Martins Open To Discussing Women’s Issues

The campaign Republican Sen. Jack Martins says he’s willing to debate his Democratic opponent Adam Haber on women’s issues.

Haber’s campaign on Monday called for a debate on the women’s agenda as Martins has highlighted his support for aspects of the omnibus package, including pay equity.

Haber is not pleased with the implication he would block other aspects of the agenda from passing at the expense of a provision aimed at codifying Roe v. Wade, a sticking point in the Women’s Equality Act that has caused the bill to languish in the state Legislature.

“As the father of 4 daughters Jack Martins looks forward to discussing women’s issues as well as jobs, the economy and other issues important to Nassau County in the five debates already scheduled throughout the district,” said Martins spokesman E. O’Brien Murray. “Adam Haber will have every opportunity to explain to voters why he supports holding equal pay and other important protections for women hostage unless they are directly tied to allowing non-doctors to perform late term/partial birth abortions right up until the moment of birth.”

Martins, a Nassau County Republican, is considered a top target for Senate Democrats this year after a surprisingly close race in 2012.

WFP Emails On Airbnb

The Working Families Party on Monday evening emailed supporters with a push against the online apartment-sharing service Airbnb.

The email from the labor-aligned party says Airbnb, which allows users to rent homes and apartments on a temporary basis, is contributing to ever-increasing rents in New York City.

“At a time when average New Yorkers are paying an unsustainable 40% of their income towards rent and many of us are being driven out of our neighborhoods due to soaring costs, Airbnb’s worst users are contributing to a shortage of available and affordable housing,” the email says. “Working families in New York can barely get by these days — there’s no need for Airbnb to make the problem worse.”

The email, which asks supporters to sign a petition opposing Airbnb’s business practices, suggests the company’s main users are wealthy landlords who are flipping their properties into illegal hotels.

“Over the last three years, the top 40 Airbnb users alone have grossed profits of $35 million. That’s not making ends meet — that’s making a fortune off of an illegal business,” the email says.

The WFP is affiliated with a number of groups that have problems with the company, including the Hotel Trades Council, as well as affordable rent organizations.

Airbnb has come under scrutiny from Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office, who successfully sought information on the company’s users in order to determine whether any hosts have broken subletting laws or failed to pay taxes.

The email comes as the WFP has exerted its influence in this election cycle, pushing Gov. Andrew Cuomo to accept a host of liberal measures — including a faster phase in of the state’s minimum wage and the DREAM Act — order to receive its endorsement.

The Special Relationship

It’s hard not to view everything the Governor does lately through the prism of politics. He’s up for re-election this fall, even though he steadfastly avoided campaign events this summer despite his primary election on September 9th, opting instead to stick with official duties befitting the Governor of the great State of New York. The message was unmistakable, “Primary?! What primary?! I have a state to run. Take your politics somewhere else, good sir.”

The result, of course, was lots of coverage of Cuomo’s opponent Zephyr Teachout, who may not have garnered that kind of attention if reporters had more Cuomo events to cover. Ya gotta feed the beast, after all, and at least Teachout was out doing *something* every day. Pundits can debate whether or not Cuomo’s primary strategy helped or hurt him. In Buffalo last week Cuomo scoffed at the notion that failure to debate or acknowledge his opponent had anything to do with Teachout nabbing a better-than-expected 34%. Instead he blamed the low turnout, and the notion that most people weren’t terribly motivated to vote in the primary. The jury is still out on that one, but make no mistake, that strategy is out the window for the general election. The Governor is looking forward to drawing a contrast between himself and Republican Rob Astorino, believing that the demographics and pschyographics of New York State are decidedly on his side. He may also be right about that. We shall see.

So there Cuomo was yesterday…at a security summit with the head of the Republicans Governors Association. Cuomo and Christie supposedly decided to get together last week during the 9/11 ceremonies. Cuomo has been trying to get Christie to appear next to him for months, and seemed to finally get his wish. Ostensibly, the meeting was about regional security but Christie was so late to that meeting, he almost missed the photo op, which gives you a sense of how pressing it must have been for him. The two Governors then only met for about an hour, and wound up doing the press conference a full 45 minutes early.

