Quantcast

Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

Citizens Union
Loading

Albany

Albany

  • New York One Signature Away from Calling for Overturn of Citizens United

    nys

    (photo: nysenate.gov)


    In a landmark year for corruption in the state legislature, 2015 saw the arrest and conviction of two of the most powerful political leaders in New York. A crescendo of voices across the state -- from good government watchdogs to lawmakers -- expressed outrage and demanded stronger ethics laws and campaign finance reforms. In one sense, Albany now has the opportunity to put its money where its mouth is -- and all it needs is one signature.  

    New York is one signatory away from becoming the 17th state in the country to

    ...
  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, January 11

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    Eyes are on Albany this week as we head toward Governor Andrew Cuomo's State of the State and budget address on Wednesday in the capital. The governor has spent the past week rolling out pieces of his agenda, including events and announcements over the weekend, largely focused on infrastructure, but also criminal justice reform, the minimum wage, economic development, and more.

    The two houses of the state

    ...
  • Corruption, Elections Loom Over Lengthy 2016 Legislative Agenda

    Cuomo announcement infrastructure

    Cuomo (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of the Governor)


    Lawmakers returning to Albany this week to kick off the 2016 legislative session are faced with a litany of unresolved issues from last year and the spectre of the recent convictions of two former legislative leaders.

    Add to that impending elections for all 213 legislative seats, some of which will be critical for the future of state Senate control and the prospect of future indictments hinted at by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and you have a recipe for potential

    ...
  • Good Government Groups Want Legislators to Pledge to Fight for Reform

    pledge

    The pledge (photo via @CitizensUnionNY)


    Lawmakers returned to Albany for the first day of the 2016 legislative session in the wake of two seismic corruption convictions of their former house leaders. Waiting for them were representatives of three leading good government groups, asking New York state legislators to sign a pledge to fight for good government reform.

    On the first day of session since both former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos were convicted on multiple federal corruption charges, good government groups unveiled a

    ...
  • Skelos Conviction Greeted With Calls for Immediate Action on Reform

    Skelos Silver Cuomo 2012

    Dean Skelos in 2012, via The Governor's Office on flickr 


    Sen. Dean Skelos and his son Adam Skelos were convicted on eight federal corruption charges Friday. They were found guilty of a scheme where Dean Skelos used his power as Senate Majority Leader to influence companies to employ or pay his son. The conviction comes only a week after that of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver on charges that he illegally used his influence for financial gain of $4 million.

    The convictions speak to a larger campaign by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, whose

    ...
  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, December 7

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


     ***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?
    E-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    ...
  • Will Silver Conviction Be Tipping Point for 'Real' Reform?

    sheldon silver conviction

    Sheldon Silver in 2012 (photo via the Governor's Office)


    Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, thought to be the most powerful man in New York state government for decades, was found guilty Monday on seven counts of corruption in multiple schemes to monetize the power of his office. During the trial Silver's own defense attorney insisted that Albany itself was on trial and claimed that Silver's behavior was business as usual in Albany,

    ...
  • Top Ten Corruption Quotes from Silver, Skelos Trials

    cuomo silver skelos

    Happier times: Silver, Cuomo, Skelos in 2011 (l-r) photo via Governor's Office on flickr 


    Two former leaders of their respective houses of the New York state legislature are on trial concurrently. In separate cases brought by the office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, each is accused of using his office for private gain, among other charges. While the case against former Assembly Speaker Sheldon

    ...
  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, November 16

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    While former state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's corruption trial continues this week, former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos' gets started. Albany ethics and pay-to-play culture will continue to loom over and be laced throughout the day-to-day news out of the two trials. Just last week, leading good government groups ...

  • De Blasio Attempts to Undo Negative First Impressions

    de blasio press conference distance

    De Blasio at a press conference (Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)


    It's hard to go a few hours in New York political circles without hearing a joke about the mayor being late. Mayor de Blasio earned the taunts, having had a punctuality problem, which offended many New Yorkers. These days, de Blasio is almost never late for public events, though, seeming to have corrected what should have been an avoidable mistake of his early tenure.

