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Andrew Cuomo

The Empire

How Cuomo lost an opportunity

Friday, October 22, 2010

Chris Smith explains his article about what Cuomo gave up by running such a cautious, tightly-scripted, conservative campaign.

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WNYC News

Andrew Cuomo is Ready For His Close-Up

Friday, October 22, 2010

Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has been on the public stage almost his entire life. His trajectory from behind the scenes political enforcer to federal cabinet officer to New York's top lawyer has not been a straight shot. It's had major ups and downs. But now, Cuomo is the Democratic nominee and apparent front-runner in the race to be New York's next governor. And while he has retained an almost air-tight grip on how the media portrays his efforts, no PR makeover can entirely conceal Andrew Cuomo's essence.

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WNYC News

Cuomo Declares Congestion Pricing 'Moot'

Thursday, October 21, 2010

On Thursday, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo released his urban agenda. Although the agenda didn't include any plans for transit, reporters in attendance at Cuomo's press conference asked him about transit issues.

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Transportation Nation

NY Candidate Cuomo: Congestion Pricing "Moot"

Thursday, October 21, 2010

(New York -- Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation)  Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo has been a bit of a cipher when it comes to transportation and transit.  He's bemoaned MTA inefficiencies, called into question an employer-tax imposed last year to help bail out the MTA, and said fares shouldn't go up. But he's said little about financing the authority over the long term.

Today, in his most extensive remarks to date on transit, he didn't add much.

The occasion was the release of his 273-page urban agenda, which by the way, did NOT include transit.  It was the kind of "urban agenda" you'd hear in the 1990's: anti-poverty, affordable housing, minority jobs. (By contrast, Shaun Donovan, the current HUD Secretary -- Cuomo's former job -- has made sustainable, walking, transit-rich communities a major plank in his agenda.)

But all the journalists there, pretty much, wanted to talk transit.  In fact, I didn't raise the subject.  A Daily News reporter did.

"There's going to be a need for more efficiency," Cuomo said of the MTA.  "More effectiveness, better management.  You can't have over $500 million in overtime. You can't have thousands of people making over $100,000 a year .  I believe the Governor should be accountable for the MTA."

My turn.  But what about funding for the MTA?  Does he support congestion pricing?  [As Mayor Bloomberg does?]  Bridge tolls? [As Lt. Governor Richard Ravitch does?]

"Congestion pricing was proposed," Cuomo parried.  "It was discussed.  It was basically rejected by the legislature.   I don't know that there's been any change in opinion.  I think it's moot.  I understand the concept.  I understand that it was rejected.  I don't think it would pass if it came up again, unless something changed."

Without offering specifics, he added. "There's going to be a number of revenue raisers. The instinct is going to be to say 'more money more money more money.'   I understand that.  Part of the discipline I want to bring is a fiscal discipline to the state and the MTA.  The answer can't always be more money."

But then Melissa Russo of WNBC Channel 4 asked (I'm paraphrasing): how could he say, if it didn't happen, it won't happen?  What about all the other things he wants to happen -- like government reform?  Isn't the problem that the legislature hasn't made them happen?

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Transportation Nation

Pro-Transit Groups say Cuomo Proposal to Abolish MTA "Empty Rhetoric"

Thursday, October 21, 2010

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation)  You might think pro-transit groups would be allies with New York Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo (he's not the guy who wants to "take a baseball bat" to Albany).  But Transportation Alternatives and the left-leaning Drum Major Institute have released a 5-step plan for stabilizing the NYC MTA's finance.  And they don't seem too happy with the Democrat, and what he's said (and not said) about how he'd finance the MTA.   (He hasn't said.)

From their press release:

"Empty rhetoric about abolishing or restructuring the MTA fails to address the heart of the matter: how the gubernatorial candidates would hold state lawmakers accountable for decisions that caused the severe service cuts and painful fare hikes now disproportionately affecting lower and moderate income working families,” said John Petro, urban policy analyst at the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy. “To be a true Albany reformer, our next governor must have a real vision and plan for how to tame the MTA’s runaway debt and establish more sustainable revenue so that the public transit system serves all New Yorkers.”