At one point, I asked Christie about foreign policy. Specifically, whether more needs to be done overseas to mitigate the threat at home. Christie recently said the America would have fared better under a Mitt Romney Administration. So, does that also apply to President Obama’s Mideast policy or lack thereof? Christie quickly dismissed the question as “off topic.” And as he did so, Cuomo quietly led a solo “slow clap.” Cuomo might as well have punched Christie in the shoulder and whispered, “Ha! Good one, Chris!”

Was the question totally on topic? In fairness, not exactly. But was it related? You bet. Especially since the the whole premise of the security meeting was to re-evelaute security procedures now that the threat from Iraq and Syria has increased. It’s not like I asked about Bridgegate ( although someone probably should have ). I’m also not a huge fan of politicians telling us what we can ask them. That’s a relatively new development that harkens back to the Communist Politburo. I am reminded of that famous scene from “Caddyshack” where Danny Noonan asks Ty Webb for advice on the golf course, “Oh, Danny, this isn’t Russia. Is this Russia? This isn’t Russia, is it? I didn’t think so.” ( I still maintain that Ted Knight deserved an academy award for his performance in that movie )

The backdrop to all of this, of course, is Christie’s refusal to help the campaign of Republican Rob Astorino. Considering it is Christie’s job to get Republican Governors elected across the country, his giving Astorino the Heisman is all the more peculiar. And Cuomo appearing at Christie’s side in the midst of this campaign really gives Cuomo a boost, as he jabs the stick directly into Astorino’s eye.

So, was the meeting about security? I’m sure it was. But there was also a subtext.

I have a friend who makes a very compelling argument that the moon landing was a fake. I’m not saying I agree with him, but the argument makes a lot of sense in the larger context of things not always being exactly what we are told they are.

Gibson’s First Ad Focuses On Constituent Services

From the morning memo:

Republican Rep. Chris Gibson will release his first TV ad for his re-election campaign later today with an eye toward highlighting his work for constituents in Washington.

The minute-long spot shines a light on Gibson’s efforts to secure funding for Lyme disease research as well as enhance the federal government’s response to the illness and other tick-borne illnesses.

The ad, called “Kaleigh’s Story”, focuses exclusively on two Gibson constituents who lobbied for the measure’s passage.

And in a Congress in which very little has gotten done, highlighting progress made on legislation with Democrats — including New York Reps. Sean Patrick Maloney and Paul Tonko — would no doubt help in what is expected to be a hotly contested re-election campaign.

The Gibson campaign has reserved $1.5 million in air time from now until Election Day in the district’s four media markets.

This ad is expected to be rotated out with other spots through the campaign.

The Hudson Valley district, redrawn in 2012, is not as conservative as the previous 20th congressional district, a seat held by Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand and later won by Gibson in 2010.

“Holly and Kaleigh Ahern’s story is illustrative of how Congressman Gibson serves his constituents in Congress,” said Kevin Crumb, Gibson’s campaign manager. “He met with Holly and listened to her, just as he does with hundreds of constituents each month. Recognizing a role for the federal government in helping Lyme sufferers like Kaleigh and their advocates like Holly, Chris worked across party lines to get meaningful legislation through the House of Representatives. This constituent-driven legislation is an example of government done right and why the best reelection strategy is service.”

Gibson faces Democratic candidate Sean Eldridge this November, a wealthy venture capitalist who has been able to tap rich donors to help fund his effort.

The Gibson ad comes as Edridge’s television commercials have been airing in heavy rotation through the district.

A Time Warner Cable News/Siena College poll last week found Gibson leading Eldridge in the 19th congressional district by 24 percentage points, 57 percent to 33 percent.

