Streams

 

 

Andrew Cuomo

The Empire

Upstate Assemblyman Lopez to ask Cuomo to call special session

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Assemblyman Peter Lopez (Courtesy of the Assemblymen's office)

As first reported by Liz Benjamin at YNN, Assemblyman Peter Lopez is planning on asking Governor Cuomo to call a special session of the legislature. Lopez said in a phone interview that his primary concern is dealing with the immediate needs of those hit hard by Irene and Lee.

"I think there would be enough of a critical mass of issues and recognizable need to justify a speial session," Lopez said. The Assemblyman is currently in the process of identifying "issues that are worthy of legislative attention" to present to the Governor as reasons for calling a special session.

It's worth noting that, should a special session get called, there's certain to be pressure from good government groups like Citizens Union to use the special session to bring independent redistricting. Lopez said he hopes to present Cuomo with a letter asking for the special session by week's end.

Had he gotten any sense of support for the idea from the Assembly leadership? "You're still ahead of me," Lopez said. "I haven't gotten that far."

Read More

Comment

The Empire

PEF rejects state contract

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

In a blow to Governor Andrew Cuomo's string of labor victories, the Professional Employees Federation--New York State's second largest union--announced its membership had rejected the agreement reached between its leadership and the governor's office.

With nearly 70 percent of the membership voting, the union rejected the measure 54 percent to 46 percent.

“The decision to reject the tentative agreement was made by our rank-and-file members who clearly feel they are being asked to sacrifice more than others, particularly in light of the pending expiration of the state’s millionaire’s tax," said PEF's President Ken Brynien in a statement. “We are calling on the governor to resist laying off thousands of our members as he has threatened and, instead, work with us to identify savings that would preserve the state’s depleted workforce and services, especially during this economic downturn and in light of the recent flooding."

The governor's office has threatened the union with layoffs if the contract, which included three years with no raises, was not approved.

Read More

Comments [4]

The Empire

Governor Cuomo announces nearly $5 billion investment in tech for upstate NY

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Speaking at the statewide conference of regional economic councils, Governor Andrew Cuomo today announced a $4.8 billion research and development investment for upstate New York. A group of five big name tech companies will invest $4.4 billion over the next five years in nanochip technology research, the governor said. Additionally the state will invest $400 million in the SUNY Institute of Technology campus in Utica to help support the potential growth in the sector.

"This unprecedented private investment in New York's economy will create thousands of jobs and make the state the epicenter for the next generation of computer chip technology," Governor Cuomo said in a statement. "In the last nine months, my administration has worked to create a more confident environment for doing business in New York, and major deals like this one prove that the state is truly open for business."

The governor said the plan will create an estimated 6,900 jobs, with 2,500 of those coming in the form of high-tech jobs in the firms involved in the deal. Five international computer technology firms, led by IBM, are part of the deal that will create new opportunities in Albany, Utica and elsewhere upstate.

Read More

Comment

The Empire

Cuomo approval ratings remain high as Gillibrand, Schumer slip

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Courtesy of the Governor's office

Governor Andrew Cuomo's approval ratings continue to remain high, according to a new Siena poll, despite an overwhelming feeling among those polled feel Albany is no more transparent than it was when the Governor took office.

“After nine months in a difficult economic climate, it’s impressive that Governor Cuomo has 72 percent of voters viewing him favorably. However, even more impressive is the consistency with which voters from different regions and demographic groups view him,” said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg in a statement. “He is viewed favorably by 71 percent of voters upstate and in New York City, and by 73 percent of downstate suburban voters."

Meanwhile, both of New York's Senators have seen their approval ratings slip from recent highs. Senator Charles Schumer's approval rating is at 59 percent, down from 67 percent in November of last year. Meanwhile, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's 46 percent approval rating is down from an all-time high of 57 percent in February.

Perhaps more concerning for the junior Senator are the number of voters who say they'd prefer someone else in the job. More than a third of respondents continue to say they'd like to see Senator Gillibrand gone.

“Is the junior senator vulnerable? At this point only 37 percent of voters both view her favorably and are inclined to re-elect her while 21 percent see Gillibrand unfavorably and prefer someone else," said Greenberg. "Right now Gillibrand is ahead but she is well below 50 percent of strong supporters while a sizable percentage of New York voters currently do not know where they stand and could go either way come November 2012."