Cuomo's presenting an "urban agenda" today.  We'll have more later.

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The Empire

Cuomo and Cuomo on transit

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Andrew Cuomo is unveiling his long-awaited urban agenda today. Also coming out today is the Drum Major Institute and Transportation Alternatives' issue paper on mass transit (no small part of urban life). In the report, they say one of the problems Cuomo will face is the product of a decision made years ago by another Governor Cuomo:

In 1992, state lawmakers slashed state funding for the MTA’s capital program. Today’s debt crisis can be attributed in large part to this unfortunate decision and the failure of subsequent administrations to restore funding.

Last year, DMI took a more direct shot at the earlier Cuomo administration, saying:

The downward spiral accelerated in 1992, when Governor Cuomo eliminated the state’s contribution altogether, citing shortfalls in the state budget. Subsequent governors have continued this policy. For more than fifteen years, New York State has not contributed any direct funding toward the MTA’s capital needs, while New York City has also drastically decreased its contributions—from approximately 10 percent of total capital planning between 1982 and 1999, to about three percent for the capital program of 2000-2004.

DMI's report is being released later today and should be a fun read.

UPDATE: Liz has the full report.

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The Empire

Cuomo: MTA has two sets of books

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Andrew Cuomo has run an amazingly disciplined, if not overly-cautious, campaign, due in part to his unique hands-on-approach to campaigning and governing, and also, because he's a sitting state attorney general and can't say things willy nilly.

But last night, Cuomo leveled some of his harshest critiques so far, at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, saying "nobody's in charge" of the agency.

"And in terms of the amount of money they waste, two sets of books, certainly, five hundred million dollars in overtime, something like eight thousand people make more than a hundred thousand dollars," Cuomo said.

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Transportation Nation

Cuomo: The MTA Shouldn't be an Authority and other Transit Ideas

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) Candidates in last night’s New York State Gubernatorial debate had 60 seconds to describe how they would to fix the MTA. (The exact question came from a Parkchester resident who was interviewed by News 12 on the street. She asked: "I just want to know what the next governor is going to do to possibly audit the MTA's books, open up those books, see why they're always in such a deficit. What about the salaries of some of these executives? How come they're not cutting their salaries to give us better service?")

While this question gave Anti-Prohibition Party candidate Kristin Davis the opportunity to deliver the zinger of the evening (when asked what she would do to reform the MTA, she said: "The key difference between the MTA and my former escort agency is I operated one set of books, and I offered on-time and reliable service”), both major party candidates described their plans to put the MTA under control of the governor's office. Their full responses are below.

Unfortunately, the question did not address the MTA's biggest problem right now -- its continuing budget problems and how the authority should be financed.  And no one volunteered a plan.  (Andrew Cuomo's only hint to date is that he might eliminate the tax voted in in 2009 as part of the MTA's bailout plan, but he hasn't say what he'd replace that with.)

Andrew Cuomo, the Democratic candidate: “In some ways, the MTA is just a gross symbol of the problem that a lot of these state agencies and authorities have. Number one:

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WNYC News

Gubernatorial Candidates Face Off in Wide-Ranging Debate

Monday, October 18, 2010

Major party candidates for Governor Andrew Cuomo and Carl Paladino did not engage one another during a televised debate, that included all seven candidates in the race. They also mostly ignored numerous jabs from the five minor party candidates who were also present on the debate stage.

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The Empire

Cuomo's plan to cap property taxes

Monday, October 18, 2010

Andrew Cuomo discussed a plan to lower property taxes. (Azi Paybarah / WNYC)

Michael Goodwin's column today gets at something I've been muttering about for a few days now: with all the attention on Carl Paldino's headline-grabbing commentary, it's easy to not comb through the policy plans of the guy who is likely to be our next governor, Andrew Cuomo.