DCCC: Katko a ‘Rubber Stamp’ for Boehner

The DCCC is up on the air with its first ad of the NY-24 race, which casts GOP candidate John Katko as little more than a “rubber stamp” for House Speaker John Boehner.

The ad starts running on cable and broadcast stations in Central New York today.

The focus is women’s issues – specifically abortion rights and contraception – which has been a very hot topic in both congressional and state Senate races.

NY-24 is a pretty evenly divided district, with 141,823 active registered Democrats, 140,099 Republicans and 100,647 so-called “blanks” as of April, according to the state Board of Elections.

The district has changed hands between the GOP and the Democrats over the last several election cycles, and its current representative, Democrat Dan Maffei, lost his seat once before to a conservative Republican who accused him to being too liberal for this centrist region.

Since his return to Congress, Maffei has been a lot more careful about his voting record, occasionally breaking ranks with his fellow Democrats and moving to the center in an effort to brand himself a “pragmatic progressive.”

By last August, Maffei had voted with his Democratic leaders 75 percent of the time since beginning his second term in January, according to a vote-tracking database maintained by the Washington Post. Now, he’s up to 79 percent of the time.

Here’s the script for the DCCC’s ad:

“Narrator: Lately, John Katko’s been a busy guy.

Busy being a rubber stamp for John Boehner and Republican leaders in Congress.

On abortion, Katko sides with them, opposing a woman’s right to choose.

And Katko would even allow employers to deny coverage for common forms of birth control.

He said denying women access to contraception is the “right decision.”

John Katko. A rubber stamp who doesn’t share our values.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is responsible for the content of this advertising.”

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Onondaga and Ulster Counties and New York City.

At 8 p.m., Mike Boland, campaign manager for Zephyr Teachout, and Sen. Gustavo Rivera will be guests on “The People’s Business,” WRPI 91.5 FM.

At 10 a.m. Westchester County Executive and GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino tours Frankfort manufacturing company CTM, 151 Industrial Dr., Frankfort.

Also at 10 a.m., Buffalo charter school students, parents and attorneys make announcement, Connors & Vilardo Law Firm, 10th floor, 424 Main St., Buffalo.

Also at 10 a.m., Americans Against Fracking will host a media teleconference with experts, scientists, community leaders and actor Mark Ruffalo to call on President Obama to ban fracking and highlight the devastating climate effects of methane gas emissions from fracking.

Also at 10 a.m., Sen. Marty Golden hosts a “New Industry and Entrepreneurs Roundtable: Growing Computer and Video Game Development in New York,” Marine Academic Center Rotunda, Kingsborough Community College, 2001 Oriental Blvd., Brooklyn.

At 10:15 a.m., Democratic NY-4 candidate and Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice will release her “American Made” Jobs Plan and call on her opponent to support bipartisan action to reauthorize the U.S. Export-Import Bank, Love & Quiches Gourmet, 85 S. Main St., Freeport.

At 10:30 a.m., Cuomo makes an announcement at the Syracuse Inner Harbor boat house, corner of Solar & West Kirkpatrick Streets, Syracuse.

UPDATE: At 11 a.m., LG Bob Duffy attends the memorial service for Larry and Jane Glazer, Temple B’rith Kodesh, 2131 Elmwood Ave., Brighton.

Also at 11 a.m., the Assembly holds hearing on New York’s role in responding to crisis of unaccompanied youth migrants, State Assembly Hearing Room, Room 1923, 19th Floor, 250 Broadway, Manhattan.

Also at 11 a.m. the New York Civil Liberties Union holds a teleconference with reporters on the state’s record on public defense of poor offenders. Correction: that will be Wednesday at 11 a.m.

At 11:15 a.m., state Education commissioner John King presents an award to the Capital Region teacher of the year, Regents Room, Education Department Building, 89 Washington Ave., Albany.

At 11:30 a.m., House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi will discuss the state of the union in a moderated conversation at the 2014 Sidney Shainwald Public Interest Lecture at New York Law School, 185 West Broadway, Manhattan. (Rep. Carolyn Maloney will introduce Pelosi).

