Gotham Gazette Gotham Gazette is an online publication covering New York policy and politics as well as news on public safety, transportation, education, finance and more. http://www.gothamgazette.com/component/tags/tag/zephyr-teachout 2017-10-20T08:56:29+00:00 Webmaster webmaster@gothamgazette.com New York Congressional Primary Results; Espaillat, Teachout Among Winners 2016-06-28T04:00:00+00:00 2016-06-28T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6420:new-york-congressional-primary-results-espaillat-teachout-among-winners Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/Espaillat_presser.jpg" alt="Espaillat presser" width="600" height="450" /></p> <p>Adriano Espaillat (photo: @EspaillatNY)</p> <hr /> <p>New York voters chose congressional candidates in 13 primaries across the state on Tuesday, with seven of those contests taking place within New York City&mdash;all of which were Democratic. New York has 27 seats in the House of Representatives.</p> <p>While the current New York City congressional delegation consists of 11 Democrats and one Republican, a makeup that is unlikely to change this year, results from key primaries in three swing districts outside the city have set the stage for races that could factor into which party controls the House after November&rsquo;s elections.</p> <p>In the most-watched and only competitive primary in New York City, nine candidates contended to be the Democratic nominee for New York&rsquo;s 13th Congressional District, where longtime incumbent Charlie Rangel announced he will step down after 46 years in office. The district includes much of Upper Manhattan and some of the South Bronx. Because the district is overwhelmingly Democratic, the primary winner is a lock to become the next district representative in Congress.</p> <p>State Senator Adriano Espaillat, who lost primary challenges to Rangel in 2012 and 2014, declared victory in NY-13, barely defeating Assemblymember Keith Wright. While Wright did not immediately concede, asserting that every vote must be counted and that efforts to suppress the vote of African-Americans must be investigated, <a href="https://twitter.com/InsideCityHall/status/747995597248958465" target="_blank">NY1 projected</a> Espaillat the winner just after 11 p.m., at which point 98% of precincts had reported their ballots and Espaillat held a lead of about 1,270 votes. <a href="http://www.wnyc.org/story/election-results-2016-new-york-federal-primary/" target="_blank">The NY-13 vote</a> was relatively high among expectedly low turnout affairs across the city and state, with about 43,000 votes cast -- Espaillat received about 15,700 (37%); Wright about 14,400 (34%).</p> <p>Clyde Williams (11%) finished a somewhat distant third, followed by Adam Clayton Powell IV (6%), Guillermo Linares (5.5%), Suzan Johnson-Cook (5%), Michael Gallagher, Sam Sloan, and Yohanny Caceres.</p> <p>Most New York City congressional primaries were marked by victories for incumbent candidates. Democrats Gregory Meeks of Queens; Nydia Velazquez of Brooklyn; Jerrod Nadler and Carolyn Maloney of Manhattan; and Jose Serrano of the Bronx kept their seats by wide margins in contested primaries. All are expected to win general election races in November, along with other Democrats, like Grace Meng and Hakeem Jeffries, who did not have primary challenges, and Republican Rep. Daniel Donovan, who was unopposed in the primary.</p> <p>A key primary outside the city was the 19th Congressional District in the Hudson Valley and the Catskills, where current Republican Rep. Chris Gibson has announced he will retire this year. Zephyr Teachout defeated Will Yandik to clinch the Democratic nomination there, while John Faso won the Republican nomination over Andrew Heaney. Teachout and Faso are preparing for what could be a very competitive general election that may garner national attention and resources from the two major party apparatuses.</p> <p>Democratic Rep. Steve Israel, who represents the state&rsquo;s 3rd Congressional District on Long Island, will also retire at the end of this term. In the primaries, Thomas Suozzi defeated Jon Kaiman, Steve Stern, Jonathan Clarke, and Anna Kaplan to become the Democratic nominee. Suozzi will face Republican candidate Jack Martins in the general election.</p> <p>Republican Rep. Richard Hanna of the 22nd Congressional District in Utica has also announced he will step down this year after three terms in office. In the district&rsquo;s Republican primary, Claudia Tenney defeated George Philips and Steven Wells to become the nominee, and will run against Democratic candidate Kim Meyers in November.</p> <p>As the November general election approaches, candidates on both sides of the aisle will be looking up the ticket at presidential nominees. The two major parties both have presumptive nominees from New York, Hillary Clinton for the Democrats and Donald Trump for the Republicans. The official nominating conventions are in July.</p> <p>Come November, there will be one New York Senate race on the ballot, with incumbent Sen. Charles Schumer, a Democrat from Brooklyn, facing Republican challenger Wendy Long. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat who defeated Long in 2012, is not up for reelection this year.</p> <p>The general election will take place November 8. Before the November election, New Yorkers will have a third primary election day, with state Assembly and Senate primaries on September 13. Few New York City-based races are expected to be competitive, but if Espaillat is indeed the winner in NY-13, his state Senate seat will be open and there are at least two Democrats, Micah Lasher and Robert Jackson, already in the running.</p> <p style="text-align: center;">[<a href="http://www.wnyc.org/story/election-results-2016-new-york-federal-primary/" target="_blank">See the details of New York primary voting results via WNYC here</a>]</p> <p>

