Nov 8th - 11:12 am
He’s labeled himself the “people’s independent watchdog.” And after 18 months of campaigning “the people” elected Stefan Mychajliw to a full term as Erie County Comptroller.
“They like the idea that I stand up for taxpayers and hammer politicians. So I feel as though I have the greatest job in the world,” Mychajliw said.
One of Mychajliw’s favorite targets, since winning a special election to occupy the office for one year, is Erie County Executive and former County Comptroller Mark Poloncarz. The two have sparred publically over budgeting, record keeping, and vacancies in Child Protective Services.
“There’s a long history of comptrollers holding the County Executive Accountable. To his credit Mark Poloncarz held the previous County Executive accountable,” said Mychajliw.
The Poloncarz Administration, and several Erie County Democrats, have accused Mychajliw of politicizing his office. The public back and forth has caused speculation that Mychajliw has his eye on Poloncarz’s job.
“I’ll let politicians and pundits talk about future political races my focus right now is fixing county government,” Mychajliw said.
The pundits have the 39-year-old Republican on a short list of candidates to challenge Poloncarz in 2015. After a convincing win Tuesday night, Erie County Republican Chair Nick Langworthy hinted Mychajliw may be under consideration.
“He’s made a terrific transition into public service really a continuation of his work as an investigative journalist. People trusted him to deliver the facts when he was a journalist and they trust him to watch their money at county hall. And he is a natural with the people. He has a great deal of charisma. And I think his future is very bright,” said Langworthy.
While Republicans are outnumbered by Democrats 2-1 in registered voters, Langworthy believes Tuesday’s historic results are proof Poloncarz is vulnerable. When voters flipped control of the Erie County legislature to the GOP for the first time since 1977, Langworthy believes the electorate sent a clear message.
“I believe it’s a rebuke of the County Executive and his agenda,” Langworthy said.
Poloncarz seemed to find that suggestion laughable. During an interview with YNN Thursday night, he pointed out control of the legislature came down to an open seat that was previously held by a conservative Democrat.
“I don’t think there was a rebuke. And if there was, why didn’t they mention me in their campaigns. Instead, they said it afterwards. Which is just spin,” said Polancarz.
Political science professor at Canisius College, and Democratic Analyst, Michael Haselswerdt says defeating Poloncarz seems much more realistic now than it did a week ago. Whether or not Mychajliw is the one to do it, is another story.
“He’s pretty green, still. I mean, he should give this at least a term, and maybe another one before he tries to present himself as county exec material but we’ll see. People get pretty heady after an election victory,” Haselswerdt said.
Mychajliw does have name recognition. Former Erie County Democratic Party Chairman Len Lenihan says it gives him a clear advantage.
“If you look at not only Erie County but statewide, nationwide, when they pick broadcasters or media types who are in the news all the time they usually win. I think he’s probably grooming himself for something else. I mean Stefan is a very good media person. He’s a great self-promoter,” said Lenihan.
But Lenihan cautioned Mychajliw, and his party not to get ahead of themselves.
“I think Republicans need to be careful not to be over-zealous. Mychajliw got into office and started attacking Mark (Poloncarz) the first day. It went on everyday for the past year. Now that they have the legislature if it looks like their sole objective is partisan advantage that may work against them,” Lenihan said.
Mychajliw has been aggressive, claiming to have doubled the amount of audits performed in the first 10 months of his tenure than the two previous comptrollers. It’s an approach he doesn’t plan on changing.
“I have a lot of concerns about the County Executive’s proposed budget. I don’t think it’s right that we kick the can on pension payments. And that taxpayers in 2024 are being forced to pay a pension bill that’s due right now. We should not be using one shot revenues to balance the budget,” Mychajliw said.
While Poloncarz declined to comment on his relationship with Mychajliw, Mychajliw said he plans to sit down with the County Executive next week to discuss what he called “common goals.”
“I think it’s the nature of that position that could be perceived as if there’s a lot of butting heads. It’s not reflective of the people in the office, that’s reflective of the positions of the two offices,” Mychajliw said.
As for his political ambitions, Mychajliw is playing it close to the vest.
