Aug 25th - 12:18 pm
Republican John Faso’s congressional campaign on Thursday released its second TV ad of the general election campaign that focuses on the candidate’s economic platform.
The 30-second ad, which comes days after the first spot which highlighted a softer touch on the candidate’s frugality, sought to shine a light on Fasos’s push to back tax and regulatory reform and his endorsement from the National Federation of Independent Business, announced earlier in the day.
“He knows the challenges forcing our young people to leave, as families and small businesses struggle,” the ad’s narrator states. “John will work to keep the jobs we have and get the economy growing.”
Faso is running for the 19th congressional district, which is being vacated by Rep. Chris Gibson. He faces Democratic candidate Zephyr Teachout.
Aug 25th - 12:00 pm
A legal challenge by the state’s Public Employees Federation challenging the legality of a fellowship program created Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration was rejected on Thursday by a state Supreme Court.
PEF, a labor groups of mostly white-collar workers, filed the legal challenge against the Empire Fellowship Program, a temporary 24-month program launched in 2015 that was aimed at bringing young people into government and introducing them to policy making.
But the union saw the fellowship program as a circumvention of the state’s civil service requirements that public workers must adhere to. The union filed an Article 78 challenge to the program, charging it discriminated against older and more experienced employees.
In the ruling by Supreme Court Justice Richard McNally tossing the suit, the challenge was deemed “arbitrary and capricious” while requiring a competitive civil service examination for the fellowship program was called impractical, given that it only lasts for two years.
Aug 25th - 11:26 am
Deputy Senate Majority Leader John DeFrancisco on Thursday in a radio interview decried what he sees as “out of control” disclosure laws after Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the latest ethics bill into law.
“We struggle to find what’s fair and sometimes we go overboard,” DeFrancisco said in a WCNY interview with The Capitol Pressroom. “I think some of the disclosure laws are ridiculous. Why the public needs to know some of these things is beyond me.”
But DeFrancisco, a Syracuse Republican, has some unlikely allies in the form of the state’s good-government groups, who are not pleased with the disclosure requirements in the new ethics law backed by Cuomo and the Legislature in June.
The ethics watchdogs are taking issue with the provisions for disclosure by non-profit organizations, which the groups say will unfairly impact entities like hospital associations.
DeFrancisco said he was heartened by the possibility of a New York Civil Liberties Union lawsuit over the law.
“It’s gone out of control and hopefully it will get back into some kind of balance,” he said.
Updated: Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi weighs in.
“Everyone is all for transparency, except when it comes to them — I’m just surprised to learn that applies to self-appointed good government groups, too,” he said.
Aug 25th - 11:09 am
Did you remember that Carl Paladino is a Buffalo Public School Board member? The polarizing developer and former gubernatorial candidate spent the summer helping the Trump campaign in New York, but with students preparing to go back to school, it’s back to politics at the local level.
Paladino and his fellow board members met for the first time in more than a month Wednesday evening. If he was looking for a reprieve from the controversial social topics surrounding the presidential race, he didn’t get it.
Just hours before the meeting began, the board decided to table a vote on a gender policy aimed at making district school’s more accommodating to transgender students. Paladino said the issue should not have been on the agenda because it’s still playing out in federal court.
Sunday, a judge in Texas issued a temporary injunction blocking an executive order that would’ve required public schools to allow students to use the bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their chosen gender identity.
“A judge has issued an injuction against Obama’s rule and what (other board members) were trying to do in discussion was obey Obama’s rule. Well, Obama has been told by the court that they need to follow proper procedures. So for that reason, it probably should have been withdrawn. But we tabled it,” Paladino said.
That did not stop dozens of members of the community from speaking out about the issue at the meeting. The board changed venues to accommodate the crowd.
The district had been working with the Pride Center of WNY to form the policy.
“There was a lot of discussion tonight people were passionate. People went so far as to say that we would have on our backs the responsibility for suicide if somebody committed suicide over this. I think the passion was over the top. There’s no place for it here and the discussion basically is we have the rights of 32,000 kids and we have the rights of the few for which this is a problem and if we can’t find some other way of addressing it I don’t think it should be addressed, Paladino said.
He went on to say that he does not believe the activist who spoke out represent the opinions of many Buffalo parents. Despite Paladino’s objections to the discussion the board plans to take it up again during a committee meeting next month.
