Streams

Azi Paybarah

Azi Paybarah appears in the following:

The Future of Josh Isay, New York's Media Guy

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Finally, a profile of Josh Isay, the consultant to, um, everyone? (Bloomberg, Caroline Kennedy, Schumer, Christine Quinn, Netanyahu):

Dana Rubinstein:

IF THERE WAS EVER A TIME JOSH ISAY could be neatly categorized as a "Democratic operative," that time is over. He is now the guy who could represent Quinn or Stringer or some other Democrat if those are the choices for mayor in 2013, but who is just as likely to represent the next Bloomberg, if and when one surfaces, if that candidate is the one he likes best, and has enough money, and looks likely, with some expert help with messaging, to win.

Certainly, he will not feel constrained by any sense of partisan duty.

(As one of Isay's consultant friends put it, "Josh is highly motivated by making profit, which is fine.")

When the Democratic primary electorate rejected Joe Lieberman in Connecticut, Isay (like Schumer, and other Democratic senators) helped Lieberman beat the Democratic nominee in the general. Isay did his best to help Crist, the former Republican governor of Florida, who became an independent only when it became clear that he was going to lose his Senate primary. Outside American politics, Isay has worked for Netanyahu and Israel's Likud Party, which is increasingly explicit about its ideological alligment with the U.S. Republican Party. (There was a tradition, dating back to the Bill Clinton era, of top Democractic consultants working for Likud's opponents; Netanyahu's first American guru, by contrast, was Arthur Finkelstein, the reclusive archconservative who masterminded the rise of former governor George Pataki and the Senate campaigns of Al D'Amato.)

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As far as American politics is concered, Isay said, “I consider myself kind of a, what is Koch’s expression? A liberal with sanity. I think that’s Koch’s expression.”

(It is.)

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Isay will likely get a piece of President Obama’s reelection campaign in 2012, perhaps playing a bigger—and proportionately more lucrative—part than in 2008, when Knickerbocker SKD handled mail in the northeast, and television in the west.

“I don’t know how they’re going to organize it for the next presidential,” said Isay. “But Anita [Dunn, business partner in D.C.] was communications director for the White House and will certainly play a role in whatever they want to do.”

For more, check out Jason Horowitz's piece about Isay, Pollock and Wolfson.

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Poll: Democrat Cuomo polls like a Republican

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cuomo's job approval rating, from Quinnipiac:

56-15 percent job approval rating
59-14 percent among independents
57-14 percent among GOP
56-14 percent among Dems
63-13 percent in upstate
53-15 percent in NYC
50-17 percent in suburbs

The analysis:

"Gov. Andrew Cuomo is a Democrat, right? His job approval is strong but the political and geographical pattern has a Republican look - he does best upstate, better than in the city or suburbs," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

Also, the poll compares Cuomo's wine-and-dine approach to Spitzer's steamrolling, and finds, unsurprisingly, Cuomo's is preferred.

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Hitting Bloomberg with full-page ads

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The mayor is mocked in an ad run jointly by the PBA & UFA unions. (azi paybarah / wnyc)

The police and firemen's union are jointly running these full-page ads denouncing"Bloomberg's lies" about the $12,000 payments some uniformed retirees get, which the mayor calls an expensive "bonus" that should be ended.

After opposition from the unions, and even the New York Post editorial board, Bloomberg scaled back his position, saying in his preliminary budget he wants only "moderate" changes to the program that will yield $200 million in annual savings.

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Destroying the Electoral College System

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tom Golisano aims at the electoral college, something people like Hillary Clinton once embraced.

The electoral college system came under fire after the 2000 presidential vote - Gore won the popular vote; Bush won the electoral college, and thus, the presidency.

"We are already at 25% at the votes we need to aprove this bill," Golisano says. "If a majority of states adopt this policy, the candidate with the most votes will always win."

In 2008, the electoral college system was also one of the major hurdles facing Michael Bloomberg's almost-official third party run for the White House.

[h/t Celeste]

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Schumer defends Wisconsin's workers

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Schumer defends Wisconsin's union workers, and the labor movement in general.

"Here's the point I'd make to those who want to strip collective bargaining. We see a corporation be corrupt, or steal, or go. Do we say 'Lets abolish the corporate form?'"

He added:

"There are people on the hard right…that do want to use this moment to eradicate and crush unions and that will be the detriment not just to the of the union members, but of the whole middle class in America and that means the rest of America itself."

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Manhattan DA's Suit against Indy Party

Friday, February 18, 2011

The latest paperwork from the Manhattan DA, who froze the bank accounts of the NYS Independence Party.

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Bloomberg, money and teacher layoffs

Friday, February 18, 2011

Michael Bloomberg is asking Albany for $600 million in support, saying if the city doesn't get it, he'd be forced to do more than shrink the teacher workforce by 6,000.

But during his radio show this morning, Bloomberg said getting that $600 million from Albany won't necessarily save those teacher jobs.

The $600 million from Albany "has nothing to do with the 6,000" teacher jobs, Bloomberg said. He went to say, "if we get more money, we have to step back [and ask] do you want more cops or more teachers?"