Read More

Comments [1]

WNYC News

Ballots Due for State Labor Contract as Possible Layoffs Loom

Monday, September 26, 2011

WNYC

Governor Andrew Cuomo said Monday that he remains hopeful that members of the Public Employees Federation will ratify their contract in order to avoid layoffs.

Comment

The Empire

PEF to announce contract vote tomorrow

Monday, September 26, 2011

New York State Public Employees Federation, the state's second-largest public employees union, is scheduled to announce the results of its contract ratification vote tomorrow at at 2pm. Governor Cuomo has threatened pink slips if the union doesn't accept the contract, which, among many slimmed-down agreements, would see union employees go without pay raises for the next three years.

Read More

Comment

The Empire

Redistricting co-chair says lines ready as early as October, as Cuomo reaffirms veto threat

Friday, September 23, 2011

By Karen DeWitt, New York Public Radio Capital Bureau Chief

Governor Cuomo says he’s not changing his position on a threat to veto any legislative and congressional redistricting lines now drawn by an independent commission, though the co-chair of a legislative commission on redistricting remains skeptical that Cuomo will follow through.

Legislative Redistricting Task Force Co-Chair Assemblyman Jack McEneny says he doesn’t believe that Governor Andrew Cuomo will follow through on a threat to veto the legislature’s efforts to redraw legislative and congressional districts.

“I think for any chief executive to say he’s going to veto a bill that’s been legally put together before he’s read the bill is a very bad precedent,” McEneny said.

McEneny says he thinks Cuomo’s stance has been softening in recent weeks, but the governor says his position remains the same.

“I believe independent redistricting is a necessity,” said Cuomo. “I believe it’s time has come.”

The governor says he’s not inclined, however, to call the legislature back to the Capitol for a special session on redistricting reform. McEneny says the task force could present the proposed new lines as early as October.

Read More

Comments [3]

The Empire

Cuomo, Christie and other governors call on Feds for disaster relief

Friday, September 23, 2011

Governor Cuomo speaking to reporters in Goshen, NY (David Lucas / WAMC)

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and the governors of Pennsylvania and North Carolina are calling on Washington to put aside politics and fund disaster relief for their states hit hard by recent storms.

"While the flood waters have receded and the storms are passed, the damage to communities, businesses and infrastructure remains significant. Billions of dollars in loss and destruction pose a serious threat not only to local and regional economies, but to the nation’s economic recovery," the statement reads.

It goes on to point out that, after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the Federal government was able to authorize $60 billion within ten days of the storm. It's been nearly a month since Tropical Storm Irene and the remnants of Hurricane Lee caused major rain and flood damage throughout the East Coast.

Federal funds have been held up in Congress. After a surprising defeat earlier this week, the House Republican majority was able to pass a bill that authorized $3.7 billion in disaster funds, only to see the bill defeated in the Senate earlier today.

In an interview with New York State Public Radio bureau chief Karen Dewitt earlier today, Cuomo called the issue "deadly serious" and said the state was not in a position to pick up the tab.

"This is the last issue they should play their politics with," the governor said. "It means the difference between living in a shelter and moving back into your home for some people."

Read More

Comment

Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: Port Authority Audit To Focus on Pay, WTC; NYC Subways to Test Cell Service; Maryland Toll Hikes Mirrors National Trend

Friday, September 23, 2011

Top stories on TN:

NY Governor Cuomo's schedule shows few meetings on transit and transportation. (Link)

President Obama delivered an impassioned pro-infrastructure speech at an "obsolete" Ohio bridge. (Link)

An Amtrak power outage stranded hundreds of NJ Transit rail riders in a train tunnel for hours. (Link)

The World Trade Center site in late August 2011 (photo by Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

An audit of the Port Authority of NY and NJ -- a condition of recent toll hikes -- will look at ten years of spending and zero in on executive compensation and World Trade Center rebuilding costs. (The Star-Ledger, The Record)

NY's MTA will begin testing cell phone service on some subway platforms next week. (New York Times)

Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority employees and retirees could soon lose their free rides on the T. (AP via WBUR)

Trend alert: Tolls will soon double on some Maryland highways and bridges, as officials confront deteriorating infrastructure and a lack of funds for improvements. (Washington Post)

There's a Congressional showdown over a bill that would provide $1 billion in immediate funding for FEMA -- but offset that spending with cuts to a program that funds fuel-efficient vehicles. (The Takeaway)

