Streams

Rodentologist

Thursday, July 29, 2010

WNYC

State Senator Bill Perkins has a mailer seeking input about the rat problem in upper Manhattan. He also uses it to tout his “fight to eradicate rodents from our community.”

My favorite line:

“As a result of that struggle, City government hired a nationally renowned rodentologist…”

I’m also waiting to see how colleague Kate Hinds responds to question 4 of the rat survey on the back of the mailer:

How would you describe the rat problem:

-mild

-severe

-state of emergency

-there is no rat problem

 

Read More

Comment

In NY, Who Voted to Fund the Wars?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

WNYC

Before his ethics probe heated up, Rep. Charlie Rangel was speaking out about how he would not vote to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan unless it was to bring the troops home.

The vote took place earlier this week and the funding was approved.

Rangel, along with most of the Congress members from New York City, voted no. Mike McMahon, the Democrat representing the Republican-leaning 13th district in Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn, was the only one from NYC to vote for the funding.

Here’s how the rest of the New York delegation voted on the bill (and thank goodness for the handy map from the Times):

 

NY-1: Democrat Tim Bishop-yes

NY-2: Democrat Steve Israel-yes

NY-3: Republican Peter King-yes

NY-4: Democrat Carolyn McCarthy-yes

NY-5: Democrat Gary Ackerman-yes

NY-6: Democrat Gregory Meeks-no

NY-7: Democrat Joe Crowley-no

NY-8: Democrat Jerry Nadler-no

NY-9: Democrat Anthony Weiner-no

NY-10: Democrat Ed Towns-no

NY-11: Democrat Yvette Clarke-no

NY-12: Democrat Nydia Velazquez-no

NY-13: Democrat Mike McMahon-yes

NY-14: Democrat Carolyn Maloney-no

NY-15: Democrat Charlie Rangel-no

NY-16: Democrat Jose Serrano-no

NY-17: Democrat Eliot Engel-yes

NY-18: Democrat Nita Lowey-yes

NY-19: Democrat John Hall-yes

NY-20: Democrat Scott Murphy-yes

NY-21: Democrat Paul Tonko-no

NY-22: Democrat Maurice Hinchey-no

NY-23: Democrat Bill Owens-yes

NY-24: Democrat Mike Arcuri-yes

Read More

Comment

Lazio Reorganizes

Thursday, July 29, 2010

WNYC

After GOP gubernatorial challenger Carl Paladino's climb in the polls and Rick Lazio's sputtering fund-raising, this kind of reshuffling was sort of inevitable.

The official announcement about who's on-board, is after the jump.

Read More

Comment

‘The Ultimate Albany Politician’

Thursday, July 29, 2010

WNYC

GOP Comptroller candidate Harry Wilson gives Democratic State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli a new nickname.

Read More

Comment

The Lede: Reading Kaye, Hearing Rangel, Reorganizing Lazio

Thursday, July 29, 2010

WNYC

A lawyer for Paterson said the governor is "pleased" with Judith Kaye's report, which found he didn't break any laws.

NYT: Kaye's report is, "like a how-not-to guide to government management," and, "Mr. Paterson displayed a lack of curiosity, never looking into whether there had been an arrest report or an order of protection in connection with the episode."

Halbfinger has more on how Cuomo, politically, is the big winner here.

The Post hits Kaye who, "declined to decide," who was to blame for witnesses' contradictory information, or to press harder about administration officials apparent lack of cooperation with the investigation.

Read More

Comment

Paterson and Booker

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

WNYC

Here's a key point in Judith Kaye's report about Gov. David Paterson's role in the case of a domestic abuse victim deciding to drop her request for an order of protection against top Paterson aide David Johnson:

Booker testified that prior to speaking with the Governor on February 7 she had decided not to pursue the order of protection against Johnson.

On page 31, the report explains:

Booker testified that she did not realize that she had a court date the following day, and thought that the court date might have already passed. Booker testified that, in any event, she did not intend to go back to court because, among other reasons, Johnson “had left [her] alone” since the incident and she no longer felt a threat.

Booker is now renewing her effort to get an order of protection, saying, "It's the right thing to do."

Read More

Comment

Roundup: Harlemous

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

WNYC

Rothenberg: “Cox now appears to be trying to make himself the Tea Party candidate.”

Palin dips her toes in New York.

Paterson didn’t read the report, reminds everyone he always claimed he was innocent. 

Liz notes Paterson is now referring to DJ as “a former aide.”

