Rivera Endorses Cabán For Queens DA

Sen. Gustavo Rivera on Friday endorsed Queens Democratic district attorney candidate Tiffany Cabán in her bid for the party’s nomination.

Rivera, a Bronx Democrat who is the chairman of the Senate Health Committee, praised her support for health access policies and criminal justice law changes.

“At a time where our State is working to reform our criminal justice system, we need district attorneys who are focused on more than their office’s conviction rates,” River said.

“Tiffany’s experience as a public defender and her deep roots in Queens give her a unique perspective on the practices currently in place that we need to change to put an end to the senseless criminalization of vulnerable communities. I am proud to support Tiffany Cabán as she runs to become the next Queens District Attorney and look forward to working with her as she enacts true change in our criminal justice system from the ground up.”

Cabán faces Queens Borough President Melina Katz, Councilman Rory Lancman and Judge Greg Lasak for the nomination. Queens District Attorney Richard Brown announced his retirement earlier this year.

“I am honored to receive an endorsement from State Senator Gustavo Rivera,” Cabán said. “As Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Senator Rivera understands the ways in which health and criminal justice are so deeply intertwined. He knows that unnecessary incarceration destabilizes communities and creates and reproduces unhealthy outcomes. I look forward to working with the Senator to find creative ways to offer support and stability to all Queens residents.”

NY-24: Conole Reports $100K Raised

From the Morning Memo:

Democratic congressional candidate Francis Conole on Thursday reported raising more than $100,000 in the days following his entrance into the race.

Conole’s campaign said the majority of the contributions came from small-dollar donors.

“I’m deeply humbled by the outpouring of grassroots support in these first few days of our campaign, and I’m dedicated to using my experience, growing up in our community and serving our country, to find real solutions that support the people of Central New York,” Conole said.

Conole, a member of a prominent political family in central New York, is running for the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican Rep. John Katko in the Syracuse-area district. Dana Balter, the Democratic nominee in 2018, is also running again.

“Fundraising numbers like these in just four days is a clear indication that people believe it is time for new leaders in Washington and are ready to join Francis Conole’s mission to rebuild Central New York’s middle class,” said Will Van Nuys, Conole’s campaign manager.

Simotas Wants MTA Announcements In Multiple Languages

From the Morning Memo:

Time to translate “stand clear of the closing door” for polyglot New York.

Announcements on mass transit systems in New York City should be made in multiple languages in order to reach the more than 4 million residents who speak a language other than English, Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas on Thursday told the MTA in a letter.

Simotas pointed to other cities like Paris, Belgium and Luxembourg with transit systems that have announcements in multiple languages.

“Currently, the MTA only provides automated voice announcements in English even though it is home to 1.9 million Spanish speakers, 419,000 Cantonese and Mandarin speakers, 186,000 Russian speakers, 106,000 French Creole speakers, 81,000 French speakers, and 200,000 New Yorkers who converse in an Indic language, like Hindi, Urdu or Gujarati,” Simotas wrote in the letter to MTA President Andy Byford.

“Providing announcements in multiple languages would eliminate confusion amongst the many riders who benefit from our transit system and would allow our system to run more effectively.”

In the letter, Simotas called on the MTA to devise and implement a plan for integrating more languages into the announcements.

“New York City is a melting pot oozing with culture and spirit and it is time that our transit system reflects that,” she said. “Now with new sources of revenue for the MTA capital plan lockbox and billions in additional financing support for MTA projects, it is the perfect time to finally create a multi-lingual transit system that better serves the riders.”

An economic report released this week by Comptroller Tom DiNapoli found 42 percent of the workforce in New York City is composed of immigrants, who tend to have a lower overall unemployment rate than the rest of the city.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public events or interviews yet announced.

At 8 a.m., the Regional Plan Association brings together more than 1,200 civic and business leaders from around the New York metro area to discuss major issues affecting the region, Grand Hyatt New York, 109 E. 42nd St., Manhattan.

At 10 a.m., Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin unveils a donation closet at the Rensselaer County Department of Social Services Administration Building, 127 Bloomingrove Dr., Troy.

Also at 10 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will appear live on WNYC’s “The Brian Lehrer Show,” and will take questions from callers.

11:30 a.m., Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and state Sens. John Brooks and Monica Martinez join with multiple veterans organizations to announce funding has been restored for the Joseph P. Dwyer Peer Support Project, VFW Post 2912, 19 Colonial Springs Rd., Wyandanch.

At 1 p.m., NYC Councilman Peter Koo joins U.S. Small Business Administration leaders for an Asian American Pacific Islander Queens town hall meeting, Flushing Library, Ground Level, Room C/D, 41-17 Main St., Queens.

