Azi Paybarah

Azi Paybarah appears in the following:

Albany and City Hall Roundup: Arrests, Livery Cabs, Casinos, Soda

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

WNYC reporter Ailsa Chang and Capital New York political reporter Azi Paybarah discuss the Cuomo administration's decision to put pressure on the NYPD stop and frisk policy; the collapse of the Queens casino deal; livery cab bill latest; and the fallout from Mayor Bloomberg's war on big soda.

Comments [6]

Will the NYC GOP Find a Mayoral Candidate?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

No high profile Republican candidate has emerged as a favorite for next year's mayoral race. Azi Paybarah, reporter for Capital New York, and Doug Muzzio, professor of political science at Baruch College and host of "City Talk" on CUNY/TV, talk about the buzz surrounding an effort to draft Ray Kelly, and the leadership void in the local GOP.

Comments [26]

Actress targets Cuomo, education cuts

Friday, February 25, 2011

Actress Cynthia Nixon puts Andrew Cuomo's budget in plain language.

"And while we're at it, let's take a hundred or more schools across the state, and just shut them down. It sounds like I'm joking but that's exactly what is going to happen if we don't stop Governor Cuomo's record setting one-point-five billion dollars in school cuts.

"The worst part is the governor is simultaneously proposing multi-billion-dollar tax breaks for the wealthiest New Yorkers."

The group, Alliance for Quality Educaiton, is calling for people to submit their own videos describing how Cuomo's cuts to schools would impact them.

Cuomo's spokesman, Josh Vlasto, says the figures Nixon cites in the video are not accurate.

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The Christie Era

Thursday, February 24, 2011

NJ Gov. Chris Christie gets profiled by Matt Bai. (

Matt Bai:

Ronald Reagan had his 'welfare queens,' Rudy Giuliani had his criminals and 'squeegee men,' and now Chris Christie has his sprawling and powerful public-sector unions - teachers, cops and firefighters who Christie says are driving up local taxes beyond what the citizenry can afford, while also demanding the kind of lifetime security that most private-sector workers have already lost.

"It may just be that Christie has stumbled onto the public-policy issue of our time, which is how to bring the exploding costs of the public workforce in line with reality. ... Then again, he may simply be the latest in a long line of politicians to give an uneasy public the scapegoat it demands

[h/t Mike Allen]

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Poll: Public School Parents back performance-based layoffs for teachers

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Support for performance-based layoffs is strong among all groups, including 75–20 percent among voters in households with a union member, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds. Voters with children in public school back performance-based layoffs 90–7 percent.

By a 50–22 percent margin, New York State voters have a favorable opinion of public school teachers, with 25 percent who haven’t heard enough about them to form an opinion. Parents of public school students have a 60–22 percent favorable opinion.

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Roundup: Obama Drops DOMA, Biden Visits

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Bloomberg, Schumer, Kelly and a woman who lost her daughter to gun violence, unveil a new video to bolster their latest lobbying efforts, at 1 Police Plaza. (azi paybarah / wnyc)

Defense of Marriage Act: Obama orders that federal lawyers no longer defend it. (NY Times)

Cuomo and God: "My religion is a private matter and it is not something that I discuss in a political arena." (Daily News)

Robo Calls: DCCC targets Gibson, Grimm and Hanna. (LoHud)

Withdrawing Money: Councilman Jumaane Williams takes his money out of Chase; security guards watch closely. (Youtube)

Maloney's Fund-Raiser: Joe Biden was the draw. (Observer)

Biden's Cost: "Cindy Darrison, the fundraiser for [Rep.] Maloney, said her campaign had to put up a deposit against the potential costs of that portion of the trip, which she estimated ranged from $15,000 to $20,000. The DNC did not immediately respond to a query about its share of the trip’s costs." (Daily News)

Replacing Chris Lee: The NY-26 is starting to look like NY-23. Conservative looks to knock off "pro-abortion" GOP candidate. (Capital Tonight)

Replacing Chris Lee: More time for military ballots, as per Cuomo's orders. (Capital Tonight)

Attacking Obama: Barbour is getting ready. (Ben Smith)

Wisconsin: "This is a governor standing up and engaging in union busting," said Christine Quinn. (Observer)

Libya: "Muammar Qadhafi" vs "Moammar Gadhafi." (Keach Hagey)

Broken Windows Theory: Results in fewer broken windows, Sam Roberts finds. (NY Times)

School Funding: Thomas Kaplan goes deep inside Cuomo's fight. (NY Times)

Abortion Ad: De Blasio wants it gone. (NY Times)

Mt. Vernon Mayor: Being challenged by Mt. Vernon Comptroller. (LoHud)

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Amending Cuomo's budget

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Read what's being deleted and inserted.

Via Benjamin.

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

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

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

Dana Rubinstein:

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

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

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

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


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

(It is.)


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

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

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

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Poll: Democrat Cuomo polls like a Republican

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cuomo's job approval rating, from Quinnipiac:

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

The analysis:

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

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

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Hitting Bloomberg with full-page ads

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

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

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

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

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Destroying the Electoral College System

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

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

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

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

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

[h/t Celeste]

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Schumer defends Wisconsin's workers

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

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

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

He added:

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

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Manhattan DA's Suit against Indy Party

Friday, February 18, 2011

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

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Bloomberg, money and teacher layoffs

Friday, February 18, 2011

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

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

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

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Indy Boss Holds onto Bloomberg Donation, Accounts Frozen

Friday, February 18, 2011

NYS Independence Party Chairman Frank MacKay. (facebook)

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

Thursday, February 17, 2011

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

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

[via David Freedlander]

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

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Palin's praise of Cuomo

Thursday, February 17, 2011

From her appearance on Long Island this morning:

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

Loving Cuomo is something of a trend lately.

[via Charles Lane]

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Bloomberg's proposed budget

Thursday, February 17, 2011

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

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

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

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

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A former top Dem operative heads to prison

Thursday, February 17, 2011

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

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

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If principals have a surplus, Bloomberg wants half

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Beth Fertig spots Bloomberg's hand reaching into classrooms:

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

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

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

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

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