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Indy Boss Holds onto Bloomberg Donation, Accounts Frozen

Friday, February 18, 2011

NYS Independence Party Chairman Frank MacKay. (facebook)

NYS Independence Party Chairman Frank MacKay tells me why he's not giving up prosecutors the $320,000 in donations they got from Bloomberg that is now the subject of a criminal probe.

"If there is a victim in this very strange case, it is either the Independence Party or Mayor Bloombeg. Why would we give the money to anyone else?" MacKay told me.

The refusal to give over the money is part of the reason why the DA has frozen the party's bank accounts.

Seifman:

In a bombshell development, Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr. is accusing the state Independence Party of complicity in the theft of $1.1 million from Mayor Bloomberg, and the DA has frozen all party bank accounts in preparation for seizing its assets.

The stunning move was disclosed in court papers Vance's office filed this month in Manhattan Supreme Court that described the party as a "noncriminal defendant" that helped political operative John Haggerty steal Bloomberg's campaign cash late in the 2009 mayoral race.

"There is ample evidence to believe all of the defendants made attempts to hide the evidence of the crimes and conceal the fact that the funds contributed by the mayor had not been used as originally intended," the DA's Office asserted.

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The DA's Office uncovered e-mails that it said demonstrated Haggerty and party Vice Chairman Tom Connolly were in cover-up mode about their unusual arrangement after Chairman Frank MacKay spoke to The Post before consulting either of them.

"This dude from the Post already got to Frank before we could speak," Connolly notified Haggerty in an e-mail on Jan. 22, 2010, according to court documents.

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Bloomberg hearts Rahm, laughs off that '08 'wise ass' thing

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Bloomberg is so candid quotable when he talks to some outlets, like Time.

"He sent me an e-mail yesterday saying happy birthday. I wrote back and said, "I assume you don't need any help, but if you do, call." This is going to be a different Rahm Emanuel. He's going to be a good mayor, and we'll work well together. Much better than when he was in the White House and I was a wise-ass who might run against his boss."

[via David Freedlander]

I thought the 2008 thing was funny, but, yeah, I went along for the ride.

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Palin's praise of Cuomo

Thursday, February 17, 2011

From her appearance on Long Island this morning:

I'm encouraged to hear about your governor who seems to be very open to listening to tradesman and the private sector job creators and not just listening to union bosses who are just demanding more and more
for their members.

Loving Cuomo is something of a trend lately.

[via Charles Lane]

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Bloomberg's proposed budget

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Mayor Bloomberg says he's funding education is a major priority. (nyc.gov)

Despite higher than expected tax revenues, Mayor Bloomberg said he'll seek to reduce the size of the teacher workforce by more than 6,000 - mostly through layoffs.

Also, the mayor announced he'll only seek a 10 percent cut in spending on capital projects, down from the 20 percent he initially sought. He said the main purpose of that funding was to keep investing in needed upgrades, not simply to to create jobs.

"City government's job is not to create jobs for every construction worker," he said. "Nobody feels more strongly about building things than I do, but there's a limit as to how much we can build."

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A former top Dem operative heads to prison

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hank Morris, a top Democratic consultant to the former state comptroller, has been sentenced to "one and one third to four years in prison, the maximum sentence available by law," according to NYS Attorney General Eric Schneidmerman's office.

Morris was a key figure in the NYS pension scandal Cuomo launched four years ago, that ensnared the former comptroller, Alan Hevesi, Obama's car czar and Democratic fundraiser Steven Rattner, and numerous other figures.

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If principals have a surplus, Bloomberg wants half

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Beth Fertig spots Bloomberg's hand reaching into classrooms:

[T]he city sent a memo to principals on Wednesday telling them they’d have to give back half of whatever extra money they were planning to roll over into the next school year. Principals often stockpile unused funds to cushion against budget cuts in the year ahead. A spokeswoman for the Department of Education, Barbara Morgan, said allowing principals to rollover all of their funds for the year ahead is no longer “a prudent option” because of the current budget climate.

Randi Herman, first vice president of the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, which represents city principals, the city has never before asked them to give back half of their rollover funds.

“Membership is already expressing outrage at what we're calling a budgetary manipulation because it's in direct conflict with what [the Department of Education] expressed, which is to keep the budget cuts from the children in the classrooms,” she said.

Herman says principals will probably buy as many supplies as possible now so they don't have to give back half of their extra funds later.

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How Cuomo wants to see districts redrawn

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Cuomo released plans for independent redistricting. He says a "bi-partisan" panel should draw the lines. (azi paybarah / wnyc)

Cuomo guidelines for non-partisan redistricting:

 

·All congressional districts shall be as nearly equal in population as practicable;
·Districts shall be contiguous;

·Districts shall not be established that are intended to or result in a denial or abridgement of minority voting rights including the opportunity of minority voters to participate in the political process, and to elect the candidates of their choice, including but not limited to minority populations with the opportunity to elect the candidates of their choice without comprising a majority of the district; and

·Districts shall not be drawn with an intent to favor or oppose any political party, any incumbent, or any previous or presumed candidate for office;
Subject to the requirements above and those of state and federal law, all redistricting plans would be drawn according to the following principles:

·To the extent practicable, the most and least populous senate and assembly districts shall not exceed the mean population of districts for each house by more than one percent;
·Districts shall unite communities of interest;
·To the extent practicable, counties and county subdivisions shall not be divided in the formation of districts; and
·To the extent practicable, villages shall not be divided in the formation of districts.

