Nick Reisman

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Cuomo Plans Yonkers Fundraiser

From the Morning Memo:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo will hold a high-dollar fundraiser in Yonkers, with contributors being asked to donate or help raise as much as $25,000 to attend.

The event scheduled for Oct. 7, will be held at Fortina Restaurant in Yonkers and is being thrown by Westchester For Cuomo.

There’s a wide dollar range for tickets to event: Younger donors are being asked to give $150, with individual support tickets running as much as $5,000.

For large donors, who also help raise money, contributions range from $10,000 to $25,000 with the perk of a host committee reception.

Cuomo last year won re-election to a third term and continued a solid fundraising push in the first half of 2019, raising $4.5 million.

His campaign, which began the year with $4.7 million in the bank, now has $8.4 million in cash on hand.

Tedisco Urges Cuomo To Waive License Plate Fee

From the Morning Memo:

Criticism of a plan starting next year to replace blue-and-white license plates on the road at the cost of a $25 fee grew on Tuesday, and state lawmakers are urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo to waive the cost of the replacements.

“While I do not have an issue with updating the design of New York’s license plates, and certainly understand the need to replace the plates that are peeling and ensure they are readable for both law enforcement and automated tollbooths, taxpayers should not have to foot the bill for the inferior product that was produced,” wrote Sen. Jim Tedisco in a letter to Cuomo released Tuesday afternoon.

Tedisco, a Republican who represents the Capital Region, said the state should put the company behind the peeling and crumbling license plates on the hook for funding the replacements.

“If these costs must be recouped, the DMV should go after the manufacturer that issued these faulty plates to the state,” he wrote. “Given the already high cost taxpayers must pay to drive and register a car in New York an additional $45 is too high a burden for taxpayers.”

Cuomo on Tuesday said the replacement plates are needed for them to be visible to cameras as the state transitions to cashless tolling throughout the Thruway system.

With an estimated three million blue-and-white plates on the road, the state could generate as much as $75 million for the replacement effort, which begins next April.

Plates that are 10 years and older are affected under the change.

Renewal Fees Letter to Gov. Cuomo by Nick Reisman on Scribd

Here And Now

Good morning and happy Wednesday! The New York State Fair opens today.

Happening today:

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is traveling to Iowa.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is heading to the state fairgrounds outside of Syracuse today, but is yet to release a public schedule.

At noon, Rep. Paul Tonko will hold a reception to recognize the Canalway Challenge, Waterford Harbor Visit Center, One Tugboat Alley, Waterford.


The Staten Island district attorney announced Tuesday that he will not reopen the investigation into the death of Eric Garner.

The union that represents NYPD officers urged “extreme caution” in making arrests after Pantaleo was fired.

Former New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton warned that a showdown over Pantaleo “serves no purpose.”

Discussions with Pantaleo’s legal team and NYPD officials have fallen through to save his pension.

It is rare when a fired police officer in New York City successfully sues to get their job back, an issue all the more pertinent given the dismissal of Daniel Pantaleo.

New Yorkers can pick their next license plate, but how many want to pay $25 to get a new one? For drivers with the blue and white plates, there won’t be much of a choice next year.

Federal officials are pressuring the MTA to finish the installation of a technology meant to prevent train crashes.

It’s been nearly a year since a homeless advocate confronted Mayor Bill de Blasio about the homelessness crisis during his morning workout at the Park Slope YMCA. She remains homeless herself.

Three more women are coming forward to sue the estate of disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.

Epstein’s former cellmate claims he was warned to “shut up” by guards.

Harvey Weinstein is pushing for his trial to be moved out of New York City, pointing to his numerous mentions in The New York Post’s gossip page.

Attorney General Letitia James’s office announced a lawsuit challenging the “public charge” rule change by the Trump administration that would deny social services to immigrants.

