May 11th - 8:46 am
Failed GOP/Conservative gubernatorial contender Carl Paladino is inserting himself into the NY-26 race, slamming independent candidate Jack Davis for “claiming to be a Tea Party candidate, while supporting Nancy Pelosi, endorsing Barack Obama and supporting radical liberal policies like partial birth abortion.”
The Buffalo businessman sent out an email blast this morning with the subject line “I’m Mad as Hell”, which is not only the iconic “Network” catchphrase, but also the slogan for Paladino’s 2010 campaign.
“I’m still mad as hell, but this time it’s because Jack Davis is lying,” Paladino wrote. “He flew in a company from California to get voters’ signatures and create a fake Tea Party line on the ballot for the May 24 Special Election for New York’s 26th Congressional District, despite being told that the Tea Party represents a movement, not a political party.”
“Jack Davis supported partial birth abortion. Like Nancy Pelosi, he believes taxpayers like you should fund abortions, even if you don’t agree with it. Jack Davis spent nearly $9 MILLION of HIS OWN MONEY to run as a Democrat for Congress THREE TIMES before.
“Democrat Jack Davis also said he “couldn’t be happier” that he had a hand in creating Nancy Pelosi’s Democrat majority in Congress in 2006, which gave us trillions of dollars in new debt and millions of lost jobs.”
“Democrat Jack Davis also endorsed Barack Obama for President and took $6,000 from him during one of Davis’ runs as a Democrat. Jack Davis also took $7,000 from the disgraced Democrat Rep. Charlie Rangel. He may be running as a Tea Party candidate, but don’t be fooled – JACK DAVIS IS A DEMOCRAT.”
Paladino goes on to tout the GOP candidate, Assemblywoman Jane Corwin, lauding her for coming from the private sector – “like me” – and for spending 36 years to help grow her family’s business, Talking Phone Book. (Corwin’s credentials have come under fire this week, with the Buffalo News pointing out her 36-years-in-business line means she would have had to start work at age 8, but she has stood by that claim).
Paladino may be a polarizing figure, but it’s hard to deny his strong base of support in WNY. (Just as former Rep. Rick Lazio about that). Also, I’m not even going to try to parse the internal battle going on in the Buffalo area Tea Party movement, which has been roiling over NY-26 for some time now, thanks to the GOP’s rejection of Iraq War vet David Bellavia’s candidacy.
Bellavia is poised to announce his support for a NY-26 candidate and has made it clear his choice won’t be Corwin. It’s a safe bet he won’t be backing Democrat Kahty Hochul, either, so the smart money is on Davis.
May 11th - 8:15 am
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is back on the attack.
Legislative leaders’ reactions: Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver: “I like results rather than rhetoric. I like practical governing rather than politics. Period.” Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos: “I don’t think it’s appropriate to threaten the Legislature.”
The governor’s alliance with the Senate GOP appears over – or, at the very least, strained.
Cuomo’s post-budget fight is a “a three-pronged punch aimed at easing New York’s pocketbook, conscience and soul.”
You can track the “People First Tour” stops of the governor and his cabinet members here.
According to public opinion polls, Cuomo is one of the most popular governors in the country at the moment.
Cuomo’s handling of the recently-passed state budget gets more support from Tea Partiers than any other group of voters.
Despite his popularity, Cuomo suffered a setback – the first rejection of a big agenda item since he took office – when Council 82 rejected its contract. (The administration insists this isn’t a repudiation of the governor, but rather a rejection of union leaders).
Meanwhile, back in Albany, advocates engaged in a shouting match over Cuomo’s tax cap.
The DCCC is investing in the NY-26 contest, buying $250,000 worth of air time to help Kathy Hochul.
The Karl Rove-backed American Crossroads will spend up to $650,000 to help Jane Corwin, and will debut an ad that attacks Jack Davis.
May 10th - 6:27 pm
Homework? Yes. Hookers? No.
The Senate today approved a measure sponsored by Democratic Bronx Sen. Ruben Diaz that would increase penalties for those who promote or patronize prostitution within 1,000 feet of a school.
The bill would make anyone involved in the sex trade close to schools with a felony.
Diaz said the bill was needed after parents, students and teachers at West Farms Elementary School in the Bronx discovered prostitutes in the nearby area. A tent used to conduct business was also visible to students at the school and school staff reported finding condoms and needles littering the ground.
Our Erin Billups caught up with Diaz to talk about the measure.
May 10th - 5:45 pm
Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell introduced a bill today that would legalize same-sex marriage in New York, one day after advocates held a rally in Albany hoping to move the issue this year.
The bill and its supporting memorandum can be found here.
