James Defends Asylum Access In Court Brief

Attorney General Letitia James in a court brief with fellow attorneys general on Tuesday pushed back against a rule change that would limit immigrants receiving access to the legal asylum process.

The rule would, with some exceptions, hinder the ability of immigrants entering the country at the southern border from applying for asylum protection in the United States.

“America has always stood as a beacon of hope for those seeking refuge from war and terror at home, and, under our watch, we will fight to ensure that we stay true to who we are as a nation,” James said.

“While children and families flee persecution, the Trump Administration continues to use them as pawns in their game of political chess. The message embodied by the Statue of Liberty is clear: ‘from her beacon-hand glows world-wide welcome.’ This country is open to all, not just those the president and his Administration deem acceptable.”

The brief came after 18 attorneys general from around the country, including New York, wrote a letter in August opposing the new rule.

The brief argues the rule change is in violation of federal law and would force those seeking asylum to go through an ultimately fruitless process.

Carson To Headline New York GOP Fundraiser

carsonHousing Secretary Ben Carson next month will headline a fundraiser for the New York Republican Committee.

Carson, a former presidential candidate, radio host and surgeon, will be the featured speaker at the Nov. 6 event, where tickets range from $100 for young professionals to $5,000 for a full table.

Nick Langworthy became the state party’s new chairman in July, succeeding Ed Cox. Langworthy has sought to broaden the party’s fundraising base as well as increase GOP enrollment.

Decrying Italian Discrimination, Cuomo Quotes N-Word In Radio Interview

Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a radio interview on Tuesday with WAMC’s Alan Chartock said the n-word while quoting a New York Times article and talking about anti-Italian discrimination.

The interview began with the governor and Chartock discussing the controversy over a New York City project promoting prominent women not including a statue of the famed Catholic nun and saint Mother Cabrini.

Cuomo had announced Monday at the Columbus Day parade in New York City the state would fund and commission the statue.

During that portion of the interview, Cuomo discussed discrimination toward Italians in the United States, pointing to a New York Post front page that depicted him, his father and his brother as characters from The Godfather. He once again took issue with a column in The Times Union that disputed the etymology of the Italian slur “wop.”

Later in the interview, Chartock asked Cuomo about the state’s Medicaid spending. Cuomo pivoted back to Italian discrimination.

Here’s the full transcript:

Alan Chartock: An article in The New York Times says that you’ve been delaying payments by a few days to push them into the next budget year. Is that kosher? Will there be a repeat of the practice next year?

Gov. Cuomo: To tell you the truth, I don’t even — I don’t understand that fully.

Chartock: Well, if the Times said it so, it must be so, right?

Cuomo: Oh, well, yeah. Oh, the Times also said in an article the other day, appropo of nothing, they were talking about, going back to the Italian Americans because you now have me —

Chartock: I read the article, yeah.

Cuomo: They used an expression that southern Italians were called, I believe southern Italians, Sicilians, I’m half Sicilian, were called quote-unquote and pardon my language I’m just quoting the Times, n***** wops. N-word wops as a derogatory comment. When I said that wop was a derogatory comment that’s when the Times Union told me, no, you should look in Wikipedia. Wop really meant a dandy. I’m sure that’s what they were saying to me back in Queens. You’re a dandy. When they looked at me with scorn and gave me a hand gesture. So that’s The New York Times.

Cuomo has made verbal misfires over the years. Most recently, he told a woman reporter her question about sexual harassment does a “disservice to women.” He walked back a statement that America was “never all that great.”

Public Finance Commission Will Present Report Next Month

The Public Finance Reform Commission held another public meeting Monday, and the commissioners set out their agenda for the rest of the calendar year. According to section 3, part 6, the Commission will issue it’s final report on Wednesday, November 27th, which is the day before Thanksgiving. ( See below )

Sources say after dominating much of the early conversation, commission members have moved away from discussing what to do with fusion voting. That doesn’t mean it won’t get dropped back in at the 11th hour, it just means there have been fewer emails about it lately, and not much discussion about it Monday.

The commissioners are “trying to create a functioning program,” according to one insider. And in terms of the public finance component, they are looking at a 6 to 1 match, much like you currently have in New York City. In addition, there may be an adjustment based on geography where it’s as high as 8 to 1 or even 12 to 1. The logistics of administering something like that in different parts of the State becomes markedly more complicated, however.