“I’m going to savor and be very appreciative of these two county-wide victories, and then make a decision about the future,” Mychajliw added
Nov 8th - 9:52 am
You gotta give State GOP Chairman Ed Cox some credit. Here we are in San Juan where you practicality have to show a Democratic Party allegiance card to get in, and there he is hosting a reception in order to broaden the appeal of the New York Republican Party – particularly among Latinos.
But if the stated goal was to recruit new members, the Republicans sure had a peculiar way of showing it.
The reception followed the one hosted by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Somos host, Assemblyman Felix Ortiz. It was on the second floor of the hotel in what can best be described as a back room. One of the nicest bars in the Condado Hotel, I must admit, although not a ton of space. I came in and set up the camera, mostly to see who would show up. But when I walked out of the room I noticed someone arguing with a potential guest.
Former City Council Candidate Ralina Cardona was trying to get into the party, but was told “no” because ( you ready for this??? ) she “wasn’t on the list.”
I am forever reminded that life is high school.
Ralina and crew eventually brushed past the invisible velvet rope, which was fine since it’s not like the room was that packed. But it occurred to me that if the message is “inclusion,” this was an odd way to welcome people.
Thinking this was maybe an isolated incident, I walked back outside the reception when I heard a familiar voice calling my name. It was Sen. Martin Dilan, a Brooklyn Democrat, who immediately unburdened himself with a lengthy explanation about how he too had been excluded from the GOP party.
Forgetting for a minute that it really wasn’t my place to invite him, I offered to take him inside with me to which he quipped: “I don’t want to go into any party that doesn’t want me inside.” His arms were definitely crossed, and I am pretty sure he stomped his foot when he said it, which doesn’t change the fact that he is correct.
Thinking I was now part of something really exclusive, I triumphantly sauntered back into the room and waited for the guest of honor, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, who is coming off a big win.
When prompted, Astorino explained that Westchester is a “deep blue” county, and he cleaned up with 60 percent of the Hispanic vote in Westchester. This is an interesting statistic for the GOP, which needs desperately to make inroads with Latinos. For reference, we should note that Gov. Chris Christie won 51 percent of the Hispanic vote in New Jeresey this past Tuesday.
These are precisely the types of numbers that allow Republicans to win statewide or even national elections. Asked about potentially challenging Gov. Andrew Cuomo next year ( a decision that he’ll have to make quite soon if not already ), Astorino was demure, saying:
“We are the highest could County in America, we are the highest taxed State in America. We gotta make some fundamental change because our State is fundamentally oubalances lance right now.”
Hmmmm. I’ll take that as an “I’m still thinking about it” answer. But then again what do I know? I was reporting from inside the party that’s still literally telling people they are not welcome.
Nov 8th - 8:49 am
For now at least, it would seem that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is firmly in control of the Democratic Conference in the Asssembly and by extension, his leadership position.
It wasn’t an overwhelmingly well attended welcome reception that Silver hosted with Asssemblyman Felix Ortix last night here in San Juan, but there were enough members representing enough geographic diversity to make clear that not much has changed since the band was last all together in Albany back in June.
Queens Assemblyman David Weprin said that the speaker has “100 percent support” in the conference, and while that might have been a tad generous, he was not alone in his assessment. Assemblyman Tom Abinanti echoed the sentiment,
“I don’t think there is any wavering in support for the Speaker. He’s done what we wanted him to do which is bring us together, cone up with a budget we can live with ands the Assembly passed a lot of good bills last year. not all of them became law, but t he Assembly was able to come together and pass a whole agEdna, very good pieces of legislation for the state of New York.”
Silver, who might actually be a perpetually reincarnated superhero, never seems to lose his control of this conference.
Last spring it was the women assembly members who steadfastly stood by him as the messy Vito Lopez affair unloaded on his watch. Then we learned about another case where harassment complaints were made, this time against Micah Kellner, a Manhattan Democrat, and NEW questions arose about how the speaker handled them.
We haven’t heard much from Silver or the members since then on this matter, though we do know Kellner will be returning to Albany, since he NYC Council bid failed this fall.
