Grisanti Fundraises Off Peralta, Moya Knocks

After DREAM Act supporters in the Legislature blasted his first TV ad that highlighted his opposition to the bill, Buffalo Republican Sen. Mark Grisanti is using the statements as a fundraising tool.

In a fundraising email with the subject line “That didn’t take long…” (Some could say the same thing on the quick turnaround time with the email after we reported on the statements here), Grisanti’s campaign says he’s already being targeted by “the liberal NYC attack machine.”

The 30-second TV ad released this week highlighted Grisanti’s opposition to the Dream Act, which provides tuition assistance to the children of undocumented immigrants, as well as public financing of political campaigns and the scuttled, Cuomo-backed plan to provide college classes to prison inmates (the governor is now turning to private sources for the funds).

DREAM Act sponsors in the Legislature, Sen. Jose Peralta and Assemblyman Francisco Moya subsequently blasted the ad.

“As soon as I started standing up for Western New York, the liberal NYC attack machine kicked into overdrive,” the campaign writes. “Donate Now To Fight Back Against New York City! They want to use your tax dollars to give college degrees to convicts and free college education to people who broke the law and are here illegally. I’m standing up to them, but I need your help.”

Independence Party Questions Stefanik’s Paltry Signatures

The state Independence Party questioned the low number of petition signatures for the third-party’s ballot line by Republican Elise Stefanik’s congressional campaign, saying it was a sign she was “not ready for prime time.”

Stefanik, the party’s vice chairman Tom Connolly said, filed 137 signatures of Independence Party members while the law requires 1,222.

The party has previously indicated its preference for Matt Doheny, her Republican primary challenger in the NY-21.

“That is why today we are reiterating our support for Matt Doheny,” Connolly said in the statement. “Matt is North Country through and through, what you see is what you get. He is a straight talking, hard–working family man with a deep knowledge of the issues that confront the 21st CD. When he is elected to Congress there will be no games, no political insiders – just what’s right for the North Country. “

The timing, of course, comes as the state Conservative Party’s executive committee voted Stefanik its preferred candidate over Doheny.

Chairman Mike Long in an interview with The Post-Star indicated that the Conservative Party expects Stefanik to win her primary against Doheny, a comment that the latter’s campaign quickly rebuffed.

Maloney Raises Off Ryan Contribution to Hayworth

The DCCC is using Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget, passed last week by the GOP-controlled House, as political fodder against incumbent Republicans seeking re-election and GOP challengers trying to unseat incumbent Democrats.

It’s a bit of a stretch to tie candidates who didn’t actually cast a vote on the budget to the document, especially if – like Sen. Lee Zeldin, who is running in NY-1 – they side step the issue by refusing to endorse anything they haven’t yet read.

But Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney has something concrete to link his GOP opponent, former Rep. Nan Hayworth, to Ryan: A $5,000 contribution from the former VP candidate’s political action committee, “Prosperity PAC.”

Maloney today sent a fundraising email to supporters with the subject line “Paul Ryan’s gift to Nan Hayworth,” noting that the former congresswoman “spent years actively supporting Ryan’s budget, disastrous cuts to Medicare and all.”

“Then just last week she goes so far as to DELETE Facebook messages from New Yorkers demanding she drop her support,” Maloney wrote. “And now her reward: campaign cash from Ryan – and I’m sure more to come from the special interests that support his policies.”

“It’s pretty simple from here – we either match them dollar for dollar, or we lose this seat to the Tea Party. So I need your help….When the attacks start (and it will happen soon), they can’t go unanswered. That’s a recipe for disaster. Thanks for helping me fight back against bad policy and the billionaires who back it.”

Over the next 24 hours, Maloney is trying to match the $5,000 Ryan gave to Hayworth.

The congressman has continued to out-fundraise Hayworth, who is launching a re-match against the Democrat after he ousted her from power two years ago.

According to the latest FEC filings, Maloney raised a little more than $472,000 this past quarter. After expenses, Maloney was left with about $1.5 million in the bank. Hayworth raised nearly $282,000. She has about $663,000 cash on hand.

Of note: Trying to generate a sense of urgency, Maloney’s email claims the State of Politics report on Ryan’s contribution to Hayworth “just” came out, which is technically not true. Michael Scotto filed that report several days ago.

State Unemployment Ticks Upward

The unemployment rate in New York grew last month by 0.1 percent to 6.9 percent, according to new figures released by the state Department of Labor.

