The DNC National Committeeman from Long Island, Robert Zimmerman, co-signed a letter with Republican Peter King of New York saying Democrats should put the 9/11 health care bill up for a vote again but without the special requirement preventing Republicans from adding amendments to it.
The legislation would have paid for health care costs for sick rescue workers -- something almost nobody objects to -- but fear of what amendments Republicans would add onto the bill drove Democrats to put the legislation up for a vote under special rules: no amendments would be allowed to be added to the bill, but in order to pass, it needed a two-thirds majority, not just a simple majority.
The letter from Zimmerman and King calls on Republicans to promise not to add any amendments to the bill if it comes up for a vote again. But if they don't make that promise, the vote should take place anyway.
"If House Republicans do not make this agreement, however, we believe the Democratic Leadership has the moral obligation to allow this legislation to pass by a simple majority vote," they wrote in the August 9 letter.
The letter, in its entirety after the jump.
Thanks to a stakeout, The Post gets some information on the how Deputy Mayor Patti Harris juggles her work at City Hall and at the non-profit charity she runs for the mayor: "Harris, along with two City Hall aides, were chauffeured in a city-owned Buick Lucerne to the foundation's $45 million Beaux Arts six-story mansion at 25 E. 78th St."
In the foundation's tax filings, Harris said she only spends about 15 minutes a week working at the foundation [fixed].
I've been trying to get similar information about Harris' comings and going using another means: the Freedom of Information Law.
On May 12, 2010, Anthony Crowell, counsel to the mayor, said they'd respond to my request for Harris' schedule within 120 days. That puts the expected response some time next month.
My initial request for Harris' schedule (and those of other City officials) were sent out on January 5, 2009 and have not yet been filled.
"I was taking a risk by being unwilling to call the President a socialist."
Stu Loeser's argument: "If nonpartisan elections were in effect then, New York may well have had Mayor Ferrer instead of Mayor Bloomberg."
Rangel won't say if he signed a plea deal.
Rangel defends a troubled non-profit he helps fund.
Rep. Mike Arcuri distances himself from Rangel.
Schedule mystery: "[Deputy Mayor Patti] Harris, along with two City Hall aides, were chauffeured in a city-owned Buick Lucerne to the foundation's $45 million Beaux Arts six-story mansion at 25 E. 78th St.
Gunplay in Harlem leaves two cops injured.
It's A1 in the Times.
Douthat: "The lifelong commitment of a gay couple is more impressive than the serial monogamy of straights."
The Times calls a constitutional convention to fix Albany "a distraction."
Lazio pushes the Islamic center issue.
Hertzberg: "Nationally, opposition to Park51 is rapidly becoming a matter of Republican discipline and conservative orthodoxy."
The Post hits Bloomberg for his defense of the project.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver doesn't agree with Bloomberg on the issue.
Reforming Albany is Ed Koch's "last hurrah."
Andrew Cuomo declined to be interviewed about his mom.
Cuomo also declined to speak about his daughters.
John Kerry, seriously.
$12.5 million in member items in the state budget.
Lovett: "In all, nearly $13.5 million for 666 local projects approved in last year's budget were paid by the state since the beginning of last month, according to a Gannett News Service report."
An Assembly candidate says she's not really a lobbyist.
Wrobleski finds a conspiracy theory behind the "Jewish money" story.
Dadey and Avlon want two-terms for city officials, except City Council members.
Lisberg: "Bloomberg is principled about freedom when it comes to religion, but practical about freedom when it comes to crimefighting."
Rep. Ed Towns evolves on the war.
Live debate on hydrofracking, on August 12.
State Senator Tom Libous: "Yeah, OK, state government came to a standstill, but the way I look at it -- we stopped them from taxing more and spending more."
Reisman: "The number of tax credits due to be received by businesses in the 2010-11 fiscal year will be sharply reduced from $550 million to $50 million."
AGNY candidate Sean Coffey's tax returns.
And Coffey's political donations raise questions of pay to play access.
Step one, hold the event in the sun. Step two, make sure the event lasts a really long time. Step three, after thirty minutes, ignore a reporters plea for them to take questions.
Notices about how to use the new electronic voting machines are being sent out by the NYC Board of Elections. A reader who received one passed along their copy to me.
The new machines will debut this fall, when there will be lots of things on the ballot: candidates for governor, two US Senate seats, candidates for comptroller and attorney general, all 212 state legislatures and, in New York City, maybe a ballot question or two.
So, instructions on how to use the machines may be a handy thing to read.
Here's my 2-minute and 30 second highlight tape from the nearly 45-minute long rally yesterday to oppose non-partisan elections.
My favorite line is State Senator Bill Perkins saying, simply, "non-partisan elections - anti-American."
Kagan makes the wood of amNew York and Newsday.
Rangel says his birthday party is still on for August. 11.
Barbaro: "Several are privately fuming that Mr. Rangel is forcing them to choose between their gratitude to him and their shot at re-election."
King blames Democrats if rescue workers die because the 9/11 health bill failed.
A lawyer in a 9/11 health care lawsuit is backing Saujani over Maloney.
NY Post: "Bloomberg seems largely to have been speaking for himself" in defense of the Islamic center at Ground Zero.
DiNapoli banks on strong labor support.
Schumer's office declines to respond to Townsend's criticism.
TU: Recounting prison population could help Democrats keep control of state senate.
Molloy wonders why Giuliani's kid was shoplifting.
A local meeting about making English the official language of Jackson, in upstate Washington County. may have violated the Open Meetings Law.
New voting machines on display in next-door Warren County on August 26.