Yesterday, the Commission voted to retain attorney Jim McGuire as a legal adviser. He’s already defending the Commission in the lawsuit filed against it. Both the Conservative and Working Families Parties have challenged the Commission’s authority to end fusion voting.

However, Commission members have now also asked McGuire to look into whether or not they have the legal authority to limit campaign contributions to those who do not participate in public financing. There are some who believe that without lower contribution limits, there is no way to have a system that functions properly. If they cannot lower those contribution limits, some would say the Commission’s report should be a recommendation only, and not binding as is spelled out in the law. The fear is that if contribution limits aren’t lowered for everyone, few will bother to opt in, especially in statewide races.

Here is the Commission’s agenda.

State Dems To Consider Amendment Aimed At Inclusivity For Non-Binary Member

From the Morning Memo:

New York Democrats today will consider a resolution aimed at amending its rules to alter gender-based language in order to be more inclusive of transgender and non-binary members.

The amendment, introduced by the committee’s first openly transgender member Emilia Decaudin, will change language meant to provide gender balance in leadership and officer posts, but can exclude non-binary people.

For instance, the current Democratic committee rules make references to the “opposite” gender and gender “balance” when it coms to references for men and women. The language was included in order to provide for men and women to hold an equal number of leadership posts at the state park.

The amendment, supporters said Monday, is aimed at retaining gender diversity at the leadership level while making its rules more inclusive, such as changing the term “different genders.”

“If passed, the New York State Democratic Committee would place itself at the forefront of non-binary and gender non-conforming inclusion across the nation,” supporters said.

“Changes that are similarly comprehensive have only been passed by the Democratic National Committee, and only apply to their committee structure.”

State Democrats are meeting at the Hilton Long Island/Huntington on Long Island for their meeting.

Siena Poll: Warren And Biden Tied, NYers Back Impeachment And Removal

New Yorkers are divided along party lines when it comes to impeaching and removing President Donald Trump from office, a Siena College poll released Tuesday found.

Meanwhile, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is gaining ground on former Vice President Joe Biden among Democratic voters, according to the poll.

The poll comes amid multiple crosscurrents in national politics as 12 Democrats in Ohio will appear in the next televised debate this evening and Trump faces an impeachment inquiry by Democratic lawmakers in the House of Representatives stemming from his efforts to have Ukraine investigate Biden and his son Hunter.

The poll found New Yorkers, in a heavily Democratic state, support impeaching and removing the president 55 percent to 38 percent. Democrats back the process by 79 percent; Republicans oppose it by 81 percent.

Independents are more closely divided, however: 49 percent oppose impeachment and removal, 47 percent do not.

The swirling and fast moving events around impeachment, with the former vice president’s son at the epicenter, comes as Warren has gained steady ground.

A Siena College poll last month found Biden leading Warren by 5 percentage points. The poll released Tuesday found them tied at 21 percentage points each. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders draws 16 percent of support. All other candidates are in single digits among Democratic voters, the poll found.

Still, a plurality of Democratic voters, 30 percent, said Biden is the most likely candidate to defeat Trump.

Other findings in the poll:

  • Allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver’s licenses has gained support among voters. It is now narrowly supported by 48 percent of voters and 47 percent view it unfavorably. It’s an increase from a 45 percent to 50 percent disapproval in September.
  • Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s favorable rating is at 49 percent favorable, 47 percent unfavorable, virtually no change from the previous month.
  • Providing college athletes with some form of compensation for the use of their name or image is supported 63 percent to 29 percent. A similar margin, 60 percent to 30 percent, back requiring colleges to take 15 percent of revenue from ticket sales and divide the revenue among student athletes.
  • Forty percent of New Yorkers polled say they spend half an hour watching one of the 24-hour cable channels. CNN is the most trusted at 35 percent, Fox News by 22 percent and MSNBC by 21 percent. One in seven do not trust the cable news channels.

The poll of 742 registered voters was conducted from Oct. 6 to Oct. 10. It has a margin of error of 4.3 percentage points.

SNY1019 Crosstabs by Nick Reisman on Scribd

Here And Now

Good morning and happy Tuesday! Here’s the news:

Happening today:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Albany with nothing public planned.

At 8 a.m., Public Advocate Jumaane Williams will appear the Association for a Better New York Power Breakfast. 1335 6th Avenue, New York City.

At 10:30 a.m., Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will tour Hofstra University’s new school of business. Hofstra University. 148 Hofstra University. Hempstead.

At 11 a.m., the New York State Nurses Association will announce the filing of a federal lawsuit against Albany Medical Center. Albany Marriott, 189 Wolf Road, Albany.