Overall, the state’s private-sector job count remained essentially flat at 7.5 million, which remains an all-time high for March, the Labor Department said.

In the last year, the state’s economy has added 108,200, a growth rate of 1.5 percent.

“The state’s economy held steady in March 2014. Looking over the past year, the state has added more than 100,000 private sector jobs. In addition, the state’s jobless rate has declined by 1.0 percentage point over the past 12 months, which is a steeper rate drop than in the nation as a whole over the same time frame,” said Bohdan M. Wynnyk, Deputy Director of the Division of Research and Statistics.

The Labor Department attributed the increase in unemployment in part to the state’s “growing labor force” which has expanded by 22,900 people between February and March.

Nationally the unemployment rate was 6.7 percent in March.

Cuomo Taps Google Chief For Education Bond Act Panel

Though voters are yet to consider a $2 billion bond act for education infrastructure and technology upgrades at New York schools, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday named a commission that would provide recommendations on how best to spend the money.

Included on the commission is Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman and former CEO of Google, a company that is best known for its search engine, but has also entered the laptop and tablet computer market in recent years.

In addition, Cuomo is also turning to Harlem Children’s Zone President and CEO Geoffrey Canada and Constance Evelyn, Superintendent of the Auburn School District in Cayuga County.

“It is a simple fact that disparity remains in our education system, with some schools providing tablets in the first grade and others where the most sophisticated piece of electronic equipment is the metal detector that students walk through on the way to the classroom,” Cuomo said in a statement. “In the State of the State, we called for a $2 billion Smart Schools Initiative to transform our classrooms from the classrooms of yesterday to the classrooms of tomorrow. This panel will help guide this bold initiative and reimagine our classrooms to provide New York’s students with the skills they need to succeed in the 21st century economy.”

The $2 billion borrowing proposal still has to be approved by voters, who are due to consider the ballot referendum this fall.

Cuomo proposed the bond act in January as way to improve technology in the classroom as well as potentially build more space for pre-Kindergarten programs.

Gibson Voted Against Ryan Budget, But Eldridge Says Its Still An Issue (Updated)

From the morning memo:

Can the latest — and last — austerity budget proposal from Rep. Paul Ryan be a political problem for Rep. Chris Gibson even if he voted against it?

His Democratic challenger, Sean Eldridge, believes it can be.

Eldridge has criticized Gibson’s support for aspects of the Ryan budget plan ranging from tax cuts to changes to Medicaid.

Eldridge in a statement suggested Gibson is essentially trying to have it both ways as he runs for re-election in a decidedly purple-tinged swing district.

“This is not the first time we’ve seen Chris Gibson act like a typical politician in an election year, but voters have the right to know where he stands on these important issues,” Eldridge said. “Unlike Chris Gibson, there is no mistaking my view on the policies the Ryan budget promotes. I would never support them, regardless of which way the political winds are blowing. The Republican budget proposals are dangerous for the Hudson Valley, and wrong for everyday Americans.”

The fight for the Hudson Valley congressional seat — the NY-19 — is expected to be one of the most heated, and expensive, House races this fall.

Updated: State Republican spokesman David Laska sent this statement along earlier (Which I neglected to spot this morning).

“If Sean Eldridge isn’t a typical politician, it’s because most politicians don’t spend their husband’s money trying to buy elections in districts they just moved into. Sean Eldridge’s utter lack of experience and connections to the 19th Congressional District make it no surprise that, as we learned yesterday, he’s struggling to fill senior campaign positions as he pursues his vanity candidacy.”

Dream Act Supporters Blast Grisanti Ad

From the morning memo:

Supporters of the DREAM Act are blasting a campaign ad from Buffalo Republican Sen. Mark Grisanti that highlights his opposition to the legislation.

Grisanti, who is considered a moderate given his votes in favor of the gun control bill known as the SAFE Act and support for same-sex marriage, released a TV ad that touts his opposition to the measure, as well as the public financing of political campaigns and providing college inmates with access to college courses.

For supporters of the DREAM Act, Grisanti’s opposition comes off especially harsh.

