Andrew Cuomo

Cuomo Says School Diversity ‘Something We Have To Address’

Gov. Andrew Cuomo did not dismiss the idea of expanding busing in order to curtail segregation in school districts.

Busing has come to the forefront of the political conversation amid the Democratic presidential primary campaign and the scrutiny placed on the record of former Vice President Joe Biden.

Biden, as a senator, opposed efforts by the federal government to implement busing initiatives on the local level.

Cuomo, who has spoken warmly of Biden, told reporters in Brooklyn the issue of school diversity is something New York officials will have to address.

“That’s the issue we’re grappling with the city and the state,” he said. “It’s come to a head with the specialized schools.”

State lawmakers in the most recent legislative session declined to take up a bill that would have ended the examination for specialized high schools in New York City.

Trump Extends Twitter Feud With Cuomo

President Donald Trump on Tuesday extended his Twitter beef with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, knocking his leadership of the state and the outmigration of people.

Cuomo, in turn, called the tweets part of a “tantrum.”

The tweets from the president, which began on Monday, appear centered around Attorney General Letitia James’s office conducting investigations into Trump’s finances, including his effort to buy the Buffalo Bills.

Today’s focus: James’s investigation of the National Rifle Association’s financial picture and the turmoil surrounding the gun rights group’s leadership.

“People are fleeing New York like never before. If they own a business, they are twice as likely to flee,” Trump wrote. “And if they are a victim of harassment by the A.G. of the state, like what they are doing to our great NRA, which I think will move quickly to Texas, where they are loved…..”

He added in a follow-up tweet: “Texas will defend them & indemnify them against political harassment by New York State and Governor Cuomo. So many people are leaving New York for Texas and Florida that it is totally under siege. First New York taxes you too high, then they sue you, just to complete the job.”

Cuomo in a statement pointed to the federal tax overhaul of 2017 capping state and local tax deductions at $10,000 — a move seen as harmful to high-tax blue states like New York.

“President Trump is in la la land. If he is worried about law enforcement, he shouldn’t break the law. If he is worried about New York taxes, he should repeal the New York tax penalty called SALT that he and Republicans passed, which targeted New York and raised our taxes by $15 billion,” Cuomo said.

“I lowered taxes in New York. Trump raised them. Try the truth for a change, Mr. President.”

Cuomo Says It’s ‘Early’ In Democratic Nominating Process

From the Morning Memo:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo was in Israel last week when Democrats held their second presidential primary debate.

So Cuomo missed the televised exchange between former Vice President Joe Biden and California Sen. Kamala Harris as she blasted him for his past efforts to oppose and limit the reach of busing to curtail segregation in schools.

The moment gave a boost to Harris and is seen as potentially damaging to Biden, who has frontrunner status in the early days of the primary.

Cuomo said in a conference call on Monday the “dialogue” in the debates is good for the party and for voters

“I think this is good I think it it’ll be an ongoing dialogue,” he said. “I think it will inform people of their choices, but I think this is very early in the process and let the process continue and let’s hear more from the candidates and then we’ll see where we are.”

Cuomo has called Biden the most qualified candidate in the race and is helping him raise money. But he’s stopped short of formally endorsing the former vice president.

“I have said that I’ve worked with Biden he’s been extraordinarily good to the State of New York when he served as vice president and I worked with him before that and I hold him in very high regard,” Cuomo said.

Drones And Subway Cars: Cuomo Touts NY-Israel Trade

Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a conference call on Monday touted his trip to Israel last week that he says is producing deals for New York business and mass transit.

Cuomo unveiled efforts to boost the state’s drone industry, a burgeoning enterprise in central New York, which includes a $250,000 planning grant for studying unmanned systems research.

Cuomo also announced Cornell University and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology would enter into a partnership meant to update technology for the MTA in the New York City area.

At the same time, five Israeli companies will be entering the New York market, focusing on energy and energy grid security.

The trip was meant to highlight both solidarity between New York and Israel, but also as a trade mission, Cuomo said in the call.

“The main purpose of the mission was an economic development mission. The Israel-New York economic connection is a very powerful one,” Cuomo said.

“New York exports to Israel about $5 billion per year. That is more than double any other state in the country. That is one third all U.S. exports to Israel. Israel exports to New York about $8 billion, more than any other state. There was an article in a paper that I read today that estimated the Israeli company impact in New York to be $18 billion dollars. So it’s a very significant and powerful economic partnership for us.”

Who Will Fill Open Government Job?

It’s not clear yet who will replace the state’s top open government and records access official after he was fired last week when an investigation determined he sexually assaulted a reporter.

Robert Freeman, who had been the executive director of the state Committee on Open Government, had been something of an ombudsman for records access and open meetings law issues, offering legal opinions for reporters and those who file Freedom of Information Law requests.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a conference call on Monday said he is yet to focus on the person to fill Freeman’s office, which is part of the state Department of State.

Freeman was fired after it was determined he sexually assaulted a reporter who was meeting with him. The investigation also found he had kept pornographic material on his state computer.

“I don’t know anything other than what I have read,” Cuomo said. “The matter was handled by the Inspector General and I have no reason believe that the appropriate actions weren’t taken.”

State Regulator To Investigate Discrimination In Facebook Advertising

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday the Department of Financial Services will investigate news that state-regulated advertisers using Facebook discriminated at protected classes.

The department, the state’s top financial and banking regulatory entity, will review Facebook’s use of its advertising platform that allows advertisers to target or exclude consumers based on race, color, national origin, religion, familial status, sex and disability, among other classifications.

