Notoriously late NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio kept more than 100 people waiting at the gate to board a JetBlue flight from JFK Airport to Puerto Rico last month because he was running late and had the plane held for him.

Bo Dietl, a Fox News contributor and former NYPD detective, declared today he will run against de Blasio when the Democrat presumably seeks re-election in 2017.

The SUNY Research Foundation will pay $3.75 million after federal prosecutors found that the troubled agency manipulated audits of its health-care programs.

New York City’s former data-driven mayor Michael Bloomberg joined former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton this morning to highlight Data2X, an initiative that collects data on women in an effort to close gender gaps across the globe.

“If you don’t measure, you can’t manage. You can’t understand what the problem is,” said Clinton.

Sen. Jeff Klein says if de Blasio pursues a so-called pied-à-terre or luxury tax in Albany next year, he’s not likely to get it.

If encouragement from major GOP donors and favorable polling isn’t enough, former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney now has a super PAC launched by an unknown benefactor urging him to run.

Fourteen cities ranging from Long Beach, California, to Jerusalem are getting up to $3 million from Bloomberg’s foundation to create “innovation teams” to jump-start new approaches to poverty, public safety, job growth and other issues.

US Sen. Chuck Schumer would like New York hospitals to receive $50 million from the federal government to reimburse them for the cost of preparing for and treating the Ebola virus.

Activists are planning an anti-fracking protest in Albany during Cuomo’s State of the State address on Jan 7. According to the governor’s comments today, there should be a drilling decision by then.

The Syracuse Chiefs and Onondaga County are teaming up for a nearly $1 million project to make NBT Bank Stadium more hospitable for large group events at games next season.

The US Coast Guard and US Maritime Administration have issued a draft environmental impact statement for the proposed Port Ambrose liquefied natural gas facility, starting the regulatory clock on the fate of the controversial offshore project.

Another safety blitz on trains and railroad tracks involved with the shipping of crude oil has turned up a variety of minor problems, Cuomo announced.

Adele Malpass, the wife of former U.S. Senate candidate David Malpass, replaced Dan Isaacs as Manhattan GOP chair.

Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino brought a plate of holiday cookies to the Albany press corps, which disappeared in short order.

Here’s the Cuomo family holiday card, which features a photo that appears to have been taken election night.

Gregg Birnbaum has resigned from POLITICO after four years. More TK tomorrow on his future.

The government wants an extra month to decide whether to appeal a landmark ruling making it harder to bring insider trading charges, a decision that also threw out key convictions in US Attorney Preet Bharara’s seven-year probe of market manipulation.

Deputy Taxation and Finance Commissioner Robert Plattner was named person of the year by State Tax Notes.

Pataki 2016? Astorino Says ‘Why Not?’

Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino said that while it’s too early to potentially discuss presidential politics ahead of the 2016, a George Pataki candidacy wouldn’t be so far fetched.

“If he thinks he can add to the national debate, then why not? It’s still very early in the process, though. We haven’t even reached 2015 yet,” Astorino said. “We have a lot of great candidates I think on our side, there’s still a lot of time for that to play out.”

Pataki is considering a run for the White House in 2016, a candidacy that would likely be a long-shot for the Republican former governor.

Still, Pataki isn’t ruling anything out as to what his plans would be and address county chairs who gathered in Albany on Monday.

Astorino during his campaign for governor received some public help from other potential 2016 candidates on the Republican side, including Govs. Bobby Jindal and Rick Perry, as well as former Gov. Jeb Bush.

Notably, Republican Governors Association Chairman Chris Christie chose to not help fund Astorino’s effort against Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Astorino: More Money, More Time Needed

Rob Astorino, the 2014 Republican nominee for governor, said Monday having more money would have been the “equalizer” against Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s $45 million war chest.

“I think whoever the party candidate is: Raise money,” Astorino said. “That in many ways is the equalizer.”

The Westchester County executive is in Albany for a meeting of county Republican chairs who are huddling after the GOP failed to win any seats statewide, but did capture full control of the state Senate last month.

Astorino said that for the GOP to be successful statewide — the party hasn’t capture the governor’s office since 2002 — the candidate will have to be well funded and spend a lot more time working the state.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t have the money to get the message out,” Astorino said. “Being outspent 9 to 1 is not fun especially when he painted a picture of me that wasn’t true, but we didn’t really have the money to respond.”

Fundraising was a concern that Astorino repeatedly went back to, including when asked about why he was able to win so many upstate counties, but was defeated in New York City.

“It was money. Money and time,” Astorino said. “We got into this fairly late. There was a lot of ground to make up. ”

Astorino also disagreed that Republicans are on the verge of being permanently shut out from statewide office, saying the election cycle that just ended can be built on the upcoming one which concludes in 2018.

“There’s this story that the Republican Party is dead in New York. That’s not true at all,” he said. “It’s certainly winnable. But you have to take baby steps, then walk and run.”