From the day he rode down a zip line at Jones Beach to open up the summer season, to photos captured of him driving his car this past weekend in upstate New York, to even walking his dog, Captain, near the state capitol on a Sunday morning, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been enjoying what some are calling “The Summer of Andrew.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s office is the only office among New York City members of Congress that doesn’t have a real, live human being answering the phone.

Ticket sellers offering rides around, but actually to, Liberty Island, have been banned from Battery Park.

Sex crimes in New York City schools have increased for the third straight year.

A man who is wanted in connection to dousing cops with water attempted to run from being arrested.

Christopher Briggs, the Cohoes Common Council president, has been sworn in as mayor for the rest of the year after Shawn Morse pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in federal court Tuesday in Binghamton.

Colonie police are investigating an incident reported at the Crossings last night.

When it comes to ride safety, New York State Fair officials want parents to know, they’re all over it.

This month, both the state Thruway Authority and the lieutenant governor insisted New York is working with the Seneca Nation to repair a two-mile portion of the I-90 that runs through the Cattaraugus Territory.

Matthew Bojanowski announced he is stepping down as academic chair of the Executive Counsel at Christ the King Seminary Tuesday morning. He is the second person to resign from Christ the King in the last week, joining Dean of Seminarians Stephen Parisi.

The Village of East Aurora is packed with busy bars and restaurants, but starting next March, if you have a coke or a coffee in one of those establishments you won’t be using a plastic straw or a stir stick to take a sip.

After announcing it was ending its contract with RNN to provide hyperlocal news on Fios 1 News, Verizon says it will continue to offer some form of news content to its customers.

Sen. David Carlucci said the state failed to follow proper procedure for adding an “M” to the Mario Cuomo Bridge signs.

An iconic Brooklyn pizzeria, popular with residents and tourists, was shut down Tuesday over a lot of dough — in this case money owed to New York state.

Spot Coffee workers have voted to form a union.

The headline here kind of says it all.

In national news:

President Donald Trump backed off a push for stronger background checks for gun purchases after speaking with a top official at the NRA.

The president said Tuesday he is supportive of adding Russia back to the G7 — a consortium of economically advanced nations.

President Trump confirmed he’s open to a payroll tax, but downplayed concerns of an economic recession.

And yet to donors, the Trump team is acknowledging a recession is a real possibility.

Trump has postponed a trip to Denmark after the prime minister said Greenland is not for sale.

The president said Jews who support Democratic candidates are showing ignorance and disloyalty.

Walmart is suing Tesla over solar cells that allegedly can cause sparks.

Former House Speaker Paul Ryan is moving his family from Wisconsin to Washington.

From the editorial pages:

Bob McManus in The New York Post criticized Commissioner James O’Neill’s handling of the Daniel Pantaleo firing.

Newsday says the MTA and the Long Island Rail Road must find a way to control overtime costs.

The Times Union writes that the rollback of environmental protections by the federal government is a new threat to endangered species.

The Buffalo News frets about the staffing in the Buffalo city comptroller’s office.

From the sports pages:

Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield said the Giants pick of Daniel Jones at the quarterback “blows my mind” — causing a stir in the process.

The Yankees kicked off a west coast swing with a loss.

The Mets beat the Indians as the team continues its late summer surge.


Attorney General Letitia James is suing the Trump Administration, over a new rule that could deny legal immigrants a path to citizenship.

Temperatures are in the upper 80s and August is far from over, but for some New York City students it’s time to hit the books again.

Cohoes Mayor Shawn Morse pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in federal court Tuesday in Binghamton.

The 2019 butter sculpture at the New York State Fair has been revealed.

More than 100 drivers in Rochester were ticketed this week as part of a collaboration between New York State Police and the Department of Transportation.

John Hurley, president of Canisius College and leader of the Movement to Restore Trust in the Diocese of Buffalo, met with Bishop Richard Malone and the joint implementation team Tuesday.

New Law Expands Employment Protections For Domestic Violence Victims

A measure meant to expand protections against discrimination in employment for domestic violence survivors and victims was signed into law on Tuesday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“Victims of domestic violence are forced to deal with far-reaching, lasting ramifications that can understandably interfere with their work schedules,” Cuomo said in a statement.

