A behind-the-scenes look at New York politics.
Updated: 2 years 31 weeks ago
It’s after noon now, so here’s the Senate Update according to Reif as opposed to the Shafranian version this morning.
Also worth noting: Senate Democratic spokesman Austin Shafran says Democrats have increased their “line of credit” to $2.1 million. Their campaign committee currently owes $750,000; more than the $250,000 it has on hand. “We are raising resources and are going to spend whatever it takes to ensure a far and honest count of every vote,” he explained.
Here’s an update, with quoted text coming from Senate Republican spokesman Scott Reif. Shafran saw Reif sending this out, and sent along the following response quote: “This is like saying you won the lottery before buying the ticket. Press releases don’t trump votes. Once every vote has been counted, it will be clear, Democrats retained the Majority.”
60th Senate District — counting will begin in Niagara County next Wednesday. An inventory of emergency ballots continues.
Republican Mark Grisanti leads Senator Antoine Thompson by 598 votes, with approximately 2727 absentee ballots (516 from Niagara, 2211 from Erie) to be counted. Grisanti won Niagara County by a 3-1 one margin and ran virtually even with Thompson in Erie County. In addition, Grisanti conducted a strong absentee ballot outreach program while Senator Thompson and the Democrats ran no absentee ballot program.
Considering Grisanti’s substantial lead, his tremendous support among Democrats and Republicans, the relatively small number of absentee ballots to be counted, the enrollment of the voters that submitted them and the election districts where they came from, it’s clear that Republican Mark Grisanti will still be far ahead of Senator Thompson when the counting is done and will win this seat.
7th Senate District — counting will begin “in earnest” on Wednesday.
Republican Jack Martins is ahead of Senator Craig Johnson by 415 votes with 3,289 absentee ballots to be counted. An analysis of the absentee ballots shows a significant amount of them were from parts of the district where Martins won overwhelmingly. Slightly more absentee ballots were submitted by Republicans (1,370) than Democrats (1,366). In addition, there were 431 ballots submitted by voters registered as Blank, 67 registered as Independents, 52 as Conservatives, 1 Working Families Party and 2 Green Party. Martins ran on the Independent and Conservative lines. We are confident this race can be quickly resolved and Martins declared the winner.
37th Senate District — counting is ongoing, slowly.
Shafran notes that Oppenheimer’s lead has increased slightly, to 504 votes. He said “with every vote counted it is becoming more clear she will have kept her seat and Democrats will have retained their majority.”
There may be as many as 10,000 votes yet to be counted in Westchester. This number includes 3,814 absentee ballots, 3,327 emergency ballots, 1,065 affidavit ballots and as many as 2,000 other ballots. Senator Oppenheimer has a lead of only 504 votes.
Bob Cohen ran an aggressive absentee ballot outreach program. Based on the breakdown of where the outstanding ballots came from, it’s clear that he will make up the difference and be declared the winner of this race when the counting is concluded.
NEW YORK — Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo met with Gov. David Paterson this afternoon to discuss the transition of power.
Cuomo announced he will begin a tour of state facilities Wednesday with a visit to Sing Sing prison in Ossining. He will also set up a transition committee to vet and recruit personnel, because “any organization is only as good as its talent.”
Cuomo also spoke of the need to “reinvent” government and pledged again “no new taxes, no new taxes, no new taxes” even in the face of a projected $9 billion deficit. He said the budget process will be a chance to restructure state government rather than simply cutting, broad strokes he painted last month during a meeting with the Times Union Editorial Board.
“One of the main issues on the transition is personnel. The governor and I are going to be discussing existing personnel, and he’s going to be giving me recommendations,” Cuomo said. “We’re going to be setting up a transition committee in the coming days and weeks which will primarily be a transition committee to find talent. Any organization is only as good as its talent.”
He reiterated Paterson’s call for legislators to return to the Capitol to bridge a $315 million mid-year deficit. To not do so, Cuomo said, “rolls forward into next year in what already is an impossible year…the alternative would not be responsible.”
Cuomo said it’s unlikely taxes will go down next year: “Can you close $9 billion and cut taxes? I don’t think that’s a realistic expectation. But is that the goal? Certainly.”
His budget will stretch broader than cuts.