Tunneling is complete for the first phase of NY's Second Avenue Subway line. (Wall Street Journal)

BART will replace its notoriously grimy cloth seats with brand-new, easy-to-clean seats much sooner than anyone thought. (The Bay-Citizen)

Food trucks parked outside NYC's Tavern on the Green will be hitting the road in October, their contracts unrenewed. (Crain's New York)

Read More

Comment

The Empire

Cuomo launches new website aimed at transparency

Thursday, September 22, 2011

By Karen DeWitt, WXXI Capitol Bureau Chief

Chip Somodevilla / Getty

Governor Cuomo launched a new website today, which he said aimed at making his administration more transparent to the public and as “a new way to get people involved.” It lists events from his public schedule since taking office in January, and will feature on-line chats with top state officials, including, the Governor himself, this coming Saturday.

The site includes information on staff meetings the governor has held, meals at the executive mansion with legislators, and one-on-one meetings with various State Senators in the days leading up to the successful Senate vote to legalize gay marriage. It also shows records of numerous plane trips the governor has taken, some to promote his budget and tax cap agenda. Others to survey storm damages after Irene and Lee.

Cuomo promised during the 2010 campaign for governor to make more details of his personal schedule available to the public, but until now had not followed through on that. Now, with the launch of a new website that includes details from the governor’s day to day schedule and a list of upcoming events by administration officials, government reform groups say Cuomo has taken a major step towards openness.

“I think it’s a very good development,” said Susan Lerner, with Common Cause.

Russ Haven, with the New York Public Interest Research Group, says the Governor has set a standard for transparency that will be hard to retreat from in the future. “It does create a set of expectations,” said Haven. “You can’t un-ring that bell.”

Haven says a major gap in the schedule, or a questionable plane ride, would be open to greater scrutiny.

“If there are any gaps people are going to assume that there’s a story to be told even if there isn’t” said Haven. “I think it really does ratchet up the level of accountability.”

Read More

Comment

WNYC News

Cuomo Launches Online Town Hall, to Host Chat Saturday

Thursday, September 22, 2011

WNYC

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Thursday that he will launch an online town hall — an interactive web site aimed to spark dialogue between New Yorkers and their state government

Comment

The Empire

NYC, NYS comptrollers dig up dirt in audits

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Update:

The Economic Development Corporation set over this statement in response to Comptroller Liu's audit. From EDC spokesperson Patrick Muncie:

We appreciate the Comptroller’s analysis, and we’re glad it determined that EDC has disbursed a vast majority of the funds available for community benefit. The Comptroller’s suggestions for the remaining funds may be well-intentioned, but they ignore the disbursement restrictions EDC is legally bound to follow, and many are infeasible or simply not in the best interest of the City’s taxpayers. We will continue to ensure that all of the funds are wisely invested in the neighborhoods for which they were intended.

For time's sake I'm condensing two separate audits released today--one by New York City Comptroller John Liu, the other by New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

Liu finds millions in unspent city development funds

Comptroller Liu sees costs dropping in the future.

Courtesy of the comptroller's office/Paul Brumlik

The comptroller's office says an audit found $9.3 million in unspent funds meant for public benefit projects on the Economic Development Corporation's books. The bulk of the funds were approved in 1992 as part of a development deal, and meant benefit the Harlem River Rail Yard in the Bronx.

“It makes little sense that millions intended for economic development remain unused for so long, especially in the Bronx where jobs are greatly needed,” Liu said in a statement. “If the EDC can’t figure out how to put the capital to work then at least return the money to the City treasury.”

DiNapoli's audit of the MTA confirms the agency's deep fiscal woes

Courtesy of the Comptroller's office

According to a report put out by DiNapoli's office, many of the concerns over the sustainability of the MTA's capital program were well founded. An audit of the agency revealed considerable risks in the financial assumptions its making, and warned that taking on more debt would only complicate things.

“The MTA is in a very difficult position as it struggles to hold together a strained operating budget while proposing the largest borrowing program in its history to fund capital projects,” DiNapoli said in a statement. “Before taking on nearly $15 billion in new debt, the MTA must present the public with the facts about the potential long-term implications of this new borrowing on services, fares and budget gaps.”

