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Andrew Cuomo

WNYC News

Ravitch Offers Blunt Assessment of His Time as Lieutenant Governor

Thursday, December 09, 2010

New York’s departing Lieutenant Governor Richard Ravitch gave a blunt assessment of his term in office Thursday. Speaking at a Rockefeller Institute forum, Ravitch said he didn’t feel like he accomplished very much during his time serving under Governor David Paterson.

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The Empire

Cuomo's inner circle: Cohen, Zambelli, Glaser, Creelan and Lawsky

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Andrew Cuomo taps his inner circle for the first round of jobs in his new administration.

Steven Cohen will be the Secretary, the top job in a NY governor's administration. Lots of people will be reporting directly to him, who in turn, reports directly to the governor. Cohen worked with Cuomo in the AG's office.

Ben Lawsky will be the Chief of Staff. He came over from Schumer's office, was a top aide to Cuomo in the AG's office, and has, from time to time, fielded media inquiries.

Andrew Zambelli, who was the Secretary to Governor Mario Cuomo, will be a Counselor to the new Governor Cuomo.

Howard Glaser, who worked with the younger Cuomo at the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, will be director of State Operations.

Jeremy Creelan, who supported Cuomo in his political career and helped shape his reform agenda, will be the Special Counsel for Public Integrity and Ethics Reform.

Cuomo, who has been known to call reporters directly, has not yet named a director of communications.

Here's the announcement:

Governor-elect Cuomo announced the following appointments:
·         Steven M. Cohen will serve as Secretary to the Governor.
Mr. Cohen served as Counselor & Chief of Staff to New York State
Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo. Prior to joining the New York State
Attorney General's Office, Mr. Cohen was a partner at Cooley Godward
Kronish LLP, where he was a member of the firm’s Litigation
Department. Mr. Cohen also served for a decade as an adjunct
professor at Columbia Law School teaching a course in federal
criminal prosecutions and served as the Chair of The Mayor’s
Committee on New York City Marshals. Before entering private
practice, from 1991 to 1998, Mr. Cohen was an Assistant United States
Attorney in the Southern District of New York, where he served as
Chief of the Violent Gangs Unit. Before joining the U.S. Attorney's
Office, Mr. Cohen served as a law clerk to the Honorable Stanely
Sporkin, U.S. District Judge and then the Honorable Frank X.
Altimari, U.S. Appellate Judge.



·         Mylan L. Denerstein will serve as Counsel to the Governor.
Ms. Denerstein has served as the Executive Deputy Attorney General
for Social Justice from January 2007 to the present managing almost
100 attorneys statewide in the areas of Charities, Civil Rights,
Environmental Protection, Health Care, Labor, and Tobacco
Compliance.  Prior to her current appointment, Ms. Denerstein served
as the Deputy Fire Commissioner for Legal Affairs for the New York
City Fire Department, the largest municipal fire department in the
country. From 1996 - 2005, Ms. Denerstein served in the United States
Attorney’s Office, Southern District, first as  an Assistant United
States Attorney, prosecuting complex securities and insurance fraud,
money laundering and organized crime.  She later became Deputy Chief
of the Criminal Division where she assisted in managing the Criminal
Division with over 100 Assistant United States Attorneys.



·         Yrthya A. Dinzey-Flores will serve as the Chief Diversity
Officer. Ms. Dinzey-Flores previously served as Manager at the Toyota
USA Foundation and Program Officer for National Philanthropy Programs
at Toyota Motor North America. She also served as a community
relations and philanthropic consultant for the Novartis
Pharmaceuticals Corporation. Prior to that she was Director of the
Office of School CBO Partnerships at the New York City Department of
Education, managing relationships and providing support to more than
350 community-based organizations. The Chief Diversity Officer is one
of three statutorily required positions within the executive chamber,
along with the Secretary and the Counsel. The Chief Diversity
Officer’s task is to reform and strengthen the State’s programs and
efforts encouraging the growth of Minority and Women’s Business
Enterprises within the state government and in the private sector.



·         Andrew “Drew” Zambelli will serve as Counselor to the
Governor.  In that capacity he will serve as senior advisor to the
Governor and be responsible for the oversight and strategic
integration of the communications, inter-governmental, legislative
and constituency efforts of the Office of the Governor.  From 1985 to
1994, he served in the administration of Governor Mario M. Cuomo
including as Secretary to the Governor from 1991 to 1994.  Since
1995, he has been a market strategy and research consultant to
corporate, political and non-profit clients including many Fortune
500 corporations. During this period, he has been affiliated with
Strategic Frameworking, Inc. of Washington and Massachusetts and
Summit Strategy Group, LLC which he founded in 2007.