Today, thankfully, Cuomo had a substantive campaign event, discussing his plan to cap property taxes. (But they're not entirely courting scrutiny of their agenda. The campaign announced the 10 a.m. event in Rockland County in an 8 a.m. advisory. Also, the longer the focus is on Paladino's outrageous rhetoric, the fewer detailed questions Cuomo is likely to get about his agenda.)

Anyway, the plan to cap property involves a few moving targets. To lower property taxes, Cuomo says he'll "freeze" public employee salaries for one year. Since many union contracts are up for renewal next April, that'll be a fun negotiation.

Cuomo says he'll hold state spending to the rate of inflation. In previous years, it's been growing at twice that rate. Talking about this goal is fine, but when it's budget time, and legislators (and their constitutents) see programs not getting funding, the resistance will begin in earnest.

But the cap is crucial to Cuomo's plan. From his policy book, "Get our Fiscal House in Order," Cuomo says if the state adheres to a 2 percent spending cap, the state could produce a surplus. A $1.1 billion surplus, actually.

What would he do with all that money?

Nearly two-thirds would go to lowering property taxes for middle-class home owners (and some renters). The other one-third would go to the state's Rainy Day fund, he says.

Getting public employees to increase the amount of money they pay towards their state-funded health insurance is another key proposal (Cuomo mentions it twice in his book!). And there's the plan to create a new pension tier that would eliminate a worker's ability to pad his pension by racking up overtime right before retirement.

Other parts of reducing state spending is, to me, less clear.

From his policy book, Cuomo says "the state must do a much better job of controlling over-utlization of Medicaid services" and proposes "having the state take over responsibility for administration of Mediciad" from counties.

There's also a focus on "individuals whose complex needs utilize many expensive resources." Cuomo, in the book, says the state should "more carefully manage and coordinate their services."

Another part of the plan is detailed, but may not come to fruition. Cuomo wants to take away from the state legislature the "authority for setting reimbursement rates" and hand that over to the state's Health Department, which, he'll run as governor. That'll require approval from the legislature and, as noted by many political observers, lawmakers aren't commonly in the position of handing away their own authority.

Other plans Cuomo discusses includes making bulk purchases for medical goods, and combining "back office" work for local school districts. Those sound so common-sensical it's hard to raise any objections to them, until, of course, more detail is provide. It's likely that consolidation of back office work will lead to layoffs (it usually does in the private sector).

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Transportation Nation

NY Minor Party Candidates have Transportation Plans

Monday, October 18, 2010

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) There was a fascinating segment on The Brian Lehrer Show this morning, where he spoke with each of the five non-major party candidates for NY Governor. Well worth a listen, particularly because three of the candidates: Charles Barron, the Freedom Party candidate, Howie Hawkins of the Green Party and Warren Redlich of the Libertarian Party made transit or transportation part of their plans. We've already written about Barron's proposals on free transit (here and here), and he expanded on it today. Hawkins also spoke at some length about transit being part of what would make the state more sustainable. And Libertarian Party candidate Redlich put forth a proposal to combine the State DOT and the Thruway Authority. This is not such a fringe idea -- Massachusetts Governor Duval Patrick did something similar last year, and that state's DOT has been something of a hotbed of innovation.

In his policy "book," Democratic candidate Andrew Cuomo does wax at length about the need to streamline New York's government, and reduce the number of authorities. It's one of his main animating principles. But there are no specifics about how he'd reorganize transportation agencies, and while his economic development proposal offers a bit more, the details are still maddeningly few. We'll be trying to find out more in the next two weeks -- meantime, send us what you know.

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The Empire

Scheduling Cuomo

Monday, October 18, 2010

Jimmy Vielkind pulls back the curtain on Andrew Cuomo's daily activities, and discovers something is missing:

Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's office did not keep a "systematized" schedule for the first two years he was in office, a spokesman said. Instead, the attorney general's staff showed his activities with a compilation of news conferences and public events in response to a Times Union request for his schedules filed in April. Six months later, a schedule for nine months of meetings in 2009 had been generated and provided, but original documents -- even redacted versions, as allowed under the law -- were withheld.