“Not just cuts. Let’s call it program re-design,” Cuomo said. “There’s an assumption that the state government is a model of total efficiency and effectiveness, and any cuts to that, you know, it’s like you’re tampering with a finely tuned Swiss watch. There’s no waste. There’s no fraud, and the thing’s just running perfectly. I spent four years as attorney general: there’s plenty of waste and there’s plenty of fraud and there’s plenty of abuse. So, cuts. I call it, let’s analyze the system. Let’s re-design the system. Let’s re-invent the system, let’s eliminate the waste, let’s eliminate the fraud. And you know what? Those are good things to do anyway. And maybe we use this point in time to do a lot of hard analysis that the system needed and that’s gong to be part of it.”
Watch the governor-elect and the governor-eject (that’s his joke, by the way) at their joint 2:15 p.m. Tuesday press conference. Click here.
I reported this morning that, after a review of FEC data, groups making independent expenditures on behalf of Chris Gibson spent at least $1.7 million in the 10-county district 20th district, while supporters of Rep. Scott Murphy, D-Glens Falls, spent at least $869,482.
A full picture of what the campaigns spent won’t be available until December, but as of October 21 Murphy was leading: he spent $2.1 million compared to $1.1 million from Gibson.
The rub of some is about disclosure. Groups like the labor-backed Citizens for Safety and Security or the pro-Republican American Crossroads don’t need to disclose their corporate and union donors, who under the Citizens United court case can spend unlimited amounts on campaigns.
I asked Congressman-elect Gibson if he would support the disclosure of those donors. He responded by saying the DISCLOSE Act passed earlier this summer by the House of Representatives was flawed, because it exempted labor unions from some things it required of corporations.
“We need a policy that is applied evenly and to all, and in that circumstance, all those contributions would be revealed,” he said. “But it needs to be fair. You can’t have a system, you can’t have a law that is designed in this instance to exposing certain campaign contributions and not apply it evenly and to the advantage of the party that was in power.”
On provision had to do with the disclosure threshold, which exempted small donations from people like, well, union members. Saratoga County Democratic Chairman Larry Bulman, who is also a labor leader, put it this way.
“I would say corporate spending tipped the tide on at least 20 of the races. And we just saw the tip of the iceberg. The 2012 elections we’ll see even more profoundly how this money can be spent, because now people like Karl Rove are going to go back to the donors and do it all over again,” he said. “We usually get around a nickel an hour from our members, but the difference is that it’s voluntary, and it’s individuals’ money. It’s not someone who’s using customers money to buy politics. Our members — if they sign up for it — contribute what equals a cup of coffee a week toward political action. It’s individuals’ money, it’s not union funds.”
And below, a chart of who spent what for whom.American Crossroads 447,366.00 Gibson Revere American 1,781.40 Gibson NRCC 777,925.03 Gibson 60 Plus 504,486.00 Gibson Total: 1,731,558.43 MoveOn.org 9,751.36 Murphy 2010 Leadership Council 53,950.00 Murphy NARAL 4,711.95 Murphy DCCC 686,418.50 Murphy Citizens for Strength and Security 114,650 Murphy Total: 869,481.81
Saratoga Springs native Steve Stallmer will serve as Chris Gibson’s chief of staff, a spokesman for the congressman-elect announced today.
Stallmer graduated from Saratoga Springs High School in 1994 and graduated from Marymount University in Arlington, Va. with a degree in political science. He worked as an intern in Congressman Gerry Solomon’s office, eventually joining the paid staff. He worked for U.S. Rep. Jack Quinn (Buffalo) from 1999 to 2004, when he returned to the 20th CD to become vice president of government and public affairs from the Associated General Contractors of New York State. The group represents 600 firms.
Gibson called his choice a demonstration of his commitment to revitalizing private sector job creation and supporting small businesses.
“I am honored to have such an experienced individual as Steve Stallmer joining our team and accepting the position of chief-of-staff,” said Gibson. “He grew up here in the district and is connected to its people. He also knows the frustration that many small, mid-size and large businesses experience as they try to grow and hire. Steve knows how government can both help and hinder the private sector’s ability to succeed, and this is a critical asset at a time when our economy still struggles to create jobs for our friends and neighbors.”
