Monday, December 01, 2014
By Karen Rouse
Sunday, October 19, 2014
By Mirela Iverac : Reporter, WNYC News
Wednesday, October 01, 2014
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Saturday, September 27, 2014
By Lance Luckey : Host, WNYC/WQXR News
Monday, July 28, 2014
By Matt Katz : New Jersey Public Radio
Gov. Chris Christie found himself embroiled in a mini-controversy last week with a fellow Republican, New York gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino, after Christie said that the Republican Governors Association, which Christie leads, had no plans to spend money right now on behalf of Astorino
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
By Annmarie Fertoli : Associate Producer at WNYC
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo may be withholding information about Bridgegate – according to his Republican gubernatorial challenger, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino.
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
By Karen Rouse
Gov. Andrew Cuomo's campaign war chest grew by just $2 million since January, but he enjoys a massive lead over his Republican challenger, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, according to new financial reports released Tuesday.
Monday, March 03, 2014
By Karen DeWitt : NYS Public Radio/WXXI
"The state is going in the wrong direction," Astorino says.
Monday, January 30, 2012
Today on "The Capitol Pressroom":
What’s former Assemblyman & current Senior Fellow at Demos think about the Governor’s budget and the newly proposed redistricting maps? We’ll ask the outspoken 14-termer from Westchester -- and perhaps fit in a question about his recent trip to Russia.
Capital Region Assembly Democrat Robert Reilly is known for taking stands for libraries & against Mixed Martial Arts – and for giving away his legislative salary. He’s a member of the majority in the Assembly, so why has his district been extensively redrawn?
We talk property taxes and mandate relief with aspiring Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, who was recently lauded by the National Review for speaking out against a New York Times editorial about affordable housing.
And the state of our libraries is in jeopardy according Mike Borges, the Executive Director of the New York Library Association. He’ll join us along with Libby Post of Communication Services to discuss funding.
For show archives, please visit The Capitol Bureau's website here.
Thursday, December 15, 2011
After the elections in November I wrote a piece about what, at the time, appeared to be another shortcoming on the part of Westchester Republican efforts to follow-up on the surprise victory of Rob Astorino in 2009.
Well, I appear to have written too soon. According to the Westchester Board of Elections' official tally, the effort on behalf of an Astorino-backed group of candidates seeking to break the county legislative supermajority enjoyed by Democrats was actually successful. They certainly dumped tremendous resources into the race, but the fact remains they were able to achieve their goals, in county legislative races for which they often fail to field candidates.
In conversations with those involved after the fact, I know things didn't go as well as hoped. But I'd like to public acknowledge that they were definitely better than I initial reported. It's safe to say Westchester Republicans are now two-for-three.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
By Kate Hinds
Soon after Andrew Cuomo won the governor’s seat last year, he visited the Tappan Zee Bridge. Built in the 1950s, the structure was considered at the end of its useful life. With the rusting three-mile span as a backdrop, the then-governor-elect mused about its future.
"Could you actually improve transportation in the region with a replacement bridge that could include rail, for example," he said. "The flip side is the cost of a new bridge, the planning, the delay, so those are issues that are going to have to be weighed.”
That was about a year ago. Let’s go back to a little further, to 2002. Faced with an aging money pit of a bridge, the state began formally studying its alternatives. It put a project team in place, which included Metro-North and the Federal Transit Administration. The project had a website, and office space in Tarrytown. And in 2008, the state announced it would be more cost-effective to replace the bridge, not repair it.
The then-DOT commissioner Astrid Glynn told WNYC that the new bridge would include bus rapid transit. Because, she said, "if the bridge does not include a significant transit option, it is going to be very difficult for those areas to have growth that is centered around transit, as opposed to simply auto-dependent."
And when the state presented several alternatives, all of them included some form of transit. In 2009, the state issued a cost evaluation that said bus rapid transit could add up to $2 billion in costs.
In November 2010, Governor Cuomo was elected. And things began changing. The first Tappan Zee meeting to appear on his public schedule, which was in May, did not include someone from Metro-North or the MTA. A few months later, the lease ran out on the project’s office space and wasn’t renewed. But it wasn’t until Columbus Day, according to Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, that he learned the extent of the changes -- from a press release. He says: "We couldn’t get any information from anybody – from the state or the federal government, and all of a sudden we see that the new design would not entail bus rapid transit or mass transit."
Meanwhile, the project’s website was altered to reflect the new, transit-free bridge designs--removing eight years of studies and reports. After public outcry, the data from the old website was restored. But what wasn’t restored were plans for bus rapid transit. Rob Astorino, who's a Republican, calls that decision pennywise and pound foolish. "I’m the cheapest guy around in government," he said."We’re cutting costs left and right. But if you’re going to spend money, spend it efficiently. And right now you’re going to replace this outdated bridge with another outdated bridge the day you cut the ribbon."
Kate Slevin is the head of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, a transit advocacy group. She’s been watching the Tappan Zee project for years, and she says Cuomo’s decision flies in the face of almost a decade of study. "If they don’t do transit now," she says, "I don’t know that it will ever get done."
But Joan McDonald, the current state DOT commissioner, says transit hasn’t disappeared from plans. "I think it’s very important to clarify that," she says. "We’re speeding up construction of the bridge, we’re not slowing down transit. The proposed project that’s on the table now will be built to not preclude transit in the future, when it is financially feasible.”
That view didn’t placate some locals, like Betty Meisler. She’s a Valley Cottage resident who attended a public meeting in Nyack last month. She was hoping to see mass transit on the bridge. And when her expectations weren’t met, she wasn’t happy. "I don’t know what they’re accomplishing by doing this, other than putting in a new bridge to replace the existing one," she says. "They’re not changing anything for the commuters."