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by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette
     

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</p> <p>Aaron Holmes contributed reporting.</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/Espaillat_presser.jpg" alt="Espaillat presser" width="600" height="450" /></p> <p>Adriano Espaillat (photo: @EspaillatNY)</p> <hr /> <p>New York voters chose congressional candidates in 13 primaries across the state on Tuesday, with seven of those contests taking place within New York City&mdash;all of which were Democratic. New York has 27 seats in the House of Representatives.</p> <p>While the current New York City congressional delegation consists of 11 Democrats and one Republican, a makeup that is unlikely to change this year, results from key primaries in three swing districts outside the city have set the stage for races that could factor into which party controls the House after November&rsquo;s elections.</p> <p>In the most-watched and only competitive primary in New York City, nine candidates contended to be the Democratic nominee for New York&rsquo;s 13th Congressional District, where longtime incumbent Charlie Rangel announced he will step down after 46 years in office. The district includes much of Upper Manhattan and some of the South Bronx. Because the district is overwhelmingly Democratic, the primary winner is a lock to become the next district representative in Congress.</p> <p>State Senator Adriano Espaillat, who lost primary challenges to Rangel in 2012 and 2014, declared victory in NY-13, barely defeating Assemblymember Keith Wright. While Wright did not immediately concede, asserting that every vote must be counted and that efforts to suppress the vote of African-Americans must be investigated, <a href="https://twitter.com/InsideCityHall/status/747995597248958465" target="_blank">NY1 projected</a> Espaillat the winner just after 11 p.m., at which point 98% of precincts had reported their ballots and Espaillat held a lead of about 1,270 votes. <a href="http://www.wnyc.org/story/election-results-2016-new-york-federal-primary/" target="_blank">The NY-13 vote</a> was relatively high among expectedly low turnout affairs across the city and state, with about 43,000 votes cast -- Espaillat received about 15,700 (37%); Wright about 14,400 (34%).</p> <p>Clyde Williams (11%) finished a somewhat distant third, followed by Adam Clayton Powell IV (6%), Guillermo Linares (5.5%), Suzan Johnson-Cook (5%), Michael Gallagher, Sam Sloan, and Yohanny Caceres.</p> <p>Most New York City congressional primaries were marked by victories for incumbent candidates. Democrats Gregory Meeks of Queens; Nydia Velazquez of Brooklyn; Jerrod Nadler and Carolyn Maloney of Manhattan; and Jose Serrano of the Bronx kept their seats by wide margins in contested primaries. All are expected to win general election races in November, along with other Democrats, like Grace Meng and Hakeem Jeffries, who did not have primary challenges, and Republican Rep. Daniel Donovan, who was unopposed in the primary.</p> <p>A key primary outside the city was the 19th Congressional District in the Hudson Valley and the Catskills, where current Republican Rep. Chris Gibson has announced he will retire this year. Zephyr Teachout defeated Will Yandik to clinch the Democratic nomination there, while John Faso won the Republican nomination over Andrew Heaney. Teachout and Faso are preparing for what could be a very competitive general election that may garner national attention and resources from the two major party apparatuses.</p> <p>Democratic Rep. Steve Israel, who represents the state&rsquo;s 3rd Congressional District on Long Island, will also retire at the end of this term. In the primaries, Thomas Suozzi defeated Jon Kaiman, Steve Stern, Jonathan Clarke, and Anna Kaplan to become the Democratic nominee. Suozzi will face Republican candidate Jack Martins in the general election.</p> <p>Republican Rep. Richard Hanna of the 22nd Congressional District in Utica has also announced he will step down this year after three terms in office. In the district&rsquo;s Republican primary, Claudia Tenney defeated George Philips and Steven Wells to become the nominee, and will run against Democratic candidate Kim Meyers in November.</p> <p>As the November general election approaches, candidates on both sides of the aisle will be looking up the ticket at presidential nominees. The two major parties both have presumptive nominees from New York, Hillary Clinton for the Democrats and Donald Trump for the Republicans. The official nominating conventions are in July.</p> <p>Come November, there will be one New York Senate race on the ballot, with incumbent Sen. Charles Schumer, a Democrat from Brooklyn, facing Republican challenger Wendy Long. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat who defeated Long in 2012, is not up for reelection this year.</p> <p>The general election will take place November 8. Before the November election, New Yorkers will have a third primary election day, with state Assembly and Senate primaries on September 13. Few New York City-based races are expected to be competitive, but if Espaillat is indeed the winner in NY-13, his state Senate seat will be open and there are at least two Democrats, Micah Lasher and Robert Jackson, already in the running.</p> <p style="text-align: center;">[<a href="http://www.wnyc.org/story/election-results-2016-new-york-federal-primary/" target="_blank">See the details of New York primary voting results via WNYC here</a>]</p> <p>