“By signing this measure into law we are strengthening our nation-leading domestic violence protection laws and ensuring survivors never have to fear losing their job as they deal with the aftermath of these unthinkable traumas.”

Previously law did not explicitly define protections and accommodations that an employer must provide to domestic violence victims. The measure would list reasons for an employer to allow a victim to take time off, including for services like medical attention, victim services or rape crisis and counseling, as well as safety planning and relocation.

“My mother dedicated her life to helping survivors of domestic violence, and her work has inspired me to be a voice for our most vulnerable populations during my time in public service,” said Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul.

“This legislation continues our efforts to combat domestic violence and ensure survivors are supported in every way possible, and that includes protecting their ability to earn a paycheck and achieve financial independence. New York is leading the way with our Women’s Justice Agenda, advancing gender equality, protecting all New Yorkers, and strengthening our society.”

The bill was sponsored by Sen. Roxanne Persaud and Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein.

Cuomo Says New Plates Are Needed For Cashless Tolling

New license plates are needed for cashless tolling cameras to read them, Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters at Lake Ontario on Tuesday as state lawmakers are pushing back against the change.

“Nobody wants to pay any money for anything,” Cuomo said. “I don’t want to buy new plates, either. It’s 10 years. You need a plate that works with E-Z Pass.”

Cashless tolling is already available in parts of the state Thruway system.

Motorists who have the blue-and-white plates, issued more than a decade ago, will beginning in April be required to purchase new plates for $25, along with a $20 fee if they want to keep the current license plate number.

The state estimated there are three million blue-and-white plates in circulation, which could lead to $75 million in revenue for the state in the initial changeover.

The proposal drew comparisons to a broader plan later withdrawn by then-Gov. David Paterson in 2009 that would have required all motorists switch their plates to the current gold-and-blue design.

Republicans and Democrats alike on Tuesday blasted the plan.

“This is a regurgitation of the same, uninspired idea that Governor David Paterson proposed a decade ago, one that failed thanks to strong opposition from County Clerks and Republicans in the state Legislature,” said Senate Minority Leader John Flanagan. “It’s also the latest example of Albany’s nickel-and-diming of hardworking middle-class taxpayers.”

Democratic Sen. David Carluccci also knocked the proposal.

“Hardworking New Yorkers should not be burdened with this unnecessary cash grab by the State,” he said. “A required fee to replace old license plates is arbitrary and does not in any way benefit drivers.”

Lawsuit Challenges ‘Public Charge’ For Immigrants

Attorney General Letitia James’s office announced Tuesday a lawsuit attempting to overturn President Donald Trump’s so-called public charge regulation.

Under this regulation change, immigrants would be denied green cards and visas when seeking forms of public assistance, including Medicaid, food stamps and housing vouchers. Administration officials say it’s meant to encourage self-sufficiency. James in the lawsuit argues the move circumvents the intent of Congress and will hurt immigrant children.

The suit was filed by Connecticut, Vermont and New York City.

“Generations of citizens landed on the welcoming shores of Ellis Island with nothing more than a dream in their pockets,” she said in a statement.

“The Trump Administration’s thinly veiled efforts to only allow those who meet their narrow ethnic, racial and economic criteria to gain a path to citizenship is a clear violation of our laws and our values. Quite simply, under this rule, more children will go hungry, more families will go without medical care and more people will be living in the shadows and on the streets. We cannot and we will not let that happen.”

The public charge rule change is set to take effect in two months. ​

The lawsuit was cheered by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is among the crowded field seeking the Democratic presidential nomination.

“The ultimate city of immigrants will never stop fighting President Trump’s xenophobic policies,” he said.

“We are proud to join the Attorney General and let our immigrant brothers and sisters know New York stands united behind them. When you mess with our neighbors, you mess with all of us. To the President, we’ll see you in court.”