Klein uses his emergency powers to sidestep a recent state education ruling on how school facilities are used.
Key Food closes and culture war heats up, in Flushing.
Pras doesn't support Wyclef's presidential campaign.
McAuliff: " 'Kevin Powell has not had a job since 1996,' said Powell."
DN hits Dilan for saying he'd support the farm workers bill, then abstained.
"She was no better than me" a woman busted for shoplifting at Duane Reade said about Caroline Giuliani.
And Jon Stewart sizes up Democrats and Republicans on the 9/11 bill, and says "I give up."
Catholics: 45-22 percent agree with opponents
Jews: 52-11 percent agree with opponents
Protestants: 43-16 percent agree with opponents
College educated: 44-22 percent agree with opponents
An openly gay Democratic City Councilman in Queens just endorsed a challenger to Democratic State Senator Shirley Huntley, one of the people who voted against-same sex marriage.
The Councilman, Jimmy Van Bramer of Sunnyside, said he’s support Lynn Nunes because “his commitment to reform and equality for all make Lynn the right choice for Southeast Queens and the right choice for New York.”
Lynn is challenging Huntley -- herself once favored by progressives and the Democratic establishment because she ousted the controversial Ada Smith. But now, Huntley is drawing fire from progressives for voting against same-sex marriage.
The endorsement announcement comes one day after same-sex marriage advocates cheered the overturn of a gay marriage ban in California (it’s likely to wind up, at some point, in the Supreme Court).
Since being voted down last year, the landscape for passing same-sex marriage in New York has improved, slightly.
A couple of Democratic State Senators who voted against same-sex marriage last year have been replaced by supporters.
In Queens, for example, Democratic State Senators who voted against the bill include Joe Addabbo, Hiram Monserrate and George Onorato. Monserrate was removed and replaced by Assemblyman Jose Peralta. Onorato announced he’s retiring, and is expected to be replaced by Assemblyman Michael Gianaris. Both Peralta and Gianaris voted for same-sex marriage while in the Assembly.
But, as Liz Benjamin noted, the issue may not be coming up for a vote in the State Senate any time soon.
GOP gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino is out with a TV ad hitting Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Cuomo for supporting the development of an Islamic cultural center and mosque near Ground Zero.
Paladino, in a straight-to-camera moment, restates his intention to use eminent domain to block the plan.
Which may or may not be feasible.
Gov. David Paterson says trying to get state lawmakers to tax sugary beverages instead of clothing is like "running into a brick wall" and "demonstrates the need for greater campaign finance [reform]."
"There is no borrowing in this budget."
That's what Governor Paterson said this morning during a radio interview on WOR, which is a notion that was quickly challenged by the show's host since the state's budget includes a financial maneuver many (even Ira Glass) have criticized as borrowing.
Radio host John Gambling said the state is going to "take monies from the pension, are you not? It will be a liability down the road. Isn't that a form of borrowing?"
"No, that was kind of a semantic situation," Paterson said. "What we did was refinance it, divide it over a number of years. No student of government or budget analyst would ever call that borrowing. Because in borrowing, you're getting something. Here, it's just taking a debt and apportioning it out over a number of years."
"Borrowing," Paterson explained, "is when you take an amount of money and put it in the budget and then you have to pay the interest on it and delay it over a period of time."
NY Sen. Chuck Schumer and AG Andrew Cuomo dodge questions about whether they'll attend Rep. Charlie Rangel's birthday party.
Cuomo's explanation is that he hasn't figured out his schedule, which takes me back to when I tried FOILing his schedule.
One reason NYC lawmakers may want to serve three four-year terms: they get vested in the city pension.
I've been watching the Reshma Saujani and Carolyn Maloney's one-sided spat about debates. To help me understand the value of this fight in the grand scheme of things, Democratic consultant Michael Oliva offers his thoughts:
I've been milling this over in my brain.
Has calling on a candidate, who is way ahead, to a debate, by the candidate who is way behind, EVER worked, because...A) The candidate way ahead caved to pressure, debated, and did so badly they lost the election, or...B) The candidate way ahead refused to debate, and received such bad publicity, they nosedived and lostCorrect me if I'm wrong, but I can't think of one instance of either A or B ever happening.That's how you know it's the mark of death. It's because a campaign is putting their emotion and frustration ahead of good strategy, because they feel they have exhausted all other options, even though they know the tactic won't work. If the people COULD ONLY SEE how much better we are THEN they'd get it and vote for us....and even if true how many people ever even see?
On a conference call today on increasing major charitable giving, Mayor Bloomberg and Investor Warren Buffett were asked what they thought about New York's new law reducing tax deductions on donations made by wealthy philanthropists.
Mayor Bloomberg’s spokesperson jumped down the throat of an education expert on Wednesday about a topic the mayor has been defensive about: school test scores. The tension arose when Education Reporter Liz Green of Gotham Schools asked readers for feedback before coming on WNYC's The Brian Lehrer Show to discuss test scores.
New York attorney general candidate Eric Schneiderman is defending himself--one day after he voted against a property tax cap as a member of the state Senate. The tax cap passed Tuesday night.
One of Schneiderman's opponents in the Democratic AG primary, attorney Sean Coffey, said the vote was a "rebuke' to taxpayers.
Democratic congressional candidate Reshma Saujani has produced a Web video slamming Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney for declining an invitation to debate.
Conservative radio show host Laura Ingraham interviewed Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Lazio just now and asked him if he could win his race.
As Ingraham put it, “How can a Republican like you ever hope to win the gubernatorial race?”
Lazio answered: “This is a year when nobody wants to vote for an incumbent.”