Azi Paybarah

author of The Empire blog

Azi Paybarah appears in the following:

Cuomo Tries to Reinvent Albany With Bold First Budget

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

By the end of his hour-long budget presentation Tuesday, Cuomo had cast himself as a transformer: changing Albany's decades-old budget habits, and repositioning the state "nationall...

Comments [1]

Cuomo Proposes Across-the-Board Cuts in First Budget

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Governor Andrew Cuomo's first budget presentation to state lawmakers includes across-the-board cuts, a consolidation of 11 state agencies, a warning of 9,800 layoffs and "one new f...

Comments [1]

A Popular Cuomo Prepares to Deliver an Unpopular Budget

Monday, January 31, 2011


Andrew Cuomo is about to make a lot of people unhappy — not that it's sinking in just yet.

"Andrew Cuomo is not a polarizing figure," said Marist pollster Lee Miringoff, discussing the governor's latest numbers on New York 1. "Democrats, Republicans, independents, New York City, the suburbs and upstaters all pretty much saying, 'Hmmm, I kind of like this guy."

For a governor about to cut $10 billion out of the state budget, lay off tens of thousands of state workers, and "realign" the state to meet it's new fiscal realities, the Cuomo seen on Monday may not be around after he unveils his budget on Tuesday.


The Budget, Teachers and Property Taxes - Oh My!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Azi Paybarah, WNYC political reporter and author of The Empire blog, discusses a possible Bloomberg-Cuomo face-off over teachers, property taxes and more.

Comments [69]

Bloomberg Defeats Snow, Now Has Schools to Tackle

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Mayor Michael Bloomberg set out to conquer the most recent snow storm to blanket New York City — and succeeded.

But the public schools he closed today are another matter.

By the time Mayor Bloomberg started his 10am press conference at City Hall to updater the city on  snow removal efforts, he had already given live interview to three radio stations and New York 1 News.

Joining Bloomberg were the city's commissioners for police, transportation, education, sanitation, and emergency services, all waiting to answer any questions. They had been working since before sunrise.

Comments [1]

New York Pols React to Obama's Speech: 'Disappointed,' 'Missed a Chance'

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


President Obama's speech was a call to arms for those seeking bipartisanship. Unfortunately, those looking for regulations of firearms heard not a word about their cause.

"What comes of this moment will be determined not by whether we can sit together tonight, but whether we can work together tomorrow," Obama said to an audience of Washington lawmakers which, for the first time, had Democrats and Republicans seated next to one another.

"We share common hopes and a common creed; that the dreams of a little girl in Tucson are not so different than those of our own children, and that they all deserve the chance to be fulfilled," said the president, referring to the youngest victim of the massacre that left Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords with a gunshot wound to the head.

But after that, Obama did not address the issue of gun control, something Mayor Michael Bloomberg strenuously advocated for with a major media push leading up to the speech.

Afterwards, Bloomberg released a statement calling the omission of gun control from the speech "disappointing."

Comments [4]

The Woman Upgrading Bloomberg's Government: Rachel Sterne

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Talking points for Mayor Bloomberg used to be printed on small, white, index cards. Last year, he repaved those cards with an iPad. During a City Council hearing into the city's botched snow removal efforts, City Council members vented their frustration…on Twitter.

In many ways, New York City government is embracing 21st century. But to critics, the city — capital of finance and media — is woefully behind other cities in incorporating modern technology when it comes to governance.

Enter Rachel Sterne, the 27 year-old founder of the GroundReport, an open-source journalism portal. On Monday, the city announced Sterne is now New York City's first chief digital officer, charged with, among other things, helping Mayor Bloomberg's administration adapt to the 21st century.

Comments [4]

Cuomo's War Money: Millions for a Fight, Thousands for a Bonus

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


As he prepares to wrestle against legislators and organized labor to control the state's $11 billion deficit, Governor Andrew Cuomo is arming himself with money.

Over the past month and a half, Mr. Cuomo raised $217,625.79, nearly four times as much as his predecessor, Democrat Eliot Spitzer, according to research by a government watchdog group. After spending nearly a million dollars between late November and mid-January, Mr. Cuomo has $4.17 million left on hand in his campaign account.


Joe Lieberman: The Resilience and Missteps of a Political Maverick

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Joseph Lieberman, the Connecticut Senator who had a turblent relationship with the Democratic Party, is reportedly set to announce he will not seek a fifth term in office.

Comments [3]

MLK 2011: Sharpton Updates the Struggle, Bloomberg Gets Jeered

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


In his annual tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, the Rev. Al Sharpton and his parade of guests urged the crowd to fight the modern battle against inequality. And in at least once instance, that meant, for some, booing the person at the podium.

"We must deal with the issues of today," said Sharpton, who flew into the event after spending the morning in Washington DC. He equated the need to update the civil rights struggle today with the 1965 television sitcom F-Troop, which, according to Sharpton drew its humor from the fact that the post-Civil War soldiers "were fighting a war that had already been fought."

