Parsing The Search For Skyler’s Replacement

A thoughtful reader wrote in to note the individuals to whom Mayor Bloomberg reached out recently to discuss potential replacements for outgoing Deputy Mayor Ed Skyler have strong Albany ties and wondered if this is a sign that the mayor is re-thinking his traditionally combative relationship with the Legislature.

The Post’s David Seifman reported Monday that Bloomberg sent out “feelers” to Marc Shaw and Bruce Bender, seeking their input on a potential Skyler successor.

Shaw, who was first deputy mayor in the initial incarnation of the Bloomberg administration, has had a long career working at a variety of government posts – including a stint with the Senate Finance Committee. He also served as the executive director of the MTA, and some speculated he might again he headed in that direction when he joined the Paterson administration as a senior adviser in November 2008.

Shaw quietly left his post with Paterson – there was nary a public word about his departure – and resurfaced as interim chief financial officer at CUNY.

Bender served as chief of staff to former Council Speaker Peter Vallone Sr. and is now executive vice president of Forest City Ratner, developer of the controversial Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn.
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Charlie King’s First Salvo

Newly-minted state Democratic Party Executive Director Charlie King has released his first official hit on the Republicans, slamming state GOP Chairman Ed Cox as he is meeting behind closed doors with RNC Chairman Michael Steele.

In his inaugural rapid-response press release, King seeks to capitalize on the purported rift between Cox and Steele over the state chairman’s backing of Democrat-turned-Republican Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy for governor.

Steele and Cox are meeting this very moment at an undisclosed location in Manhattan.

“Michael Steele has a tough choice today when he plays ‘Let’s Make a Deal’ with Ed Cox,” King said.

“Behind door number 1, he’s got Steve Levy who was the point man for pay-to-play politics in Suffolk County and personally handed out county contracts to his convicted felon friends. And behind door number 2, he’s got Rick “Wall Street” Lazio who was the big banks’ point man in Washington to get big bailouts and he and his banker buddies big bonuses. Not exactly the prizes Steele was hoping for.”

The release also includes some helpful back-up for King’s statements, including reports on Levy’s association with Ethan Ellner, whose title company received $85,000 worth of county business even though he is an ex-con, and Lazio’s Wall Street bonus and efforts to fight consumer protections while he was a lobbyist at JP Morgan.

Governor Paterson Comments on Budget

Governor Paterson addresses the late budget, negotiations with the legislature, the fate of OTB, and Race to the Top

Marist: New Yorkers Warming To Spitzer Comeback?

Today’s Marist poll brings some good news for former Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who has ramped his rehabilitation bid into overdrive in recent weeks, finding New Yorkers are thawing on the idea that he might one day re-enter the political arena.

Nearly six in 10 registered voters – 58 percent – say they don’t want Spitzer to run for statewide office this year, but that’s a big improvement from last September, when the number was 69 percent.

That’s not to say more people are in the “go for it” column when it comes to a return to public life for the disgraced former governor.

Just 30 percent said they would like to see Spitzer run for statewide office this year, compared to 27 percent eight months ago. Twelve percent are now in the “unsure” column, compared to 4 percent in the last poll.

“Eliot Spitzer’s political scars remain, although for some New Yorkers, they may have faded a bit,” said Marist pollster Lee Miringoff. “Eventually, voters may go for the idea of Spitzer running for office but not yet.”

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Faso And Forbes For Malpass

And then there were three.

Economist David Malpass formally kicked off his campaign against Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand this morning, making him the third Republican to declare his intention to try to knock the Democratic junior senator from her appointed perch.


Malpass, president of the NYC-based economic research firm Encima Global and a former advisor to ex-presidents Bush (I) and Reagan, was joined on the steps of City Hall by his “long-time friend and fellow fiscal conservative” Steve Forbes, publisher of Forbes magazine, and former Assembly Minority Leader/2006 gubernatorial contender John Faso.