Aug 25th - 6:15 am
From the Morning Memo:
As the efforts to encourage job and business growth in Albany come under scrutiny from the latest ratings by the National Federation of Independent Business, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul on Wednesday defended those efforts.
Speaking with reporters in Syracuse, Hochul pointed to the heavy investment by the state in economic development projects.
“You need to look at the entirity. We have now spent over $4 billion on economic development projects,” she said. “That’s pro-business — over 4,100 positions created because of that. So, we have a lot of initiatives I woul say that are helping lift up the business community, investing in them, giving them the workforce development opportunities.”
Business groups have argued the state’s approach shouldn’t be on targeted investments or tax credits, but a broader effort to scale back the state’s regulatory environment as well as improve the tax climate.
The NFIB’s legislative scorecard this week showed most legislators received lower grades this past legislative session, too, due to the approval of measures such as 12 weeks of paid family leave and the approval a minimum wage set at $15 in the downstate region.
Upstate, the wage is due to reach $12.50, which an effort to hit $15 at some point, based on economic conditions.
Hochul cited the upstate wage provision as a sign that Gov. Andrew Cuomo is taking businesses’ concerns seriously.
“There are people who wanted a $15 minimum wage tomorrow here in upstate New York,” she said. “The governor listened to those concerns and there has been a slow ramp.”
And at the same time, Hochul defended the wage hike as well as the approval of paid family leave, saying those are measures improving New Yorkers’ lives.
“I would disagree with the premise that it’s anti-business,” she said. “It’s pro-people here in the state of New York.”
Aug 25th - 6:00 am
From the Morning Memo:
Comptroller Tom DiNapoli next Monday will throw his support behind Democratic Senate candidate Leslie Danks Burke, her campaign announced.
DiNapoli’s endorsement is expected to take place at a fundraiser in Corning at the United Steel Workers Union Hall. Danks Burke is challenging Republican Sen. Tom O’Mara this fall for the Southern Tier-area Senate seat.
“As the state’s top fiscal watchdog, Comptroller DiNapoli is expected to make the case for Danks Burke as the best choice in November to help local farms, encourage small business growth, and ensure quality, affordable education for all families,” the Danks Burke campaign said in a statement.
The endorsement of Danks Burke by DiNapoli comes as Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signaled he would help Democrats gain majority control of the state Senate this election cycle.
Cuomo has been criticized in the past for not doing enough to aid Democratic candidates and the party in taking a full majority in the chamber, which Republicans have narrow control of in part due to their alliance with Brooklyn Democratic Sen. Simcha Felder.
Aug 25th - 5:13 am
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City and has nothing public planned.
Here’s your schedule:
At 11 a.m., The National Federation Of Independent Business will endorse congressional candidate John Faso, 41 Browne St., Oneonta.
At noon, local leaders will call on Rep. Elise Stefanik to oppose the Trans Pacific Trade Partnership, 136 Glen Street, Glens Falls.
At 12:30, Vassar Brothers Medical Center workers will unveil a billboard to promote staffing level concerns at the facility. 45 Reade Place, Poughkeepsie.
At 2 p.m., Assemblyman Ceretto and Mayor Dyster will discuss progress being made on Phase II of the Buffalo Avenue Rehabilitation project in Niagara Falls. Niagara Falls City Hall, 745 Main St., Niagara Falls.
Cuomo signed Albany’s latest iteration of an ethics bill on Wednesday, but good-government groups were deeply critical of the measure’s provisions.
The ethics watchdogs were especially upset over the provisions requiring new disclosure for non-profits, which they said would impact charities and have other intended consequences.
The good-government groups, which have been a thorn in Cuomo’s side, also panned the new law for not attacking the root causes of corruption in Albany.
Cuomo touted the legislation he signed on Wednesday as an “aggressive action” to crackdown on super PACs in the post-Citizens United era.
Cuomo himself, of course, was aided for two years by the Committee to Save New York, which folded just before new donor disclosure requirements were to take effect.
On the presidential level, Democrat Hillary Clinton is easily out raising Republican Donald Trump in western New York — an area that includes a number of prominent Trump supporters.
Speaking in Mississippi, Trump labeled Clinton a bigot, and urged black and Hispanic voters to support him.
