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Running for the Bench
October 29th, 2010

We’ve just added the contests for State Supreme and Civil Court judgeships to our Guide for the Last Minute Voter.

By on October 29, 2010, 2:25 pm
In category: Electoral Politics,Law | Comments Off on Running for the Bench

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Carl Paladino Not Happy with "New York City Media"
October 28th, 2010

Celeste Katz has a wonderful new radio spot from Carl Paladino–it stars his pit bull Duke–and he slams “New York City Media.” If you haven’t read the New York Times story about their attempt to ascertain Duke’s breed then you should probably catch up before listening to the ad.

I have to say the spot is conflicting to me because I reside upstate but write for a city based publication. Do you think he means me?

By on October 28, 2010, 5:26 pm
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Paterson Names New DEC Head
October 28th, 2010

Gov. David Paterson has named Peter Iwanowicz as acting commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation. The DEC was without a head because Paterson fired him after an internal memo was leaked that described what would happen to the agency if Paterson’s proposed cuts went through. Pete Grannis was blamed for the leak and pressured to resign by a Paterson aide. Grannis insisted he was not responsible for the leak and asked to speak to Paterson–he was fired instead.

Legislators are up in arms about the matter and plan hearings on the firing. Paterson’s release points out that Iwanowicz’s appointment is not subject to legislative hearings–lucky for Paterson because legislators would love any reason to attack Paterson a few more times before his term ends. Grannis was a partiularly dear friend to a number of legislators because of the time he spent as an Assemblyman.

Here is the release from team Paterson: Read the rest of this entry »

By on October 28, 2010, 5:19 pm
In category: Albany,Eye on Albany | 2 Comments »

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Camp Schneiderman Wonders About Donovan's Fundraiser
October 28th, 2010

As I blogged yesterday Dan Donovan’s $1 million fundraiser, hosted by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, looks like it may not have done as hot he had hoped. Donovan’s camp has yet to respond to inquiries about how much money they brought in. Schneiderman’s camp is now seizing on the issue with a press release. The release cites an Observer article from today.

Here is the release:

DONOVAN’S $2 MILLION…ERM…$1 MILLION…UM, NO WAIT…$250K FUNDRAISER

NEW YORK – First it was $2 million, then it was $1 million, and now according to news reports, Dan Donovan’s major big-ticket fundraiser was a major disappointment, likely bringing in no more than $257,000. The Donovan campaign has yet to have revealed just how much the “major” fundraiser raised for their campaign.

Read the full story here: http://www.observer.com/2010/politics/how-big-was-donovans-big-ticket-fundraiser
How Big Was Donovan’s Big Ticket Fundraiser?

By David Freedlander

October 28, 2010 | 3:08 p.m

Not very, according to the most recent campaign finance reports.

The original estimation was that the fundraiserwhich featured bold-face political names like Chris Christie, George Pataki, Mike Bloomberg and Ed Kochwas that it would bring in $1 to $2 million. The day of, the campaign was speculating that the event at the Midtown Sheraton would net them closer to $1 million. And the campaign would need it as wellthey reported less than $400,000 on hand last week.

Checks for fundraising events usually come in the day before or the day of the event, but Donovan has garnered only $257,000 since the fundraiser.

A source within the Schneiderman campaign noted that Donovan had yet to go up on the air upstate, and added that their campaign believed that after tomorrow it would be too late to buy airtime.

That said, it does appear as if Donovan is finally tapping into the old Bloomberg network.Thomas Secunda, who helped Mayor Bloomberg found the company that bears his name, contributed $25,000, as did Richard K. DeScherer, the company’s outside counsel.

By on October 28, 2010, 4:02 pm
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How Much Did Donovan Raise?
October 27th, 2010

Dan Donovan’s fundraiser on Monday was initially touted as a$2 million fundraiser–it was later downgraded to a $1 million fundraiser.

While it has been reported that the GOP star studded event raised $1 million; so far reports from the State Board of Elections show only around $160,000 collected since the fundraiser. I’ve sent inquiries to the Donovan campaign to how much they believe the fundraiser will produce for them.

Donovan’s lack of fund raising has been an issue throughout his campaign.

By on October 27, 2010, 3:21 pm
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Critics Say Study is a Sham (Update)
October 27th, 2010

living

Advocates and council members gathered on the steps of City Hall today to slam a city commissioned study on living wages, calling it “smoke and mirrors.”