“What the campaign ad unveiled today makes obvious is that the Republican leadership’s willingness to allow a Senate vote on the DREAM Act had everything to do with politics and nothing to do with policy,” said Sen. Jose Peralta, a Queens Democrat. “While there is a growing consensus among business, labor and Republican and Democratic leaders across the country on the importance and economic benefits of reforms such as the DREAM Act,New York Republicans cling to narrow-minded ideals in a misguided bid to keep to the right of Rick Perry.”

The measure, which provides tuition assistance to the children of undocumented immigrants, was voted down in the Senate after it failed to achieve the needed 32 votes for passage.

The hope at the time was that at least two Republicans — supporters had been eyeing Sens. Jack Martins and Phil Boyle of Long Island — as potential yes votes.

Assemblyman Francisco Moya, the lead sponsor of the measure in the Assembly, went further, calling the ad “disgraceful.”

“The ad touts his opposition to several forward-thinking pieces of legislation, including the DREAM Act, as if it’s a good thing,” Moya said. “It’s not. Preventing New York’s children from going to college is nothing to be proud of. In fact, this ad makes plain what we suspected all along, that Republican opposition to the DREAM Act was based on political convenience, not principle. Opposing the DREAM Act just to score political points is shameful. When New York’s DREAMers are unable to go to college and are then forced to live lives of underpaid, under-the-table work, we’ll know who to thank, Senator Mark Grisanti.”

Latino lawmakers have vowed to push for the bill in the post-budget legislative session after it was not included in the 2014-15 state budget.

Here and Now

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

At 8:50 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio appears on HOT 97.

At 9 a.m., SUNY hosts a green infrastructure summit, with representatives from the EPA and the DEC, SUNY Plaza, 353 Broadway, Albany.

At 10 a.m., NYC Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez, NYC DOT Commissioner Trottenberg and others make a traffic safety announcement at East 183rd Street and Grand Concourse, the Bronx.

At 10:30 a.m., NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray reads to children at Kings County Hospital Pediatric Center, Kings County Hospital Center, Building E, 541 Clarkson Ave., Brooklyn.

Also at 10:30 a.m., EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck, state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Deputy Commissioner Tom Alworth and Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan host “#NatureSelfie” photo project demonstration, by tulip beds along Madison Avenue, Washington Park, Albany.

At 11 a.m., Sen. Tony Avella hosts press conference to announce a tax relief program for homeowners, renters, co-op and condo owners in the 2014-15 state budget, Glen Oaks Co-Op, 70-33 260th St., Queens.

At noon, Enck delivers a keynote address at SUNY’s green infrastructure summit, SUNY Plaza, 353 Broadway, Albany.

Also at noon, black clergy members call on de Blasio to appoint more members of color in his administration, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

At 12:45 p.m., de Blasio holds a press conference to make an announcement, Build It Back Center
1976 Hylan Blvd., Staten Island.

At 1 p.m., Assemblyman Karim Camara, foster care and workforce development agencies and foster youth hold a roundtable at The Children’s Aid Society, Next Generation Center, 1522 Southern Blvd., the Bronx.

At 1:30 p.m., Westchester County Executive and gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino will be a guest on the John Gomez Show, Long Island News Radio 103.9.

At 3 p.m., IDC Leader Jeff Klein and Assemblyman Marcos Crespo unveil legislation to put the brakes on “boozy and out of control underage party buses,” Villa Barone Manor, 737 Throggs Neck Expressway, the Bronx.

At 6 p.m., de Blasio speaks at Speakers on the Square, NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, 566 LaGuardia Pl., Manhattan.

Also at 6 p.m., Astorino will address the NYU College Republicans, Kimmel Center for University Life, 60 Washington Square S., Manhattan.

At 6:30 p.m., AG Eric Schneiderman’s office and Assemblyman Brian Curran host a public forum on consumer protection from fraud, Malverne Public Library, 61 St. Thomas Place, Malverne.

At 7:30 p.m., Astorino will attend a fundraiser hosted by New York County GOP Chairman Dan Isaacs, Dorrian’s, 1616 Second Ave., Manhattan.

At 9 p.m., Astorino will attend another fundraiser hosted by Isaacs, Ricardo Steak House, 2145 Second Ave., Manhattan.


Basil Paterson, New York’s first black state secretary of state, a former senator, “Gang of Four” member and father of ex-Gov. David Paterson, has died at the age of 87 – 11 days shy of his 88th birthday.

The Paterson family released this statement shortly after midnight:

“Basil was well known throughout the community as a man of action, as someone who set his mind to accomplishment and always met those goals. He was a selfless leader and he dedicated his life to making sure others lives were better.”