The comptroller warned that, if the MTA took on the proposed debt, the interest paid on what the agency owed could reach $3.3 billion by 2018. That would be 64 percent more than it is this year. DiNapoli projected that, even with scheduled fare and toll increases, the MTA could still face a budget gaps rising from $600 million in 2016 to $1.2 billion in 2018.

All of this, of course, would be waiting for whomever Governor Andrew Cuomo picks to replace departing MTA head Jay Walder later next month.

“The next MTA Chairperson will face a number of challenges including negotiating new collective bargaining agreements, squeezing additional savings from the operating and capital budgets, and keeping fares affordable in the face of rising debt service costs for the capital program,” DiNapoli said.

Read More

Comments [1]

The Empire

Good gov groups split on redistricting as LATFOR comes to Manhattan

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Colby Hamilton / WNYC

Ed Koch, left, with Dick Dadey at the LATFOR hearing

The state legislature’s redistricting task force is holding public meetings this week in New York City. Today they were in Manhattan hearing testimony from elected officials, good government groups, and any normal people who were inspired to take a day off of work to attend the hearing.

Oh, and Ed Koch.

The former mayor, fresh off his party-crossing coup in the 9th Congressional District, came to shakedown the bicameral committee. He was joined by Dick Dadey, the head of the nonpartisan good government group Citizens Union, and former parks commissioner and founder of NY Civic, Henry Stern.

The Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research—known awkwardly as LATFOR—has been holding meetings around the state to get the public’s feedback on how the decennial process of redrawing the state’s legislative districts should go. Koch and his good government cohorts have been pushing for an independent redistricting plan for over a year.

The New York State legislature was unable to put together a plan before the end of the last session, and so the traditional process—the politicians in the legislature whose districts are being redrawn controlling the process—has begun. This hasn’t made Ed Koch particularly happy.

Read More

Comment

The Empire

Cuomo rating soars, as voters voice support for indy redistricting

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Courtesy of the Governor's office

A new Quinnipiac poll shows Governor Andrew Cuomo's approval ratings remain high, buoyed by a favorable response to his handling of the recent hurricanes and subsequent flooding.

Voters gave Cuomo an 86 percent approval rating for his handling of the Irene and Lee storms. His overall approval is at 66 percent, which Quinnipiac notes is "the highest score for any governor in states surveyed by Quinnipiac University and among the highest for any New York governor[.]"

“New York’s love affair with Gov. Andrew Cuomo persists, perhaps helped along by Irene and Lee,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, in a statement. “Yes, we like him. Yes, we like his policies. Yes, we think he did a good job on the tropical storms. Yes, he’s dominating the legislature. Maybe we should ask about his Queens accent.”

Voters are also telling Cuomo they want independent redistricting, according to the poll. Of those polled, 50 percent say they want an independent commission to redraw political boundaries. But how's this for low expectations: even more--55 percent--do not believe the governor or the state legislature will keep their promises made during the 2010 elections to use an independent redistricting process.

“New Yorkers don’t want the State Legislature to draw the district lines that decide where they and members of Congress will get elected. Half prefer an independent commission. Some think there should be some legislative say,” Carroll said. “But most voters don’t believe that New York’s political leaders will keep their word.

“We chose a provocative word deliberately and almost half of the voters say they’d feel ‘betrayed’ if elected officials don’t change the districting system.”

Read More

Comment

The Empire

Governor Cuomo hates the millionares tax, unless Obama likes it

Monday, September 19, 2011

Governor Cuomo has been solidly against raising taxes on higher income makers in New York, but decided he thinks it's a good idea if President Obama does it. His office sent out this message earlier. Apparently as long as millionaires in New York are taxed by someone else, Cuomo is OK with it.

As the President has rightly realized, the federal government is facing not only a fiscal and debt crisis but needs to take a strong action to create jobs and grow our economy.

I urge Congress to move quickly to pass the President's plan so we can put New Yorkers and Americans back to work.

While I am against raising taxes in general, if taxes need to be raised to create jobs, balance the budget and lower the deficit then those increases need to be done at the federal level and on the wealthiest Americans, not the middle class.

New York State is one of the highest taxed states in the country. New York cannot have the people and businesses that create jobs and wealth in New York move to Connecticut or New Jersey which have lower taxes.