Astorino hasn’t ruled out running for governor again in 2018, when Cuomo is either retiring or running for a third term — a prospect that has Republicans hopeful either way.

Nevertheless, Astorino disagreed with the concept of changing campaign finance laws to cap contributions or spending.

“Money in politics is never going away,” he said. “I don’t care what the dreamers think. Instead of restricting it, let’s have transparency.”

Last Night and What’s Ahead

Find out how much extreme weather has affected the agriculture industry lately. Good government groups are also calling on ethics and campaign finance reforms. We also take a look at new rules for insurance companies regarding transgender clients and the next location for the DNC. Here’s highlights from Friday and a look ahead.



Full Show – 12.12.14

State of Agriculture: Ag. Commissioner Richard Ball Interview

Ready for Reform: NYPIRG’s Blair Horner Interview

Reporter Roundtable


RIP David Garth

David Garth, the political and media consultant who worked on some of the more unlikely, but successful campaigns of the last half century, died Monday following a long illness, spokesman George Arzt confirmed.

Garth was the pioneering political consultant and ad man behind the successful mayoral and gubernatorial campaigns, including those of John Lindsay, Ed Koch, Rudy Giuliani, Michael Bloomberg and Hugh Carey.

Garth is often credited with revolutionizing and harnessing targeted advertising in political campaigns as well as messaging.

The political campaigns he chose to work for often seemed like lost causes: Lindsay’s re-election battle in 1969, elevating a little-known congressman named Hugh Carey to run for governor in 1974 following years of Republican domination at the Executive Mansion and helping Koch defeat Mario Cuomo in a heated 1977 Democratic primary for New York City mayor.

Garth is most often credited with crafting Lindsay’s appeal for votes in 1969 when, following a tumultuous term as mayor, admitted in a TV ad to making “mistakes” in the “second toughest job in America.”

Garth’s shine did not prove to be enough in 1994, when he was hired by then-Gov. Mario Cuomo to help him win a fourth term, which was ultimately not successful (Garth had just succeeded in helping Giuliani unseat Democrat David Dinkins, the city’s first African-American mayor).

Koch, who died in 2012, said of Garth in 2010: “Without him, I would never have been mayor.”

Current Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who had been on the opposing side of Garth in the 1977 campaign, wrote glowingly of him in his memoir, “All Things Possible.”

In the book, Cuomo describes him as “an ornery, cigar-smoking New Yorker and friend of my father’s, pioneered political advertising in the early years of television. He had a genius for turning a candidate’s minuses into pluses… David was always kind to me and I learned much from him.”

Regents: Increase State Aid To Education By $2B

The state Board of Regents on Monday approved its 2015-16 school aid proposal that includes a $2 billion increase in state aid and calls for equitable funding to poor districts as well as a goal of restoring the Gap Elimination Adjustment.

At the same time, the Regents proposed using $500 million of the state’s $5 billion surplus drawn primarily from settlements with large financial institutions to be directed to education purposes.

The blueprint for education spending in the upcoming fiscal year, which begins April 1, is the final one for Education Commissioner John King, who is departing the post for an advisory job at the U.S. Department of Education under Secretary Arne Duncan.

“The Regents have advanced a common-sense proposal that is based in reality,” said State Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. “The plan recognizes the ongoing fiscal challenges faced by the State and by local school districts while at the same time advancing critically important investments in programs and services that support English language learners, newly arrived immigrants, CTE (Career and Technical Education) and early childhood programs, and other initiatives aimed at lifting the level of achievement for all students.”

The spending plan also portends a larger battle over education policy and spending ahead of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget proposal.

Cuomo has indicated he will back using some of the surplus — which budget hawks have cautioned should be considered for non-recurring expenses — for infrastructure projects, paying down the state debt and for education spending that’s aimed at targeted results.

Cuomo Suggests A Low-Key Inauguration

The plans for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s second term swearing-in are yet to be revealed, but the governor himself on Monday indicated he wanted a low-key affair.

“I am not one for in terms of the inaugural balls or fancy affairs,” Cuomo said on The Capitol Pressroom on Monday. “I don’t think there’s a tone for that.”

Cuomo’s first inaugural was a similarly quiet event compared to previous years which have featured concerts headlined by James Taylor and Jimmy Fallon for Eliot Spitzer and a laser show for George Pataki.

Cuomo said such pomp is not his style.

“We have really serious issues and problems that we haven’t seen in decades and I want to speak to that,” Cuomo said.

In 2010, Cuomo was sworn-in as governor in the Capitol’s “War Room” on the second floor — an expansive space outside of the executive chamber. Cuomo also used the day to re-open the second-floor suite offices that had been closed to the public since the Pataki administration.

Cuomo Promises ‘Major Decisions’ On Fracking, Casinos

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday in a radio interview said there will be “major decisions” made both on hydrofracking and the siting of casinos by the end of this month.