The $1 million study, which is being conducted by Boston-based Charles River Associates, will examine the sustainability of a living wage policy in the five boroughs. A bill to require living wages at city-subsidized developments is currently languishing at the council.

At issue is one economist on the study team — David Neumark of the University of California. Supporters of living wages say Neumark is inherently biased, having authored several studies critical of living and minimum wage policies.

“Hiring David Neumark to advise the city on wage policies is like hiring a global warming skeptic to evaluate the city’s greenhouse gas strategy,” said Paul K. Sonn of the National Employment Law Project.

The city Economic Development Corp., which commissioned the study after advocates started to call for living wages last year, argues Neumark is in the top 5 percent of economists. City officials point to studies where Neumark found living wages reduced poverty — albeit those studies show his “support” for the policy overall is tepid at best.

The city also says a diverse stakeholder group will review the study’s findings, which should be completed this spring.

All of those arguments aren’t silencing critics.
Read the rest of this entry »

By on October 27, 2010, 2:49 pm
In category: City Hall,Community Development,Economy,Electoral Politics,Eye Opener,Gotham City,Governing,Health,Land Use,Law,Measuring UP,nextNY,Public Finance,Work and Labor | 1 Comment »

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Donovan Gets Cash Boost (Updated)
October 27th, 2010

Dan Donovan was down to 300,000 in his campaign coffers in his bid to become attorney general. His opponent Sen. Eric Schneiderman had over a million but thanks to last minute fundraiser held by Mayor Michael Bloomberg Donovan now has an extra $1 million to inject into his campaign in as it comes down to the wire. Those who attended the fundraiser include former Gov. George Pataki, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Bloomberg and former mayor Ed Koch.

***24 hour reports filed with the Board of Elections since the fundraiser on Monday show that Donovan has raised a little over $160,000 since then.***

As we reported last week Schneiderman enjoys a much more flush piggy bank and campaign staff. Donovan even went a week without television ads. His campaign insisted it was part of his strategy. Schneiderman leads Donovan in the polls but there are still a wealth of undecided voter who could break either way.

Donovan has spent the last few days trying to connect Schneiderman to the Aqueduct Racino scandal involving the leadership of the Senate Democrats. Schneiderman has in turn are bringing up Donovan’s possible involvement in securing Interstate Industrial a a city contract during his time as chief of staff to the Staten Island borough president. Interstate Industrial was working with former police commissioner turned convicted felon Bernie Kerik and the garbage hauler has since been shown to have mob ties.

By on October 27, 2010, 1:56 pm
In category: Albany,Eye on Albany | Comments Off on Donovan Gets Cash Boost (Updated)

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Ferreras Responds to Suit (UPDATE)
October 26th, 2010

We just received this from Councilmember Julissa Ferreras in response to the lawsuit brought by her former aide.

I have not been served with a copy of Mr. Castros complaint, so it is difficult for me to respond to allegations I have not seen. I can say, however, that I did not discriminate or retaliate against him for any reason and I am confident that his claims will ultimately be rejected by the court.

First reported in the Daily News today, the suit alleges Ferreras and her chief of staff, Yoselin Genao, taunted Steven Castro, a 24-year-old with cerebral palsy who worked for the councilwoman for approximately seven months. Castro also alleges he never received a steady paycheck.

This is the second time in a week Ferreras has made headlines. Ferreras, the former chief of staff to the recently indicted Hiram Monserrate, ran the nonprofit LIBRE, which was the subject of the aforementioned indictment.

Said complaint should arrive shortly, which we will post straight away.

Update: Here it is.

Castro Complaint

By on October 26, 2010, 4:36 pm
In category: City Hall,Crime & Safety,Economy,Electoral Politics,Eye Opener,Gotham City,Law,Measuring UP,nextNY,Public Finance,Work and Labor | Comments Off on Ferreras Responds to Suit (UPDATE)

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Election Board Ousts Director
October 26th, 2010

After 22 years at the Board of Elections and only two months as executive director, George Gonzalez lost his job this afternoon. At its regularly scheduled meeting, the board voted six to zero with four abstentions to “terminate” Gonzales only a week before the general election.