Headlines…

After two years, a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report was released, showing investigators did not find proof of collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia.

But the report did reveal an array of controversial actions by the president that were examined as part of the investigation’s obstruction probe, and did not fully exonerate him of wrongdoing.

The special counsel’s office made no conclusion on the matter of possible obstruction of justice by Trump, U.S. Attorney William Barr noted, but the attorney general himself determined that the evidence against Trump did not amount to a crime.

The report did not establish a criminal conspiracy between Trump or any of his associates and the Russian government, but it firmly underlined alleged Russian efforts to meddle in US politics.

The report is some 400 pages long, you can reach and search it yourself here.

The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, New York Rep. Jerry Nadler, says the report “outlines disturbing evidence” that Trump engaged in misconduct, and he’ll be issuing a subpoena for the full document and the underlying materials.

House Democrats, facing some of the most striking evidence yet from Mueller that Trump attempted to thwart his investigation, edged closer to confronting a question they have long tried to avoid: whether the president’s behavior warrants impeachment.

Freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez vowed to sign onto an impeachment resolution after the Mueller report’s release.

Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani said the report “displays the fact that this is over,” but the Democrats “don’t know it yet.”

Trump trolled his critics following the release of the Mueller report, joking that he was going to be in office for the next 10 to 14 years. (He’s limited by the U.S. Constitution to two four-year terms).

East Aurora’s Michael Caputo emerged as a bit player in the Mueller report, which retells a previously reported story about the local Republican consultant’s encounter with a Russian who claimed to have dirt on the Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton.

A new lawsuit accuses Caputo of serving as a public mouthpiece for indicted Republican politico Roger Stone, who is under a federal gag order barring him from discussing the criminal case against him.

Michael Goodwin: “Trump is now free to be president without the cloud that hovered over him since his election. No president ever faced, let alone survived, a probe as fierce and determined as this one.”

Authorities are investigating after a suspect was killed and an NYPD officer was shot in the arm in Washington Heights yesterday afternoon.

The money-losing National Enquirer, Trump’s favorite supermarket tabloid, is about to have a new owner: James Cohen, a son of the founder of the Hudson News franchise. American Media Inc., The Enquirer’s publisher, announced the deal yesterday.

An Albany Supreme Court judge has struck down — at least temporarily — an attempt by the state Education Department to strengthen its authority over private and religious schools.

New York City’s health department said it has issued three civil summonses to parents who failed to comply with a vaccine mandate and that the number of confirmed measles cases has jumped from 329 to 359.

There’s an “attitude against charter schools” in the Democratic-controlled state Assembly despite a waiting list of more than 52,000 students, according to a top legislator who’s a member of the party – Education Committee Chair Michel Benedetto.

The fate of legislative pork in Albany is unclear.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio promised a faster commute for 600,000 New Yorkers who ride buses by adding new dedicated lanes that will increase average travel speeds from 7.5 to 9 mph.

Shoppers switching to paper bags after a statewide plastic bag ban takes effect next year will have to shell out 5 cents for each one under legislation approved by the NYC Council.

A Brooklyn judge shot down a lawsuit by a group of parents who were protesting the city Health Department’s emergency order requiring people who live in certain parts of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to get vaccinated amid a measles.

A landmark bill passed by the NYC Council sets emission caps for many different types of buildings, with the goal of achieving a 40 percent overall reduction of emissions by 2030. Buildings that do not meet the caps could face steep fines.

All told, the NYC Council passed nine bills and two non-binding resolutions intended to combat climate change, with the most far-reaching aimed at cutting emissions from buildings 40 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050.

A video of Alexander McNab, a black Columbia University student, being pinned down by security officers is adding to a broader conversation about how students of color are treated at one of the nation’s most prominent universities.

NYC officials disputed the Census Bureau’s findings that the five boroughs lost population, calling them “tenuous” at best and suggetsing the numbers may be skewed, in part, because of a change in the survey’s methodology.

Netflix, the video-streaming company, said that it would spend up to $100 million to expand its presence in New York City by creating a production hub in Brooklyn that would include six soundstages.

Mighty St. Patrick’s Cathedral is built to withstand a massive inferno like the one that ravaged Notre Dame in Paris, because fire-proofing was “one of the prime objectives” of the $177 million restoration of the iconic building, completed in 2015.

Legislation needed to construct a new rail tunnel beneath the Hudson River stumbled in Albany and Trenton this month as lawmakers push for more public oversight of the entity that will build it.