Kaye’s report: “It is hard to reconcile this conduct with the Governor's expressed commitment to the cause of domestic violence prevention.”

Paterson’s lawyer is using the same PR crisis consultants that Spitzer used.

Paterson swipes at lawmakers.

WaPo rolls out the Rangel retrospective.

Subcommittee "jury" would have to hear “clear and convincing evidence” of Rangel’s wrongdoing, which is “less than ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’" that’s the stadard in criminal proceedings.

Carney explains why Rangel can use campaign money to defend himself.

Baxter follows Rangel’s campaign expenses.

Jill Lawrence: “How depressing for such a career to end in a resignation deal or a public skewering, perhaps accompanied by a GOP ad campaign and midterm losses for his own party.”

An on-line expert has advice for Rangel: Create compelling viral videos ‘Charlie is Harlemous’ about Charlie being marvelous for Harlem.”

Errol Louis gets critiqued for admitting he didn’t press Rangel harder.

And Skurnik thinks a reader is wrong to overstate the burden of ballot access problems.

Read More

Comment

Paterson's Q&A: Rebuffs a Rumor, Walks Away

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

WNYC

Gov. David Paterson took only a few questions today about the report from former Chief Justice Judith Kaye saying the governor did nothing criminal when he contacted a woman seeking to file charges against one of his aides for domestic abuse.

“I can’t comment on it because I haven’t read the report yet,” Paterson said.

He declined to talk about other related issues, like whether he’ll discipline any of his staffers named in the report, and if he regretted his role in the whole situation.

NY1’s Josh Robin got Paterson to respond to the theory/rumor that the governor called lawmakers to Albany today in order to take attention away from this report. Paterson teed-off.

“The legislature always finds a reason that they’re the victim,” Paterson said.

Here’s what happened when a Times reporter tried to ask a follow-up question:

Reporter: “This is maybe similar to what Josh asked you a moment ago –

Paterson: “Then I can’t answer it.”

Reporter: “But you haven’t heard it, governor.”

Then Paterson walked out of the room.

Read More

Comment

Paterson: 'This Doesn't Look Good For Me'

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

WNYC

Just what did Governor Paterson say when he called the woman trying to press charges against gubernatorial aide David Johnson?

Here's a transcript of Paterson's voice mail message to Sherr-una Booker, according to Judith Kaye's report, released Wednesday:

Sherri, this is David. You should see the way they wrote this story. They’re trying to make it look like I pressured you into dropping this court case. Please help me. Your lawyer – his statement makes it sound the same way. Um, I mean – I was trying to find out about the rumors involving myself. You placed the call to me around ten minutes to four on Sunday, February the 7th – it was the day of the Superbowl. And, um, in the conversation, we just talked about the things that – that – you didn’t say anything about me, and I didn’t say about you. Then we went on to talk about other stuff, but – I hope, uh – you remember that I was not trying to make you do anything, and – I hope your lawyer will do something to help me here, because this, uh, doesn’t look good for me, and I wasn’t in this. And this is exactly what they’re after. And I – I was just not in this and didn’t – um, you know – want to play a role in it. And, to be honest with you, I believe you. So – um, anyway, uh – if you can help to clear this up, because it – that portrayal, that conversation – we didn’t talk for one minute, we talked for ten or fifteen minutes. And, um –I did tell you that I was there for you, and you could call me. But I wasn’t doing it to try to trade it for you dropping the ca- I didn’t even know the court date was Monday, to be honest with you. I’ll talk to you later.

Read More

Comments [1]

Political Risk in Paterson Probe Was to Cuomo

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The news that Governor Paterson may not have broken any laws would not have been enough to turn around Paterson’s political fortunes. His chances of winning a Democratic gubernatorial primary against the then-undeclared Andrew Cuomo were always a long-shot. Going into the primary, Cuomo would have had more money and none of the baggage Paterson is carrying from dealing with a stubbornly independent legislature.

The political risk in probing Paterson was to Cuomo.

The only time in this campaign year that his sky-high approval numbers took a beating in the polls was when his office initially took on the case. It was subsequently handed over to retired judge Judith Kaye.

Read the full report from the independent counsel's office.

Read More

Comments [1]

Report: Paterson Won't Face Criminal Charges

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

WNYC

The New York Times' Nicolas Confessore reports:

The retired judge investigating Gov. David A. Paterson’s intervention in a domestic violence case involving a former top aide will not recommend any charges against the governor, according to a person with knowledge of the case.