One assemblywoman who was here last night probably summed it up perfectly when she told me “no one talks to each other, ” when it comes to the Assembly leadership. She added, “besides, who would take over?!? There is no one.”
That feeling also seems pervasive if not universal.
However, if we have learned anything from how City Council speaker races are decided, sometimes it’s not the individual members who make leadership decisions but the county chairs who tell them how to vote. Tonight the Democratic chairs of all five NYC boroughs will be having dinner together at Ruth’s Chris steakhouse in San Juan. Among the topics expected to be discussed is the future leadership of the Assembly speakership.
Because as one source noted, “20 years is a long time.”
Nov 8th - 6:22 am
Posted by Liz Benjamin in [...]
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in the “New York City area” with no public schedule.
At 7:50 a.m, the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is delivered from Shelton, Conn., 30 Rockefeller Plaza, 49th Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues, Manhattan.
At 8 a.m., Mayor Bloomberg does his weekly radio appearance on WOR-AM (710).
At 9:30 a.m., AARP NY holds a roundtable on older adult hunger and ways to get more eligible seniors food assistance, Crandall Library, 251 Glen St., Glens Falls.
From 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., the executive director of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” program, Sam Kass; Rep. Jerrold Nadler and officials from the Children’s Museum of Manhattan and the National Institutes of Health discuss expansion of an “EatPlayGrow” early childhood health curriculum; 212 W. 83rd St., Manhattan.
At 10:30 a.m., IDC Leader Jeff Klein and City Island Civic Association members announce lawsuit against a new proposed City Island bridge, Catherine Scott Promenade, 549 City Island Ave., the Bronx.
At 11 a.m., Reps. Eliot Engel and Jose Serrano, Food Bank For New York City President and CEO Margarette Purvis and representatives of at least 14 of the food bank’s member agencies discuss federal SNAP funding while touring the food bank’s warehouse; 355 Food Center Dr., the Bronx.
At 11:30 a.m., NYC Central Labor Council President Vincent Alvarez, state AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento, Reps. Yvette Clarke, Carolyn Maloney, Grace Meng and Jerrold Nadler and union officials representing NYCHA workers discuss federal budget negotiations and the agency’s management; conference room, fifth floor, Teamsters Local 237, 216 W. 14th St., Manhattan.
At 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., NY1′s “Road to City Hall” features Mark Halperin, co-author of “Double Down.”
At 9 p.m., NYC Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio delivers remarks at Assemblyman Felix Ortiz’s Somos el Futuro reception, Condado Hilton Hotel, 999 Ashford Ave., San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Unlike Mayor Bloomberg, who has his own private jet, de Blasio and his wife, Chirlane McCray, flew commercial — JetBlue Flight 406 — and in coach.
De Blasio’s Park Slope neighbors want the family to remain in Brooklyn. Consultant George Arzt says that would be a “great move” for the “populist mayor.”
If the family does move to Gracie Mansion, Dante de Blasio will have a long commute (especially if he takes public transportation) to his Brooklyn high school – a fate many NYC students share.
“With his populist rhetoric, de Blasio is walking a fine line.”
De Blasio found some fellow Red Sox fans in Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro García Padilla and hiw wife, Wilma Pastrana.
Sen. Liz Krueger is reportedly under consideration by the mayor-elect to be the city’s next housing czar.
A day after de Blasio – its staunchest defender – was elected mayor, financially troubled Long Island College Hospital decreed that it would not accept any new patients and even banned ambulances from bringing people to the emergency department.
Four NYPD unions moved to position themselves to appeal a federal-court ruling on the department’s stop-and-frisk practice in the event de Blasio makes good on his pledge to drop the appeal once he is in office.
After weeks of growing tensions between the executive and legislative branches, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Senate co-leader Dean Skelos met face-to-face Wednesday to try to end their war of words and legal tussles.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver joined his fellow Democrats at Somos, and was said by Queens Assemblyman David Weprin to have “pretty much 100 percent support” from his conference members despite numerous problems in recent months.
Nov 7th - 5:54 pm
Posted by Liz Benjamin in [...]
The US Senate passed ENDA, 64-32.