“David Malpass’ proven track record on promoting private sector growth makes him the ideal candidate to take on today’s serious challenges-I’m 100 percent behind him,” said Forbes.

Faso said Malpass would be a thinking-person’s senator, following in “the tradition of Pat Moynihan and Jim Buckley, someone who actually thinks about issues and knows what he’s talking about.”
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Rep. Brian Higgins is the latest Democrat to be accused by GOP gubernatorial hopeful Carl Paladino’s campaign of having a hand in the e-mail scandal that has engulfed the Buffalo businessman since Monday.

Michael Caputo told YNN’s Jennifer Bernstein this morning:

“We know they did it, Brian Higgins knows who did it. We’ll return the favor someday.”

According to Caputo the Buffalo police have isolated the bomb threat telephone call that was made yesterday to Paladino’s Ellicott Square building, causing the complex to be temporarily evacuated.
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You Know Things Are Really Bad When…

…someone creates a new cocaine-related iPhone app that includes a special “New York Governor” mode.

Yeah. That’s us, the laughing stock of the app world. Look for the SNL/Fred Armisen shout-out.

(NOTE: This YouTube video may not be suitable for viewing by minors, but it’s a heck of a lot cleaner than anything GOP gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino may or may not have forwarded).

Charter Advocates To Albany: ‘Right The Wrong’

Education Reform Now, a coalition of groups pushing for changes that would improve New York’s chances at landing “Race to the Top” funds, launched a statewide TV ad that blasts the teachers union for the state’s Round I failure.

The ad calls for state lawmakers to raise the charter school cap before applying for Round II of federal cash.

New York’s eleventh-hour failure to pass cap-lifting legislation has been widely cited as one of the key contributors to the state’s second-to-last placement among RttT competitors in the first go-round. (There were, of course, other problems, too).

Gov. David Paterson has said he would like lawmakers not to leave things to the last minute for Round II.

(The deadline is June 1; at the rate budget talks are going, the Legislature might still be in Albany by then).

Some states are taking another look at RttP, raising questions about the criteria with which the first winners (Delaware and Tennessee) were chosen and saying they’re not sure if they want to participate in competition.

As it turns out, state Ed Commissioner David Steiner is scheduled to appear on “Capital Tonight” this evening to discuss RttP, what tanked New York’s Round I application and how he’s approaching Round II. Tune in at 8 p.m. and again at 11:30 p.m. to catch that.

In the meantime, here’s the 30-second ad, which is running statewide on broadcast and cable stations. The script for “RIGHT THE WRONG” appears after the jump.

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Throw The Bums Out

Newsflash: New Yorkers are not fans of the state Legislature.

Today’s Q poll finds voters support the idea of cleaning house in the Assembly – starting with their own representatives – 48-35.

Democrats are slightly more forgiving, saying they support the idea of keeping their local Assembly member (45-38), but Republicans (53-28) and independents 57-31) are all for a fresh start.

It’s a similar situation over in the Senate, where New Yorkers are supportive overall (50-39) of voting out incumbents. This is the highest anti-incumbent sentiment ever measured in the Empire State, according to the Q pollsters.
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It All Depends On How You Ask The Question

New Yorkers either really hate the so-called “fat tax” proposed by Gov. David Paterson, or they think it’s a really great idea.

That’s basically the upshot of a somewhat less-than definitive today’s Q poll, which found voters oppose “obesity tax or a fat tax on non-diet sugary soft drinks,” 66-31, unless they’re told the proceeds would be used to fund health care.

When the question is posed that way, voters are split – 48-49 – on the measure.

Interestingly, white voters are more opposed (72-26) than blacks (51-43). Fat tax advocates have been arguing that the obesity epidemic is fueled in large part by the over-consumption of sugary beverages, and low-income/minority communities are hit the hardest. Perhaps that campaign is having some effect.

Not surprisingly, parents of children under 18 shift from 66-32 opposed to 53-46 when told the revenue generated by the fat tax would be used to pay for health care (including, according to the Paterson administration, anti-obesity programs).
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