“It is with great pride that I am introducing the Marriage Equality Act. Since the Assembly last passed the bill in 2009, there has been an overwhelming groundswell of support for Marriage Equality across our state. Recent poll numbers have shown a strong majority of New Yorkers now stand firmly in support of Marriage Equality. However, nowhere was this powerful belief in equality more clear than at Monday’s ‘Equality and Justice Day’ rally in Albany, where citizens from across our state came together and demanded equality under law in one unified voice.
It’s unclear whether O’Donnell has the blessing of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. It was assumed that the governor himself would introduce the measure as a “program” bill.
Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, R-Nassau County, told us on Monday that the governor was yet to introduce the bill and that GOP lawmakers were yet to huddle on the issue.
O’Donnell, who is openly gay, sponsored the measure in the Democratic-led Assembly in 2009. That measure was approved in the Assembly, but it failed 38-24 in the then-Democratic Senate.
May 10th - 5:35 pm
While Gov. Andrew Cuomo was in Onondaga to kickoff his People First campaign, Empire State Development Corp. Chairman Kenneth Adams appeared before chambers of commerce leaders to deliver a similar pitch on same-sex marriage, ethics and a property-tax cap.
Adams framed all issues as business-friendly directives meant to make the state more competitive, saying that same-sex marriage legalization, for instance, would bring a “host of economic benefits.”
Speaking after his speech, Adams said the 2 percent cap would force a discussion on reducing spending at the local level.
The tax cap has to come first. People have called it a blunt instrument, you know, I don’t think it is necessary so blunt, but the point is, the cap comes first. It forces fiscal discipline, and out of that can come conversations about government efficiency and ways to reduce costs. But as the Governor said, the tax cap has to come first. And it will drive the rest of the discussion.
May 10th - 5:32 pm
President Obama tackled immigration reform and said the Republicans will “never be satisfied” on border control, adding: “Maybe they’ll need a moat. Maybe they’ll want alligators in the moat.”
House Speaker John Boehner thinks NJ Gov. Chris Christie would make a good candidate in 2012.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said he has “shared” his property tax cap bill with the governor.
Silver made a rare visit to the Senate chamber to see former Assemblywoman RoAnn Destito get confirmed as OGS commissioner.
Kathleen Parker, who is writing a book entitled “Shoot the Bastards”, says she only watches “In the Arena” when she doesn’t have someplace fabulous to be.
The bill, which has “not too many exemptions,” will be introduced “one of these days,” Silver said.
Rudy Giuliani called Newt Gingrich “one of the smartest people in America,” and said his 2012 candidacy will add “a tremendous amount of intellectual heft to this debate.”
Potential 2012 NYC mayor’s race rivals Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and Comptroller John Liu have recorded robocalls for the Real Rent Reform Campaign.
Liu will join Reps. Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney in hosting a fundraiser for Kathy Hochul this Friday in Manhattan.
Don’t be surprised to see an announcement soon about AG Eric Schneiderman endorsing Hochul.
Donald Trump thinks all the negative press he’s been getting in “very bad for the country.”
Eliot Spitzer’s 2010 campaign account is still active. Hank Sheinkopf finds that odd.
Photoshop is an amazing thing.
Bloomberg unveiled details of a cell phone emergency alert system.
May 10th - 4:56 pm
The National Organization for Marriage announced the launch of a $500,000 TV ad campaign in response to the pro-gay marriage effort and also pledge to spend up to $1 million in 2012 to defend Democrats who vote “no” and defeat Republicans who vote “yes.”
“It’s become quite clear in recent days in New York that Governor Cuomo and same-sex marriage advocates are targeting a select number of Democrat state Senators, as well as some Republicans in their desperate attempt to coerce legislators to support their agenda,” said NOM President Brian Brown.
“We want to be sure those courageous Democrats and Republicans who cast their vote of conscience in favor of traditional marriage will have a strong supporter if the radical gay activists come after them in their next election.”
Brown noted NOM recently won “great victories” in two states – Maryland and Rhode Island – where the legalization of same sex marriage was believed to be inevitable. Pro-marriage advocates are using the inevitability argument here in New York, too.
The ad is striking for a number of reasons. First of all, it’s the exact same spot NOM ran back in 2009 – the year the marriage bill came up for a vote in the Senate for the first time and failed, 24-38.
It’s clear from the Southern accent of the announcer that it was intended for general release and wasn’t tailored specifically with New York in mind.
What’s more, there’s a pretty overt focus on African Americans in the spot – an approach that’s probably more potent in states where black voters are more staunchly opposed to the idea of letting same-sex couples legally wed. The recent Siena poll that found 58 percent of New Yorkers support gay marriage showed the African American community evenly split on the topic, which is not the case in less liberal states.