The vote came after an hour-long executive session. In announcing the vote, board president Julie Dent did not say who would fill the post although deputy executive director Dawn Sandow delivered a report in Gonzalez’s absence.
Read the rest of this entry »

By on October 26, 2010, 4:28 pm
In category: Electoral Politics,Gotham City,Governing | 2 Comments »

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A Very Special Session
October 26th, 2010

Gov. David Paterson is calling the legislature back to Albany on Nov. 15 for a special legislative session. Paterson has not finalized what bills will be on the docket but legislation that would reorganize the New York City OTB is expected to be considered.

The session could be a complete waste of time as Paterson is a lame duck governor, who is despised by the legislature and under the shadow of countless scandals. But this could also be once last chance for Democrats to push through legislation as they may could lose control of the senate in on Nov. 2.

By on October 26, 2010, 3:43 pm
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Living Wage Waters are Choppy
October 26th, 2010

In the wake of Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s decision not to support paid sick leave, some City Council members and advocates are attempting to make waves on another issue: the living wage.

Currently two bills to require some sort of wage mandate at city-subsidized developments are treading water at City Hall. One would require a prevailing wage for building service employees, while the other would require a living wage for every worker on a city-assisted development, including the development’s tenants.

Quinn has not taken a position on either. When asked during her sick leave announcement earlier this month, she sidestepped the issue.

The issue came to a head last year when the council defeated a proposal to morph the Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx into a shopping mall. The developer on the project would not agree to a living wage mandate — defined as $10 an hour with benefits — which is largely credited with killing the project. Photo credit: (cc) 2009  Atomische  Tom Giebel

In the latest feud, council members and advocates will gather on the steps of City Hall tomorrow to denounce a $1 million city-funded study on the effectiveness and success of living wage policies. The study was commissioned by the Economic Development Corp. and is being conducted by Charles River Associates — a consulting firm based in Boston. It is supposed to be completed by next spring.

The presser tomorrow, according to an advisory we just got, will “exposes Charles River Associates (CRA), EDC’s choice to conduct the study, as a business-backed lobbying group using economists who oppose living wage and even minimum wage policies for EDC’s study.”

The chief economist on the study is Daniel Hamermesh, a reputable professor at the University of Texas at Austin. David Neumark, a professor of economics at the University of California and a fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California, is also on the study team. He has authored several studies questioning the sustainability of living wage policies.

The Bloomberg adminsitration said it would not consider a widespread living wage policy until the study was completed — a move some critics say is meant to stall the legislation at the City Council. Earlier this year, one administration official said the wage proposals could squash economic development and be potentially against the City Charter.

By on October 26, 2010, 12:39 pm
In category: Albany,City Hall,Community Development,Economy,Electoral Politics,Eye Opener,Gotham City,Governing,Immigrants,Land Use,Law,nextNY,Public Finance,Work and Labor | 2 Comments »

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Recommended Reading
October 25th, 2010

In his interview with the Times published today, Andrew Cuomo said he has given state labor leaders copies of the recent biography of Hugh Carey, The Man Who Saved New York.

To find out what they might be reading, check out Gotham Gazette’s excerpt from the book by Seymour Lachman and Robert Polner.

By on October 25, 2010, 10:44 am
In category: Albany,Eye on Albany,Gotham City,Work and Labor | Comments Off on Recommended Reading

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Ballot Instructions, Day 2
October 22nd, 2010

The Board of Elections held an emergency meeting this afternoon to tell the city that the instructions on how to mark the ballot are perfectly clear and, if they aren’t, not to blame the board.

Yesterday the Brennan Center looked at a sample city ballot and discovered the instructions said to fill in the oval above or next to the preferred candidate’s name. Clear enough — except that the ovals are actually underneath the candidate’s names. (More on this below.)

At the meeting, board staff distributed a sample ballot to show how clear it is, since the bubble and the candidate’s name are within a clearly marked square. And they have a point: It is clear unless you read the instructions, which seem to contradict what most voters will see with their own eyes.

But actually there is no contradiction because, according to the board’s counsel, Steven Richman “next to” actually means “under.”

Richman and board executive director George Gonzalez said both the ballot design and the instructions comply with state law. In fact, Richman said, the legislature established the specific language last summer.

And its accurate in much of the state where the bubbles are, apparently, above or next to the names. (Here’s one from Erie County.) But New York City has always had a different ballot design, with choices for a particular office running horizontally instead of vertically and so the bubbles appear differently.