Also at 11 a.m., Lt. Gov. Hochul will deliver remarks at a small business roundtable. Hofstra University. 148 Hofstra University. Hempstead.

At 6 p.m., the Assembly Republican task force on learning to work will hold a forum. Orleans Niagara BOCES. 3181 Saunders Settlement Road, Sanborn.

Also at 6 p.m., Lt. Gov. Hochul and Sen. Tim Kennedy will great families at a women’s health forum. Lafayette Parent Center. 370 Lafayette Ave. Buffalo.

At 7 p.m., Mayor de Blasio delivers remarks. Gracie Mansion. New York City.


The State University of New York has a new wage database that offers estimates of how much a student would earn by degree.

State lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow college athletes to receive payment for endorsements and other uses of their likeness. Similar measures have been proposed in other states and California Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed that state’s version into law.

Despite efforts by the state, poor conditions persist at New York’s nail salons, workers in the industry say.

A new study questions whether the economy benefits actually benefits from the state’s generous film tax credit program.

Environmental activists are urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign a new ban on pesticides.

Immigrants have found themselves and their benefits in limbo after a federal court halted the public charge rule change.

The new Kosciuszko Bridge was meant to ease congestion for commuters going between Brooklyn and Queens, but new data released by the Wall Street Journal shows not much has changed.

Mayor de Blasio joined Errol Louis to weigh in on the battle over a statue for Mother Cabrini, the increase in cyclist deaths, and the shooting at an illegal gambling club in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

The mayor also spoke about the City Council’s upcoming vote over closing Rikers Island, harassment allegations against NYCHA general manager Vito Mustaciuolo, and property tax reform.

Sen. Brian Benjamin has proposed a tax relief program for renters.

NBC continued to play defense in pushing back against Ronan Farrow’s new book, denying the company tried to cover up a rape allegation against Matt Lauer.

Three more women have come forward to level sexual abuse allegations against Cuba Gooding Jr.

Lawmakers in the state Senate are exploring ways to provide supplemental funds to the Child Victims Act.

The progressive challenger running a primary against Rep. Carolyn Maloney has raised more than $100,000 in less than weeks.

Rep. Nita Lowey insisted her decision to retire was not motivated by a primary challenge she is facing next June.

Bronx Councilman Ritchie Torres is proposing new whistleblower protection laws for New York City.

The Innocence Project is joining the effort to preserve the prosecutorial conduct board, a measure that is opposed in the courts by the state’s local prosecutors.

At one time, in the early 1990s, the number of inmates in New York City jails was about 22,000. Today, the population is about 7,000 — and the city now says it expects to cut that number by more than half by 2026.

A delayed response time has put a snag in New York City’s 911 overhaul.

The company behind a controversial police interrogation technique is suing Ava DuVernay and Netflix over its depiction in a miniseries about the Central Park jogger case.

Overall crime is down in Suffolk County, but the county could surpass its 2018 homicide total this year.

The stars of Comedy Central’s “Broad City” are urging New Yorkers to vote the proposed city charter.

The Working Families Party endorsed replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day.

A nonprofit organization backing bail changes affiliated with NYU bailed out the man accused of killing homeless people in Chinatown after he attacked a court officer.

New York is seeing a spate of deadly attacks against homeless people.

A lawsuit brought by an architect against the design of the World Trade buildings is proceeding.

Once a major contributor to the local economy, the old General Electric plant in Fort Edward is scheduled to start coming down next week.

New York City is facing potentially up to 17 more sexual abuse lawsuits and millions of dollars in legal exposure as a result.

A fourth allegation has been made against former Albany Bishop Howard Hubbard.

Protesters were arrested at a festival parade in Binghamton as they demonstrated against deaths at the Broome County Jail.

New York’s Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo says communities that want to promote emissions-free vehicles can apply for part of $3 million in rebates and grants.

A federal lawsuit is expected to be filed Tuesday by the New York State Nurses Association, which represents nurses at Albany Medical Center. The union claims the hospital effectively forced hundreds of Filipino nurses to continue working there.

The Carrier Dome is an iconic part of the Central New York skyline and it’s in the midst of a makeover. Work is underway on a $118 million renovation project and there’s an update on the project.

Rochester Police Officer Denny Wright has been transferred to a rehabilitation facility for the next phase of his treatment, according to the Rochester Police Department.

With 140,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space and some of the city’s best views of the Buffalo River, Rep. Brian Higgins believes the second floor of the old DL&W Terminal is an attraction waiting to happen.