The state’s plan to toll drivers entering a busy commercial district in Manhattan will likely impact upstate New York farmers and businesses that deliver products to that area of the city. They are seeking an exemption.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, asked during a radio interview about a shouting match between two lawmakers during a closed-door meeting of state Senate Democrats, indicated one of the electeds may still face an inquiry over his past behavior.

The Fair Elections for New York campaign is focused on the composition and procedures of the commission lawmakers and Cuomo authorized to set up a matching system for the 2022 elections, saying it should be filled with reform-minded experts, not political loyalists, and operate openly with input from the public.

While state officials and environmentalists were disappointed at last week’s federal decision not to require General Electric Co. to resume PCB dredging of the Hudson River, there is another shoe to drop that could lead to court.

Stamford, Conn.-based Centerplate, which has provided food, beverage and merchandising services for NYRA for a quarter century, will continue that relationship through the summer at Saratoga Race Course, and at least through autumn, during the Belmont Fall Championship Meet.

Legislation moving through the Capitol would make state prison inmates, regardless of their crimes, eligible for parole on their 55th birthday if they’ve served 15 consecutive years in prison – an issue highlighted by the case of Brinks getaway driver Judith Clark, who was granted parole at the age of 69.

The former finance director for the Olympic Regional Development Authority recently pleaded guilty to a violation and agreed to pay $8,026 in restitution to settle allegations by the state inspector general’s office that he stole money from the public authority.

While the state’s workforce has steadily declined over the past decade, the level of overtime pay has surged during that period, increasing to nearly $787 million last year and marking the highest level in a decade, according to a state comptroller’s report.

New York is second only to California in the number of international students attending its colleges and universities. While that is unlikely to change in the near term, Capital Region college presidents are casting a wary eye on Washington and the Trump administration, which has proposed tightening student visas.

State officials are preparing to mount their first comprehensive review in more than a decade of the prevalence of problem gambling in New York.

The University at Buffalo freshman who died following a suspected hazing incident was remembered by his roommates as a dedicated student who was passionate about soccer, according to the UB Spectrum, the student-run newspaper at the university.

Police are investigating rapper Remy Ma for an alleged assault after a “Love & Hip Hop” star claimed hip hop star slugged her during an event at Irving Plaza, police sources told The NY Post.

Kodak Black was arrested on drug and weapons charges as the rapper tried to cross from Canada into the United States near Niagara Falls, law enforcement officials said.

3 New York Takeaways From The Mueller Report

The release of Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election has ties to New York and ramifications for the state’s politics.

Here are three key takeaways about how the report effects the Empire State’s political scene:

1. New Yorkers with bit roles.

The president, of course, is the first New Yorker to win the White House since Franklin Roosevelt. And that’s led to some ancillary characters from New York politics to play a role in the saga surrounding the 2016 election. Many of the redactions in the report are due to the upcoming perjury trial of Roger Stone, the colorful New York political operative who has an on-again, off-again relationship and advisory role with Trump.

Western New York political operative Michael Caputo, who had at one point sought a Trump gubernatorial campaign in 2014, is also briefly mentioned in the report. Caputo is said to have learned of a Russian business partner based in Florida named Henry Oknyansky that he had information on Hillary Clinton, and Caputo introduced him to Stone.

Another bit player is Randy Credico, a leftist comedian and activist who is a Bernie Sanders supporter, but also has ties to Stone. Credico, who has interviewed the now-jailed Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on his radio show, had much of his role redacted in the report.

2. The Republican response.

At start of Trump’s campaign,. New York Republican Chairman Ed Cox didn’t embrace the populist candidate’s plan to upend the political system. That’s since changed. Cox in a statement on Thursday cheered the report for finding no evidence the Trump campaign sought to collude with Russian intelligence to sway the election’s outcome and claimed the report exonerated the president of obstruction of justice, though the report itself is rather murky on that point, choosing to ultimately not make a conclusion. Cox went as far as to echo the president’s own call for an investigation of intelligence officials who had raised alarms over Russia’s involvement in the election.

“Meanwhile, the investigation must now turn to the conduct of intelligence and other officials who abused their positions and the truth about the phony Steele dossier must be revealed to the public,” Cox said in a statement. “As President Trump said, this should never happen again.”

3. What will swing district Democrats do?

Democratic Rep. Anthony Brindisi last year won a seat in the House of Representatives the president won by 15 percentage points. He defeated Republican incumbent Claudia Tenney, a prominent supporter of the president who had Trump come to the district and raise money for her campaign. Tenney may not be as popular as Trump in that district, but the president in 2020 will again be at the top of the ticket and the central New York seat will be see as an opportunity for Republicans to pick up.

Brindisi on Thursday gave a careful answer when asked about the Mueller report.