    Still, nearly two years into his term, de Blasio is dogged by a reputation for tardiness, as well as other

    ...
  • As Sheldon Silver Heads to Trial, A Democratic Challenger is Poised to Run

    Paul Newell Sheldon Silver

    Paul Newell at a housing rally (via @NewellNYC)


    Manhattan District Leader Paul Newell is gearing up for his second bid to replace Assemblymember Sheldon Silver. Newell told Gotham Gazette that he has started fundraising and is "close to running." A political lifetime ago, in 2008, Newell ran a grassroots campaign to unseat Silver, who was then at the height of his power.

    Things have changed since then. Silver was indicted on multiple corruption charges earlier this year and then deposed from the Assembly speakership that he

    ...
  • One 'Raise the Age' Story at Center of Push for Legislative Action

    Cuomo prison raise the age

    Cuomo at The Greene Correctional Facility (photo: Governor's Office via flickr)


    In the Summer of 2010, Benjamin Van Zandt was a smart, quiet 17-year-old; an excellent student enrolled in AP classes, a math whiz and violin player, and on his way to becoming an Eagle Scout. Van Zandt was a resident of Selkirk, a small town just outside Albany known for its rail yards and manufacturing plants.

    Only four years

    ...
  • Do New York Elected Officials Deserve A Raise?

    BdB parade august

    Mayor de Blasio along the parade route (photo: @BilldeBlasio)


    What should the mayor of New York City be paid each year? How much should City Council members be paid? Do elected officials deserve incremental raises each year?

    Or, maybe elected officials are overpaid as it is?

    Some, like New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, think higher government salaries would entice “better” people into public service, meaning smarter and more honest officials.

    A host of questions have

    ...
  • Will New York Be Last to 'Raise the Age'?

    Cuomo inmates raise the age

    Gov. Cuomo meets with young inmates (photo: Governor's Office)


    Gov. Andrew Cuomo is fond of calling New York a "progressive leader," declaring the state trailblazing on issues that matter, like marriage equality and gun control. It is a tenet of the governor's new push for an eventual $15-per-hour minimum wage.

    However, New York lags so far behind other states on one criminal justice issue that it could soon be the only state in

    ...
  • Alain Kaloyeros, Powerful Centerpiece of Buffalo Billion, Could Become Household Name

    Kaloyeros Cuomo Buffalo

    Alain Kaloyeros (photo via the Governor's Office on flickr)


    It is easy to spot Alain Kaloyeros, head of SUNY Polytechnic, around Albany. You can often see him jetting around Stuyvesant Plaza, an upscale shopping center basically next door to the campus he built, which features a spaceship-like structure rising out of the dirt of constant construction.

    It doesn't hurt that he drives a Ferrari Spider with the license plate "Dr. Nano." He is New

    ...
  • Did Bill De Blasio's Tirade Help Andrew Cuomo Get His Groove Back?

    Cuomo labor day parade

    Gov. Cuomo at the Labor Day parade (photo: The Governor's Office via flickr)


    On Thursday Governor Andrew Cuomo, joined by Vice President Joe Biden, held a rally to announce a campaign to make New York the first state in the nation with a $15-per-hour minimum wage.

    "So Mr. Vice President, today I announce that I will propose to the New York state legislature not just $15 for fast-food workers, because a fast-food worker deserves $15

    ...
  • Assembly Transparency Group Operates in Secret

    Heastie tour wind

    Assembly Speaker Heastie, middle, on a business tour (photo: @WeaverWind)


    A host of good government groups and legislators say that a state Assembly working group tasked with reforming the chamber's rules to increase transparency and participation has been anything but transparent, operating in secret and rebuffing outside offers of help. One of its two chairs says his group has just been slow to move.