Georgina Bloomberg, who’s pregnant with Mayor Bloomberg’s first grandchild, says her father “isn’t particularly good with children,” adding: “I’m not sure I’ll be having him babysit.”
Writer Jonathan Kozol was “utterly shocked” by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s death penalty for failing schools comment.
Former Bloomberg Deputy Mayor Ed Skyler offered cautious optimism about the de Blasio administration, but noted big challenges face the new mayor.
The cops currently assigned to the outgoing mayor’s security detail have been told there are six-figure jobs waiting for them protecting him as a private citizen.
Part of Bloomberg’s legacy: An FDA trans-fat ban.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan is calling on the House to act on immigration legislation before the end of the year.
Doctors at the Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital say they triggered the state’s investigation into whether Upstate President Dr. David R. Smith padded his pay.
Smith has resigned.
Union leaders are saying they won big this election cycle, not just in NYC, but around the country.
Attorney Frank Steinherr wants to challenge Sean Eldridge for the Democratic line in NY-19 next year.
President Obama considered veteran Harlem Rep. Charles Rangel a political hack, the new book “Double Down” claims.
Marissa Shorenstein, former spokeswoman to gubernatorial candidate Carl McCall and Gov. David Paterson, reflects on what makes a successful flack. (Lesson 1: Connections don’t hurt).
The City of Fulton in Oswego County is so far the only municipality to have applied to Cuomo’s Financial Restructuring Board for assistance.
Former Congressman-turned-TV-host Joe Scarborough: NJ Gov. Chris Christie is a “man for all factions” (if the GOP will have him).
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton is among those urging Hillary Clinton to try again for the presidency in 2016.
There will be new parent-teacher conferences for the families of students who performed poorly on the controversial new Common Core tests last year.
Nov 7th - 5:34 pm
Sen. Lee Zeldin, one of two Republicans vying for the chance to take on Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop in the NY-1 later next year, will hold his first fundraiser next Thursday, according to an email blasted out by his campaign this afternoon.
The Nov. 14 fundraiser will be held at the Suffolk County home of Steve and Carolyn Louro, with “event sponsor” status tickets running $5,000. The distinction also affords the donor recognition and a photo op.
Lower echelon tickets range from $300 to $1,000.
“Your strong early help will send a strong message that we will have the sources we need to deliver our message throughout this campaign!” the invite says.
Zeldin’s fundraising comes after Republican former SEC prosecutor George Demos entered the race with a self-financed $1 million contribution to his campaign coffers.
Demos, who initially sought the GOP nomination in 2012, dropped out of the race in the spring to plan his wedding.
Nov 7th - 3:01 pm
Lawyers for former Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno requested in a letter to federal Judge Gary Sharpe that his corruption trail be postponed to April so the Rennselaer County Republican could recover from cancer surgery.
Federal prosecutors who are prosecuting the 84-year-old Bruno in a subsequent letter to not object, but are pushing for a Feb. 3 trial date. They noted in the letter that an October letter from Bruno’s doctor estimated he would need 90 to 120 days to recover from the September surgery.
A spokesman for Bruno previously announced the former senator was in recovery after a tumor was removed from his kidney in September.
The upcoming trial would be Bruno’s second on bribery charges. A 2009 conviction was vacated following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the theft of honest services charges Bruno was found guilty under.
Bruno was the Republican majority leader in the Senate from 1994 through his resignation in June 2008.
The letters, filed with the U.S. District Court in Albany last month, are below.
Nov 7th - 2:43 pm
Erie County Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy swung back at Democratic Sen. Tim Kennedy after the lawmaker sent a letter to the state ethics panel seeking an investigation of state GOP Chairman Ed Cox.
Kennedy in a letter to Joint Commission on Public Ethics Chairman Daniel Horwitz called for the probe after Cox gave a speech critical of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s hesitation on permitting high-volume hydrofracking in New York.
Kennedy in the letter noted that Cox has financial ties to the the natural gas industry.
But in a statement Thursday afternoon, Langworthy comes to Cox’s defense.