At noon, GOP AG candidate John Cahill attends a Women for Cahill Luncheon, Women’s National Republican Club, Grand Ballroom, 3 West 51st St., Manhattan.

At 12:30 p.m., Astorino attends an Oneida County meet-and-greet, Mercer’s Ice Cream and Dairy, 13584 State Route 12, Boonville.

At 1 p.m., Cuomo makes an announcement at SUNY New Paltz, multipurpose room, 1 Hawk Dr., New Paltz.

At 1:30 p.m., AG Eric Schneiderman holds campaign kick-off event with Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz and WNY Area Labor Federation president Richard Lipsitz, Niagara Square, Buffalo.

At 2 p.m., Astorino tours Harden Furniture Factory, 8550 Mill Pond Way, McConnellsville.

At 5:30 p.m., Hillary Rodham Clinton will join 9/11 responders, survivors, union leaders and members, as well as advocates at the 13th Anniversary Commemoration to benefit 9/11 Health Watch, Inc. and Citizens for the Extension of the James Zadroga Act, UFT HQ, 52 Broadway, Manhattan.

Also at 5:30 p.m., Astorino attends an Oswego County meet-and-greet, Press Box, 29 East 1st St., Oswego.

Also at 5:30 p.m., Chemung County Sheriff and GOP LG candidate Chris Moss delivers keynote remarks at an “Astorino for Governor” fundraising reception hosted by Chemung County Executive Tom Santulli, Sen. Tom O’Mara, and former Sen. George Winner, Elmira Country Club, 1538 West Church St., Elmira.

At 6 p.m., Brooklyn BP Eric Adams will host a forum on emergency preparedness with Office of Emergency Management, Commissioner Joseph Esposito, Brooklyn Borough Hall, courtroom, 209 Jorelmon St., Brooklyn.

At 7 p.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio announces the winners at the 2014 BigApps Awards Ceremony, BRIC Arts Media House, 647 Fulton St., Brooklyn.


Cuomo and NJ Gov. Chris Christie have directed their homeland security advisors and top police officials to review security measures for the region and make recommendations for how best to respond to new threats. An initial review was expected to be completed in the next 10 days.

Cuomo attended a fundraiser last night at the home of Sol Werdiger, chairman of Agudath Israel of America’s board of trustees, in Flatbush. The event was not on his public schedule.

A female employee of the state’s Office of Mental Health filed a federal lawsuit last week against the agency, alleging that state officials failed to take appropriate action in response to her multiple complaints of sexual harassment.

Democratic leaders ran for cover from legislation that would allow illegal immigrants to vote in New York and become eligible for health and other benefits now reserved for citizens.

Former NYC Comptroller John Liu will concede to state Sen. Tony Avella today – one week after their heated Democratic primary for Avella’s northeast Queens seat appeared to be decided by a margin of less than 5 percentage points.

A lawsuit filed by a group of charter-school supporters alleges that a chronic funding gap between charter schools and traditional public schools violates the state constitution and disproportionately hurts minority students.

Whether you chalk it up to an election year or the scandal surrounding the Moreland Commission, Cuomo has spent far less time in the Capital Region this year than in any other period in his administration – just three days since the session ended on June 20.

More >

Senator Kennedy Calls For New “Unifying” Leadership In The Erie County Democratic Committee

Just days after surviving a primary challenge, State Senator Tim Kennedy said Monday he’s not interested in challenging Erie County Democratic Committee Chairman Jeremy Zellner for leadership of the party.

“Any time you have the sort of resounding victory against the party machine that we had there’s going to be a lot of talk but that’s all that it is right now,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy said he’s focused on doing his job and preparing for the general election in November, but that doesn’t mean he’s happy with the current leadership.  Kennedy has some choice words for the executive committee.