Also, the ad suggests public school kids will be taught that same-sex marriage is acceptable if it’s legalized in New York. This is a tactic NOM has employed elsewhere, sparking criticism from PolitiFact.com. No marriage bill ever drafted in New York has mentioned a word about curriculum.
HRC’s Brian Ellner called this ad “patently false,” adding: “Marriage equality changes nothing in our schools…children get their core values where they always have, in their homes and from their families, not at school.”
May 10th - 4:35 pm
Governor Cuomo’s administration was dealt a blow today in their ongoing effort to negotiate contracts with several state employee unions, including the two biggest ones, PEF and CSEA. Council 82, which represents police officers, deputy sheriffs, corrections officers and some park rangers, rejected a deal their union leaders had struck with the administration that included pay freezes, the elimination of automatic increases, and greater health care costs.
The vote was No – 674, Yes – 245.
Cuomo had pointed to this contract as a model for negotiations with unions, saying “it is a fair and reasonable contract. It recognizes the economic realities that we’re in.”
PEF and CSEA fired back, saying their unions were more complex.
The unions also started lobbying rank and file members of Council 82 to vote done the deal. Some members even looked to form a new union.
In a statement, the Executive Director of Council 82 defended the deal, and pledged to continue to provide excellent representation to the union.
“The members of the ALES group have been without a contract for over six years and have been paid at 2004 wages throughout that period. This proposed contract, which admittedly contained several concessions, would have resulted in significant back pay for our members and would have brought their compensation up to current levels,” said Council 82 Executive Director James Lyman.
Given the uncertainty of the economy and the Governor’s clear intentions to control the state’s labor costs one way or another, we felt that this was, under the circumstances, the best possible agreement. We had an obligation to bring the Governor’s offer back to the members to allow them to decide on their own future. These employees ultimately decided to not ratify the contract and that is their right. Council 82 will continue to give them the excellent representation that they’ve received in the past.”
The state Public Employees Federation, or PEF, also issued a statement. President Ken Brynien says they are still working towards a fair contract for their members.
“Today’s vote by members of Council 82 to reject its tentative contract agreement with the state speaks for itself. It is unfair to ask any employee, public or private-sector, to absorb a long-term wage freeze while making permanent cost shifts in benefits to address what is a short-term problem,” Brynien said.
PEF has offered the state solutions that will meet the short-term fiscal need identified in the state budget. We are willing to do our part to help the state during this fiscal crisis, but any agreement must be fair. We are willing to accept short-term sacrifice, but not the long-term hardship the state is seeking.”
May 10th - 4:17 pm
Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos more or less shrugged off being accused of “Albany speak” on the property tax cap by Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier today, sticking to his “we did it already” talking points and calling – again – for the Assembly to follow the Senate’s lead.
“That’s up to the Assembly, to pass the bill or not pass the bill,” the senator told reporters.
“…If the governor feels that it should be weakened, then he should say it should be weakened. Right now, according to the TV clip he just did, he’s urging Albany to pass his hard property tax cap. Which we passed.”
May 10th - 3:15 pm
The Senate Republicans cast themselves as Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s best ally during the budget battle, but some daylight has emerged between the majority and the Democratic executive since then on several key issues, including the property tax cap.
Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos has said he doesn’t want to negotiate any changes to the 2 percent cap Cuomo proposed, saying anything less than the gubernatorial program bill passed by the Senate early on in the session would be too watered down to be effective.
This has led some to question whether the Senate GOP actually wants a property tax cap to pass, or if the Republicans prefer having the issue remain live into the 2012 election cycle so they can continue to beat the Democrats over the head with it (even though 13 Democrats voted “yes” on Cuomo’s bill).
Earlier today, Skelos praised Cuomo (again) for included the tax cap in his “People First” tour agenda and called on the governor to use his “bully pulpit” to get the Assembly Democrats to come on board.
Cuomo, who last week rejected (through a spokesman) the idea of a cap bill with additional exemptions that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver indicated he’ll be introducing, indicated today that he’s not buying the Senate Republicans’ claim that they’ve done all they can as far as the cap is concerned.
“Well that is obviously not accurate, right? That’s Albany speak,” Cuomo said today during his post-speech Q&A with reporters in Syracuse.
“I passed a bill, the other person did not pass a bill. The Senate, the Assembly. When the people of the State of New York have a property tax cap, then they will have done their job, right? There is no interim measures. If the tax cap passes and people have tax relief then government will have done its job. If the tax cap doesn’t pass, government will have failed. It’s that simple. It’s binary.”
“…You don’t get an A for effort. It’s not about effort. Either they successfully pass the tax cap or they don’t. It’s that simple.”