“Tim Kennedy has demonstrated just how out of touch he is with the hardworking people of Western New York,” Langworthy said in the statement. “Our State Republican Chairman Ed Cox has been admirable in his full, voluntary public disclosure of his ties to Noble Energy, a successful company that has no stake in New York State. Tim Kennedy should spend less time grabbing cheap political headlines and sound-bytes and more time worrying about jobs for Western New Yorkers. Erie County residents want more jobs and economic development. They showed that on Tuesday by electing Republicans across Erie County — including electing a Republican Majority to the County Legislature for the first time in 36 years.”
Nov 7th - 12:57 pm
Long Island Rep. Peter King may have an irascible relationship these days with his own party, especially on the national level.
But today King endorsed fellow Republican and fellow Long Islander Lee Zeldin, one of two GOP candidates who is trying to unseat Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop in the NY-1.
“Senator Lee Zeldin is a veteran, former federal prosecutor and dedicated public servant who we need fighting for Long Islanders in Congress. Lee’s character is one of integrity, action and intellect,” said Congressman King. “In Albany, Lee has proven to be in-touch with the people he represents, fighting hard for what matters most to them. While the repeal of the MTA Payroll Tax for eighty percent of the employers in our area was one of his first accomplishments, the creation of the PFC Joseph P. Dwyer Peer Support Program for veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is one of his proudest.”
Zeldin has been racking up a series of endorsements from the GOP establishment locally and even nationally, including U.S. Sen. John McCain.
Republican George Demos, who doesn’t have the support from the local and state party apparatus, did get a boost from an endorsement made by former Gov. George Pataki.
Nov 7th - 12:51 pm
Much has been made of the ascendancy of the Working Families Party in New York city since this Tuesday’s elections. Between Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio and Public Advocate Tish James, the labor-backed third party will certainly not be lacking for allies at City Hall in Lower Manhattan.
But the party is also touting is success outside the city in some more low-key races, many of which (with the exception of local media) flew under the radar.
In an email to supporters sent out yesterday afternoon, WFP State Director Bill Lipton reiterated that the party has been playing a “long game” with its “Progressive Pipeline” program by nuturing candidates at the local level in hopes of seeing them either 1) start a trend that results in more like-minded candidates running for – and winning – elected office, or 2) rising to a higher post with more clout.
Lipton singled out several races around the state in which the WFP played a role, including;
- The city of Plattsburgh, where two WFP-backed candidates – Rachelle Armstrong, a NYSUT member and teacher of 23 years; and Mike Kelly – won seats on the Council.
- The city of Syracuse, where, as Lipton wrote: “After eking out a victory against Howie Hawkins with only a few dozen votes two years ago, Khalid Bey won re-election in the Syracuse Common Council’s 4th District loud and clear, with nearly 500 votes. The difference this time? WFP, which, according to the Syracuse Post-Standard, ‘coordinated an intensive get-out-the-vote effort on his behalf during the past few weeks’ to help Bey get over the top.”
- The Town of Hamburg. The WFP’s Erie County Legislature candidate Mike Schraft came up just short against an incumbent Independent that caucuses with the Republicans. But another WFP favorite, Mike Quinn, an Army veteran, won a Town Board seat.
- Long Island. The WFP failed in its bid to unseat Republican Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano (it backed Democrat Tom Suozzi), but saw another candidate, Anthony Eramo, a registered WFP member, win a seat on the Long Beach City Council.
- The Town of Rosendale. Lipton, who grew up upstate, wrote: “Jen Metzger, who lost to a Republican the last time around, handily won her race for Council by hundreds of votes yesterday, showing what a difference the WFP can make. We look forward to seeing Metzger thriving as a smart, progressive legislator and an embodiment of the model that WFP hopes to replicate all over the state.”
- Orange County. “Shannon Wong won the most visible election for Orange County legislature this year, and her successful experience as an advocate for women’s rights give her the potential to become one of the most effective legislators in the county. She attracts a broad base of progressive support and we think she has great potential going forward,” Lipton wrote.
- Yonkers and Ulster and Dutchess Counties. “Gerard Lyons lost a tough rematch for Ulster County Legislature by only a few dozen votes, and Rocky Richard is down in her race, not fully tallied, for Westchester County Legislature. Francena Amparo is down by a handful of votes with absentee ballots yet to be counted.”