Cuomo's schedule-keeping habits have, at least, remained consistent since 2006, when I barked up this tree:

Unlike most public officials, New York’s hard-charging attorney general, Andrew Cuomo, doesn't keep a written daily schedule.

That's according to his office, which, after two separate Freedom of Information requests from The Observer, finally said that Mr. Cuomo simply didn’t have any pre-existing documentation of his day-to-day professional and political activities that he could make public.

It's the nature of his job, an aide explained.

"The vast majority of the attorney general's time each day is spent working on and being briefed on our cases and investigations," said Benjamin Lawsky, a special assistant and deputy counsel to Mr. Cuomo.

Mr. Cuomo’s office eventually did provide a reconstituted outline of his public schedule between January 2007, when he took office, and April 2008. It is five pages long, listing press conferences, public outings and political events. They said it includes everything of a nonsensitive nature.

Embedded above is the reconstituted scheduled I received from Cuomo's office in 2008.

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WNYC News

Seven Candidates Vying for Governor's Seat Meet in Monday Debate

Monday, October 18, 2010

WNYC

On Monday evening, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and his Republican rival Carl Paladino will have their first face-to-face debate as major party candidates for the office of New York governor.

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The Empire

Cuomo's shrinking government

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

One key plan of Andrew Cuomo's agenda is reducing the size of local government in New York. He once went on tour around the state just talking about it.

During a press conference on October 5, columnist Andrea Peyser asked Cuomo about his bill that enabled local governments to consolidate. Her questions was this: have any local municipalities in New York actually been consolidated?

Cuomo said the law was passed last year and a few plans are in the works currently. He then said he'd provide more information.

Today, after referencing his consolidation plan in at a press conference about property taxes, I asked his campaign for that info. Here's what they said:

The Village of Odessa will vote on December 7 whether to join into Town of Catharine. And on November 10, the Village of Altmar will vote on whether to join the Town of Albion.

In Cattaraugus County, three villages voted to dissolve into nearby towns.

In Seneca County, the Vilalge of Seneca Falls voted to dissolve into the Town of Seneca Falls (1,198 to 1,112).

There have been other votes, I'm told, with some consolidation plans rejected, and some passed.

Just in case you were wondering.

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The Empire

Cuomo attending ESPA dinner

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Andrew Cuomo is expected to attend the Empire State Pride Agenda dinner tomorrow. (Azi Paybarah / WNYC)

A spokesperson for the Empire State Pride Agenda tells me that Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo is scheduled to attend their Fall Gala tomorrow night in Manhattan. This is a turnaround from earlier reports that said he was likely not to show.

Cuomo was criticized for not being a more vocal advocate of same-sex marriage when advocates were trying to rally support among state senators - who ultimately voted it down. But, in light of Republican Carl Paladino's comments about protecting children from being "brainwashed" into thinking homosexuality is a valid lifestyle, Cuomo has been more outspoken on LGBT and diversity issues.

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The Empire

OfA emails against 'radical' Paladino

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The local apparatus of President Obama's campaign is set tojust fired off this email to supporters, urging them to vote for Democrat Andrew Cuomo, noting he's up against a "radical Republican," in Carl Paladino. The email comes one day after Paladino tried to say he's not an extremist in his opposition to same-sex marriage, saying he had the same position as Obama.

This email hits Paladino on immigration, healthcare, and, of course, the "brainwashed" comment.

Friend--

I don't know about you, but I don't want to wake up on the morning of November 3rd wondering if there was something more I could have done to change the outcome of the elections in New York.

Just 20 days -- that's how much time we have between now and November 2nd. And there are millions of New Yorkers who still need to hear from us.

It's time to hit the phones.

We've revamped our call tool to make that as easy as possible to do. With one click, you're brought to a script and a contact in your area. No papers, no clipboards, no call lists to check off. You'll be connected to the folks whose votes will determine the direction our country will take this fall.