UPDATE: The press release about this also notes "the bill require that the commission is bi-partisan, reflects the state's diversity, and is free from any conflicts of interest."

UPDATE II: GOP Senate Leader Dean Skelos hedges, saying, " we have to take a close look at what makes the most sense."

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Remember when anybody could get Palin's photo

Thursday, February 17, 2011

An attorney for photographer Jeff Schultz said this portrait of Sarah Palin is copyright protected. A NYC restaurant owner who used the image in '08 was asked to pay the photographer two years later. (From attorney Eric Meltzer's letter to restaurant owner Padriac Sheridan.)

A bit more about the photographer who is laying claim to a particularly popular Sarah Palin photograph.

The photographer, Jeff Schultz, took the photograph when Palin was governor of Alaska, and the image was used as her official headshot, according to Sharon Leighow, who was deputy press secretary for Palin.

"He took the picture. We were allowed to use it as the official photo," Leighow said. But Schultz always retained the rights to the photo, she said.

Leighow is now the press secretary to the current Alaska governor, Sean Parnell. But during Palin's tenure, Leighow said the official picture of Palin was widely distributed.

If you wrote a letter and asked for a picture of Palin, "you would get a photo in the mail," said Leighow.

In fact, Leighow said they may have even kept a stack of pictures in the office, in case anybody came by and wanted one.

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Cleaning up Nassau, literally

Thursday, February 17, 2011

At the end of this ad - going on TV next week - County Executive Ed Mangano gets literal about cleaning up his county, which recently fell into the hands of a financial control board.

[Via Liz Benjamin]

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DA Seeks Special Prosecutor for WFP Probe

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Staten Island District Attorney is confirming he's sought a special prosecutor to investigate the Working Families Party and that the year-long request has still not be answered.

In a statement, his spokesman Peter Spencer explains:

“On Feb. 22, 2010, Richmond County District Attorney Daniel M. Donovan Jr. filed an application with New York City Courts’ Deputy Chief Administrative Judge Fern A. Fisher for a special prosecutor to investigate possible violations of the state election law, local campaign finance law and other related criminality on Staten Island. As far as we know, that application is still before the judge and under seal.”

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Controlling the Sarah Palin Brand

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

An attorney for photographer Jeff Schultz said this portrait of Sarah Palin is copyright protected. A NYC restaurant owner who used the image in \'08 was asked to pay the photographer two years later. (From attorney\'s letter to restaurant owner Padriac Sheridan.)

Two years after posting what he thought was the official portrait of Governor Sarah Palin, a Manhattan restaurant owner got a letter from a lawyer saying the image - which was still on his web site - was private property. The lawyer said his client wanted at least $30,000 in damages.

My story:

So, how did [photographer Jeff] Schultz come to own the Palin portrait, which he, and at least one attorney, are litigiously protecting?

"Jeff has had the pleasure of taking Sarah Plain's official state photo," according to a profile of him on the Copyright Alliance web site.

Indeed, smaller, closely-cropped version of the portrait of Palin appears to have been available on the Alaska governor's official web site back in 2008. It can still be found there when accessed through archive.org, a web site that allows visitors to see what web sites looked like in the past.

The portrait of Palin was used by another web site, the Catholic News Service, in August 2008 with the following credit: "CNS/Jeff Schultz, Alaskan governors office."

Schultz is a professional photographer based in Alaska. Among the copyright images on Schultz's web site are at least 280 of Palin. (Images of Palin include one where she is wrapped in an American flag, holding a freshly caught fish, playing hockey on a frozen lake and holding a shotgun over her left shoulder. Several are from Palin's time in the governor's office, including several from the "Governor's Inaugural Ball" from 2007.)

It is unclear if Palin herself is aware of Schultz's effort to guard against uncompensated usage of her image. Palin's own efforts to control her brand include an unsuccessful attempt to trademark her name and that of her daughter, Bristol.

Back in Manhattan, [Padriac] Sheridan said he still resents having paid [attorney Eric] Meltzer and his client for leaving the Palin image on his web site.

"Maybe if we had gone to court we could have proven it actually was legitimate for us to use at the time," he said.

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Christe's Soulmates

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Cuomo is among them.

Christie's big speech today is streaming here.

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Questioning a Wal-Mart Firing

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

This unusual story is prompting one anti Wal-Mart operative, Eric Koch, to ask "who fires people for disarming a crazy gunman?"

More attention will be put on Wal-Mart employees when former and current workers testify at a 1 pm City Council hearing tomorrow.

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