“I want to read the report and see what’s in there,” he told Spectrum News. “But my concern is I don’t want to spend the next year and a half getting bogged down on the Mueller investigation and Russia. We’ve got to focus on the issues I’m hearing out of town hall meetings — lowering drug costs, infrastructure spending, doing something about this opioid epidemic. Those are the things we need to focus on in Congress and not get bogged down in endless investigations.”

Extras

So much is being said about the Mueller report, and no doubt so much more will be said. You can read it for yourself – redacted and searchable version – here.

Among the information revealed in the report is this: Mueller considered President Donald Trump’s written responses “inadequate” and sought an interview with him, but ultimately decided not to issue a subpoena for the interview.

The report reviewed Trump’s attempts to muddy the investigation, including efforts to tamper with witnesses, but decided not to charge the president with obstruction because there was no underlying crime and many of the attempts were carried out in plain view.

Trump, the 448-page report reveals, was panicked when he first found out about Mueller’s appointment, saying: “Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my Presidency. I’m f@#$ed,” citing testimony from then Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ chief of staff.

“How could you let this happen, Jeff?” Trump continued, telling Sessions something to the effect of, “You were supposed to protect me…This is the worst thing that ever happened to me.”

After Trump publicly asked Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails at a July 2016 press conference, he privately and repeatedly “asked individuals affiliated with his campaign to find the deleted Clinton emails,” the report says.

The release of a “counter report” by Team Trump no longer seems guaranteed, as one of the president’s attorneys, former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, maintains there’s not enough new information to merit a response.

Trump’s response to the report: “They’re having a good day. I’m having a good day, too. It was called no collusion. No obstruction. There never was by the way and there never will be. And we do have to get to the bottom of these things I will say. This should’ve never happened…this should never happen to another president again. This hoax – it should never happen again. Thank you.”

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders admitted to the special counsel’s investigators that she misled the media about why Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez renewed her call for Congress to impeach Trump following the release of the Mueller report.

Just as the highly-anticipated Mueller report was made public, Facebook updated a month-old blog post to note that actually a security incident impacted “millions” of Instagram users and not “tens of thousands” as they said at first.

The fire that ravaged Paris’ centuries-old Notre Dame cathedral on Monday was “likely caused” by an electrical short-circuit, an anonymous French judicial police official told the Associated Press.

The bees that made their home inside three hives atop the Notre Dame cathedral have survived this week’s massive blaze — even though the roof was almost completely destroyed.

The nephew of a cop killed in the 1981 Brink’s heist in Rockland County says he’s made his peace with the parole of Judith Clark, but can’t forgive Gov. Andrew Cuomo for ignoring the families of the victims.

A New York Supreme Court Judge has struck down recent state guidelines meant to improve the quality of secular education in yeshivas and other private schools.

New York state agencies paid out $787 million in overtime for more than 18 million extra hours worked by state employees in 2018, according to state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, who says last year’s total overtime cost was at the highest level within the past decade.

For the 10-year anniversary of the state Senate coup crisis, the Capitol Confidential podcast is doing a deep dive into the players and politics that shaped this historic struggle for power in Albany.

Some people who have defected from NXIVM have said the same leaders who preach humanitarianism are also master intimidators who will wring out opponents with years of litigation, use private investigators to bully and urge the government to pursue charges against those they believe have crossed them.

Kodak Black was arrested on drug and weapons charges as the rapper tried to cross from Canada into the United States near Niagara Falls, law enforcement officials said.

The MTA’s latest round of fare hikes go into effect Sunday – the first since Cuomo declared a state of emergency for the agency during 2017′s “summer of hell.”

The NYC Health Department issued summonses “subject to $1,000 fines” to the parents of three children in Brooklyn who were not vaccinated.

Cuomo today announced that Netflix, the world’s leading internet entertainment service, will expand its presence in New York with a production HUB in New York City, bringing hundreds of jobs and up to $100 million in investments.

NYC has yanked its threat of criminal charges and even jail for people who don’t vaccinate their children against measles, it was revealed in court today.

An arsenal of high-powered firearms — including three assault rifles and enough ammo to start a small war — were found in a pick-up truck heading across the George Washington Bridge to Manhattan, authorities said.

Court Sides With Yeshivas, Private Schools In Standards Guidelines

A state judge in a ruling issued Thursday struck down new state guidelines that were aimed at boosting education standards and secular curricula at yeshivas and private schools.

The decision from State Supreme Court Judge Christina Ryba effects State Education Department guidelines released last year that would require school district-level review of education standards at private schools.