·         Judge Leslie G. Leach will serve as Appointments Secretary.
Judge Leach was appointed Executive Deputy Attorney General for the
Division of State Counsel in February 2007. Prior to the appointment,
he had served since 2004 as the Administrative Judge of the Eleventh
Judicial District, Supreme Court, Queens County. Judge Leach was
appointed as a Judge of the Criminal Court of the City of New York by
Mayor David N. Dinkins in 1993, reappointed by Mayor Michael R.
Bloomberg in 2002, while serving as an Acting Justice of the Supreme
Court, and was elected a Justice of Supreme Court in November 2003.
He has taught Business Law at York College, CUNY, since 1982.



·         Howard B. Glaser will serve as Director of State Operations
and Senior Policy Advisor to the Governor.   During the Clinton
Administration, Mr. Glaser served in several senior management roles
at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, including
Counselor to the Secretary, Deputy General Counsel and Deputy
Assistant Secretary. After leaving HUD, Mr. Glaser was Senior Vice
President and General Counsel to the Mortgage Bankers Association in
Washington, DC.  At the state level, Mr. Glaser served at the
Department of Taxation and Finance as Special Assistant to the
Commissioner and in the Executive Chamber as Special Assistant to the
Governor.



·         Jeremy Creelan will serve as Special Counsel for Public
Integrity and Ethics Reform. Mr. Creelan is currently a partner at
the law firm Jenner & Block LLP.  Mr. Creelan joined Jenner & Block
after serving as Deputy Director of the Democracy Program at the
Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law.  At
the Brennan Center, he developed numerous high-profile cases to
reform New York’s election laws to protect voters’ rights and reduce
corruption, advocated for democratic reforms in such areas as ethics
and campaign finance, and published a comprehensive analysis of the
legislative process in the New York State Assembly and Senate.  In
1998-99, he clerked for the Honorable Denise L. Cote, U.S. District
Court for the Southern District of New York.



·         Benjamin Lawsky will serve as Chief of Staff. Mr. Lawsky
was appointed Deputy Counselor and Special Assistant to the Attorney
General in January 2007.  In the Attorney General's Office, Mr.
Lawsky led the nationwide investigation of the student loan industry
and oversaw the investigations of Wall Street bonuses and the Bank of
America-Merrill Lynch merger.  Mr. Lawsky also served as General
Counsel of the Cuomo 2010 campaign. Prior to joining the Attorney
General's Office, Mr. Lawsky served from late 2001 until 2007 as an
Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New
York, where he prosecuted securities fraud, organized crime, and
terrorism cases.  Prior to that, Mr. Lawsky was Chief Counsel to
Senator Charles E. Schumer.  From 1997 to 1999, he was a Trial
Attorney in the Civil Division of the Department of Justice in
Washington.



·         Adam Cohen will serve as Special Policy Advisor.  Mr. Cohen
is a Lecturer at Yale Law School and a fellow at the Yale Information
Society Project.  He was a member of the New York Times Editorial
Board from 2002-2010, and before that, a journalist and a lawyer, a
law fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama,
and a law clerk on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of
Columbia Circuit.  He is the author of Nothing to Fear: FDR’s Inner
Circle and the Hundred Days that Created Modern America and The
Perfect Store: Inside eBay, and the co-author of American Pharaoh:
Richard J. Daley: His Battle for Chicago and the Nation."
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The Empire

If you budgeted based on polls, you would...

Thursday, December 09, 2010

be left with few options.

From Quinnipiac:

56 – 30 percent margin, voters would rather cut services than raise taxes to balance.

Also:

52 – 43 percent against layoffs for state workers;
56 – 32 percent in support of furloughs for state workers;
56 – 37 percent against reducing pension benefits for state workers;

78 – 19 percent against reducing state aid to public schools.

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The Empire

Bloomberg's priority for Albany

Monday, December 06, 2010

During his press conference about changing the state's election rules, Mayor Bloomberg made it clear what he thinks should be everyone's top priority in the capital.

"The first job of state legislature and governor-elect Cuomo, I think, more than anything else, is to reform the Board of Elections,"he said.

A spokesman for Cuomo emailed me this response: "Governor-Elect Cuomo will review the Mayor’s proposals and looks forward to working with him, the federal government, and others to increase voter participation."