New Law Waives Marriage License Fee For Active Duty Members

A law approved Tuesday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo will waive the state fee for marriage licenses for active duty members of the armed forces and their spouses.

The new measure will also allow local governments to waive their fees for marriage certificates for service members or spouses.

“These brave men and women leave their loved ones behind and risk their lives to protect the freedoms and values that this nation and this state were founded upon,” Cuomo said in a statement. “Waiving this fee is one small way to thank these valiant New Yorkers for their service.”

The bill was sponsored in the Legislature by Sen. Shelley Mayer and Assemblyman David Buchwald.

“On the happy occasions when a member of our armed forces gets married in New York, we as a society should be doing everything we can to say thank you and congratulations,” Buchwald said. “This is but a small gesture to show our gratitude to the men and women who protect our freedoms every day.”

Cuomo Signs Bill Restricting ‘Floating’ Billboards

Electronic and digital billboards attached to vessels in navigable waters are being restricted in New York based on a bill signed into law Tuesday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The measure gives local governments the ability to ban vessels with these billboards — which contain flashing, intermittent or moving lights — from operating, anchoring or mooring within 1,500 feet of its shore.

“These floating billboards are a nuisance that blight our shores and distract from the great natural beauty of our waterways,” Cuomo said. “This action will help make our waters more enjoyable and safer for everyone.”

Lawmakers supportive of the legislation say the boats aren’t just an eyesore, but also a potential distraction, creating a public safety problem.

“Billboards belong in Times Square, not in the middle of the Hudson and East Rivers. These floating billboards are a dangerous distraction to drivers, boaters, and pedestrians, not to mention an eyesore,” said Sen. Brad Hoylman. “New Yorkers deserve to have a respite on our waterfront from the barrage of modern life.”

Mandatory License Plate Fee Rankles

From the Morning Memo:

On Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s couched the new license plate plan in a fun way: New Yorkers can choose from a variety of plate designs that feature the Statue of Liberty, the statue’s torch, Niagara Falls and the New York City skyline, or the bridge named after his late father.

And the replacement will be mandatory for the roughly three million drivers who continue to have the blue-and-white license plates, the youngest of which will turn 10 years old next year.

With the current $25 fee, the plan could generate about $75 million for the state, not counting the $20 cost for keeping a person’s current plate number.

A Department of Motor Vehicles spokesman confirmed Monday the blue plates will have to be turned in starting April 2020 in favor of the new plates when a registration is being renewed.

The DMV pointed to the blue-and-white plates in need of replacement given many are old, damaged and peeling, making it difficult to identify their numbers.

Republican Sen. Jim Tedisco, however, blasted the fee in a statement.

“The state’s new $25 ‘license plate replacement fee’ and the $20 fee for people to keep their current license plate number is the latest example of the nickel and diming of taxpayers that has caused New York State to consistently be ranked number one for highest taxes in the nation, first for places where millennials are fleeing from, and on the list as one of the worst places to retire,” Tedisco said.

“More than 189,000 people escaped from New York over the last year and one million over the past decade. These new DMV plate fees will certainly accomplish one goal: getting more New Yorkers to hit the road – permanently!”

Democratic Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara also blasted the proposal.

“The Governor’s license plate replacement program announced today amounts to nothing more than more of our hard earned money going to the state,” he said.

“On April 1st, 2020, if your plates are 10 years old it will cost you $25 MORE for new plates, regardless of their condition. Seems like the state just keeps finding new reasons to issue new plates and take more of our hard-earned money. Enough is enough; if these plates are necessary the state should provide the replacements at NO COST.”

Nine years ago, then-Gov. David Paterson launched an effort to replace the state’s blue-and-white license plates with gold-and-blue plates.

Purchasing the new plates, with the $25 fee, would have been mandatory, generating $129 million to close a budget gap as the state deal with the fallout of the nationwide recession. An uproar from state lawmakers and locally elected officials ensued over the plate plan as a backdoor tax hike.

Paterson ultimately backed off.