“Throughout his life, he was known as a pillar of strength by so many throughout New York. For that, we know he was grateful.”

“While he dedicated his life to public service, his great love was his family. We will remember him most of all as a man of conviction, a man of courage and a man of integrity. He will be greatly missed.”

TWU Local 100 wants Cuomo to “personally intervene” in its contract negotiations with the MTA where “significant stumbling blocks remain.”

The NYT reports the TWU and MTA appear close to a contract deal two years after the last contract expired. Workers are expected to receive a sizable wage to avoid an election-year strike.

Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee wants Cuomo to intervene in the East Ramapo School District dispute. She has been trying for years to get the state to take over the school board, which is mainly controlled by Orthodox and Hasidic Jews, despite the fact that their children predominantly attend private, religious schools.

The Washington Post’s Harold Meyerson finds Cuomo insufficiently liberal for New York’s Democrats, and asks “why on earth” they would want to re-elect him.

More >


NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina and First Lady Chirlane McCray appear in a PSA encourging parents to sign up for pre-K. (Deadline: April 23).

The DCCC raised $10.3 million in March – a sizable haul due in part to President Obama’s help.

Ex-NYC Mayor Bloomberg on his $50 million battle with the NRA: “This is not a battle of dollars. This is a battle for the hearts and minds of  America so that we can protect our children, protect innocent people.”

A potential problem for Hillary Clinton in 2016: Much of what she labored on as secretary of state is either unfinished or has gone awry since she left.

The Syracuse Teachers Association sued the state Education Department over its teacher evaluation system, arguing that the system unfairly penalizes teachers of disadvantaged students.

Cheektowaga area Republicans have chosen Councilwoman Angela Wozniak to run this fall for former Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak’s seat.

Former NYC Council speaker and mayoral candidate Christine Quinn, who has avoided the public eye since leaving office last year, will appear on Bill Maher’s show on April 25.

Republicans in Buffalo’s North and Niagara districts have unanimously backed Sen. Mark J. Grisanti for re-election.

Sen. Daniel Squadron, Manhattan BP Gale Brewer and Assemblywoman Nily Rozic unveiled a new “fair wage” bill that would require large employers to pay far more than minimum wage.

State Department of Financial Services Ben Lawsky will attend a White House meeting tomorrow to discuss the Affordable Care Act.

AG Eric Schneiderman had to pay $9,620 to the federal government and $2,585 to the state in taxes, according to his 2013 returns.

The Green Party’s Ursula Rozum will not be a candidate in the NY-24 election again, and the party has no plans to challenge Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei in November.

Judging from his contributions, Denver software entrepreneur Tim Gill would like to see Clinton occupying the Oval Office.

The NYC Department of Education has wasted no time shedding a slew of top Bloomberg-era officials, offering signs of the school system’s new priorities under Chancellor Carmen Fariña.

Ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner has terminated his federal campaign account.

Weiner doesn’t think Rep. Charlie Rangel will survive the June primary.

The campaign manager for Rich Funke, Republican candidate for the state Senate’s 55th District, posted potentially offensive tweets on his personal Twitter account.

GOP state Senate candidate Jim Coughlan has suspended a personal Twitter account because some of his retweets were considered inappropriate.

Activist, comedian and gubernatorial contender Randy Credico engaged in a little performance art at the Capitol today.

Cicero’s loss is Buffalo’s gain with Albany Molecular.

State GOP Spokesman To Eldridge Campaign: Why Not Hire Baghdad Bob

As Sean Eldridge’s congressional campaign searches for a new spokesperson, the communications director for the state Republican Committee has a recommendation: Baghdad Bob, of Gulf War II fame.

In a letter to the Eldridge campaign, Republican spokesman David Laska — jokingly, let’s assume — suggests the one-time Saddam Hussein spokesman Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf, nicknamed Baghdad Bob during the lead up to and aftermath of the 2003 Iraq war.

The letter comes after BuzzFeed found a help wanted ad for a “young, energetic” spokesperson to work on the campaign following a particularly unflattering story in Politico about Eldridge’s campaign efforts.

Eldridge, a 27-year-old investor, is seeking to take on Republican Rep. Chris Gibson this fall.

Here’s the letter from Laska:

Eldridge Recommendation by Nick Reisman