AFL-CIO Passes Over NY-19

The AFL-CIO on Monday endorsed a host of Democratic candidates and incumbents running in key battleground districts in New York, but declined to take up an endorsement in the 19th congressional district race between Republican Rep. Chris Gibson and Democratic challenger Sean Eldridge.

The labor umbrella group also declined to endorse opponents of Republican incumbents Peter King on Long Island and western New York Rep. Chris Collins.

Rep. Richard Hanna, a Republican who fended off a primary challenge from Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney in June, does not have a Democratic opponent this fall and was not endorsed by the AFL-CIO.

“Critical issues like comprehensive immigration reform, the minimum wage, and infrastructure spending have languished at the federal level, and New York needs a strong delegation that will give Congress the kick start it so desperately needs. With our help on Election Day, our endorsed candidates will be that strong voice in Washington DC for New York’s hardworking families.”

Eldridge has rolled out a series of labor endorsements over the course of the campaign, including the influential Communications Workers of America.

But the lack of a nod from the AFL-CIO is at the least eyebrow-raising, given that the battle for the NY-19 is considered one of the more high-profile races in the state (Eldridge’s campaign had been critical of a poll from the AFL-CIO on transportation issues that showed him trailing Gibson).

‘Morning Joe’ Crew Questions Administration Email Retention

Welcome back, Gov. Andrew Cuomo: MSNBC’s Morning Joe today lumped the New York Democrat in with Republican governors around the country who face legal or ethical scandals.

The program included Cuomo in with a list of governors ranging from Rick Perry of Texas, Wisconsin’s Scott Walker and New Jersey’s Chris Christie when discussing the list of governors under fire.

Perry, the most recent addition to the list, was indicted last week over a threat to veto funds to a county public corruption office after a district attorney refused to resign following a DWI arrest.

Cuomo remains under investigation for his handling of the Moreland Commission and his office’s involvement in blocking subpoenas from the panel.

The show also questioned the state’s policy of deleting unsaved emails after three months.

Host Joe Scarborough, a former Republican congressman, also mocked Cuomo’s used of the phrase “ipso facto.”

In Radio Ads, Abortion Foes Blast Senate Democrats (Updated)

The Chiaroscuro PAC, a group opposed to abortion, has released a trio of radio ads aimed at vulnerable Senate Democrats running for re-election this year.

The ads are tailored to the districts of Sens. Terry Gipson, Cecilia Tkacyzk and Ted O’Brien, three freshman members of the mainline Democratic conference.

A sample ad can be heard here.

The spots — all titled “I Am” — criticize the lawmakers for backing a provision in the 10-point Women’s Equality Agenda that supports say is aimed at codifying the federal Roe v. Wade decision in state law, but opponents say is an unnecessary expansion of existing laws.

“New York is already considered the abortion capital of America; do we really need to extend late-term abortions into the eighth or ninth month? Do we really want to let non-doctors perform abortions on children? Statewide public polling shows that Senator Tkacyzk is way out of the mainstream in her positions.”

The ads come as Democrats are creating the Women’s Equality Party, a new ballot line that is aimed at highlighting support for the women’s agenda package, which was first proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2013 and includes anti-housing and workplace discrimination measures and a provision aimed at curtailing human trafficking.

O’Brien, a Rochester-area Democrat, meanwhile, is creating a ballot line centered around upstate taxpayers in order to highlight his support for the state’s cap on property tax increases.

Updated: Here’s a response from Tkacyzk’s campaign.

“Chiaroscuro PAC and other radical groups are spreading lies about the women’s equality agenda,” said spokesman Jim Plastiras. “The women’s equality act would simply codify the over 40 year old Roe v. Wade decision into State law, and to say that it would do anything else is a lie. Anti-choice extremist George Amedore, and his Republican allies should be ashamed of themselves for lying to the public.”

AFL-CIO Gives Its Nod To DiNapoli

Democratic Comptroller Tom DiNapoli was endorsed on Monday by the New York State AFL-CIO, an influential labor umbrella group.

DiNapoli, who was previously backed the Civil Service Employees Association, has long been supported by the state’s labor community, which in turn has helped his voter turnout operation.