No one on the board thought to ask Gonzelez whether anyone noticed the discrepancy between the ballot and the instructions for marking it.

Or , as Gonzalez might say, what discrepancy?

“I don’t see a problem at all,” he said “We are doing everything in accordance with the law.”

By on October 22, 2010, 4:32 pm
In category: City Hall,Electoral Politics,Gotham City,Governing | Comments Off on Ballot Instructions, Day 2

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Legislators Question Firing of DEC Commissioner, Scheudle Hearings
October 22nd, 2010

Legislators are up in arms that DEC commissioner Pete Grannis was fired by the Paterson Administration yesterday. Some are saying that would like to have legislative hearings into Grannis’ firing. ” I think it might be time for hearings,” said Assemblyman Jack McEneny. He said the way the firing took place–with top Paterson Aide Larry Schwartz demanding Grannis’ resignation and then firing him without allowing him to talk to Paterson–brings into question, “who exactly is running the state–Paterson or Schwartz.”

Schwartz was angry with Grannis because a DEC memo leaked describing how Paterson’s proposed cuts to the agency would prevent it from performing its mission. Grannis denied leaking the memo. Grannis was officially fired for “poor performance and insubordination.” McEneny said he phoned Grannis to tell him “You are my hero!.”

Assemblyman Robert K. Sweeney, chair of the Committee on Environmental Conservation, issued a press release today titled: “The Mugging of Mother Nature.” The release noted that the Assembly Committee on Environmental Conservation will soon be scheduling its Annual Oversight Hearing of the Department of Environmental Conservation.

The release reads:

“The firing of Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Pete Grannis is one more in a long series of examples of the Paterson administrations open hostility to the environment. It is obvious that the performance of Commissioner Grannis was anything but poor. He performed his duty as New York’s environmental caretaker with diligence, clarity and fearlessness. Commissioner Grannis stood firm against proposals to cut the DEC to nearly the lowest levels in its history, and he paid for it. Today we honor his courage to stand up for our water, land and air and to be a staunch advocate for his agency.

Governor Paterson may think that by firing Pete he can silence criticism from those who care about our natural resources. We will not be silent at a time when the DEC is in danger of losing its ability to protect our environment. This administration fired him for speaking the truth — DEC can’t suffer any more staff losses and still protect the environment. We must not allow Governor Paterson to undo 40 years of environmental progress.

A functioning DEC is critical to the economic recovery of this state. Through permitting, licensing, and management of our resources, the DEC is essential to the success of a large range of industries from commercial and recreational fishing, to tourism. Qualify of life issues broadly affect health concerns and property taxes.

I applaud the Commissioner’s courage in telling the truth even when threatened and I condemn the Administration for believing that competence cannot be tolerated.”

By on October 22, 2010, 3:43 pm
In category: Albany,Environment,Eye on Albany | 3 Comments »

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Up and Down at the Board of Elections
October 21st, 2010

The Board of Elections has come in for a lot of criticism from city politicians since the various screw-ups during the September primary.

Now the Brennan Center reveals another gaffe that harkens back to the Palm Beach County butterfly ballot fiasco of 2000.

A sample ballot given to the center by the board (and pictured here) tells New Yorkers to vote for a candidate by filling in “the oval above or next to the name of the candidate.” According to the center, similar instructions will be posted in privacy booths. Actually, though, voters should fill in the box under the name of the candidate. As It’s a Free Country points out, the instructions could leave a voter wanting to cast a ballot for Carl Paladino on the Taxpayers Party line actually voting for the Green Party’s Howie Hawkins, whose tax policies differ rather radically from those of Paladino.

In a letter to the attorneys for the city and state, the center asked that “the City Board of Elections take immediate action to correct this mistake to ensure that voters are not confused and that ballots are counted as they were intended to be cast.”

The instructions on the board’s web site simply say voters should “mark their choices on a paper ballot” without saying how. Apparently absentee ballots have the correct instructions indicating the board actually does know up from down — but not how to proofread.