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by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p> <p>Aaron Holmes contributed reporting.</p>
Mapping New York’s Presidential Primary 2016-04-14T19:23:40+00:00 2016-04-14T19:23:40+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6279:mapping-new-york-s-presidential-primary Ben Max <p><img alt="Gotham Gazette: GOP NYS by County 2016" src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/gop-nys-by-county-2016.jpg" /></p> <hr /> <p>A look at voting trends in New York as voters head to the polls in the 2016 presidential primaries - scroll through the presentation below created by Steven Romalewski, director of the CUNY Graduate Center's Mapping Service:</p> <p><iframe src="https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5mC5jXJCiriWnZVVUo4d3BDRkE/preview" width="600" height="480"></iframe>&nbsp;</p> <p><img alt="Gotham Gazette: GOP NYS by County 2016" src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/gop-nys-by-county-2016.jpg" /></p> <hr /> <p>A look at voting trends in New York as voters head to the polls in the 2016 presidential primaries - scroll through the presentation below created by Steven Romalewski, director of the CUNY Graduate Center's Mapping Service:</p> <p><iframe src="https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5mC5jXJCiriWnZVVUo4d3BDRkE/preview" width="600" height="480"></iframe>&nbsp;</p> Cuomo’s 2016 Wins Shaped by Progressive Forces, Electoral Lessons 2016-04-12T03:52:05+00:00 2016-04-12T03:52:05+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6274:cuomo-s-2016-wins-shaped-by-progressive-forces-electoral-lessons Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/25964697070_8a3e2e2d06_z.jpg" alt="cuomo clinton et al celebrate" height="424" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Gov. Cuomo celebrates new progressie policies (photo:&nbsp;Don Pollard, Governor's Office)</span></p> <hr /> <p>Gov. Andrew Cuomo launched himself onto the national political stage this month by orchestrating a budget deal that made New York the first state to pass a $15 minimum wage and a paid family leave program. With Vice President Joe Biden at his side the governor pushed family leave; weeks later, Cuomo signed the package of “economic justice” legislation at a celebratory rally with Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton. He was subsequently congratulated by President Obama.</p> <p>All the while, labor union members cheered the governor who had, finally, made their agenda his.</p> <p>Unlike other major policy wins from earlier in his tenure that sprung the governor into the national spotlight, like marriage equality and gun control, the minimum wage and family leave bills speak directly to socioeconomic issues that some of the state’s liberal base felt Cuomo, a Democrat, had been insensitive to. Cuomo had indeed rejected as flights of fancy those very policies only months before announcing campaigns to support them, first saying that they would be non-starters with Republicans controlling one house of the Legislature, then pursuing them with the intensity Cuomo has given to his must-wins.</p> <p>Cuomo’s path to his moment as progressive trailblazer on economic issues was a winding one, mystifying some, including those calling political opportunism, while others point to the influence of four powerful figures: Mayor Bill de Blasio, gubernatorial challenger Zephyr Teachout, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, and Democratic voters who could deliver the governor a third term in 2018.</p> <p>On the way to a second term, Cuomo found himself in positions generally foreign to him: out-leveraged and outworked. First, Cuomo was humbled by the Working Families Party as it sought a 2014 alternative to a governor many of its members felt had betrayed their union members and progressive mission. Aided by de Blasio and making promises many now feel he did not intend to keep, Cuomo convinced the WFP to call off its third party challenge from Fordham Law Professor Zephyr Teachout.</p> <p>But then, the unknown, liberal Teachout, took Cuomo on in the Democratic primary, where the incumbent governor lost 30 counties and took home only 60 percent of the vote. Cuomo entered term two significantly weakened.</p> <p>For Cuomo, known for crippling his rivals and bullying major organizations into submission, these were positions he never wanted to be in again.</p> <p>It's a situation that insiders, pundits, and elected officials see as having given birth to the 2016 political environment in which Cuomo would fully embrace the Fight for $15 minimum wage campaign and launch his own paid family leave push, invoking the name of his recently deceased father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, in both efforts. Cuomo traveled the state in an RV plastered with the Fight for $15 slogan, picking up the mantle of an effort led by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and its labor and liberal allies that Cuomo has often distanced himself from on economic issues.</p> <p>“The original policy rests with de Blasio,” said Douglas Muzzio, professor of political science at Baruch College, of a liberal agenda. “The timing coincides with Teachout. But it leads to the governor deciding to tack left.”</p> <p>Critics, even some supporters, see the governor’s leftward lurch as evidence of political opportunism.</p> <p>“He doesn't give a damn about getting people out of poverty,” said Ed Cox, the chair of the New York Republican State Committee. “He cares about his own power. He had to do it to secure his political power, but in the end that kind of governing comes back to bite you.”