The judge, Judith S. Kaye, the former chief judge of the New York State Court of Appeals, is expected to release the results of her four-month investigation into Mr. Paterson on Wednesday afternoon. Ms. Kaye was asked to take over the investigation in April by Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo, who recused himself from the case.

While Mr. Paterson does not appear to be in further legal jeopardy, the aide, David W. Johnson, may face further charges, the person said. Ms. Kaye will refer evidence regarding Mr. Johnson to the Bronx district attorney’s office, which is already looking into the allegations that Mr. Johnson assaulted his former companion, Sherr-una Booker, on Oct. 31, 2009.

Read More

Comment

Towns: Rangel 'Is Going to be There'

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

WNYC

In case you’re wondering, the person with the second most seniority in the New York congressional delegation is Rep. Ed Towns of Brooklyn. He was elected to Congress in 1983. Rangel got there in 1971.

So, is he even thinking about becoming the dean of the delegation, since there’s that whole situation with Rep. Charlie Rangel?

“No it hasn’t because I know Rangel is going to be there,” Towns told me yesterday. “He’s doing well. I understand there was a poll taken and he is so far out front that it’s not even any real contest. Which means that’s he’s going to continue to be around.”

Okay.

If and when (when?) Rangel leaves Congress, it will undoubtedly by the end of a certain era in New York politics, one that saw that dominance (and some dimming) of New York’s black political establishment in Harlem.

That changing-of-the-guard moment will only fuel more chatter about how real power center of New York’s black political establishment should rightfully be acknowledged as having moved from Harlem to other areas of the city, like Towns’ section of Bed-Stuy in Brooklyn. Southeast Queens, with its cultural history, affluence and charismatic figures also can lay claim to the mantle too.

When I asked, Towns downplayed the notion there’s any rivalry or tension between the these areas and said that Rangel is revered figured citywide.

Towns recalled a recent meeting where Brooklyn constituents said things like, “You know how long it took Charles Rangel to become the chair of the Ways and Means Committee?”

Town added, “There’s a strong support base that he has, even in Brooklyn.”

Read More

Comments [1]

'A General Without Troops'

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

WNYC

Reader William Bryk has a critical take on why Ed Koch's reform push probably won't yield any results, in Albany or anywhere else. In short, it's ballot access, says Bryk:

If Mayor Koch were truly serious, primaries would be taking place across the City. They're not. With all respect to him, he's a general without troops; he's been retired from politics for over twenty years; he's eighty-five years old this year; he can get some press attention, but he can't effect the kind of change he says he wants to bring about.

The hyper-technical ballot access requirements of the election law are the reason why we don't have the nationwide anti-incumbent surge enriching our local politics. If Mayor Koch would lend his energies and talents to making it easier for ordinary citizens - not just lawyers and professional politicians -- to get on the ballot, he would truly crown his sixty years' service as soldier, lawyer, public official, and public figure.

Timing, I'd say, is also a factor.

Read More

Comments [1]

Q Poll: Voters Don't Like Legislators, Don't Know AG Candidates

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

WNYC

Andrew Cuomo still holds a wide lead over his Republican gubernatorial challengers, in today's Quinnipiac poll.

Cuomo leads former Long Island congressman Rick Lazio 56 to 26 percent, with the race closest in the suburbs, 48 to 37 percent in favor of Cuomo. It's similar to Cuomo's lead over upstate businessman Carl Paladino, 55 to 25 percent, with the race closest in upstate where the split narrows to 44 to 34, favoring Cuomo.

But further down the ballot, things are more of a toss up.

Most noteworthy: voters are leaning towards ousting their incumbent legislator.

Read More

Comment

The Lede: Rangel Deals, Smith Vacations

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

WNYC

Obama is raising money today at Anna Wintour's home, and the Four Seasons.

Is Rangel working on a settlement deal to end the ethics probe? "I hope so," Rangel said.

"I think it's best that he settle," said Rep. George Miller of California.

Daily News: "Rangel, who spent the weekend campaigning and proclaiming his innocence, is said to be ready to admit mistakes on his taxes and various other charges, but is balking at fessing up that his they were intentional."