Can you use our call tool to make 10 phone calls to New York voters today?

In three weeks, New Yorkers will determine what direction this state will take. And their choice couldn't be more stark.

In the gubernatorial race, they'll choose between Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who has served as a strong voice for New Yorkers and consistently taken on corruption in both government and the private sector, and Carl Paladino, a radical Republican candidate who is out of touch with New Yorkers -- and whose positions appear to be growing more extreme by the day.

He has called for New York State police to enforce immigration laws "like they do in Arizona," has said that passage of health insurance reform would kill more Americans than were lost on September 11th, and has promised to transform New York state prisons into dormitory-style residences for welfare recipients where they could learn "personal hygiene."

And most recently, he said that he doesn't want children to be "brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option," because, he says, "it isn't."

In 20 days, New Yorkers will collectively decide which of these two candidates will be in a position to make important decisions for this state -- and that's a reality that's still in our control.

And each call you make could mean one more person volunteering in their community this fall. One more person joining us in our work to continue making change that matters in New York.

One more person in line at the polls on Election Day -- someone who wouldn't be there if they hadn't talked to you.

Your conversations create action -- plain and simple.

So grab a phone, and give it a shot. Use our new call tool to reach out to ten voters today:

http://ny.barackobama.com/MakeCallsNY

Talk to you soon,

Melissa

Melissa DeRosa
New York State Director
Organizing for America

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The Empire

Paladino hits Cuomo on fatherhood

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

"I think he's already displayed his lack of interest maybe in being a good father"Carl Paladino said yesterday, about Andrew Cuomo. Yesterday was, undoubtedly, not a day where anybody focused on policies or substance.

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The Empire

Democrats release the Paladino tape

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Andrew Cuomo doesn't have a public schedule today. In part, I imagine, to help keep Carl Paladino's controversial remarks in the news cycle.

Today, the New York State Democratic Party released a video of Paladino, in his own words. And, as Jimmy Vielkind smartly noted, "Paladino's attention-grabbing rhetoric is giving blocs of voters who might otherwise have stayed home a reason to vote for Cuomo."

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WNYC News

Cuomo, Paladino Spar at Columbus Day Parade

Monday, October 11, 2010

Italian-American pride provided a backdrop for the latest sparing in New York's gubernatorial race. At Monday's Columbus Day Parade, Democrat Andrew Cuomo criticized Republican Carl Paladino for remarks he made over the weekend about homosexuality.

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The Empire

Paladino on Good Morning America

Monday, October 11, 2010

Tries explaining his remarks:

"I’m not a homophobic. I have no reservations whatsoever about gays, only except for marriage."

And

"I have a nephew and my nephew is a wonderful boy, and he’s gay and I see the difficulty he suffers every day with discriminatory people and I think that’s the root of that. Now, Andrew Cuomo said he took his children to a gay pride parade. I was at one in Toronto one time, we stumbled on it, my wife and I. It wasn’t pretty. It was a bunch of very extreme type people in bikini-type outfits grabbing at each other and doing these gyrations and I certainly wouldn’t let my young children see that."

Paladino said the storm around his speech yesterday “started with a remark that I excised from a statement that had been drawn. I took that statement out. I wouldn’t say that."

Here's his exchange with the show's host:

George Stephanopoulos:
"The sentence was, 'There’s nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual.' ”

Paladino:
"That was not my, I would not adopt that."

Stephanopoulos:
"How did it get into your prepared remarks, because it was in your prepared remarks and it was distributed after the speech, yet when you were reading the remarks you skipped over it."

Paladino:
"The remarks, I dictated, and a general aide to a person, okay, who put that in there. My first reading of it was really quickly, just as we were getting out and I saw that remark and I crossed it out on my sheets. And I got inside and I read my remarks and then afterwards, somebody in the rabbinical group distributed it, that had been prepared. But it was crossed off and I refused to say it, because it’s not true. It’s not the way I feel about things."

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