Stallmer is married and has two children.
UPDATE: The Association of General Contractors was a big supporter of Gibson’s campaign, hosting a fundraiser for him in June and donating $4,600 to the electoral efforts.
Assemblyman Jim Tedisco wants to see a redistricting bill — his version, or perhaps senator-elect Mike Gianaris’ — on the agenda for any special session held before the end of the year. This seems like a bit of a stretch, considering that the session doesn’t yet have a date attached to it and the fact that Speaker Sheldon Silver (much to Ed Koch’s chagrin) has failed to voice support for the concept.
Here’s Tedisco’s press release:
Assemblyman Jim Tedisco (R,C,I-Schenectady-Saratoga) today called on the Governor and Legislative Leaders to place redistricting reform on the agenda for any Extraordinary Session to be called prior to December 31, 2010.
Tedisco was among the scores of state legislators from both sides of the aisle who signed Mayor Ed Koch’s NY Uprising pledge on redistricting reform — the method of drawing legislative district lines.
“Those of us who signed the ‘Hero of Reform’ pledge have a real opportunity before the year is out to make good on our word and deliver on the fundamental reform that the 19.5 million New Yorkers elected us to accomplish,” said Tedisco.
There’s urgency to reforming the redistricting process this year as it takes an amendment to the state constitution to change the law which would have to pass in two consecutive legislative terms. If redistricting reform is passed in the current term ending December 31st, it would then be able to come before the legislature again next year. If approved in the 2011-12 term then the amendment would be on the ballot in 2012.
Tedisco is the sponsor of redistricting reform legislation (A.06721 ) to create legislative districts based on common communities and not political power blocks. Democrat Assemblyman and Senator-Elect Michael Gianaris also sponsors a redistricting reform bill on his side of the aisle (A.05279 ) that could be considered in an extraordinary session.
“Free, fair, open and competitive elections are at the heart of the democratic process. In spite of this fact for too long election maps in this state have been drawn-up behind closed doors motivated entirely by political concerns that have little if anything to do with effective representation for the people of New York State,” said Tedisco.
“There’s no better time for the legislature to finally enact true non-partisan, independent redistricting reform. Missing this important opportunity to take decisive action will only delay the real reform that New Yorkers seek,” said Tedisco.
Ballot counting in three races that will decide control of the state Senate is moving at a glacial pace. But it is moving, according to Austin Shafran, a spokesman for Senate Democrats.
In the race between Sen. Antoine Thompson and Mark Grisanti, “three-percent audits” of the voting machines has begun. In this process, as you might imagine, three percent of voting machines are checked to see if the number of ballots that went through them matches the number of voters on poll books. Officials in Erie County began taking an inventory of the emergency (or “affidavit”) ballots that were cast, but are not yet opening them. Counting should begin next week. Grisanti leads Thompson by around 600 votes.
Two election districts remain uncounted in the race between Sen. Suzi Oppenheimer and Bob Cohen. it’s unclear why. Shafran said they are in the cities of White Plains and New Rochelle. Oppenheimer has a 366 vote lead.
There are 3,600 absentee ballots in the Nassau County race between Sen. Craig Johnson and Jack Martins. An inventory of the emergency ballots will begin tomorrow, and a three-percent audit will start next week. Martins leads Johnson by just over 400 votes.
“When all the votes are counted, Democrats will have retained the majority. Our objective is simple: we want a full, fair and honest count of every vote cast,” Shafran said.
Several sources indicate the Democrats — whose centralized campaign committee was $500,000 in the red the weeks before Election Day — have been shaking the money trees. Glenn Blain has a story based on an e-mail the party sent hitting up donors.
Shafran acknowledged this.
“We’re going to be getting all the resources necessary…We’re starting, potentially, the largest voter protection effort yet in the state of New York,” he said.
Republicans see it differently.
“This desperate shakedown of lobbyists isn’t about paying for a recount, it’s about helping Democrats get out from under a pile of debt and padding their legal defense funds while they’re still in the majority,” Republican spokesman Scott Reif said. “The Senate Democrats know their days in the majority are numbered and they’re simply trying to slow down the counting of votes so they can hang on for as long as possible. We’re confident that when all the votes are counted the results will continue to show Republicans winning 32 seats, and possibly 33.”