In national news:

President Trump called for a cease-fire in northern Syria and imposed sanctions against Turkey following its incursion into the country.

A former Trump administration advisor testified to congressional lawmakers that Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor and personal lawyer to the president, was running a shadow foreign policy in Ukraine.

Former National Security Advisor John Bolton called Giuliani “a hand grenade.”

The violent video shown at a pro-Trump conference was the product of right-wing activists and allies of the president.

Democrats are set to meet in another televised debate this evening, with Sen. Elizabeth Warren given the clear advantage among the frontrunners.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg held lengthy private chats with conservative pundits concerned about censorship on the social media site.

From the editorial pages:

The Daily News writes the NYPD is clearly sidestepping a transparency law.

The Buffalo News says the voters in the 27th congressional district need to pick their new representative soon in a special election.

The Times Union says state lawmakers should have the “political courage” to limit their own outside pay after courts struck down a cap on private-sector salaries.

From the sports pages:

The Packers beat the Lions in Monday Night Football.

Cuomo Says State Will Fund Mother Cabrini Statue

The state will step into to pay for a statue honoring Mother Cabrini after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was criticized for the Catholic saint not being included in a series of statues honoring famous women.

“Mother Cabrini was a great New Yorker, a great Italian-American immigrant,” Cuomo said before marching in the Columbus Day parade down 5th Avenue in Manhattan.

“She came to this city and she helped scores of immigrants who came to New York. She opened dozens of institutions, academic institutions, healthcare institutions. Mother Cabrini was the first U.S. citizen who was canonized. First U.S. citizen that was canonized.”

Cuomo said Mother Cabrini is “certainly deserving of a statue” along with a series of famous women as part of project led by de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray.

“And with this statue I think the Italian-American community, the Catholic community in New York that feels strongly about Mother Cabrini and what she represents that they will feel satisfied that she is being represented,” he added.

De Blasio had been criticized by the Italian-American community for not including Cabrini in the project, including a sharp exchange with actor Chaz Palminteri on public radio last week.

Cuomo declined to wade into the controversy surrounding the statue.

“Who cares how it started,” Cuomo said, “I am more interested in resolving it.”

National Grid Says It Will Reconnect Nearly 1,000 Downstate Customers

Utility National Grid under pressure from state regulators on Monday announced it will re-connect nearly 1,000 customers in the downstate region amid an investigation and fines threatened by New York officials.

The move effects residential customers on Long Island and in Brooklyn and Queens. The utility had previously declined to make the reconnections amid a moratorium on new gas hookups first announced in May.

“We’ve begun the process of contacting and re-connecting natural gas service to residential customers in Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau and Suffolk Counties who were previously disconnected from our system more than two years ago, no longer accounted for in our supply portfolio and denied re-connection under our current connection restriction guidelines,” says John Bruckner, president of National Grid New York. “We care and are concerned for all customers impacted by this issue, and it’s clear we could have done a better job communicating to this particular segment of customers.”

The Public Service Commission had previously launched an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the disconnections. Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office, meanwhile, last week announced the utility would face fines for failing to resolve the matter.

National Grid in a statement said it would activate its emergency response plan to implement the re-connection effort. The plan is expected to be completed by the middle of next month.

“Our effort to re-connect this segment of customers started immediately after receiving the order,” Bruckner said.

“Our objective is to contact all customers outlined in the order by the end of this week and schedule a re-connection appointment based on their needs. Our goal is to re-connect the majority of these customers within the mid-November timeframe.”

AG’s Office Finds No Criminal Culpability In Death Of Yonkers Man

Police officers in the Westchester County town of Greenburgh will not face criminal prosecution in the 2017 death of a Yonkers man, Attorney General Letitia James’s office said.

Jonathan Maldonado died after a scuffle with police officers that included him being Tased and slammed to the ground.

James’s office announced Monday the Special Investigations and Prosecutions Unit had released a package of recommendations for police to de-escalate confrontations and ensure proper procedures are used.

“Jonathan Maldonado’s death was a tragedy and we convey our deepest sympathies to his family and loved ones,” James said. “The Special Investigations and Prosecutions Unit is committed to executing a thorough investigation and providing the public with a clear and complete accounting of any death over which SIPU has jurisdiction. SIPU conducted an exhaustive investigation into the death of Jonathan Maldonado and encourages the Town of Greenburgh Police Department to implement the recommendations outlined in the report.”