Read More

Comment

Bloomberg's Q&A: Is Rangel Still Having a Birthday Party?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

WNYC

At his Q&A with reporters today, Mayor Bloomberg seemed unsure if the fund-raiser he’s helping throw for Charlie Rangel is still on:

"I don’t know if Charlie Rangel is going to have a fund-raiser. I don’t know what the facts are. We’ll just have to wait and see. Yeah, I had planned to go, but until we see what comes out of this and what happens, I guess, by Thursday, I don’t know what’s going to happen. I can tell you this: Charlie Rangel did a lot for New York City and we shoudn’t forget that. I have no idea whether these charges are true. That’s not my job to find out."

For his part, Rangel did release this video, indicating the party was still on. Then again, that could change.

Bloomberg also rebuffed two questions about Diana Taylor's saying people want her to run for mayor, and he said Washington isn’t doing anything to cut our dependence on oil. Listen to his full Q&A above. Rangel discussion starts at 3:23.

Read More

Comments [2]

Roundup: 'Go Away'

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

WNYC

Hoyer on Rangel: “Everyone would like this to go away.”

If the talks are not successful, trial proceedings for the Harlem congressman would begin Thursday with a reading of alleged ethics violations that are still confidential.”

AFL-CIO opposes Schumer’s DISCLOSE ACT.

Jacobs challenges Gingrich’s accuracy on Cordoba.

Coffey fumes over litmus tests. “Albany is burning and the career politicians are fighting about who had depth of opposition to a law that passed a year ago.”

Epstein says Schneiderman is "flailing" since he's now attacking Coffey.

Rice rolls out a watchdog plan.

Blakeman gets pressured to drop out.

Albany is “killing the nerd inside” one poor guy.

Race to the Top money may be on its way to New York.

Rangel, the case for term limits?

Zidar goes for the biker vote.

Locals want the Clintons to pay for the extra cops at Chelsea’s wedding, wherever it is.

And Ed Rendell does not encourage Rangel to fight on.

Read More

Comment

Timing the Revolt

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

WNYC

Despite the “anti-incumbent” mood supposedly sweeping through the mid-term elections, there are surprisingly few incumbents in New York State facing serious electoral challenges.

Among the most glaring examples are Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Conference Leader John Sampson: They’re Democrats who each lead one half of the often-criticized “dysfunctional” state legislature. They’ve also both refused to sign the reform pledges advanced by the group led by former Mayor Ed Koch, who, in return, branded Silver, Sampson and other hold outs “enemies of reform.”

That seems like enough fodder for a challenger.

So, how did Silver, Sampson and other “enemies” avoid serious primary challenges?

In short: Since the state has no campaign finance mechanism, challengers would have had to start revving up their fund-raising and campaign operations months in advance, well before the anti-incumbent “mood” and fever pitch for reform swelled to it’s current levels.

Or, as Jerry Skurnik, a political consultant (and one-time Koch aide) put it to me, “By the time Koch started doing this stuff, it was too late.”

Read More

Comment

Bishop: I Already Returned Rangel's Money

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

WNYC

Not exactly standing with Rangel as the pressure mounts, Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop's campaign puts this out:

Yesterday, Chris Cox put out a press release "calling" on Congressman Bishop to return campaign contributions made by Congressman Rangel between 2002 and 2004.  There's just one problem with this request: Congressman Bishop has already returned the money.

[skip]

In March, Congressman Bishop announced to several news outlets, including Newsday and the New York Post, that he would return contributions from Congressman Rangel, despite the fact that he hasn't received any since 2004, when there were no ethical questions surrounding Congressman Rangel. Congressman Bishop has donated the funds to help honor Suffolk County's veterans. A glance at the Congressman's FEC report, which is available to everyone online, will reveal that he made $10,000 in contributions to local veterans groups last quarter to help build memorials.  He is in talks with other veterans organizations to disburse any remaining funds.

Read More

Comment

Report: Rangel Seeks Ethics Settlement

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

WNYC

This report from The Associated Press is not a sign that Rangel is looking forward to Thursday's unsealing of alleged violations:

The Associated Press has learned that New York Democrat Charles Rangel is making a last-minute effort to settle his ethics case. A settlement would mean that Rangel must agree that he committed some ethical misconduct.

The talks were confirmed by people familiar with the situation, but who were not authorized to be quoted by name.

Rangel stepped down earlier this year as chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee because of an earlier ethics charge. A settlement would spare him an embarrassing ethics trial. It also would be a relief for other Democrats, who fear that an dragged-out ethics proceeding during the fall election campaign would hurt their ability to maintain their House majority.

The ethics committee's trial phase has been scheduled to commence Thursday afternoon.

Read More

Comment