There are 145 appointments pending before the Senate, which may be cast to the wind if not acted on this year. (TU)
In Puerto Rico, Andrew Cuomo sent mixed signals about Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. (NYT)
Gov. David Paterson chatted with Cuomo at the event, and referred to himself as “governor eject.” (NYP)
Cuomo reiterated his pledge not to raise taxes. (AP)
Cuomo accepted millions from special interest donors, including PepsiCo and the Dolans, who own Cablevision. (DN)
Cuomo said that Lt. Gov. Bob Duffy could cast a tie-breaking vote in the Senate, were there a leadership struggle. (BN)
Democrats are raising money to fight for control of that chamber. (DN)
630 gallons of radioactive water spilled into the Mohawk River in Niskayuna. (TU)
Sen. Chuck Schumer thinks there needs to be a change in Senate leadership. (SOP)
Howie Hawkins, savior of the Greens. (CapNY)
John Jay LaValle defended Ed Cox. (SOP)
The head of Columbia’s Earth Institute says green infrastructure can be Cuomo’s key. (HuffPo)
As Cuomo channels Hugh Carey, will he continue his tradition of bringing in good people? (Empire Page)
Sen. Chuck Schumer is traveling around New York urging a focus, like a laser, on the middle class. (BN)
At a speech, pollster John Zogby “compared the tea party to a gorilla that was taught to play golf by scientists. When the gorilla was brought out on the course, he could drive the ball 420 yards down the fairway but couldn’t get the ball in the cup when it was two feet away.” (Legislative Gazette)
Bars need to apply for all-night New Year bashes soon. (DN)
New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg said a manager exchange program yielded “friendships.” (City Hall)
Bloomberg essentially stood by comments that new members of Congress “can’t read.” (DN)
Counting continues today in the Maffei-Buerkle race. (Post-Standard)
And here are some national headlines…
In an interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer, George W. Bush looks back on his presidency and life. (DN)
Barack Obama endorsed India for a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council. (WP)
GOP statehouse control will prevent complete implementation of the health care law. (WP)
Democrats are planning how they can counter corporate money in the 2012 elections. (Politico)
Why did Democrats lose so many House seats in New York? (WP)
A Brit thinks Politico is the key to the future. (Guardian)
Grief counselors visited the offices of House Democrats. (Politico)
Rep. Michelle Bachmann will likely fail in her bid for a leadership position. (WP)
There’s a re-count coming in the Bishop-Altschuler race. (NBC)
Republicans want to flip West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin. (NYP)
And below: the beginning of Lauer’s interview with Bush:
I’ve got a story in today’s paper about the 145 nominations that Paterson has put in for a myriad of posts but which have yet to be confirmed by the Senate. At this point, it’s unclear if they ever will be confirmed.
Here’s the list of nominees :
Ex-Gov. George Pataki sat down with ABC News, telling Rick Klein on “Top Line” that he is weighing a run for the presidency.
“When you look back at the past two years, it’s been very disappointing, not only — not just for Republicans, but for the American people,” Pataki told us. “And I think it shows the importance of experienced leadership — leaders who have shown the ability to govern and to move forward in a nonpartisan way, leaders who have been tested and shown their ability to get through those tests.”
“What I’m going to be looking at is, do we have the right people out there who have that experience, who have experienced leadership, who have been challenged and who can bring people together — not just Republicans and conservatives, but conservatives [and] Democrats. And make a decision on who else is out there, and whether or not they have those characteristics we need to be able to win this election and govern successfully.”
Pataki, like Palin, was a mayor before he was governor.
“It was a challenging job, mayor of Peekskill, let me assure you. Twice the size of Wasilla,” Pataki said.
Republican leader Dean Skelos just issued a statement bidding Sen. Frank Padavan farewell, now that the numbers in his race against Tony Avella are insurmountable:
For almost four decades the people of Queens and all of New York City have had no greater champion in this state than Senator Frank Padavan. Senator Padavan leaves public service with the thanks and admiration of the countless people that he has helped over the years.