By on October 21, 2010, 12:29 pm
In category: Electoral Politics,Gotham City,Governing | 1 Comment »

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Boo!
October 20th, 2010

Sure we are still over a week away from Halloween but a participant in the Capitol Hauntings Ghost Tour sent me this picture with the caption “Scary!” I would remind the reader that Sen. Pedro Espada is still majority leader and still a senator despite losing the Democratic Primary to Gustavo Rivera. He will remain so until next year–unless he is suddenly indicted convicted.

espada

By on October 20, 2010, 6:13 pm
In category: Albany,Eye on Albany | 1 Comment »

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Donovan's Camp Strikes Back
October 20th, 2010

Dan Donovan’s press team has issued a rebuttal to the recent release by Sen. Eric Schneiderman’s campaign that celebrated their lead in a recent poll and announced that Donovan’s camp took their TV spots off the air for a week.
In poll after poll, despite months of lies and false charges from Team Schneiderman, New Yorkers – specifically independent and undecided voters – are trending overwhelmingly for Dan Donovan, a 15-year law enforcement official and abandoning Eric Schneiderman, a 12-year Albany politician.

Team Schneiderman is clearly in chaos and disarray with the knowledge that even with a 5-1 voter registration advantage, a financial advantage (thanks to donations from integrity-challenged State Senate colleagues, not paying any of his campaign bills and of course, his father Irwins largesse) and their disgusting attempts to scare women and minority communities with weak and baseless attacks they still cant stop the tidal wave of momentum for District Attorney Donovan. New Yorkers want independence. They want an experienced prosecutor as their states chief lawyer not a long-time State Senator who has been a proud member of the most dysfunctional legislature in the country. The polls are clear on this and no amount of posturing from Team Schneiderman will change that.

By on October 20, 2010, 3:07 pm
In category: Albany,Eye on Albany | 1 Comment »

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Donovan Off the Air?
October 20th, 2010

Eric Schneiderman’s campaign is celebrating the results of a new Siena Poll and questioning the strength of Dan Donovan’s campaign coffers.

“On the same day it was revealed Dan Donovan was forced to pull his ads from TV for the entire week, the first Siena poll of Likely Voters in the race for Attorney General shows Donovan needs to make up 7 points with just 13 days to go. According to the poll of “likely voters,” Schneiderman leads Donovan 44-37,” reads the release.

A source close to the Donovan campaign disputes that their ad buys for this week have anything to do with a lack of cash.

“Our plan since before the primary was to go hard after September 15, with TV buys the past two weeks (we were everywhere except Manhattan), drop our mail this week, then go up again on TV everywhere (including Manhattan) the last 10 days.”

They say that Scheniderman’s TV buy was small compared to theirs during the past week and that they started their television spots a week earlier than Schniederman’s camp. “They have their strategy, we have ours,” said the source. “We need the push at the end, because turnout is what will determine this race.”

Schneiderman has been able to pump his own cash into his campaign and enjoys a flush press staff. Donovan is operating with one press person.

By on October 20, 2010, 11:55 am
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Debate Thoughts
October 18th, 2010

Andrew Cuomo and Carl Paladino both avoided any major conflict. Cuomo looked calm while Paladino seemed unable to control his body and tripped over his words.

Paladino seemed determined to prove that he is not “angry.” At one point he said he was not angry but “passionate.”

Both Cuomo and Paladino took some blows from Charles Barron and Warren Redlich but avoided any retort. During a rebuttal Redlich attacked Paladino for donations he made to Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer saying he was trying to “buy something.” Paladino went next and asked this is supposed to be a “rebuttal?” and laughed before going into his answer.

Former Republican Candidate Gubernatorial candidate John Faso, who is a guest on Liz Benjamin’s show, said that Paladino’s performance was “awful” and asked why he even, “bothered showing up.” Benjamin reminded viewers that Faso is a Republican.

Davis, Redlich and Hawkins actually offered some interesting policy points–Cuomo, Paladino, Barron and McMillan both generally delivered their tag lines and avoided discussing policy.

All in all it looks like Paladino bailed on what brought him to the dance while Cuomo stuck to his guns–in other words he continued to avoid the fray.

By on October 18, 2010, 8:37 pm
In category: Albany,Eye on Albany | 1 Comment »

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Candidates on Same-Sex Marriage
October 18th, 2010

Paladino says he does not support it.

Davis, Redlich, Cuomo say they strongly support same-sex marriage.

Barron says the Freedom Party has no position on the issue.

McMillan says he will let people “marry a shoe” if they want.

By on October 18, 2010, 8:22 pm
In category: Albany,Eye on Albany | 3 Comments »

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