Federal officials on Monday announced Facebook’s advertising was being used to target and exclude people in the real estate and housing sectors, leading to a lawsuit by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

At the same time, Facebook’s platform reportedly uses a form of machine learning and analytics that can categorize users based on their likely response to an ad, which can recreate groupings of people based on their protective class.

“The allegations against Facebook advertisers are extremely troubling and fly in the face of everything that New York stands for,” Cuomo said in a statement.

“I am calling on the Department of Financial Services to investigate these claims and help ensure that New Yorkers seeking housing for themselves and their families are not discriminated against in any way. We will take aggressive action and ensure that those who are behind these reprehensible alleged practices are held fully accountable.”

Trump Lobs Tweet At Cuomo, James

President Donald Trump on Monday criticized both Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York Attorney General Letitia James in a series of tweets, charging the governor uses James “as a bludgeoning tool for his own purposes.”

The tweets come as Trump’s business activities have been investigated by James’s office, including his effort to purchase the Buffalo Bills football and the financing effort behind that.

“New York businesses in search of anything at all they can find to make me look as bad as possible,” Trump wrote. “So, on top of ridiculously high taxes, my children and companies are spending a fortune on lawyers. No wonder people and businesses are fleeing New York in record numbers!”

Cuomo in a phone conference call with reporters discussing his trip to Israel said he hadn’t seen Trump’s Twitter comments.

“He says the most absurd things. The state has ridiculously high taxes. The President’s strength is not fact or truth as we know,” Cumo said.

Cuomo added appeared unfamiliar with New York electing the governor and attorney general separately.

“I don’t have an Attorney General. He appoints an Attorney General and I think if anything the fact that law enforcement is looking into his corporations, if he has nothing to hide he has nothing to worry about. But I think the tweet shows that his paranoia is once again getting the better of him,” Cuomo said.

James in a tweet fired back as well, saying the investigation will go where the facts are.

“Make no mistake: No one is above the law, not even the President,” she posted. “P.S. My name is Letitia James. (You can call me Tish.)”

Cuomo Signs Bill Ending Gay And Trans Panic Defenses

A measure that ends the use of the gay or trans panic defense in cases was signed into law on Sunday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The bill, signed on the culmination of WorldPride and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, was a key component of LGBTQ legislation this year.

“The gay and trans panic defense is essentially a codification of homophobia and transphobia, and it is repugnant to our values of equality and inclusion,” Cuomo said.

“This defense strategy isn’t just offensive – it also sends a dangerous message that violence toward LGBTQ people is somehow OK. It’s not, and today we’re sending this noxious legal tool to the dustbin of history where it belongs.”

The bill was approved at the end of the legislation. Lawmakers in the Assembly did not take up the final approval of a bill Cuomo had also sought, legalizing gestational surrogacy, which had been supported by LGBTQ advocates.

The panic defense was seen as a way of sidestepping a more serious sentence in cases in which gay or trans people are targeted, assaulted or murdered.

“By banning the so-called gay and trans panic defense, New York is sending a message to prosecutors, defense attorneys, juries and judges that a victim’s LGBTQ identity shouldn’t be weaponized against them,” said Sen. Brad Hoylman.

Cuomo’s office also on Sunday released a video featuring the mother of Islan Nettles, a trans woman killed in Harlem in 2013.

Cuomo Vistis Holy Sepulchre, the Western Wall and Yad Vashem

cuomowallGov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday in Israel visited some of its the holiest sites — the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Old Jerusalem and the Western Wall, as well as Yad Vashem, the county’s official memorial to victims of the Holocaust.

“The religious and historical significance of Jerusalem is indescribable, and these marvelous pieces of history are a testament to how Israel, a country that was constantly under attack, has overcome so many challenges,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement.

The trip to Israel, Cuomo’s third since taking office in 2011, is meant as both a trade mission and solidarity trip. In addition to economic development officials and top aides Melissa DeRosa and Robert Mujica, he is there with his three daughters.

“Sharing this extremely powerful experience with my daughters has made it all the more impactful,” Cuomo said.

“They are personally disturbed about this rash of anti-Semitism, and they wanted to travel with me to Israel to make a statement as a sign of their love for Israel and for the Jewish community. We visited Yad Vashem, an extremely moving memorial to the victims of the Holocaust that serves as a living lesson of what the Jewish people have endured. We must continue to tell their story to ensure it is never repeated, and we will stand strong and united and fight hatred in all its forms.”

Cuomo, In Israel, Unveils $2M Trade Deal

Gov. Andrew Cuomo in Israel on Thursday announced a $2 million partnership deal with the Israel Innovation Authority that covers a range of technological industries.

The deal will cover areas like cybersecurity, supply chain, smart cities, energy, unmanned aerial vehicles as well as life sciences. The agreement also includes the establishment of a Smart Cities Innovation Partnership meant to strengthen economic ties between Israel and New York.

Cuomo is also working to forge agreements for drone technology companies in Syracuse and have companies enter into contracts with the MTA for updated transit technology.

“It’s over a billion-dollar product what we’re looking to purchase,” Cuomo said of a navigation system for the MTA. “So the economic benefits are amazing. And whoever develops this software system—if you can make it in New York you can make it anywhere.”

The trip is part trade mission and also part solidarity. Cuomo has pointed to the rise in anti-Semitism in the United States as a key reason for traveling to Israel.

“And hopefully, we will get over this ugly period. It’s not just anti-Semitism,” Cuomo said. “There is a spirit of division and anger and hatred in the United States, as there is in so many countries around the world where we demonize differences. And how ironic for the United States of America to demonize differences when it was the one country founded on differences.”