Many Mayors of New York have recognized that when they really needed someone to stand up for the City, they turned to Frank Padavan. Senator Padavan led the way for mayoral control of schools that has helped to strengthen and improve the quality of education for millions of children.
It’s truly unfortunate that some vested union interests in the City failed to recognize his efforts. As a result of their shortsightedness, New York City school children will be losing their strongest advocate in Albany. It’s a sad example of how union leaders put their political interests ahead of the children they are supposed to teach, and the children lose in the end.
It has been my honor and pleasure to serve with Frank Padavan. He is a tremendous public servant, a great friend and a source of wisdom and common sense that will be missed in Albany.
See the link above for Padavan’s concession statement from earlier today. For those keeping score at home, that still leaves us with 29 Democrats and 30 Republicans in the chamber.
The state Association of Counties likes the idea, floated by Lt. Gov. Richard Ravitch in his budget-solutions plan, of a panel to serve as a check on state leaders’ budgetary choices. NYSAC’s release:
Responding to the most recent mid-year budget estimates released by the Division of the Budget, today the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) on behalf of the counties—the governmental partners who manage and fund State programs locally—call for the establishment of a NYS Fiscal Control Board.
This Fiscal Control Board would assume financial oversight of the State’s budget process and deficit, making recommendations to establish long-term fiscal stability. It is necessary to address what has become a chronic problem for New York State citizens: the inability of State lawmakers and Governors to implement a balanced budget.
Three months after the final State Budget was enacted in August 2010, the State’s spending plan is 10% out of balance. The question remains: will the current budget deficit be four times larger by the end of the fiscal year. Clearly, New York’s budget process does not work and has not worked for decades.
Today, the State Comptroller reports that all State revenues will be as much as $1 billion lower than estimates and all funds spending will be nearly $300 million higher. In addition, the comptroller stated that significant structural gaps are projected in future fiscal years are expected to reach $150 billion in 2012, while revenues are expected to be $134 billion—a gap of $16 billion.
On November 3, 2010, the Division of the Budget declared a $340 million mid-year deficit requiring State Legislative action before the end of the year. In addition, the Division of the Budget has estimated the State has a looming $9 billion 2011-12 State Budget deficit.
Furthermore, according to the Division of the Budget, the three year cumulative spending gap is estimated to be nearly $41 billion.
Because of the perennial nature of State Budget deficits and mid-year fiscal gaps, it is only logical to implement a neutral panel of fiscal experts to help guide New York State through this current fiscal crisis.
Every time the State faces a cash-flow crisis, property taxpayers, community-based providers and local governments pay the price. This has gone on for too long, and we believe that a Fiscal Control Board will assist State officials with this problem.
The Working Families Party has a better spread sheet than the one I cobbled together last week, which it says shows — based on unofficial returns, not including absentee ballots — that it might have moved up to Row D.
The Party is currently on Row E, behind the Democratic, Republican, Independence and Conservative parties. WFP spokesman Dan Levitan said it’s pulled 2,034 votes ahead of the Independents.
“Get this: Nearly 140,000 New Yorkers voted on the Working Families Party line last Tuesday, according to initial election returns – which means we’re on track to become one of the top four parties in New York State, with our highest percentage of the vote ever,” the WFP wrote its supporters. “If we wind up on line ‘D’ of the ballot, we can be even more decisive in future elections, ensuring that politicians focus on the common-sense issues that matter to middle- and working-class New Yorkers.”
Here’s their tally:
He may leaving his Assembly career behind at the end of the year, but Westchester’s Richard Brodsky plans to be pursuing waste and abuse among public authorities right up until the end.
Brodsky and the Assembly Corporations, Authorities, and Commissions which he chairs is planning hearings tomorrow on the Fulton County Economic Development Corporation, which will include further probes into some of the bonuses handed out to officials there. Whether the people who’ve been called to testify show up in front of a lame duck commission chairman remains to be seen, but Brodsky does note this organization has already been subpoenaed.
Here are the details:
November 9th at 10:30am in Roosevelt Hearing Room B, Legislative Office Building, Albany Assemblyman Richard Brodsky (D-Westchester), Chairman of the Assembly Committee on Corporations, Authorities, and Commissions, will receive testimony from officers and board members of the Fulton County Economic Development Corporation and their affiliates.