“Comptroller DiNapoli understands that working men and women are the backbone of this state, and that our economy rises and falls as they do,” said Mario Cilento, President of the New York State AFL-CIO in a statement. “From his staunch defense of the defined benefit pension system to his efforts to safeguard their hard-earned tax dollars, no one does more to protect working people than Comptroller DiNapoli. We are proud to endorse Tom DiNapoli and will coordinate get-out-the-vote efforts throughout the state to ensure that the Comptroller is reelected.”

AFL-CIO praised DiNapoli’s handling of the state’s $180 billion pension fund as well as his work auditing entities like Industrial Development Agenices.

“I’m honored to receive the endorsement of the New York State AFL-CIO and proud to have the support of the hard-working union men and women of this state,” said Comptroller Tom DiNapoli. “As your Comptroller, I will continue to champion the issues that matter to our middle-class, including strengthening our pension fund and protecting taxpayer dollars from waste and fraud. Alongside President Cilento and New York’s 2.5 million AFL-CIO members, we will continue the work to make this State a better place for our families to work and live.”

DiNapoli faces Republican Onondaga County Comptroller Bob Antonacci this fall in the general election.

Cahill Stands With Donovan

ICYMI, this was the second item in today’s Morning Memo:

Republican state attorney general candidate John Cahill has issued a statement of support for Staten Island DA Dan Donovan, the GOP’s 2010 AG contender, as he continues his investigation into the death of Eric Garner.

“There is not a more conscientious, better prepared or more fair minded prosecutor than Dan Donovan,” Cahill said yesterday. “There is not a law enforcement official in America better suited to conduct this investigation…The death of Mr. Garner is tragic and his family deserves the facts, all the facts, not a political football.”

“Demagoguing New York’s law enforcement community and passing the buck yet again to a federal judge or US Attorney only deepens the divisions between those responsible for enforcing the law and the communities they are charged to protect,” Cahill concluded.

Republicans are rallying around Donovan in the face of claims – mostly from Democrats – that the DA is too close to the NYPD to conduct a fair and transparent probe into the circumstances of Garner’s death, which occurred after an officer put him in an apparent chokehold while trying to arrest him for allegedly selling untaxed, loose cigarettes.

Downstate Democratic members of New York’s congressional delegation want US AG Eric Holder to step in to investigate Garner’s death and also the NYPD’s so-called “broken windows” policy, which they believe unfairly targets blacks and Latinos.

Donovan was elected in 2003 and has twice easily won re-election on Staten Island. He’s next up in 2015, but says he hasn’t yet given any thought to whether he’ll be running – a decision that could no doubt be significantly impacted by his handling of this case.

Donovan lost the 2010 AG’s race to then-Democratic state Sen. Eric Schneiderman, who won a five-way Democratic primary in September prior to continuing on to the November general election.

In his uphill battle against Schneiderman this fall, Cahill, a former top Pataki administration aide, has been sticking largely to a law-and-order message, assailing the Democratic incumbent’s record on fighting crime. Cahill has also been hammering on Schneiderman for his role – or lack thereof – in the Moreland mess.

Despite Cahill’s repeated attacks, Schneiderman has consistently maintained a double-digit lead over his GOP opponent in public opinion polls, even widening his lead by five percentage points (from 22 to 27) in last week’s Siena poll.

NYSUT Promises ‘Aggressive’ Campaign For Candidates

The statewide teachers union on Monday announced an “aggressive” independent expenditure program on behalf of its endorsed candidates with the help of $4.2 million in cash on hand.

The New York State United Teachers union has backed a slate of Democratic Senate candidates this election cycle as a broader coalition of labor groups attempt to give the party full control of the upper chamber this fall.

“NYSUT’s VOTE-COPE fund protects our professions, the institutions in which our members work, and the people our members serve,” said NYSUT President Karen E. Magee.

The union has endorsed two Democrats in battleground races on Long Island: Adrienne Esposito and Dave Denenberg. NYSUT is also backing Leroy Comrie, the Democratic primary opponent of Queens Sen. Malcolm Smith, who faces corruption charges.

NYSUT also plans to help the three incumbent lawmakers who are top targets of Republicans: Sens. Terry Gipson, Cecilia Tkaczyk and Ted O’Brien.

“VOTE-COPE will be coming out in force to support candidates that understand the importance of public education and health care and support the values of the organized labor movement,” said NYSUT Executive Vice President Andy Pallotta.