The Trump rally included Nigel Farage, a British politician who led the so-called “Brexit” movement in the United Kingdom.
As Hilary Clinton sought a crackdown on abusive practices of a for-profit college, Bill Clinton received $17.6 million from the organization.
Clinton and her allies spent the day batting down an AP report that suggested she met with donors of the Clinton Foundation while she was secretary of state.
Republican County Executive Joanie Mahoney, a prominent supporter of New York’s Democratic governor, says she would have a hard time supporting Trump’s candidacy.
Former New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly says he’s “incensed” after a report was critical of police surveillance efforts in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.
The practice of paying for his meals with campaign funds has led to one of the largest fines in recent years for Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson.
After development at a Lower East Side site was allegedly blocked by then-Assemblyman Sheldon Silver as he sought to preserve the Jewish character of the neighborhood, a new project there is rising.
The developer behind the troubled Rivington House land deal is ditching a Brooklyn project at the Bedford-Union armory.
The seat that Silver vacated late last year following his corruption conviction is now the focus of a primary featuring a half-dozen candidates vying for the Democratic nomination.
New York’s top open government official is calling on the NYPD to reverse a policy of sealing internal disciplinary records for officers.
A report from Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office was deeply critical of the state’s information technology services transformation efforts, saying it was hobbled by a lack of basic planning.
As students are heading back to college campuses this month, New York is cracking down on underage drinking.
After a boating accident killed a young girl in Lake George, officials in Warren County are considering a measure that would require safety training for boat rentals.
A handful of business groups are urging upstate lawmakers to put aside party labels and join together in a regional-based caucus to promote upstate interests.
A Conservative Party candidate running for a North Country Assembly seat is the latest candidate this election cycle to oppose a potential pay increase for state lawmakers.
The Poughkeepsie Journal’s editorial board urges New York officials to do more to encourage participation in the organ donor program, which is among the lowest in the country.
In Harlem, advocates rallied as part of a push to pressure Cuomo to end the practice of solitary confinement in state prisons.
A proposal for a gender identity policy in Buffalo stirs passions at a school board meeting, though the policy itself was tabled.
With the Travers to get underway in Saratoga Springs on Saturday, an animal rights group is planning its fifth protest of the year the track.
An RA course at SUNY Binghamton designed to diffuse racial tensions is being decried for its name — “Stop White People.”
Rep. Brian Higgins, a Democrat who represents the Buffalo area, insists he’s not interested in the Erie County Community College president’s job following the retirement of Jack Quinn.
With announced plans to strike starting next month, officials at St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica will enforce a five-day lockout.
In Syracuse, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul held a forum encouraging women to get involved in politics and civic life.
Once referenced on Jeopardy! as a literal example of urban blight, a new housing development is being unveiled in Albany’s downtrodden Sheridan Hollow.
The State Fair is underway in Syracuse and yes, the butter sculpture has been officially unveiled (spoiler alter).
Aug 24th - 6:24 pm
A coalition of groups that backed Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’s presidential bid endorsed on Wednesday Paul Newell’s campaign in the 65th Assembly district.
Newell, who previously ran for Democratic nomination in the lower Manhattan district when it was represented by disgraced former Speaker Sheldon Silver, was given the nod of a range of Sanders-supporting groups, including People for Bernie, Citizen Action New York, the New York State Nurses Association and congressional candidate Zephyr Teachout.
“This is a chance for an important district to make a significant point at a pivotal moment: the political revolution has only just begun,” said Charles Lenchner, co-founder People for Bernie.
“This district is central to the fight for economic justice and raising the voice of the people in politics. Here, we have both the financial district and the birthplace of Occupy. Paul has a proven record of bringing people together, supporting social movements, and standing up for justice.”
Yuh-Line Niou, who ran on the Working Families Party line in the April special election, is once again seeking the Assembly seat now held by Democrat Alice Cancel, who was backed by allies of Silver earlier this year.
Aug 24th - 5:07 pm
Chelsea Clinton plans to remain on the board of the Clinton Foundation if her mother, Hillary Clinton, is elected president this fall, a foundation spokesman said.
An increasing number of editorial pages say the foundation should shut down or transfer operations to another charity despite its good work to avoid perceptions of “pay-for-play”, despite plans to reorganize it should Hillary Clinton win the White House.