The Committee is awaiting confirmation of the appearances of the officers and board members of the Fulton County Economic Development Corporation and their affiliates. These individuals have previously been issued subpoenas calling for information previously requested from the corporations, as part of the Committee’s ongoing investigation into state public authorities, specifically large bonuses paid by the corporations to certain employees, details of real estate transactions, a list and description of all PILOT payments, the activities of the corporations and the adequacy of current laws to prevent such apparent abuses.
What: Hearing Regarding the Policies and Practices of Fulton County EDC, Crossroads Incubator Corporation and any other affiliates.
When: 10:30am Tuesday, November 9th
Where: Roosevelt Hearing Room B
Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12248
A reader sent along this memo from Republican State Chairman Ed Cox to count chairs, focusing on the positive outcomes of Election Day for the GOP in New York.
I wrote an article for Sunday’s paper about why the Republicans didn’t ride the national wave to victory in statewide offices. In her inaugural column for the Daily News, good Old Celeste reports on the grumbling about Tom Basile, the party’s executive director.
Cox wrote in the memo:
Election Day also brought us the most successful night in Assembly Republican history in more than three decades. Our Republican conference in the State Assembly is now stronger by seven (7) seats, with two additional within reach. Voters also went to the polls and made sure that Republicans also are no longer in the minority in the State Senate. The State Senate majority is in reach as close races will be decided in the coming days. We had great victories around the state from a crop of impressive candidates that have made our Republican party stronger.
We haven’t had this kind of excitement and impact since 1994. Sure, I was disappointed by some of the results as were you. Our state-wide candidates fought hard and drove our message with passion and energy. But our gains in the State Senate and Assembly and dramatic congressional wins will immediately make for better governance in Albany and Washington.
He then detailed the party’s GOTV efforts. Here’s the memo:
Scattered throughout the state are the ghostly remnants of thousands of gas and oil wells — rusting, rotting rigs, lines, tanks and holes left behind by busts dating back more than a century. Some of these relics have been slowly leaking for decades, and their owners are long gone, sticking state taxpayers with tens of millions of dollars in unfunded cleanup costs.
“There are a lot of old wells out here that people are still finding all the time,” said Brian Davis, director of the Cattaraugus County Soil and Water Conservation District. “You can be walking through the woods deer hunting, and find these rusted-out old wells. Sometimes lines aren’t even buried, so you trip over them.”
Figuring out who is responsible for the relics can be almost impossible in a state where drilling dates back to the 1820s. Estimates are that about 75,000 wells have been drilled in the state, but the location or condition of half of those wells remains unknown.
Brian devoted a good deal of space to quoting from a bunch of DEC reports which, if you’re inclined, you can peruse here.
Good morning! All is right in the football world, with the Giants winning 41-7 over what I assume was the Cohoes HS Seagulls, not the Seattle Sea Hawks. Proving that God loves to see a Texan cry, Green Bay trounced Dallas 45-7. (We’re not talking about the Shen-Troy game. No one is allowed to mention it in the comments section.) I did not go to Puerto Rico, but lots of other politicos (and some of my journalist colleagues) did, to cover the Somos El Futuro conference. Nope. I’m holding down the fort here in Albany, where instead of choosing between Mojitos and Pina Coladas we’re wondering if there will be snow this week. As we ponder, here are some headlines…
The comptroller’s office called off an audit of the attorney general’s office when the latter started investigating the fore. (TU)
In a GOP year, why was the GOP’s success limited to legislative races this year? (TU)
Some Republicans want Chairman Ed Cox to fire Tom Basile. (DN)
There are tens of thousands of unknown, unclaimed, uncapped oil wells in New York, and no money to deal with them. (TU)
Jim Odato sniffs out Richard Ravitch’s latest idea: make local government employees contribute toward their health insurance. (TU)