“Quite frankly the leadership that’s currently in existence here in Erie County has created an embarrassing situation where it’s the most dysfunctional party in the state of New York,” said Kennedy.

Zellner and the top elected Democrat in Erie County, Mark Poloncarz, both endorsed Kennedy’s democratic opponent Betty Jean Grant.  They also accused Kennedy of creating division within the party by donating money to a Political Action Committee that funded progressive challenges to party endorsed candidates last fall.

Poloncarz is supporting Zellner again for chairman.   He said Zellner has the support of the committee members who will actually vote at the party’s reorganizations meeting next month.

“Jeremy’s worked very hard to create an environment that’s conducive to electing good Democrats.  He worked very hard in support of Governor Cuomo in this recent primary and it showed,” Poloncarz said.

Governor Cuomo got 70 percent of the Erie County vote in his primary with Zephyr Teachout, and despite the loss in the Kennedy-Grant race Poloncarz thinks Zellner had a very good Primary Night.

“I think Tim (Kennedy) probably looked at things and said, ‘Well, he’s not happy with things being done at Democratic Headquarters but the chairman does have the support of the committeemen.’  So I’m happy he’s not going to run I don’t think we need a fight for the chairmanship,” Poloncarz added.

When reached by phone late Monday night Zellner called Kennedy’s comments “a shame.”  Zellner said both he and Poloncarz reached out to Kennedy to congratulate him and try to promote unity.

“It does not surprise me however that he is taking this road because his Chief Advisor Steve Pigeon is the most divisive figure in our county’s party history,” Zellner said.

Zellner, who plans on being re-elected chairman, said he’s been working to bring the unity many Democrats are calling for.  Despite the split with Kennedy, Zellner believes he’s made progress.

“We are not stopping that momentum now.  Senator Kennedy ought to be working with our party, not attempting to divide us,” Zellner said.

Zellner could face another challenge from Cheektowaga Democratic Chairman Frank Max.  Max unsuccessfully challenged Zellner in 2012, and as all parties acknowledged there’s usually a surprise candidate.


The Barack Obama Foundation announced the finalists for Obama’s presidential library and museum: the University of Chicago; the University of Illinois at Chicago; Columbia University and the University of Hawaii.

Tom Golisano, who was said to be in the running to purchase the Buffalo Bills football team, said he was pleased he lost out to Terry and Kim Pegula.

Zephyr Teachout wants to stump for Democratic Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk and James Kemmerer, challenger to Brooklyn GOP Sen. Marty Golden.

Teachout and Tim Wu called on Gov. Andrew Cuomo support net neutrality.

NY-21 Democratic candidate Aaron Woolf wants to raise the minimum wage, but he didn’t always pay it to employees at a Brooklyn eatery he owns, legal filings show.

Woolf’s GOP opponent, Elise Stefanik, released details from her 2013 tax return, and called on him to do the same.

“This American Life” did a show on the school board battle in East Ramapo.

Frank Seddio, the chair of the Brooklyn Democratic Party, believes Sen. John Sampson will be returning to Albany next year – with his help.

NYC Public Advocate Tish James targeted nail salons in a new report.

Sen. Liz Krueger will introduce an amended version of her bill seeking to legalize marijuana for general use in New York.

Bob Hardt thinks US Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is going to be a “major player” as the Democrats search for their post-Obama identity.

The governor hasn’t been spending much time in the Capital Region.

Onondaga taxpayers will see a property tax decrease but increases in water and sewer fees if the Legislature adopts the 2015 budget proposed today by County Executive Joanie Mahoney.

New York City’s adult smoking rate has risen to 16 percent, according to new city data, the highest rate since 2007.

The NYS Rifle & Pistol Association is running a GOTV campaign.

GOP NY-4 candidate Bruce Blakeman seized on his opponent’s formation of a new joint-fundraising committee and its use of a veteran political treasurer who once admitted campaign finance violations.

Cuomo signed a law that will let the same firm design and build the Onondaga Lake amphitheater on the western shore of Onondaga Lake.