"The problem with many of us today is we want to fight the civil rights battle of 50 years ago," said Sharpton. "And not deal with the civil rights battle of today."

Comments [4]

Redesigning Medicaid: One Lawmaker Explains the Challenges

Thursday, January 13, 2011


The Medicaid Redesign Team is holding their first public meeting in Albany on Thursday to begin tackling one of the thorniest problems facing the new governor: cutting the cost of the program without facing a backlash from health providers or patients.

The challenges facing the group are daunting. Aside from coming up with a consensus — which observers say may not even happen — the timetable for enacting any solution won’t yield immediate results. Federal approval is required. And the scope of their options is limited.

“Many of the ideas that get put on the table don’t necessarily save a lot of money,” said Assemblyman Dick Gottfried, a Democrat from Manhattan and a member of the 27-person team. “Many ideas take a year or two to implement so they don’t do you any good in this year’s budget.”


Cuomo's Albany

Friday, January 07, 2011


When Andrew Cuomo arrived in Albany, he threw open the doors to the governor's mansion and invited everyone in. Among the first to arrive was Martha Yourth, a retired state worker who dabbled in politics and lives just outside the capital.

"I loved the blue crystal chandelier in the dining room," Yourth said afterwards. "I'd love a chandelier like that. It's English crystal, I was told by the curator. But it was just a beautiful sea blue, and I've never seen that before. I would have liked to have taken a little sample of that with me. But as one of the staff pointed out 'how would we pay for it?'"

The question prompted by Yourth's trip to the governor's mansion — "How would we pay for it?" — is the big question mark looming over the head of the new governor. 


State of New York State

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Ken Lovett, Daily News Albany bureau chief, and Azi Paybarah, WNYC reporter and blogger, review Governor Cuomo's first State of the State address.

Read More And Join The Conversation at It's A Free Country

Legislators and Albany Watchers Struck by Cuomo's Tough Tone on Spending

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Freezing worker salaries, slashing the size of government by 20 percent, capping property taxes and delivering health care at a fraction of today’s cost: Governor Andrew Cuomo’s first State of the State speech was, according to one pundit, just what you’d expect….from a Republican.

Comments [3]

Cuomo Calls for Smaller Government, 20 Percent Fewer Agencies

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Governor Andrew Cuomo will announce a plan to reduce the size of state government by one fifth, according to a copy of the speech circulated to reporters. The governor will announce t...


Veteran Reporter Wayne Barrett Departs Village Voice

Tuesday, January 04, 2011


Wayne Barrett will be on the Brian Lehrer Show Wednesday, January 05 at 11:20am to talk about his departure from the Village Voice.

Veteran investigative reporter Wayne Barrett, who has spent three decades muckraking and challenging the deeds of the city's most recognizable figures, was laid off from the Village Voice because of budget cut backs, he said.

Comments [1]

Snow Job: The City Council Seeks Answers in Blizzard Fiasco

Monday, January 03, 2011


Next Monday, the New York City Council will hold hearings into how the mayor's administration took nearly a week to clear city streets after a Christmas weekend snow storm.

"Did we just completely underestimate the storm and after that, when we realized how bad it is, what was the change up from the original plan" asked Jumaane Williams, chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Committee. His committee, and three others, are holding hearings into the matter.

Comments [1]

Cuomo Emphasizes Transparency and Accountability as He Takes Office

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Suffering from a competency, integrity and trust "deficit," Governor Andrew Cuomo is proposing to use public attention as a "silver bullet" to fix state government.


Cuomo's Probe: Obama's Former Car Czar Settles and Apologizes

Thursday, December 30, 2010


Steven Rattner, President Obama's car czar, agreed to pay $10 million in fines along with a five-year ban from working with pension funds in New York State as part of a pay-to-play investigation launched by Attorney General and governor-elect Andrew Cuomo.

It's the final piece of a year long investigation Cuomo says has recovered $170 million for the state, and introduced tougher rules for who can invest the state's money.

In his settlement with Cuomo, Rattner did not admit to wrongdoing but did apologize "if during the course of this process there is anything I did that may have made reaching this agreement more difficult."

Reaching the settlement with Rattner hasn't been easy.


How David Paterson Views David Paterson

Friday, December 17, 2010


David Paterson always had a plan. It just wasn’t to become Governor of New York.

Leading up to 2006, he was the top Democrat in the State Senate, and doing a surprisingly effective job chipping away at the Republican lead in that house.

Paterson, who was representing Harlem, did this by letting his affable nature mask his intense desire to wage strategic campaign fights against Republicans.

“If they had an event they had to go to and they wanted us to stop debating…I would always stop,” Paterson recalled in a recent interview. “I think it got them to take their eye off the campaign.”

Comments [5]