Brooklyn DA Ken Thompson has agreed to pay a $15,000 fine as part of a settlement with NYC’s Conflicts of Interest Board for having police and security officers fetch and pay for his meals. The officers were subsequently reimbursed with office funds.
Ed Rollins, chairman of a pro-Donald Trump super PAC, says the Republican nominee would lose badly if the election was held today.
Trump’s new campaign manager Kellyanne Conway compared Clinton’s relationship with the truth to what she called former president Bill Clinton’s “casual relationships with other women.”
Trump’s son, Eric, said it would be “foolish” for his father to release his tax returns.
A new audit from the office of state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli found “significant deficiencies” in the “transformation” of information technology services at state agencies — a process that is now in its fourth year and remains ongoing.
John “Rus” Thompson refused to accept a plea offer in his voter fraud case today, opting to go to trial rather than admit to a felony.
The State Education Department has appointed the first “privacy officer” whose job it will be to make sure that student data remains confidential.
AG Eric Schneiderman said a decision by the embattled medical provider for Nassau’s jail not to bid to keep its contract is “a positive step forward” for taxpayers as his office moves ahead with its recent lawsuit against the company after a series of inmate deaths.
NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal appears on NBC’s “Running Wild with Bear Grylls” in the Adirondack Park at 10 p.m. Monday.
The Empire Center’s Kenneth Girardin: “Governor Andrew Cuomo’s new Clean Energy Standard is shaping up to be one of the largest tax hikes in state history.”
A federal judge again postponed former Town of Oyster Bay Commissioner Frederick Ippolito’s sentencing for tax evasion connected to fees received from a paving contractor, saying that information received from Ippolito and town officials about their relationship with the company was too vague and only raised more questions.
Million Dollar Beach at Lake George was closed for the second time in five days by the DEC due to elevated levels of fecal coliform in the water.
New York State’s hospitals as a whole ranked last among the 50 states, according to a report card from the federal government. New York City’s hospitals were rated even lower than the state average – and Brooklyn’s hospitals scored lower than the city as a whole.
Ramen noodles are the unofficial currency of choice inside the U.S. prison system.
Aug 24th - 4:22 pm
Seeking to address the political spending through super PACs in the wake of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday signed into law a bill that would require the disclosure for non-profit groups that engage in political activities.
The bill is also aimed at curbing the coordination between independent expenditure committees and a candidate’s campaign and require consultants and lobbyists who provide services to sitting elected officials or candidates.
Touted as the key ethics measure approved at the end of the legislative session in June, the bill has been opposed by good-government organizations for failing to address the root causes of corruption in state government and placing an overdue burden on non-profit entities.
Hours before Cuomo’s office announced he had signed the bill, a coalition of the state’s prominent ethics watchdogs called on him to veto the legislation — an unlikely move given the governor had proposed the bill. At the same time, the call to veto the legislation may have only emboldened Cuomo further, given the tensions between the governor and good-government groups in recent months.
Cuomo was pushed by ethics watchdogs this past legislative session to focus on government reform measures, many of which stood little chance of passing in the Assembly and Senate. Still, the groups insisted Cuomo could have thrown his weight behind such measures like closing the LLC loophole (Cuomo ultimately introduced multiple versions of the bill to address multiple public offices) as well as public financing of elections.
But Cuomo insists the bill is a major effort at rolling back the impact of the Citizens United decision and the influence of “dark money” in politics.
“New York is taking aggressive action to restore the people’s faith in government and increase accountability and transparency in the electoral process,” Cuomo said in a statement.
“These actions roll back the disastrous influence of Citizens United and prohibit coordination between candidates and independent expenditure committees. Through enhanced enforcement and increased penalties for political consultants who flout the law, this new legislation will root out bad actors and shine a spotlight on the sordid influence of dark money in politics. With this legislation, New York is raising the bar once again – and now it’s time for the rest of the nation to follow suit.”
The bill was proposed as New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, whom Cuomo has had a hostile public relationship with over the last year, was benefiting from the non-profit Campaign for One New York. The non-profit, which backed the mayor’s agenda, had stirred controversy for de Blasio and was ultimately shuttered.
Cuomo, too, benefited from the Committee To Save New York, a group of business interests and private-sector unions that was aligned with the governor’s agenda in 2011 and 2012. The group closed down before a law that would have required its donors be disclosed took effect.