</p> <p>Cox is speaking at a time when state Senate Republicans went along with Cuomo’s minimum wage program, albeit a “calibrated” one, as Cuomo called it, where they were able to lengthen and regionalize the phase-in.</p> <p>Congressional Rep. Chris Gibson, a Republican who has announced an exploratory committee for a 2018 gubernatorial run, also noticed the governor’s very public change of opinion. “You would have to talk to him to understand his motivation, but arguably the most persuasive critic against a $15 minimum wage is Governor Cuomo five minutes ago,” Gibson said.</p> <p>As Gibson prepares a potential bid to unseat Cuomo, the governor appears to have a clearer picture of the base he needs to withstand such a challenge.</p> <p>In Spring 2014, heads of the union-backed, left-leaning Working Families Party were ready to hand the powerful incumbent governor their endorsement but they had underestimated rank-and-file party members, activists turned off by what they saw as a fiscally conservative, transactional governor who cozied up to Senate Republicans, tussled with public employees unions, and generally thumbed his nose at the Democratic base.</p> <p>The governor appeared by video during the WFP convention in late May 2014, acceding to a list of party demands in an endorsement deal brokered by de Blasio. When party members weren’t satisfied Cuomo was forced to follow up with a phone call promising to back a Democratic Senate, a higher minimum wage, and a push to enact the DREAM Act.</p> <p>Cuomo looked forward to an easy reelection, whether he actually planned to follow through on his pledges to the WFP or not. But Teachout and many in the WFP didn’t get the memo, and the Democratic primary that followed was bruising and embarrassing for Cuomo as his campaign took on a bunker mentality while Teachout worked the base across the state.</p> <p>“If you needed any more evidence that in New York state leaders of organizations have no control over their followers you just need to look at that situation,” said Kenneth Sherrill, professor emeritus of political science at Hunter College. “The governor thought he was dealing with an interest group and he had won their support, but a lot of their members weren’t happy with the governor and in fact an awful lot of voters shared their view.”</p> <p>And what was that view exactly? “People’s lives aren’t good and they want them to be better,” said Sherrill, referring to working class voters.</p> <p>It was a message that Cuomo appeared slow to pick up on - he backed a variety of wage increases but balked at de Blasio’s plan to raise the minimum wage and allow the city to set its own in February of 2014, saying it would be “chaotic” to have different wages across the state. “God bless them — shoot for the stars,” Cuomo <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/cuomo-rejects-assembly-dems-plan-15-hour-minimum-wage-article-1.2146491" target="_blank">said</a> sarcastically in March, 2015, dismissing the Assembly Democrats’ plan to raise the state minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2018. During a public cabinet meeting in February, 2015, Cuomo said the Legislature had “no appetite” for paid family leave.</p> <p>Cuomo ran in 2010 as a leader who could provide competence to a capital that had seen one gubernatorial term split between Eliot Spitzer’s partisan bickering and scandal and David Paterson’s chaotic tenure characterized by a power struggle in the Senate and more scandal. The state was still reeling from the financial crisis and accustomed to late budgets and tax increases. Cuomo used his first term to prove he had a firm hand on the state’s finances and operations, negotiating tough deals with unions, delivering on-time budgets, instituting a property tax cap, and even delivering on socially liberal policy like marriage equality. But pundits say Cuomo missed a sea change in the electorate.</p> <p>“There's some academic research that indicates legislators misestimate their constituents’ thinking,” said Sherrill. “They tend to believe they are more conservative than they really are. So when confronted with public opinion from their district they are shocked how further left [constituents] really are. I think that’s what happened to the governor. He had no idea public opinion had shifted the way it had - and it was not just the governor. The good politician that he is, he made a wise strategic adjustment.”</p> <p>Howie Hawkins, who challenged Cuomo on the Green Party line in both 2010 and 2014, said he agrees with Sherrill. “I generally think constituents are more liberal than their representatives think, and I think the poll in this case being the votes in the primary and general elections showed [Cuomo] his mistake.”</p> <p>Cuomo’s “adjustment” involved a change in agenda and messaging. Suddenly the governor who was known for dismissing the “poetry” of campaigning that his father so embraced took to the stump using lines from his father’s famous speech from the 1984 Democratic National Convention:</p> <p>“But the hard truth is that not everyone is sharing in this city's splendor and glory. A shining city is perhaps all the President sees from the portico of the White House and the veranda of his ranch, where everyone seems to be doing well. But there's another city; there's another part to the shining the city; the part where some people can't pay their mortgages, and most young people can't afford one; where students can't afford the education they need, and middle-class parents watch the dreams they hold for their children evaporate.”</p> <p>The younger Cuomo used the speech excerpt in a television campaign for his wage push, leading to the official Mario Cuomo Campaign for Economic Justice, launched by Cuomo and labor leaders. The language and imagery mirrored the “Tale of Two Cities” motif de Blasio used for his 2013 mayoral campaign.