Statewide, NYSUT has endorsed Comptroller Tom DiNapoli and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. The union, which has publicly differed with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, declined to endorse in the race for governor.

CF-02 8-2 15 14 by Nick Reisman

Samuels: Did Cuomo Load The Dice On Redistricting?

Bill Samuels, the Democratic activist and fundraiser, has sent a Freedom of Information Law request to the state Board of Elections to determine whether Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office played a role in shaping the ballot language for the upcoming vote on the redistricting amendment to the state’s constitution.

Voters in November will consider an amendment that would change the state’s redistricting process to a committee appointed by the state Legislature (whether than one with sitting lawmakers drawing their own legislative boundaries).

Some good-government groups are taking issue with the ballot language including the word “independent” in the referendum question, saying the new panel to draw Assembly, Senate and congressional districts is anything but free of legislative influence.

Samuels, who considered running for lieutenant governor earlier this year, questioned whether the Cuomo administration played a role in shaping the ballot question.

In a statement Monday morning, Samuels called on Cuomo to drop his support for the redistricting change, which he says favors Republicans retaining control of the state Senate.

“During a series of meetings this spring, I personally told Larry Schwartz and other Cuomo aides that the Governor needs to break from Republicans on redistricting and show a firm commitment to a Democratic State Senate. They haven’t listened, and now I am going public with this campaign,” said Samuels, who signaled in June that he would focus this fall on defeating the redistricting amendment.

Bill Samuels FOIL Request on Board of Elections-Cuomo- Redistricting by Nick Reisman

In Some Races, PEF Plays It Safe

From the Morning Memo:

Much was made last week of the endorsement by PEF, the state’s second-largest public workers union, of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Democratic primary challenger Zephyr Teachout.

The nod was seen both as political muscle flexing by the union’s new president, Susan Kent, and a shot across Cuomo’s bow at a time when his relationship with several public sector unions is strained.

PEF also bucked the institutional Democratic trend and backed former NYC Councilman Oliver Koppell over IDC Leader Jeff Klein, despite the Cuomo-backed deal for Klein and his fellow renegades to abandon the GOP and strike a new deal with the so-called “regular” Democrats in exchange for (among other things) seeing primary challenges to IDC members dropped.

But a full list of PEF’s legislative endorsements provided to CapTon reveals the union wasn’t so politically provocative in all its candidate selections, even opting to sit on the sidelines rather than choose sides in races where incumbents have been charged with wrongdoing.

PEF did not issue endorsements in the Brooklyn race where embattled former Senate Democratic Leader John Sampson is fighting for his political life; or in the Binghamton race where Sen. Tom Libous, the chamber’s No. 2 Republican, is doing the same.

Both Sampson and Libous have been slapped with federal corruption charges.

The union’s regional leaders recommended backing Sampson’s primary challenger Dell Smitherman, a former 1199 SEIU political coordinator, and Libous’ Democratic opponent, former Vestal Town Supervisor Anndrea Starzak; but those suggestions were not heeded when a final vote was taken at PEF’s conference last week.

PEF did back a primary challenger to another scandal-scarred senator, supporting former NYC Councilman Leroy Comrie over Sen. Malcolm Smith (another former Senate Democratic leader) in Queens.

On Long Island, PEF mostly stayed with the status quo, except in one notable case: It backed Democrat Ethan Irwin, a Levittown lawyer and former US Marine, over veteran GOP Sen. Kemp Hannon.

In two open seats on Long Island, PEF backed the Democratic candidates, choosing environmental activist Adrienne Esposito in the battle for GOP Sen. Lee Zeldin’s district (he’s running for Congress), and Dave Denenberg for ex-Sen. Chuck Fuschillo’s district.

PEF also opted for “no endorsement” in another Brooklyn district, which is represented by Sen. Simcha Felder – a Democrat who conferences with the Republicans.

In Western New York, PEF issued no endorsement in the 59th SD, which is represented by Republican Sen. Patrick Gallivan. It is also sitting out the 60th SD race, where GOP Sen. Mark Grisanti faces a primary challenge from attorney Kevin Stocker and a general election challenge from Democratic attorney Marc Panepinto.

And PEF also passed up the opportunity to choose sides in the battle over retiring GOP Sen. George Maziarz’s seat in Niagara Falls, but did give a nod to Elaine Altman – a Democrat challenge Republican Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer.