A big, A1 story from the Times: “Mr. Cuomo’s record as a manager, though, shows that not everyone can thrive under his style: forceful, focused, insistent on results, and disinclined to entertain dissent. That style, of course, has implications for more than the members of his emerging administration. Mr. Cuomo may think little of Albany’s power players, but he will still have to work with them.//Mr. Cuomo, for sure, has attracted a loyal circle of advisers who have remained with him for decades. They feel exhilarated by his intensity. But he has also alienated subordinates, who call his demands unrealistic, his approach overbearing and his intolerance for disagreement dispiriting.” (NYT)
Cuomo faces major challenges when he takes office. (GNS)
State officials started telling employees they will be laid off. (TU)
Eight lawyers showed up to litigate a recount in the Thompson-Grisanti Senate race. (BN)
Hank Morris is expected to serve jail time and pay $19 million plus a fine when he pleads guilty later this month for his role in a pay-to-play scandal. (DN)
Un-named Assembly members are thinking about a coup against Speaker Sheldon Silver. (NYP)
Is Cuomo behind this, quietly? (NT2)
Fred Dicker talks to Silver, who ruled out tax increases this year. (NYP)
Donn Esmonde says Antoine Thompson’s loss would be the ultimate upset. (BN)
Casey writes that the Democratic loss of the Senate began in 2008. (TU)
Rex Smith hopes the people we just elected follow through. (TU)
Bob McCarthy looks at turnout: “If anything, Paladino may have helped drive a Republican turnout — and a Democratic crossover — that produced key results in Tuesday’s election. Republican Mark Grisanti, for example, can thank Paladino for the bubble that carried voters in his district and a possible upset over Democratic State Sen. Antoine Thompson.//And if control of the Senate ultimately hinges on that district, the statewide GOP may be forced to thank Paladino after all. Erie County Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy already thinks the candidate for governor provided big-time coat tails for Grisanti.” (BN)
Sen. Eric Schneiderman staunchly opposes hydrofracking. (PSB)
Did Andrew Cuomo save Tom DiNapoli? (SOP)
Already: Andrew for President? (AP)
Cuomo and Gov. David Paterson talked in Puerto Rico. (SOP)
Cuomo likes the Mount Kisco Diner. (Mt. Kisco News)
Inspector General Joseph Fisch found the Battery Park City Authority mis-spent thousands on parties. (DN)
Cuomo wants high-speed rail money. (DN)
A profile of Liz Benjamin and her merry band of television journalists. (Gazette)
New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s daughter was injured in a riding accident. (DN)
Sen. Chuck Schumer commandeered a sidewalk to talk about the middle class. (City Hall)
And here are some national headlines…
Indian students grilled Barack Obama. (NYT)
In an interview on “60 Minutes,” Obama admitted failures. (Politico)
Thousands — including Chilean miner Edison Pena — finished the New York City marathon. (NYP)
I thought this was an ‘Onion’ headline. (DN)
Republican Rep. Eric Cantor advised Nancy Pelosi to step aside. (DN)
Senior voters tipped the scales in the last election. (Politico)
Pope Benedict XVI was greeted by a “kiss-in.” (DN)
And below, video of Cuomo’s entry in Puerto Rico:
Republican State Chairman Ed Cox said his party’s standard bearer, Carl Paladino, was not helpful to other Republicans in the elections this week. The GOP won seats in Congress, but failed to take any statewide offices in New York.
Cox believed that had Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy been nominated, an enrolled Democrat who Cox backed, things would have gone differently. Levy remaining in a primary battle would have “sharpened” the message of Paladino, failed candidate Rick Lazio or Levy, whomever had won.
In the end, it might not have been enough to defeat Democratic candidate Andrew Cuomo, who Cox said began laying the groundwork against a “tidal wave” before September, 2009, when Cox became the chairman.
“I remember back then, as a chair, calling major Republican donors and having them tell me they were backing Andrew Cuomo,” Cox said. As a member of Cuomo’s transition team when he became attorney general, Cox said Cuomo even asked him for money.
“He dressed himself in Republican clothes as opposed to just going forward with what his basic supporters would have wanted. So he looked very prepared,” Cox said. “Here, once you had everyone assumed Andrew Cuomo would be the winner and pull things together, then that dynamic — which was in place well before I became chairman — was in place, even though we had really good candidates for those offices…….”
He didn’t add an adjective at that point in our 20-minute interview, but later said the dynamic was “unhelpful.” Paladino, an uncouth-sounding Buffalo developer who won the GOP primary over Lazio, the endorsed candidate at the party’s state convention.