</p> <p>Hawkins, who told Gotham Gazette he is prepared to run for Governor again depending on the circumstances, said he doesn’t believe Cuomo has changed his general approach to governing. “I think he’s making gestures, but look at the budget - it is still fiscal austerity, especially cities and towns. There are unfunded mandates and lack of aid from the state, and while he has provided more money for education it is less than the Campaign for Fiscal Equity settlement,” Hawkins said, referring to the 2006 court decision by which New York City is still owed billions according to advocates. “When [Assembly Speaker Carl] Heastie proposed a slightly progressive income tax he just rejected it. So he is not dealing with basic fiscal structure.”</p> <p>Hawkins said he believes Cuomo’s action on minimum wage and paid family leave will protect Cuomo from a challenge from inside the Democratic Party if the governor runs for a third term in 2018. Hawkins, who performed best in the Capital Region where Cuomo went to war with public worker unions early in his term, said he isn’t so sure the anger is going to be there again in 2018. “I don’t know that people are going to be that upset with him,” he said.</p> <p>Cuomo’s Republican opposition sees the governor’s support of the $15 minimum wage as a political calculation designed to undercut his Democratic rival, de Blasio, while boosting his national standing. They imagine the governor has sapped de Blasio’s momentum and hopes to use it to land the keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention this year, or perhaps even the Vice Presidency or a major cabinet position.</p> <p>Political analysts call these scenarios unlikely. Cuomo has gone on the record saying he plans to win and serve a third term as Governor, unless, he says, he keels over from a heart attack induced by the Albany press corp. The governor’s office declined to comment for this story.</p> <p>“In 2010 he understood he had to run as a fiscal conservative,” said Cox, the chair of the New York Republican State Committee. “In 2013 Bill de Blasio wins saying he is the progressive leader of the free world. In 2014 Cuomo’s running in his own primary and he has to beg to get the backing of the Working Families Party and he only gets 60 percent as a sitting Governor in his own party’s primary.”</p> <p>Cox said that Cuomo slowly began taking on de Blasio’s positions, “just as Mrs. [Hillary] Clinton has done with Bernie Sanders.” And eventually “adopted the SEIU’s ‘Fight for 15’ campaign whole hock” to “avoid insulting his very important constituents in labor.”</p> <p>Meanwhile, Cox points out that Cuomo made a number of his major policy announcements alongside Vice President Joe Biden, who was very much thought to be a presidential contender at the time.</p> <p>Cox believes the governor’s minimum wage plan that embraces different phase-ins across the state - in direct contradiction to his previous statement calling such a system “chaotic” - will not only hurt the economy but leave the governor vulnerable to a Republican challenger.</p> <p>Rep. Gibson, the most likely such challenger at this point, said he would have liked to see a less “politicized process” that tied the wage to inflation and focused on growth across the state. “When my dad was out of work it was devastating,” said Gibson. “People want to work. But I believe this wage increase will prevent people from working. It will kill jobs.”</p> <p>Noting that a number of counties in his Congressional district border other states, Gibson said he believes businesses will soon flee across the border to avoid new mandates. Asked if he would look to slow the increase of the minimum wage should he be elected, Gibson said, “I need to look at any kind of action like that. I think it’s important to listen and to get the facts.”</p> <p>There are still some Albany observers who believe Cuomo is looking past re-election and is ready to enter the national scene on the back of his victories on minimum wage and paid family leave. Cuomo has embraced the praise of both Hillary Clinton and President Obama, who commended the passage of paid family leave. “There’s no doubt he has national ambitions, he wants to win with big numbers and not be embarrassed in his primary,” said Sherrill. “So he is relocating himself, perhaps more to his own feelings or maybe not. It is very difficult, especially with [U.S. Attorney] Preet Bharara watching, to satisfy the Senate Republicans he helped elect and his Democratic base.”</p> <p>Cuomo remains opposed to tax increases - he beat back an Assembly proposal for a new millionaire’s tax, passed a series of tax cuts this year, and is extremely sensitive to the notion that New York has some of the highest taxes in the nation. But Sherrill believes by being on the forefront of a $15 minimum wage and paid family leave the governor is part of a developing national trend that gets big business to pay without actually raising taxes. The paid family leave program also rests upon employee contributions.</p> <p>“Cuomo, like his father, supported very big liberal policies that don’t cost money - marriage equality, gun control doesn't cost money,” said Sherrill. “He chalks up these kind of wins in an age where you can’t raise taxes.”</p> <p>“A substantial number of voters want politicians to make their lives better, but they can't raise taxes,” Sherrill continued, explaining the broader political climate. “At some point the sheer number of voters outweighs the people with lots of money. You can't raise taxes, but you can do other things to make the wealthy pay, like raising the minimum wage. However, a lot of programs de Blasio and Cuomo are advocating are in fact ways to get money into people’s hands while raising the cost on the people who refuse to pay taxes,” said Sherrill. “At some point I think the business community just asks for its taxes to be raised because it will be better for them.”</p> <p>