But Governor Cuomo’s office says a new bridge is a big change, and this version will cost five point two billion dollars, far less than any option with transit. A spokesman says that what the state needs most is a new bridge – now, and the construction jobs it will bring. That’s why the Governor called the White House to get special approval to speed up construction.
A statement from his office reads: “Governor Cuomo has ended over ten years of gridlock around the Tappan Zee project and expedited the process of rebuilding the bridge. After reviewing various options during the summer, the Governor obtained Federal commitment to expedite construction of a new Tappan Zee bridge in a fiscally responsible manner so that new jobs could be created within a year while preserving all the options for mass transit.”
His office says work on the bridge’s replacement could begin as early as next summer.
You can listen to the radio version of this story below.
Wednesday, November 09, 2011
As Nick Reisman just pointed out on the State of Politics blog, last night was a bittersweet victory for Republicans in Westchester. As we pointed out here earlier, the Republicans were spending big and running hard to break the county legislative supermajority that Democrats have used to block Republican county executive Rob Astorino.
While they may end up overcoming the supermajority--one of the races is too close to call--but, as Reisman points out, it comes at considerable cost.
[A]fter the state Republicans poured money into the races and after a story touting the efforts ran in The Wall Street Journal, Astorino’s governing accomplishments for the remainder of his term will likely remain difficult to come by — giving him a thin resume should he run for higher office.
For a New York Republican Party with few things to smile today, the Board of Legislators race has to hurt the most.
But it goes beyond that for Westchester Republicans and the state party. Last year's story line was similar to this year's: Republicans were gunning for vulnerable Senate Democrats a year of Astorino's surprise victory. It looked like Westchester Republicans were poised to make gains in the Senate.
In one race, they didn't get the guy they wanted to replace outgoing Republican Vincent Leibell, instead watching rogue Tea Partier Greg Ball go on to win the election. In the other two, they were unable to take out Senators Andrea Stewart-Cousins or Suzi Oppenheimer. Oppenheimer's race against Bob Cohen came down to the wire, but in the end Oppenheimer was elect to her 14th term.
Astorino's own Miracle on the Hudson in 2009 is now looking more like an aberration than a sea change in voters sentiment.
Monday, November 07, 2011
Tomorrow will be a pretty sleepy Election Day for most of New York City (Staten Island somewhat excluded). But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some high-profile races happening elsewhere in New York. Here’s a rundown of some of the key races voters will be heading to the polls for tomorrow.
Westchester County Legislature
Two years ago, Republican Rob Astorino scored a surprise upset over longtime Democratic incumbent Andy Spano to become Westchester County Executive. Now, Republicans have fielded 13 candidates in an attempt to break the Democratically-controlled legislature’s super majority. Their message is unified behind the collective “Candidates for a Healthy Westchester” banner, which lists property tax relief and job growth as the biggest issues this election.
The state’s Republican Party is spending heavily in an area it believes is ripe for growth since Astorino’s win. But, as YNN’s Nick Riesman points out, thetomorrow’s election could end up deciding Astorino’s future:
Astorino is a potential statewide candidate, but he’s also basically the star pitcher of an otherwise lousy farm team… The county executive needs some concrete accomplishments should he decide to run for higher office or even win re-election in 2013. The county has also been warned that its coveted AAA bond rating could be downgraded, a move that would certainly put a blot on Astorino’s resume, no matter how much he knocks the Democratic-controlled board.
State Republicans, I think it’s fair to say, don’t want to lose Astorino, a rare downstate Republican.
Suffolk County Executive
In a county split nearly even between Democratic and Republican enrollees, the race to succeed Steve Levy, a Democrat who had wanted to run against Andrew Cuomo as a Republican last year. With Levy not seeking reelection, two seasoned politicians are vying to takeover.
The county’s Republican treasurer, Angie Carpenter, is facing off against Steve Bellone, the Democratic town supervisor of Babylon. Not surprisingly, the economy has been front and center, with both candidates talking about the need for the county to be run more fiscally conservative.
It’s no wonder: whoever takes over will face a $135 million budget deficit.
Erie County Executive
In perhaps the most watched race this year, Republican incumbent Chris Collins is being fiercely challenged by Democratic county Comptroller Mark Poloncarz. Despite Collins outspending Poloncarz by 3 to 1, the candidates are reportedly running in a dead heat.
The campaign has been notable in the number of big numbers who’ve weighed in on the race. Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani has lent his name to Collins’ campaign while Governor Cuomo has come out in support of Polocarz (the Governor has lent his support to approximately 50 other candidates, including Bellone).
Collins is another GOP rising star. Cuomo’s interest in the race goes beyond simply party loyalty; Collins has been mentioned as a potential gubernatorial candidate 2014. The race is also giving Cuomo the opportunity to bring a fractured Erie County Democratic Party together. The Times-Union’s Jimmy Vielkind got Siena Research Institute pollster Steve Greenfield saying this about Cuomo’s efforts:
"With the little endorsements, the governor is trying to build up Democratic support in areas around the state that Democrats don't traditionally do very well in…It's a good strategy to do it now three years before his re-election, and if he keeps doing it between now and then, it will help him."
148th Assembly District
The lone state legislative race this year is also in Western New York. After Republican Assemblyman Jim Hayes stepped back in August, local attorneys Craig Bucki and Raymond Walter are vying for the first change of the Assembly seat in more than a decade.
Bucki, the Democrat, is reportedly polling closer than expected against the Republican Walter. A Bucki win would put the Assembly Democrats back in a position of supermajority able to override the Governor’s veto without Republican support. But he’ll have to beat Walter, who is serving on the Erie County Legislature, in a traditionally Republican district.