    Creation of the 12-member working group, chaired by Assembly Members Brian Kavanagh and Gary Pretlow, was just one reform

    ...
  • Executive Order Shifts Cuomo-Schneiderman Dynamic

    Cuomo Schneiderman executive order

    Cuomo and Schneiderman (photo: Office of the Governor - Kevin P. Coughlin)


    When Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order on July 8 giving Attorney General Eric Schneiderman the authority to investigate police killings of unarmed civilians, he did something he rarely does: he empowered a rival. In doing so, Cuomo made clear that the results of the order would be up to the AG's office, thus alleviating some of the pressure on himself to address what he has called a "crisis of

    ...
  • Republicans Face Moment of Truth After Conviction of Senate Deputy Leader

    Flanagan Libous

    Sen. Flanagan, standing, & former Sen. Libous (photo: Lori Van Buren)


    When Senator Tom Libous, deputy majority leader for the state Senate Republicans, was convicted last week it sent a shockwave through the capital. Sure, indictments and convictions of powerful sitting legislators are a dime a dozen these days thanks to the efforts of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, but many in Albany felt Libous' case was different.

    Well-liked

    ...
  • Despite Unprecedented Scandal, Calls for Special Ethics Session Fall on Deaf Ears

    john sampson

    Recently convicted former Sen. John Sampson (photo: @SampsonVictory)


    It would reason to think that the conviction of two legislative leaders would lead to a flurry of anti-corruption activity in any state capital. But in Albany, where the new normal appears to involve multiple convictions and indictments of sitting lawmakers every year, last week's crime blotter appears to have barely turned a head. The convictions of Republican Senate Deputy Leader Tom Libous and Democratic Sen. John Sampson, a former Majority Leader, on

    ...
  • The Week That Was in New York Politics, July 20-24

    week in review bus readers

    photo: Stanley Kubrick via Museum of the City of New York


    Gotham Gazette's Week in Review, Friday July 24

    PHOTO OF THE WEEK: the capitol office of former State Senator and Deputy Majority Leader Thomas Libous, scrubbed of his name after he was convicted of lying to the FBI, ...

  • Cuomo Waves Left with Executive Actions, Is Met with Shrugs

    Cuomo wage rally

    Cuomo at Wednesday's rally (photo: Governor's Office via flickr)


    On Wednesday, the office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo streamed live video of the wage board he convened as its members recommended a multi-year plan to phase in a $15 per hour minimum wage for fast food workers across the state. As the meeting ended the same stream cut to a jubilant rally in New York City. In stark contrast to previous

    ...
  • Black, Hispanic & Asian Caucus Faces Growing Pains, Tense Relationship with Cuomo

    Cuomo Schneiderman presser

    At the special prosecutor announcement (photo: Governor's Office via flickr)


    Gov. Andrew Cuomo was beaming. Touting the historical significance of the executive order he had just signed to give Attorney General Eric Schneiderman the authority to act as a special prosecutor in cases where police kill unarmed civilians, Cuomo smiled for photos. Often rivals, Cuomo and Schneiderman, who

    ...
  • Language in Rushed Rent Regulations May Hold Tenant-Friendly Surprise

    Cuomo Heastie rent

    Cuomo and Heastie in cahoots? (photo: Governor's Office via flickr) 


    Tenant advocates disappointed by the rent laws deal reached by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature at the end of session suddenly have a spark of hope, weeks after the backroom negotiations came to an end. Some are interpreting the wording of the new law to actually make it more difficult for landlords to deregulate apartments when rent reaches the established threshold, much to the chagrin of those property owners.

    Tenant

    ...
  • Prison Escape Allows Critics to Attack Cuomo on Prior Source of Strength

    Cuomo Dannemora prison escpae

    Cuomo at a prison escape briefing (photos via Governor's Office on flickr)


    Richard Matt, one of the two men involved in a daring and complex escape from the Clinton Correctional Facility, is dead, shot by officers after he refused to be taken alive. The other, David Sweat, was captured and returned to a maximum security prison after being shot twice. The high drama, which played out across national media, is apparently at an end. But investigations of the prison have begun, prison employees are

    ...