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by David King, Albany editor, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/25964697070_8a3e2e2d06_z.jpg" alt="cuomo clinton et al celebrate" height="424" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Gov. Cuomo celebrates new progressie policies (photo:&nbsp;Don Pollard, Governor's Office)</span></p> <hr /> <p>Gov. Andrew Cuomo launched himself onto the national political stage this month by orchestrating a budget deal that made New York the first state to pass a $15 minimum wage and a paid family leave program. With Vice President Joe Biden at his side the governor pushed family leave; weeks later, Cuomo signed the package of “economic justice” legislation at a celebratory rally with Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton. He was subsequently congratulated by President Obama.</p> <p>All the while, labor union members cheered the governor who had, finally, made their agenda his.</p> <p>Unlike other major policy wins from earlier in his tenure that sprung the governor into the national spotlight, like marriage equality and gun control, the minimum wage and family leave bills speak directly to socioeconomic issues that some of the state’s liberal base felt Cuomo, a Democrat, had been insensitive to. Cuomo had indeed rejected as flights of fancy those very policies only months before announcing campaigns to support them, first saying that they would be non-starters with Republicans controlling one house of the Legislature, then pursuing them with the intensity Cuomo has given to his must-wins.</p> <p>Cuomo’s path to his moment as progressive trailblazer on economic issues was a winding one, mystifying some, including those calling political opportunism, while others point to the influence of four powerful figures: Mayor Bill de Blasio, gubernatorial challenger Zephyr Teachout, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, and Democratic voters who could deliver the governor a third term in 2018.</p> <p>On the way to a second term, Cuomo found himself in positions generally foreign to him: out-leveraged and outworked. First, Cuomo was humbled by the Working Families Party as it sought a 2014 alternative to a governor many of its members felt had betrayed their union members and progressive mission. Aided by de Blasio and making promises many now feel he did not intend to keep, Cuomo convinced the WFP to call off its third party challenge from Fordham Law Professor Zephyr Teachout.</p> <p>But then, the unknown, liberal Teachout, took Cuomo on in the Democratic primary, where the incumbent governor lost 30 counties and took home only 60 percent of the vote. Cuomo entered term two significantly weakened.</p> <p>For Cuomo, known for crippling his rivals and bullying major organizations into submission, these were positions he never wanted to be in again.</p> <p>It's a situation that insiders, pundits, and elected officials see as having given birth to the 2016 political environment in which Cuomo would fully embrace the Fight for $15 minimum wage campaign and launch his own paid family leave push, invoking the name of his recently deceased father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, in both efforts. Cuomo traveled the state in an RV plastered with the Fight for $15 slogan, picking up the mantle of an effort led by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and its labor and liberal allies that Cuomo has often distanced himself from on economic issues.</p> <p>“The original policy rests with de Blasio,” said Douglas Muzzio, professor of political science at Baruch College, of a liberal agenda. “The timing coincides with Teachout. But it leads to the governor deciding to tack left.”</p> <p>Critics, even some supporters, see the governor’s leftward lurch as evidence of political opportunism.</p> <p>“He doesn't give a damn about getting people out of poverty,” said Ed Cox, the chair of the New York Republican State Committee. “He cares about his own power. He had to do it to secure his political power, but in the end that kind of governing comes back to bite you.”</p> <p>Cox is speaking at a time when state Senate Republicans went along with Cuomo’s minimum wage program, albeit a “calibrated” one, as Cuomo called it, where they were able to lengthen and regionalize the phase-in.</p> <p>Congressional Rep. Chris Gibson, a Republican who has announced an exploratory committee for a 2018 gubernatorial run, also noticed the governor’s very public change of opinion. “You would have to talk to him to understand his motivation, but arguably the most persuasive critic against a $15 minimum wage is Governor Cuomo five minutes ago,” Gibson said.</p> <p>As Gibson prepares a potential bid to unseat Cuomo, the governor appears to have a clearer picture of the base he needs to withstand such a challenge.</p> <p>In Spring 2014, heads of the union-backed, left-leaning Working Families Party were ready to hand the powerful incumbent governor their endorsement but they had underestimated rank-and-file party members, activists turned off by what they saw as a fiscally conservative, transactional governor who cozied up to Senate Republicans, tussled with public employees unions, and generally thumbed his nose at the Democratic base.</p> <p>The governor appeared by video during the WFP convention in late May 2014, acceding to a list of party demands in an endorsement deal brokered by de Blasio. When party members weren’t satisfied Cuomo was forced to follow up with a phone call promising to back a Democratic Senate, a higher minimum wage, and a push to enact the DREAM Act.