Mike Whittemore

Mike is a Senior Video Journalist and Producer for Capital Tonight, New York's only nightly statewide political television program.

Homepage: http://nystateofpolitics.com/stateofpolitics

AIM: rockharmonica

Posts by Mike Whittemore

WATCH LIVE: Governor Cuomo’s State Of The State

You can also watch the speech in its entirety with insight and analysis during a special Capital Tonight report on your local YNN channel.

HAPPENING NOW: Senate Debates New Rules

With just an hour before the governor’s third State of the State address, the state Senate is debating unprecedented rules changes that would establish a coalition government of the GOP and the Independent Democratic Conference.

Watch live streaming video from nysenate at livestream.com

Cuomo, Christie, Malloy Send Letters To Congress Urging Passage Of Aid Package

Today the Senate has approved a $60.4 billion emergency spending package for Hurricane Sandy recovery that was backed by Democrats.

The 61-33 vote Friday sends the measure to the House, where the bill faces uncertain prospects.

Governors Andrew Cuomo, Chris Christie and Dan Malloy of Connecticut responded by sending a stern letter to every member of the House in hopes the bill will pass before the new year.

Cuomo Letter

Emotional Day For Retiring Assembly Members

Long-serving members of the Assembly packed up their offices today–filled with memorabilia showcasing decades worth of accomplishments in public service. YNN’s Megan Cruz caught up with some of the members from the Capital Region to share their thoughts:

“It’s difficult to take things down, empty desks,” said Assemblyman Ron Canestrari (D-Cohoes)

“I’m seeing my entire professional career pass before me.”

A few floors down from Canestrari, the Assembly Majority Leader, you have Jack McEneny and Bob Reilly.

“When the pictures come down off the walls there’s a reality to it,” McEneny (D-Albany) said.

The three Democrats have traded their seats in the Assembly for seats on an airplane –
The destination: retirement.

Reilly plans to go to a Notre Dame football game next month, Canestrari (D-Colonie) is taking a cruise his first week of retirement and McEneny plans to write, travel and “catch up with the garden.”

While sad to be leaving, all say they know it’s time – Having made a difference in their time in office.

For Canestrari – one example from his 24 years in office: his work with the Watervliet Arsenal Partnership.

“To ensure that that industrial center would be the source of jobs and innovation in the area,” he said.

For Reilly, it was his Salary Fund. In his 8 years, he says he’s donated over a half a million dollars to local charities.

“The Cohoes Community Center, Colonie Senior Services Center, the Youth Center,” said Reilly.

For McEneny, he defines his 20 years in office by how he got to know the people in his district.
Advice he’s given to his successor – Patricia Fahy.

“Craft fairs, little leagues, or some of these very routine things where people are comfortable talking to you, because then they’ll open up and you’ll be a better legislator,” said McEneny.

The three say they have no regrets because they’ve served with integrity. Phil Steck taking over for Reilly, John McDonald for Canestrari.

“It’s time to pass the torch on,” said McEneny.

“We got good competent people replacing us and now they can make their path here.”

Ball Also Tries To Raise Quick Cash, Slams ‘Journal News’

In classic Greg Ball fashion, the Hudson Valley Republican State Senator continues his push back against the Journal News with a new nickname.

The newspaper recently published the names and addresses of area permit-carrying gun owners obtained from a Freedom of Information Law request.

“As many of you know, The ‘Urinal’ News (new name, evidently) recently revealed the addresses of homeowners with pistol permits in Westchester and Rockland Counties,” Ball said in a fundraising email to supporters.

“What you may not know, is that many of those listed are retired cops, victims of domestic violence and single moms. Publishing this information on a website provides criminals with a map of where they can steal firearms from lawful owners for later use in the commission of crimes.”

In that email, Ball asks supporters to donate in hopes of reaching a $30,000 goal by January 1 due to exhausting his $1 million war chest leading up to the November election.

I assume it will only be a matter of time the CapTon crew gets its own Greg Ball nickname. Keep in mind “Crapital Tonight” is overplayed at this point.

Free Coffee!!

Traveling on the Thruway New Year’s Eve? For the 42nd year in a row, the NYS Thruway Authority is offering free coffee and hot tea to travelers at all 27 travel plazas.

Coffee Cup

“This New Year’s Eve tradition in partnership with Thruway Travel Plaza operators is intended to remind motorists to take breaks to prevent drowsy driving on the Thruway and other roadways,” said Thruway Authority Executive Director Thomas J. Madison.

“Sleepiness and fatigue are major contributors to highway accidents. All motorists should put safety first at all times.”

Maloney Name Drops Karl Rove To Raise Some Year-End Cash

Congressman-elect Sean Patrick Maloney (D-18th District) is trying to raise $25,000 by midnight on the December 31, saying “Karl Rove and the gang” are already eying his seat in 2014.

“Karl Rove and the gang were beaten back in 2012, but they’re not defeated. And right now, they’ve got an eye on my district,” Maloney told supporters in an email.

“Karl Rove is desperate to avenge the Republican losses this year, so they’re coming after Democrats like me.”

Rove is a FOX News analyst and a high-profile GOP operative, most notably known for running the Super PAC, “American Crossroads.”

Maloney defeated Republican Nan Hayworth in the November 6 elections.

‘Promised Land’ Panned By Critics

At one point there was Oscar buzz surrounding the hydrofracking-inspired big-screen drama, Promised Land.

However, now that critics have gotten a first look at the movie written by and starring Matt Damon and John Krasinski, that buzz appears to be fading.

promised land

From the NJ Star-Ledger: “Matt Damon’s new film “Promised Land” starts off on the right foot — and then shoots itself in it.”

From New York Magazine’s Vulture: “It collapses on all fronts, delivering hot-button platitudes and just-add-water character development.”

From the New York Times: “While the film nicely conveys the textures of small-town life in gas regions, its main characters too often border on caricature.”

I’m not one to judge a movie based solely on critic’s opinions and not all the reviews for this flick are unflattering. Given the topic hits so close to home as New York grapples with the idea of approving high-volume hydraulic natural gas drilling it may still be worth a watch. It opens for widespread release on January 4th.

DiNapoli: Local Governments Still In The Red

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli has issued another dire warning about the fiscal challenges facing New York’s counties and municipalities.

“Years of decreasing, stagnant or slow economic growth have led local governments to cut vital services and tap their rainy day funds to balance budgets, a practice that is not sustainable in the long term,” the comptroller said.

Some highlights (or low-lights) from the report show that costs have grown while revenue increases have not kept up.

According to a news release from the comptroller’s office, total local government expenditures grew by 17.4 percent (an average growth of 3.3 percent per year) from 2006 through 2011. Meanwhile, revenues only grew by 15 percent (an annual average of 2.8 percent per year).

2012 Fiscal Report

Cuomo Issues Executive Order For Energy Efficiency

Gov. Cuomo has ordered all state agencies to reduce energy consumption by 20 percent over the next seven years.

The executive order signed today lays out the framework, called “Build Smart NY,” which the governor says is a strategic implementation plan for the Executive Order by accelerating priority improvements in energy performance.

Holiday Fire Safety - Overloaded electrical outlet

“Improving energy efficiency in our buildings is a smart investment in our present and future,” Governor Cuomo said. “Through Build Smart NY, state government can produce significant savings for New York taxpayers and generate thousands of jobs, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by more than eight million metric tons – which is the same as taking one million cars off the road for one year. Furthermore, most of the projects will pay for themselves as their energy savings will cover their costs, making this initiative a financial and environmental win-win for New Yorkers.”

The full details of the plan, according to the governor’s statement, as well as the executive order can be found beyond the page jump.

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