Read More

Comment

It's A Free Country ®

The Process is Political: Redistricting Clashes in Texas and New York

Monday, September 19, 2011

Texas legislative leaders look to get around Washington politics with their redistricting map, and New York politics may be forcing Gov. Andrew Cuomo to revisit his veto threat for redrawn districts that aren't created by an independent panel. And Pennsylvania considers abandoning an all-or-nothing approach for its electoral votes, but it may hurt both Democrats and Republicans. 

Comment

The Empire

Clinton and Cuomo robocall for Weprin, as Turner files an Israel reminder

Monday, September 12, 2011

David Weprin, left, and Bob Turner ( )

The Weprin campaign is pulling out the big guns a day before voters go to the polls in the 9th congressional district. Governor Andrew Cuomo and former president Bill Clinton are asking voters to support the Democrat for congress. Cuomo's calls will start today. Click on the link to hear the audio.

Cuomo for Weprin

Hello, this is Governor Andrew Cuomo asking you to support David Weprin in tomorrow’s special election for Congress. I’ve known David for many years, and I’ve known him to be a leader who stands up for what’s right. In Congress he’ll stand up for middle class families and he’ll fight to preserve Social Security and Medicare. David will bring jobs to New York and get our economy moving.  That’s why he’s also been endorsed by the New York Times. Once again, this is Governor Andrew Cuomo and I’m asking you to support David Weprin for Congress. I hope you will.

Clinton's call will be going out tomorrow.

Clinton for Weprin

Hello, this is President Bill Clinton. I’m calling to ask you to support David Weprin in today’s special election for Congress. The New York Times endorsed David.  They support him for the same reasons I do: because he’ll stand up for the middle class, he’ll support a good program to put Americans back to work, and he’ll oppose the Tea Party plan to destroy Medicare. Again, it’s President Bill Clinton, I’m proud to support David Weprin for Congress and I hope you will too. Thanks.

Meanwhile, the Turner campaign this morning came out swinging for Israel, demanding the Obama administration rebuke Turkey over the Israeli embassy raiding last week.

"If Turkey wants to be a NATO member, it needs to behave like one," Turner said in a statement. "NATO countries don't militarily escort terrorist weaponry used to attack allies of fellow NATO members. The world is becoming a more dangerous place because of Mr. Obama's demonstrated ambivalence toward Israel and his naïve and academic belief in moral relativity. This is the real world, and President Obama must put his foot down."

Read More

Comment

WNYC News

Cuomo Slams Long Island Electricity Providers for Outages

Friday, September 02, 2011

With tens of thousands of households still without power, Governor Andrew Cuomo ripped into the utility responsible for Long Island's electricity network.

Comment

The Empire

Cuomo calls on New Yorkers to volunteer in Irene recovery

Friday, September 02, 2011

By Karen DeWitt, WXXI Capitol Bureau Chief

Governor Cuomo surveying damage in Margaretville earlier this week. (Courtesy of the Governor's office.)

Governor Andrew Cuomo has launched what he’s calling “Labor for your Neighbor”, an effort to organize New Yorkers who want to help flood victims clean up from the damage over the upcoming Labor Day weekend.

The governor says his staff will set up staging areas to ferry volunteers into flood ravaged regions in the Catskills, Schoharie, and Northern New York, to help with the hard work of cleaning up the mud and debris left from the storm.

The governor says what’s required is “old fashioned elbow grease, that is just a bucket and a mop and a rag and a broom and a shovel”.

Read More

Comments [2]

The Empire

Cuomo and Napolitano promise relief to struggling upstate New Yorkers

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Governor Cuomo with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, right, in Prattsville Wednesday. (Karen DeWitt / WXXI)

By Karen DeWitt, WXXI Capitol Bureau Chief

Tom McGlynn stood on the main street of his flood-ravaged town, waiting for Governor Cuomo’s helicopter and the visit from the federal officials. The street bustled with National Guard troops, emergency medics, fire trucks and police. Dust from drying mud, gas fumes from fuel leaks, and the first wafts of rotting garbage filled the air.

McGlynn says he is still trying to process what happened, three days after the waters destroyed his home.

“There’s nothing left of it,” said McGlynn. “The whole first floor is gone, and a two-car garage with a room over it, that’s in my neighbors’ yard.”

McGlynn says he and his wife escaped with their lives.

“What I have on me is what I left,” McGlynn said. “It’s unbelievable”.

Read More

Comment