</p> <p>Cuomo looked forward to an easy reelection, whether he actually planned to follow through on his pledges to the WFP or not. But Teachout and many in the WFP didn’t get the memo, and the Democratic primary that followed was bruising and embarrassing for Cuomo as his campaign took on a bunker mentality while Teachout worked the base across the state.</p> <p>“If you needed any more evidence that in New York state leaders of organizations have no control over their followers you just need to look at that situation,” said Kenneth Sherrill, professor emeritus of political science at Hunter College. “The governor thought he was dealing with an interest group and he had won their support, but a lot of their members weren’t happy with the governor and in fact an awful lot of voters shared their view.”</p> <p>And what was that view exactly? “People’s lives aren’t good and they want them to be better,” said Sherrill, referring to working class voters.</p> <p>It was a message that Cuomo appeared slow to pick up on - he backed a variety of wage increases but balked at de Blasio’s plan to raise the minimum wage and allow the city to set its own in February of 2014, saying it would be “chaotic” to have different wages across the state. “God bless them — shoot for the stars,” Cuomo <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/cuomo-rejects-assembly-dems-plan-15-hour-minimum-wage-article-1.2146491" target="_blank">said</a> sarcastically in March, 2015, dismissing the Assembly Democrats’ plan to raise the state minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2018. During a public cabinet meeting in February, 2015, Cuomo said the Legislature had “no appetite” for paid family leave.</p> <p>Cuomo ran in 2010 as a leader who could provide competence to a capital that had seen one gubernatorial term split between Eliot Spitzer’s partisan bickering and scandal and David Paterson’s chaotic tenure characterized by a power struggle in the Senate and more scandal. The state was still reeling from the financial crisis and accustomed to late budgets and tax increases. Cuomo used his first term to prove he had a firm hand on the state’s finances and operations, negotiating tough deals with unions, delivering on-time budgets, instituting a property tax cap, and even delivering on socially liberal policy like marriage equality. But pundits say Cuomo missed a sea change in the electorate.</p> <p>“There's some academic research that indicates legislators misestimate their constituents’ thinking,” said Sherrill. “They tend to believe they are more conservative than they really are. So when confronted with public opinion from their district they are shocked how further left [constituents] really are. I think that’s what happened to the governor. He had no idea public opinion had shifted the way it had - and it was not just the governor. The good politician that he is, he made a wise strategic adjustment.”</p> <p>Howie Hawkins, who challenged Cuomo on the Green Party line in both 2010 and 2014, said he agrees with Sherrill. “I generally think constituents are more liberal than their representatives think, and I think the poll in this case being the votes in the primary and general elections showed [Cuomo] his mistake.”</p> <p>Cuomo’s “adjustment” involved a change in agenda and messaging. Suddenly the governor who was known for dismissing the “poetry” of campaigning that his father so embraced took to the stump using lines from his father’s famous speech from the 1984 Democratic National Convention:</p> <p>“But the hard truth is that not everyone is sharing in this city's splendor and glory. A shining city is perhaps all the President sees from the portico of the White House and the veranda of his ranch, where everyone seems to be doing well. But there's another city; there's another part to the shining the city; the part where some people can't pay their mortgages, and most young people can't afford one; where students can't afford the education they need, and middle-class parents watch the dreams they hold for their children evaporate.”</p> <p>The younger Cuomo used the speech excerpt in a television campaign for his wage push, leading to the official Mario Cuomo Campaign for Economic Justice, launched by Cuomo and labor leaders. The language and imagery mirrored the “Tale of Two Cities” motif de Blasio used for his 2013 mayoral campaign.</p> <p>Hawkins, who told Gotham Gazette he is prepared to run for Governor again depending on the circumstances, said he doesn’t believe Cuomo has changed his general approach to governing. “I think he’s making gestures, but look at the budget - it is still fiscal austerity, especially cities and towns. There are unfunded mandates and lack of aid from the state, and while he has provided more money for education it is less than the Campaign for Fiscal Equity settlement,” Hawkins said, referring to the 2006 court decision by which New York City is still owed billions according to advocates. “When [Assembly Speaker Carl] Heastie proposed a slightly progressive income tax he just rejected it. So he is not dealing with basic fiscal structure.”</p> <p>Hawkins said he believes Cuomo’s action on minimum wage and paid family leave will protect Cuomo from a challenge from inside the Democratic Party if the governor runs for a third term in 2018. Hawkins, who performed best in the Capital Region where Cuomo went to war with public worker unions early in his term, said he isn’t so sure the anger is going to be there again in 2018. “I don’t know that people are going to be that upset with him,” he said.