“We are reviewing the court’s decision and will determine the appropriate next steps,” said Emily DeSantis, a spokeswoman for the department.

Ryba’s ruling “hereby nullified” those guidelines changes as applied by SED. The decision is a victory for yeshivas that had opposed the guidelines change and the potential of having them close.

“This stops in its tracks SED’s effort to radically transform the relationship between the state and its private schools,” said Parents for Educational and Religious Liberty in Schools, a pro-yeshiva organization.

Advocates for boosting education standards, however, decried the sweeping decision.

“It is absolutely imperative for the Education Department to provide reasonable oversight to make sure every student in New York is receiving an education that complies with state standards. This is about educational equity, pure and simple and we have to start putting children ahead of politics,” said Zephyr Teachout, a Fordham Law school professor and prior candidate for attorney general and Congress.

“I sincerely hope that the Attorney General will appeal the judge’s ruling and that state and city leaders will take appropriate action to end this ongoing neglect of students regardless of religion.”

New York House Delegation Reacts To Mueller Report

The reactions on Thursday by the members of New York’s congressional delegation broke down on largely partisan lines as the report on Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election was released with redactions by the Department of Justice.

The report did not find evidence to conclude that President Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with the Russian government to sway the outcome of the election, but did not make a determination on whether Trump himself sought to obstruct the investigation.

“Today the Mueller report was released, but the result remains the same — no Russian collusion,” said Republican Rep. Tom Reed. “This should be celebrated. Now it is time for our country to heal because all politics all the time is tearing our country apart and hurting real people. We must end this culture of division and work together on policies to help people.”

Democratic Rep. Paul Tonko praised the work of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, pointing to the 30 indictments as the result of the investigation.

“This is the first time Special Counsel Mueller’s report has been made available to the public and members of Congress,” Tonko said. “At several hundred pages, it is far more detailed and rigorous than the four page reaction memo issued by Attorney General Barr. I will take the time necessary to review the report in detail and will share my views on its contents once I have had a chance to do so.”

Rep. Elise Stefanik, a Republican from the North Country, said the focus should continue to be placed on efforts by a hostile power to sway an election.

“AG Barr was clear that the process was completed with a high degree of transparency, no executive privilege, limited redactions, and resulted in a report of no collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign,” she said. “I am proud of my record of calling for full transparency, and will continue to focus on what matters: interference in our elections by Russia and other foreign adversaries.”

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, meanwhile, has been authorized by his committee to subpoena for an unredacted version of the report. And he found concerns raised in the report about the president’s attempts to shut down the investigation.

“The report concluded there was ‘substantial evidence’ that President Trump attempted to prevent an investigation into his campaign and his own conduct,” Nadler said. “Contrary to the Attorney General’s statement this morning that the White House ‘fully cooperated’ with the investigation, the report makes clear that the President refused to be interviewed by the Special Counsel and refused to provide written answers to follow-up questions; and his associates destroyed evidence relevant to the Russia investigation.”

Parker Wants Good Friday To Be A Holiday

Sen. Kevin Parker is pushing a bill that would make Good Friday a public holiday in New York, following suit with a dozen states in the country.

Good Friday is observed by Christians as the day Jesus Christ died on the cross and is the lead up to the Easter holiday on Sunday.

“The purpose of the legislation is to ensure that New York State recognizes and celebrates the religious diversity of all its citizenry,” Parker said Thursday in a statement. “Currently, Good Friday is a state holiday in 12 states: Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas. It is time for New York State to stop lagging behind and recognize Good Friday as a public holiday on behalf of the many observers across our great State.”

Designating Good Friday a holiday would require the closure of non-essential government offices and amend the state’s education law to include Good Friday on the list of holidays for public schools to close in New York.

Population Loss Creeps Downstate

New York’s upstate population continued its slide over the last year, but the number of people moving out of the state accelerated at a faster rate in New York City, a Census report released this week found.

The Census found over a 12-month period ending last July 1, upstate counties north of the metropolitan region lost a combined 8,719 residents, a decline of 0.14 percent.

But New York City, Long Island and the lower Hudson Valley lost a combined total of 39,791 people, or 0.30 percent. Nearly all of that decline occurred in New York City, which has boomed economically over the last decade. The state’s net population decrease overall was 48,510 in the 2017-18 time period.

A portion of this decline may be due to the Census Bureau’s reclassification of documented immigration and how it can count toward population growth.

There are some bright spots upstate: Saratoga County gained 1,061 residents, ranking it second overall in population growth statewide.

New York’s population since 2010 has grown by 164,107 residents or 0.8 percent.

The state is likely to lose one, if not two, seats in the House of Representatives given it is not growing as fast as other states.