Cuomo, interview on The Capitol Pressroom this morning, said the long-awaited health review on hydrofracking is still on track to be sent to his office by the end of this month.

At the same time, the state’s Gaming Facility Location Board will meet in Albany on Wednesday to give its recommendations as to which projects could receive up to four gaming licenses to open resort-style casinos with table-top gaming.

“They are on time to be delivered by the end of the year, yes, and even though I’m not directly involved, it’s my understanding the casinos will also be done on time,” Cuomo said. “By the end of the year we should have positions on both that are clear and we’ll start the new year with some major decisions under our belt, so to speak.”

Cuomo up until now has only suggested the Department of Health’s review of the controversial natural-gas extraction process’s impact on human health would be sent to him by the end of the year.

The state has a defacto ban in place on high-volume hydrofracking as an energetic environmental movement has grown up around opposing the process.

The energy industry has been pushing hard for allowing hydrofracking in the state, especially in the Southern Tier were natural gas deposits are believed to be especially rich.

Cuomo has come under criticism for not making a decision on whether the state should grant hydrofracking licenses and the state has missed multiple deadlines to issue regulations.

Cuomo Plays Peacemaker For Lynch And de Blasio

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday adopted a peacekeeper role between New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and police union head Pat Lynch amid the increasingly fraught dynamics in the wake of the Eric Garner case.

Lynch, the president of the Police Benevolent Association, has suggested that de Blasio and other elected officials stay away from police funderals.

But Cuomo today on The Capitol Pressroom downplayed the growing rift between de Blasio and the NYPD as protests continue following a Staten Island grand jury not indicting a police officer who held Garner in a chokehold that ultimately led to his death.

“I’m sure at the next funeral, God forbid that there is one, you’ll see the mayor of New York, you’ll see me and you’ll see Pat Lynch,” Cuomo said. “I know the mayor very well and I know Pat very well and I know we will be working together.”

Cuomo added that he understands why Lynch has in recent days has made critical statements in recent days, adding that police officers overall are doing an “extraordinary job.”

The comments from the governor come after a police lieutenant over the weekend was injured during one of the demonstrations.

“I also know that Pat has tremendous respect for the office of the mayor and understands the police need a good relationship with the mayor. And he also understands the mayor has a job to do,” Cuomo said.

He also disagreed with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who said it was “racist” for de Blasio to have instructed his son Dante, who is black, how to handle interactions with the police.

“The mayor was speaking sincerely about concern for his son and his son’s safety,” Cuomo said. “I think Pat is defending the police point of view and the police perspective.”

Cuomo has spoken in recent days both to Lynch as well as activists including Russell Simmons and Jay Z regarding potential reforms to the state’s criminal justice system following the Garner case.

Cuomo has raised the possibility of forming a special prosecutor’s office to handle brutality cases as well as more transparency for grand juries in certain cases.

The governor reiterated that he’s planning to introduce a “comprehensive package” of criminal justice reforms that “will restore and improve confidence” in the criminal justice system.

Cuomo said he plans to unveil these proposals around the time of his State of the State address next month.

Cuomo: Pay Raise Not A Big Enough Carrot

State lawmakers as a whole desperately want a pay raise, but not enough to pass new ethics legislation and campaign finance reform, including a public financing system, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a radio interview on Monday.

“Collectively the Legislature has not shown a willingness that I believe is commensurate with a pay raise,” Cuomo said.

Cuomo, interview on The Capitol Pressroom, said he would consider a pay raise for state lawmakers if there was an “appropriate reform package.”

But he said that the measures he’s sought in exchange for the first legislative pay hike since 1998 are too much for state lawmakers, essentially conceding there’s no carrot big enough for long-sought government reforms such as public financing and closing a loophole in campaign finance laws that allow LLCs to contributed unlimited funds.

“The Legislature wants a pay raise as much as they’ve wanted anything,” Cuomo said. “Even for the pay raise, they’re not willing to do public finance and they’re not willing to do significant campaign finance reform. If they’re not willing to do a pay raise, they’re not willing to do it for anything else.”

Cuomo also took a swipe at “critics” who blasted him earlier this year for agreeing to a package of ethics reforms in the state budget they said didn’t go far enough. In the wake of those measures passing in the state budget, Cuomo shuttered the Moreland Commission To Investigate Public Corruption.

“So far all the critics last year who said well, he could have gotten public financing if he really wanted to, here’s a Litmus test,” Cuomo said.

Nevertheless, Cuomo insists he’s negotiating in good faith even as lawmakers privately grumble he’s moving the goal posts on a pay raise.

“Let them call my bluff,” Cuomo said. “Let them stand up and say we’ll pass campaign finance. It’s easy enough call my bluff. But you haven’t heard it called, have you?”

Lawmakers earn $79,500 base salary, though many earn extra cash through stipends for legislative committee assignments and leadership posts.

A pay raise bill would have to come this month in order for the pay hike to take effect for the next session of the Legislature, due to be sworn in Jan. 1.