Also seeing “no endorsement” votes in their districts from PEF were GOP Sens. Cathy Young (57th SD) and Jim Seward (51st SD).

In several contested races on which control of the Senate chamber could hinge, PEF sided with the Democrats. It backed Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk over her GOP opponent (for the second election cycle in a row) ex-Assemblyman George Amedore; Sen. Terry Gipson over Republican Dutchess County Legislator Sue Serino; and Sen. Ted O’Brien over his Republican challenger, former TV news anchor Rich Funke.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule.

At 10 a.m., Westchester County Executive and GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino ill hold a press conference with Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis addressing Staten Island transportation issues and calling on the MTA to draft a 2015 capital plan, Front Street, between Thompson and Canal Streets, Staten Island.

At 11 a.m., Nassau County DA and NY-4 Democratic candidate Kathleen Rice will hold a press conference tomorrow morning to call for bipartisan congressional action to raise the federal minimum wage, Rice Campaign Office, 311 Nassau Blvd S., Garden City South.

At 11:30 a.m., Caesars New York will host Woodbury officials and members of the regional chambers of commerce to celebrate its office’s grand opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, 500 Route 32, Highland Mills.

At noon, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio makes a personnel announcement, Blue Room, City Hall, Manhattan.

Also at noon, NYC Council Members Daniel Dromm and Andy King, the Jails Action Coalition and other groups hold rally to push for changes in treatment of people detained and incarcerated on Riker’s Island, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

At 12:35 p.m., Astorino will visit and deliver remarks at the Korean Community Center, Flushing Senior Center, 42-15 166th St., Flushing.

At 1 p.m., Sen. David Carlucci and the Mental Health Association of Rockland will announce a suicide prevention “safeTALK” class for the general community, 140 Rte. 303, Valley Cottage.

At 1:30 p.m., Astorino will meet with and tour the Flushing Chinese Business Association, 4048 Main St., Flushing.

At 3 p.m., Astorino will tour various businesses in the Jackson Heights Merchants Association, beginning at Amba Jewelers, 37-13 74th St., Jackson Heights, Queens.

At 3:45 p.m., Astorino will meet with officials from the Jackson Heights Merchants Association, Jackson Diner, 37-47 74th St., Jackson Heights, Queens.

At 5:15 p.m., Astorino will visit Brooklyn’s Chinatown and meet with local merchants and the NYPD’s precinct captain and community officer about issues facing the community.

At 7:15 p.m., de Blasio speaks at the Wingate Park Concert Series, Wingate Field, Brooklyn Ave between Rutland Road and Winthrop Street, Brooklyn.

Headlines…

At least 23 people in New York City were struck by bullets this weekend – two are dead. This adds to a tally of shooting victims that is an increase of more than 10 percent over last year, to more than 822 citywide.

Dropping a health bombshell on Twitter, NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito disclosed Sunday that she has “high risk HPV.”

Mark-Viverito also revealed it had been two years since her last gynecological exam, and she will undergo a biopsy to determine if she has cervical cancer.

Jim Kelly recently met with Jon Bon Jovi to discuss partnering up in pursuit of the Buffalo Bills, but the Hall of Fame quarterback declined to enlist over lingering concerns the team could move.

Democratic Sen. Ted O’Brien – a top GOP target this fall – said he will submit 5,000 petitions on Monday to run on the “Upstate Tax Relief” line in his bid for a second term in the 55th Senate District. He’s running against the GOP’s Rich Funke.

Also launching a new ballot line: Disability rights crusader, one-time state Senate candidate and persistent Cuomo critic Michael Carey. He’s calling it the Life and Justice Party, and he wants to use it for his own gubernatorial run.

The Metropolitan Opera continued talking early this morning with the unions representing its orchestra and chorus, going past the deadline it had set of midnight Sunday for either reaching a deal or locking out its workers a little more than a month before opening night.

UPDATE: There’s a tentative deal between the Met Opera and the unions after an all-night bargaining session.

No one thinks Fordham Law School Prof . Zephyr Teachout will beat Cuomo in the Sept. 9 Democratic primary, but she could hurt him, experts said.

NYC Mayor de Blasio is in the midst of a hiring spree that will add more than 1,000 workers to the public payroll — reversing a six-year trend of downsizing city government.