Deadspin picked up the Bills vs. Fins storyline in the governor’s race.

AG Eric Schneiderman’s office has indicted a state Education Department employee for allegedly stealing more than $2.5 million through a diversion scheme which captured money that was supposed to go driving schools.

The University at Buffalo has nearly 30,000 students enrolled for 2014-15, the largest student body in the history of the university.

DiNapoli Plans To Debate Antonacci

Comptroller Tom DiNapoli was endorsed on Monday by the PBA of New York State, signaling a post Labor Day kick off for his re-election campaign.

“Endorsing Comptroller DiNapoli was an easy decision for our members,” said PBA of NYS President Manuel Vilar. “Residents of Upstate New York are learning what Long Islanders have long known: Comptroller DiNapoli has represented the voices of organized labor and the working class; he has acted in the best interest of all New Yorkers, and not in his self-interests; and he has committed to, and delivered on, his promise to be open and honest in his actions.”

The PBA of New York State formed in 2011 after breaking away from Council 82, which at the time was undergoing tough contract negotiations with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration. Today’s endorsement of DiNapoli is one of the first statewide nods the labor group has given since its formation.

DiNapoli, who assumed the office in 2007, is running statewide for a second time, and faces Republican Onondaga County Comptroller Bob Antonacci.

His campaign in 2010 was a bit more high profile, considering he faced Republican Harry Wilson, a wealthy self-funding candidate who narrowly lost.

This time around, DiNapoli is more of a known quantity for statewide voters, while Antonacci is working to qualify for the state’s newly formed public matching program, which applies only to the comptroller’s race.

Still, DiNapoli has focused on turn out in November and hopes to remind voters that he still has a race this year for an office that, while important, can be an after thought.

“We’re going to do what we can in the normal ways of getting the message out there and I hope those who support will remind people it’s out there,” he said. “Part of our effort on the political side certainly is to remind me this office is important, this race is going on.”

Antonacci has called for a series of debates with DiNapoli, who said today he expects there to be one.

“I’m sure there will be a debate,” he said.

After Primary Win, Murphy Hits Airwaves (Updated)

The subhead of this post: Do the Senate Republicans have a secret plan to groom a new generation of young voters by getting their parents to raise their allowance?

I joke – but only sort of.

Terrence Murphy, a Yorktown councilman and the preferred Senate GOP candidate to run for retiring Sen. Greg Ball’s seat, has released his first TV ad of the campaign since defeating his primary opponent, Assemblyman Bob Castelli, last week.

The ad features Murphy and his wife, Caroline, getting a campaign briefing from their two kids, daughter McKayla and son Jack. McKayla, dressed in a business suit, does all the talking. Her candidate dad doesn’t say a word. And the whole thing ends with a joke about raising the kids’ allowance – the second time a Senate GOP candidate’s offspring have made that pitch in a campaign spot. (The first was one of Sen. Jack Martins’ four daughters).

The Senate Republicans and their candidates are under fire this election cycle for the failure of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 10-point Women’s Equality Act to pass in tact, thanks to GOP Leader Dean Skelos’ refusal to let it come to the floor for a vote with its abortion rights plank.

Obviously, the GOP has determined that the best way to address the women’s rights issue is to play up the fact that some of their candidates are the fathers of daughters, and therefore have a vested interest in this particular topic.

UPDATE: Apparently this “kids teaching you how to run a campaign” idea was also used by an Iowa US Senate candidate who lost a GOP primary in June – a point the Senate Democrats employed to slam Murphy. His campaign shrugged off the criticism, accusing the Democrats of trying to distract attention away from important topics.

Here’s the script of Murphy’s ad:

Daughter: Dad, we’ve put together a plan for your campaign for New York State Senate. First, keep cutting taxes. You did it here on the town council, now you can do it up in Albany. Second, make sure everybody knows how you kept dangerous chemicals out of our water. And third, raise our allowance.