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The Empire

Paladino rips media as 'very much part of the problem'

Friday, December 03, 2010

Carl Paladino sent a letter today to YNN reporter Capital Tonight anchor Liz Benjamin, blasting her for not being tougher on governor-elect Andrew Cuomo in a recent interview, calling it "pathetic."

"He was allowed to walk on his use of drugs," Paladino writes in the letter, dated November 24, but which was sent out today, according to his secretary. "If a complacent, lazy and apathetic press doesn't police government, who will?"

Paladino ends his four-page letter telling "Liz" that "you and your friends in the press are very much part of the problem."

Paladino had many, many problems with reporters. He threatened Fred Dicker with the line, "I'll take you out, buddy!" and blocked from his media contact list a well-respected Associated Press reporter after he thought she wrote an unfair story about one of his policy initiatives.

As for Benjamin, she's tenacious, tireless, and, fair. The criticism here from Paladino are hard to accept, since reporters did ask about many of the issues raised in the letters (Cuomo's drug use; prosecuting Steven Rattner, etc.).

As for criticism of the modern political press in New York, it's hard to accept them coming from Paladino, considering his behavior on the campaign trail.

For example, after a speech to Orthodox Jews in Williamsburg, Paladino marched to his car, several blocks away, ignoring reporters' questions, even as they marching along side of him. Days later, after the speech was widely criticized, Paladino stood at a Columbus Day parade in Midtown, saying his comments in Williamsburg were mischaracterized and unfairly reported by the media. They weren't.

Anyway, Paladino had said all along he would only run for office once. But it seems he's unlikely to remain a silent spectator to New York politics.

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The Empire

The official vote in NYC was...

Friday, December 03, 2010

Slightly higher for Cuomo, and Carl Paladino, says Sam Roberts:

According to the preliminary returns in the race for governor on election night, Andrew M. Cuomo, the Democrat, had 901,640 votes in the city. His official total, including paper ballots, was 1,097,792, or 196,152 more votes. The citywide count for his Republican opponent, Carl P. Paladino, increased to 212,423 from 191,652 on Nov. 2 in the official recount.

A final count by the NYC Board of elections found 195,000 more votes than were acknowledged on Election Night. Roberts notes "the additional votes did not change the outcome in any race."

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The Empire

Blocking Cuomo from Endorsing

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Andrew Cuomo endorsed Eric Schneiderman, after the primary. (Azi Paybarah / wnyc)

That was one key goal of Eric Schneiderman's successful attorney general campaign, according to aides who spoke at a roundtable yesterday.

 

Ben Smith's story is here.

My version:

Andrew Cuomo could have gotten the attorney general candidate he wanted, if only he had endorsed her.

That's the lesson from the post-election roundtable hosted by the New School yesterday, where aides to the six attorney general campaigns discussed their campaigns.

Blake Zeff, who worked on the winning campaign of Eric Schneiderman said they had internal polling numbers showing what the impact of a Cuomo endorsement would be on the race. "I would say somewhat hyperbolically, the poll showed us specifically that if Kathleen Rice got the Cuomo endorsement that we were done," he said. "She had so many advantages to begin with, the money not being the least, that [endorsement] would be nearly fatal to us."

Schneiderman aides said they never considered themselves in the running for Cuomo's endorsement, since Schneiderman was a member of the deeply unpopular state legislature. So the goal, Schneidmerman aides said, was denying the endorsement of the popular Cuomo from going to their chief rival.

"How do we stop Andrew Cuomo from endorsing Kathleen Rice?" was the question that "really informed a ton of what we did," said Zeff.

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It's A Free Country ®

A Look Back: Snapshots from the Political Insiders' Campaign Roundtable

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

WNYC

Why did the Rick Lazio campaign fall flat on its face? What accounted for Carl Paladino's grassroots appeal? Who took whom seriously? What gave Eric Schneiderman the winning edge? Was Andrew Cuomo really a control freak?

All these questions were answered, analyzed and fought over by the political consultants and insiders that made the 2010 election campaigns tick. Here are the best quotes from a political roundtable hosted by The New School's Center for New York City Affairs.

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WNYC News

Top Political Consultant Pleads Guilty to Pay-to-Play Scheme

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Hank Morris, once one of New York's most powerful political consultants, pled guilty to a felony in connection with New York State pension fund scandal. Morris, the top political advisor to former State Comptroller Alan Hevesi, admitted in court that he "intentionally engaged in fraud and deception" when he helped shape the scheme to sell access to the state's multi-billion dollar public pension fund. 