Fare-beating busts on the subway have surged in recent years, and so has the number of people doing time for the $2.50 crime, making it one of the top charges that has led to incarcerations, a Daily News analysis has found.

My dad and former NYC Corporation Counsel Fritz Schwartz write in the NYDN: “The swirl of attention around Gov. Cuomo’s shuttering of the Moreland Commission is an easy distraction. Like a magician’s trick, it takes our attention off of where it should really be focused: on the commission’s crucial recommendations for campaign finance reform.”

After a brief respite from Moreland questions during his Israel trip, Cuomo returned to…more Moreland questions – even from a “friendly” interviewer, like FOX News’ Maria Bartiromo.

More >

The Weekend That Was

Texas Gov. Rick Perry defended the veto that led a grand jury to indict him on two felony counts of abuse of power, noting that even some Democrats have questioned the move by prosecutors and insisting: “I stood up for the rule of law in the state of Texas.”

The state Education Department dropped the number of raw points needed to hit proficiency levels in six of the 12 English and math exams given to students in grades 3 to 8, officials acknowledged.

In interviews with about a dozen members of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s various commissions since he took office in 2011, some said they never felt pressured to reach a particular outcome, while others described frustrations with the governor’s office’s oversight of the panels’ work.

Despite mounting criticisms, officials from the UFT doubled down on their decision to participate in the march that Rev. Al Sharpton is leading on Staten Island next Saturday to protest the death of Eric Garner.

PBA President Pat Lynch called it “disgraceful” and “ridiculous” for UFT President Mike Mulgrew to get involved with the march. The UFT declined to comment.

The family of Michael Brown, the unarmed black teenager who was fatally shot by a suburban St. Louis police officer last Saturday, may attend Sharpton’s “We Will Not Go Back” march.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has asked that a federal medical examiner do an autopsy on Brown’s body as soon as possible because of “extraordinary circumstances involved in this case and at the request of the Brown family.”

Former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik defended the military gear and tactics used by law enforcement in Ferguson to quell violence after Brown’s death, saying it was “absolutely needed.”

Multiple sources on both sides of the border have told The Buffalo News that Bon Jovi and his Toronto-based partners reached out to Jim Kelly within the past five days for a Hail Mary attempt to help salvage their beleaguered bid.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown’s son, 23-year-old Byron Brown Jr., is moving past “the incident” that occurred seven years ago and believes he has found his niche as a filmmaker.

Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw’s public office is “Buffalo’s strangest new art gallery.”

The two young Amish sisters who were kidnapped from their farm in Oswegatchie, N.Y., near the Canadian border last week were sexually assaulted, authorities say.

On Saturday, Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino was at a pro-gun rally in Ontario County.

A Bronx judge kept NYC Councilman Fernando Cabrera on the ballot in his primary challenge against Sen. Gustavo Rivera because Rivera’s team failed to properly serve a subpoena to the petition carrier for Cabrera who allegedly collected fraudulent signatures.

Hillary Clinton likes to travel in style.

Clinton’s East Hampton book signing was not a low-key affair.

Kevin Spacey, as Frank Underwood, helped Clinton celebrate the 68th birthday of her husband, the former president.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio spends hours on the phone seeking counsel from liberal confidants like Sharpton, SEIU 1199 President George Gresham, political consultants Valerie Berlin and Jonathan Rosen, and top aides to Bill Clinton, a “well-placed Democratic insider” told The Post.

NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer found the Parks Department has been paying contractors for tree pruning that was never done, and also paying them to prune the wrong trees.

The Southampton and Tuckahoe school districts on Long Island will once again attempt to merge after voters wary of tax hikes rejected the idea last year.

The NY Daily News sides with Donald Trump in his effort to get JCOPE to investigate AG Eric SChneiderman.

The state is still trying to collect $68,000 in back rent from Rep. Charlie Rangel, but his office insists he’s up to date on payments.

Former Manhattan DA Robert M. Morgenthau and his wife, Lucinda Franks, were an original “power couple,” and she has memorialized their nearly 40-year union in a new book.

The first steps to securing two giant pandas for the city are underway, Rep. Carolyn Maloney said today after returning from a two-week trip to China.

The world’s best bass fishing professionals are schooling in the Village of Union Springs, Cayuga County, on the east side of Cayuga Lake this week for the A.R.E. Truck Caps Bassmaster Elite Series Tournament.