. But they did release an annual holiday poem, in keeping with a long-standing tradition.
Cuomo announced today the launch of an online store – www.ILoveNY.com - that will offers some twists on the original I LOVE NY logo.
Sracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner tapped a new corporation counsel.
The state Gaming Commission released a request for proposals late last month to hire a firm for “gaming advisory services” as it plans early next year to review locations for four upstate casinos.
New York State has now enrolled 100,881 people through its health insurance exchange, putting the state on track to meet its own goal of 1.1 million by the end of 2016.
The Erie County budget for 2014 is a sealed deal now that County Executive Mark Poloncarz has notified the Legislature of his acceptance of the lawmakers’ amended $1.39 billion spending plan.
Dec 9th - 3:49 pm
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced this afternoon the appointment of two new CUNY trustees to the 15-member board – Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro and Barry Schwartz – replacing two Pataki-era appointees whose most recent seven-year terms had expired.
Molinaro, a Conservative Party member who crossed party lines to endorse Cuomo in 2010, and Schwartz, executive vice president at MacAdams and Forbes Holdings Inc., replace Kathleen Pesile and Jeffrey Wiesenfeld, respectively.
“The City University of New York system is a world-class higher education institution that provides quality and affordable education to students in the five boroughs,” Cuomo said in a press release. “It is also a powerful economic engine in our communities, nurturing entrepreneurs and innovators and preparing the next generation’s workforce.”
“I am pleased to appoint Borough President James Molinaro and Mr. Barry Schwartz to the CUNY Board of Trustees, who will bring invaluable experience from both the public and private sectors to the University. I thank them for their leadership as CUNY continues to serve the students of New York City with the highest standards.”
Wiesenfeld, a conservative Democrat who worked briefly for the Pataki administration, is a controversial figure who has engaged in some high-profile verbal battles over the years, including an effort to block the playwright Tony Kushner from receiving an honorary degree. (Weisenfeld called him an “extremist” opponent and critic of Israel).
He also had had a very public war with an equally controversial public figure who is practially his political polar opposite – Brooklyn Councilman Charles Barron.
Wiesenfeld was initially appointed to the CUNY Board by Pataki in June 1999 and was approved by the Senate after a testy public hearing during that focused on his alleged use of objectionable language in describing Hasidic Jews and African Americans. (He refused to respond to the allegations, lodged by Isaac Abraham, a community advocate in Brooklyn). Wiesenfeld was reappointed to a second term in December 2006.
Pesile was originally appointed by Pataki in June 1998 and then reappointed in June 2005. She is a financial advisor and university educator and also a Staten Islander. She served during the Giuliani administration on the New York City Cultural Affairs Advisory Commissions. There was some controversy surrounding Pesile’s appointment, too, as Pataki sought to speed her confirmation to insure that the board passes a curb on remedial classes that he had urged.
Pesile’s eventual confirmation ended up following the board’s approval of Pataki’s plan.
Dec 9th - 3:37 pm
The legislative director of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association announced at a public employees conference in Puerto Rico on Monday he will challenge Democratic Sen. Jose Peralta next year, potentially setting up a major labor battle in the Queens district, according to a source at the event.
Alles has been interested in the seat for a while now, and The Observer’s Politicker blog reported in October he had considered launching a bid for the seat as Peralta sought the Queens borough presidency. Ultimately Peralta would drop his bid for borough president.
“Yes, there is interest,” Alles said back in October to The Observer. “It’s a little premature to say much more. I’m testing the waters, trying to solicit support.”
Peralta was one of several lawmakers secretly recorded by federal officials while meeting with ex-Sen. Shirley Huntley, but he has not been charged or implicated in any wrongdoing.
Still, as The Politicker noted, an Alles candidacy does face some challenges in a district that is 59 percent Latino.
Update: Peralta’s re-election campaign responded with a rather pointed statement.
“We welcome Dean Skelos’ neighbor from Rockville Centre to the community and to the race,” said spokesman Jake Dilemani. “As a former Long Island Republican who only recently moved to Queens to run for office, perhaps Richard Alles isn’t familiar with Senator Peralta’s progressive labor background and his distinguished record of creating jobs, strengthening our local public schools, improving public safety and fighting for working families.”