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It's A Free Country ®

A Dozen New Govs Will Follow Christie's 'No Taxes' Lead

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

WNYC

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is a hard act to follow. He was elected on a platform of ridding his state of an almost $11 billion deficit, and promised to do it without raising a cent in taxes. His hardliner attitude has earned him accolades and anger and a dozen of the 37 newly elected and reelected governors took lessons from him on the campaign trail.

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WNYC News

SEC Reaches Settlement Deal with Rattner while AG Cuomo Aggressively Pursues

Thursday, November 18, 2010

After years of working in lockstep on the blockbuster New York State pension scandal, the Securities and Exchange Commission and Attorney General Andrew Cuomo split over how to hold former auto czar Steven Rattner accountable for his alleged role in the scheme.

In his SEC settlement, Rattner will pay $6.2 million and accept a two-year ban from associating with investment advisors or broker dealers. But he admits no wrong doing. He must reapply to the SEC after his suspension.

Minutes after the SEC rolled out the details of their deal, Cuomo announced he was suing Rattner for $26 million and seeking to ban him for life from the securities business in New York.

Comments [1]

Transportation Nation

The S.E.C. Settles With Car Czar Rattner, But Cuomo's Not Done With Him Yet

Thursday, November 18, 2010

(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) GM Turns a page today, issuing a $16 billion IPO that has (as the New York Times puts it ) "Wall Street panting."  But on the day the automaker crawls out its hole, the man who set the stage for the deal crawls into one.

Former auto czar Steven Rattner will pay $6.2 million as part of a settlement deal with the Securities and Exchange Commission. He has also accepted a two-year ban from the securities industry.  Meanwhile, in separate proceedings, New York State Attorney General and Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo has filed two lawsuits against Rattner for $26 million dollars.  Read the story at WNYC.

Richard Bamberger, Andrew Cuomo's director of communications, issued this statement:  “Mr. Rattner now has a lot to say as he spins his friends in the press, but when he was questioned under oath about his pension fund dealings he was much less talkative, taking the Fifth and refusing to answer questions 68 different times.  Anyone who reads the extensive facts laid out in our Complaint will understand that Rattner’s claims that he did nothing wrong are ridiculous and belied by the fact that he is paying the SEC $6 million today.”

Ouch.

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WNYC News

SEC Charges Steven Rattner in Pay-to-Play Scheme Involving New York State Pension Fund

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Former auto czar Steven Rattner will pay $6.2 million as part of a settlement deal with the Securities and Exchange Commission. He has also accepted a two year ban from the securities industry.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: What's the Likelihood of the 7-Subway-to-Secaucus, Exxon Mobil to Clean Up Greenpoint Oil Spill, and Happy Anniversary, 150-year-old Bike Sho

Thursday, November 18, 2010

New York's current lieutenant governor, Richard Ravitch, will release a report today that lays out the transportation challenges facing incoming governor Andrew Cuomo. Such as: failing to come up with a long-term plan to fund transportation infrastructure "means surrendering any plausible chance for a prosperous future for New York." (Wall Street Journal)

Bus Rapid Transit debuts in Atlanta. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Exxon Mobil agrees to clean-up a multimillion gallon, underground oil spill that has vexed Greenpoint (Brooklyn) residents for decades. (WNYC)

Fiat returns to the U.S. auto market (NPR).  The base model costs $15,500.

You may want to temper your #7 subway-to-Secaucus hopes. According to the New York Daily News: "The chances of a subway line running to New Jersey anytime soon hover between slim and none, a top transportation official said Wednesday."

Besides: MTA head Jay Walder says they can't afford a fourth "megaproject." (AM New York)

NJ Transit may privatize parking at some locations. "Under the SPACES (System Parking Amenity and Capacity Enhancement Strategy) initiative, firms would vie for the exclusive right to collect parking revenues at the sites throughout the decades-long agreement." (The Times of Trenton)

Faces of Distracted Driving launches -- an online video series featuring people who have been killed or lost loved ones. (New York Times)

The world's oldest bicycle shop, located in Surrey, England, is marking its 150th anniversary. (Your Local Guardian)

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Transportation Nation

NY Governor-Elect Cuomo: Transit Money "Fungible"

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation)  It's been a bit of an unhealed wound for transit advocates -- the redirection last year of some $160 million in revenue collected by the NYC MTA to New York State's General Fund.  Facing its own multi-billion budget gap, the state Senate helped itself to some $160 million in dedicated revenues for transit, driving the MTA's budget gap to $800 million and helping bring about the most severe transit cuts in more than a generation. At a press conference today announcing an environmental settlement, New York Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo was asked if he'd do the same.  Here's his answer:

Cuomo: "I understand the concern. Everyone -- especially in a declining budget environment, where we are now, everyone -- we just met with the environmental groups. They're very concerned that nobody raids the funds that should be going to the environment.