“The dynamic, in the end, was unhelpful to the candidates” down ballot, Cox said. He explained why.
“We did everything we could to bring in a stronger candidate. I made it clear, that, well, nothing negative against Rick, we felt Steve would be a stronger candidate. It wasn’t just me, it was a majority of the vice chairs,” Cox said. “[Levy] would have changed that whole dynamic in a way that probably would have been positive for that whole ticket down the line if he had been given the Wilson-Pakula. He would have debated Carl. No matter who won those debates it would have raised the profile, Carl would have sharpened his message, because Steve is real good at messaging as a fiscal conservative.”
“Rick decided not to debate, even though all of us, just about everyone, advised him to debate. He decided he would stand pat, and didn’t get any advantage to those debates. I’m sure Steve would have accepted Carl’s challenge to debate right away,” Cox continued. “If he had gotten into that mix — as he deserved to be…we would have been in a much stronger place.”
“The real problem was the RNC weighed in very strongly at the convention, and along with others, prevented Steve from getting that extra eight percentage points,” Cox said, naming Brendan Quinn, a former State Committee executive director, to blame. Quinn poached votes from Ulster County and cast them on Lazio’s behalf.
There was also the Conservative Party, which backed Lazio early and consistently.
Cox has been criticized by some, including men who have designs on his job. Indeed, there were rumors about ousting him in June at the party’s convention.
Cox said he’s staying the course.
“There’s always going to be criticism whenever you do things you need to do to bring a party, on a state basis, back to life,” he said. “Especially when it’s an independent force and people liked it the way it was. That’s why you have two-year terms, so you can go through it the whole way.”
Two dozen state Department of Transportation workers at the agency’s Wolf Road offices were informed on Friday that they’ll be off the job after Dec. 31.
“It was purposefully not made public,” said one DOT employee, speaking on condition of anonymity. The employee, who was not among those targeted, said the agency will lose almost 100 workers statewide.
Although no layoff notices have gone out, these personal notifications have been communicated over the last few days to some of the 898 workers slated for layoff by Gov. David Paterson.
“People have been called in and they are moving toward the process of layoff,” said Darcy Wells, spokeswoman for the Public Employees Federation, a major state union.
The state Budget Division said formal layoff notices — which must be issued at least three weeks before the end of employment — will be going out next month. Supervisors in state agencies have been making the rounds and telling those on layoff lists that they’ll get their pink slips next month.
For the most part, this week’s warnings have been given discreetly, without public postings. Some state workers believe e-mails are being avoided in order to guard against leaks.
By keeping people on the job until the close of business on Dec. 31, the governor is adhering to the oft-mentioned memorandum of understanding his administration signed with PEF and the Civil Service Employees Association that guaranteed no layoffs in exchange for the unions’ support for a less-generous Tier V pension package. The timeline may sidestep potential litigation.
Well said PEF is looking beyond the Paterson administration, appealing to representatives of governor-elect Andrew Cuomo.
“We’re not dealing with Paterson at all at this point,” she said, adding they are hoping Cuomo will consider rescinding the layoffs and expand a recently completed early-retirement program instead.
Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo sent this letter to federal Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, urging him to send money to New York for high-speed rail projects if other states pass on it.
Here’s the letter.
Hon. Ray LaHood
Dear Secretary LaHood:
High speed rail could be transformative for New York—with the potential to revitalize Upstate New York’s economy with construction jobs now and permanent jobs created by the new high speed rail links to New York City, Toronto and Montreal in the future. That is why I made high speed rail a priority during my campaign, and that is why it will continue to be a top priority for me as Governor.
To date, New York has received only a small fraction of federal money for high speed rail, but we want to make it a success now, and my Administration will aggressively pursue all funding opportunities to make high speed rail a reality. Recent reports have stated that incoming Administrations in other states, particularly Ohio and Wisconsin, are seeking to cancel their high speed rail projects and the hundreds of millions of dollars in federal aid associated with those projects. Therefore, I would ask you to consider redirecting the federal funding to New York because the project is a top priority.
High speed rail could be the 21st Century Erie Canal for New York State and help rebuild Upstate New York’s economy. Now is the moment to build. Thank you for the consideration and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate and call.
Andrew M. Cuomo