"People who are involved in transit want to make sure nobody raids the funds that are involved in mass transit.  I understand the concerns, and that's the balance of putting together the budget."

REPORTER: That means you're not committed to allowing the money --

Cuomo: "You can't say -- money is fungible to a certain extent. There are a lot of needs the state has to fund and it's the balancing of those needs that will be done through the budget process."

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WNYC News

Exxon Agrees to Settlement Over Newtown Creek Contamination

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is announcing a settlement Wednesday afternoon of federal litigation against Exxon Mobil for contaminating parts of Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

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WNYC News

How to Punish Charlie Rangel: Koch Says Quit, Harlem Pols Laugh

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

WNYC

The only question now is how to punish Rep. Charlie Rangel.

The facts against the veteran lawmaker in his two-year-old ethics probe were never in dispute. More than five hundred pieces of evidence were accepted without objection by a bipartisan panel who, on Tuesday, found Rangel guilty of violating 11 different Congressional ethics rules.

But now, a complete lack of consensus has broken out about what to do with the facts about Rangel.

Comments [18]

Transportation Nation

NY Governor-Elect Cuomo Announces Transportation Transition Team

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Heavy on builders, light on planners (with the exception of NYU's Mitchell Moss).  Represented are members of the  airplane, truck, and  long distance bus industries. Missing:  advocates for biking, walking, and mass transit, unless you count real estate executive Peter Kalikow, the former MTA chief. From the press release:

Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure

  • Kendra Adams, Executive Director, New York State Motor Truck Association
  • Dave Barger, C.E.O., President and Director, JetBlue
  • Eugene Berardi, Jr., President and CEO, Adirondack Trailways
  • Lillian Borrone, Chairman, ENO Transportation Foundation
  • Martin Dilan, New York State Senate
  • David Gantt, NYS Assembly
  • Robert Gioia, former Chairman, Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority
  • Gail Grimmett, Senior Vice President, Delta Air Lines
  • Peter S. Kalikow, former Chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority
  • Gary Labarbera, President, Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York
  • Cheryl McKissack, Recording Secretary, Women Builders Council
  • George Miranda, Vice President, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, President, Teamsters Hispanic Caucus
  • Mitchell Moss, Director, Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management, Henry Hart Rice Professor Urban Policy and Planning at New York University’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service
  • Andrew Murstein, founder, Board Member, and President of Medallion Financial Corp
  • Vincent Polimeni, Founder, President and C.E.O., Polimeni International, LLC
  • Denise Richardson, Managing Director, General Contractors Association of New York
  • Jay Simson, President, American Council of Engineering Companies of New York
  • Rodney Slater, former Secretary of U.S. Department of Transportation

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The Empire

One more name on Cuomo's transition committee

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

One more note about Andrew Cuomo's transition committee: they appointed, but forgot to announce publicly, the addition of Robert Zimmerman. He'll serve on the part of the transition committee focusing on energy issues, according to a campaign letter sent to Zimmerman.

In addition to being a Democratic National Committeeman, and frequent dinner guest of a certain columnist, Zimmerman was a staffer to two Long Island congress members.

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Transportation Nation

Governor-Elect Cuomo Says Bridges Need Attention, Isn't Saying How He'll find the $$

Monday, November 15, 2010

(Tarrytown, New York -- Richard Yeh, WNYC) New York Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo toured the aging Tappan Zee Bridge with local transportation officials Monday, but offered no details on how to pay for an overhaul or possible replacement of the bridge.

A state report out last year estimated that a replacement bridge with commuter rail would cost about $6.4 billion. It also concluded that rehabilitation options "are not reasonable or prudent" since any overhaul would be massive and result in similar cost and environmental impacts, but with inferior engineering and retrofits that are complex and inherently risky.

About 150,000 vehicles a day cross the Tappan Zee, a three-mile-long bridge over the Hudson River that connects Rockland and Westchester counties. That's compared to just 18,000 when the bridge opened in 1955, and Cuomo says the situation "typifies" New York's transportation needs.

"There are roughly 17,000 bridges in the State of New York. About 5,000 of those bridges are deemed 'deficient' which means the replacement or repair is a chronic problem," says Cuomo, adding that many of those bridges were designed with approximate life span of about 50 years.

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