</p> <p>Cuomo’s Republican opposition sees the governor’s support of the $15 minimum wage as a political calculation designed to undercut his Democratic rival, de Blasio, while boosting his national standing. They imagine the governor has sapped de Blasio’s momentum and hopes to use it to land the keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention this year, or perhaps even the Vice Presidency or a major cabinet position.</p> <p>Political analysts call these scenarios unlikely. Cuomo has gone on the record saying he plans to win and serve a third term as Governor, unless, he says, he keels over from a heart attack induced by the Albany press corp. The governor’s office declined to comment for this story.</p> <p>“In 2010 he understood he had to run as a fiscal conservative,” said Cox, the chair of the New York Republican State Committee. “In 2013 Bill de Blasio wins saying he is the progressive leader of the free world. In 2014 Cuomo’s running in his own primary and he has to beg to get the backing of the Working Families Party and he only gets 60 percent as a sitting Governor in his own party’s primary.”</p> <p>Cox said that Cuomo slowly began taking on de Blasio’s positions, “just as Mrs. [Hillary] Clinton has done with Bernie Sanders.” And eventually “adopted the SEIU’s ‘Fight for 15’ campaign whole hock” to “avoid insulting his very important constituents in labor.”</p> <p>Meanwhile, Cox points out that Cuomo made a number of his major policy announcements alongside Vice President Joe Biden, who was very much thought to be a presidential contender at the time.</p> <p>Cox believes the governor’s minimum wage plan that embraces different phase-ins across the state - in direct contradiction to his previous statement calling such a system “chaotic” - will not only hurt the economy but leave the governor vulnerable to a Republican challenger.</p> <p>Rep. Gibson, the most likely such challenger at this point, said he would have liked to see a less “politicized process” that tied the wage to inflation and focused on growth across the state. “When my dad was out of work it was devastating,” said Gibson. “People want to work. But I believe this wage increase will prevent people from working. It will kill jobs.”</p> <p>Noting that a number of counties in his Congressional district border other states, Gibson said he believes businesses will soon flee across the border to avoid new mandates. Asked if he would look to slow the increase of the minimum wage should he be elected, Gibson said, “I need to look at any kind of action like that. I think it’s important to listen and to get the facts.”</p> <p>There are still some Albany observers who believe Cuomo is looking past re-election and is ready to enter the national scene on the back of his victories on minimum wage and paid family leave. Cuomo has embraced the praise of both Hillary Clinton and President Obama, who commended the passage of paid family leave. “There’s no doubt he has national ambitions, he wants to win with big numbers and not be embarrassed in his primary,” said Sherrill. “So he is relocating himself, perhaps more to his own feelings or maybe not. It is very difficult, especially with [U.S. Attorney] Preet Bharara watching, to satisfy the Senate Republicans he helped elect and his Democratic base.”</p> <p>Cuomo remains opposed to tax increases - he beat back an Assembly proposal for a new millionaire’s tax, passed a series of tax cuts this year, and is extremely sensitive to the notion that New York has some of the highest taxes in the nation. But Sherrill believes by being on the forefront of a $15 minimum wage and paid family leave the governor is part of a developing national trend that gets big business to pay without actually raising taxes. The paid family leave program also rests upon employee contributions.</p> <p>“Cuomo, like his father, supported very big liberal policies that don’t cost money - marriage equality, gun control doesn't cost money,” said Sherrill. “He chalks up these kind of wins in an age where you can’t raise taxes.”</p> <p>“A substantial number of voters want politicians to make their lives better, but they can't raise taxes,” Sherrill continued, explaining the broader political climate. “At some point the sheer number of voters outweighs the people with lots of money. You can't raise taxes, but you can do other things to make the wealthy pay, like raising the minimum wage. However, a lot of programs de Blasio and Cuomo are advocating are in fact ways to get money into people’s hands while raising the cost on the people who refuse to pay taxes,” said Sherrill. “At some point I think the business community just asks for its taxes to be raised because it will be better for them.”</p> <p>

***
by David King, Albany editor, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
The Week Ahead in New York Politics, April 4 2016-04-03T05:00:00+00:00 2016-04-03T05:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6260:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-april-4 Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/640px-New_York_City_Hall.jpg" alt="New York City Hall" height="450" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">New York City Hall</span></p> <hr /> <p><strong>What to watch for this week in New York politics:</strong></p> <p>We're about two weeks from New York's April 19 presidential primary vote. The three remaining Republican candidates and two remaining Democrats have been campaigning in New York, which is more in play than it has been in several cycles. Hillary Clinton is set to hold events in New York City and Albany Monday, including a rally with Gov. Cuomo and a meeting with state Assembly Democrats, and while the candidates are also paying attention to Wisconsin as the week begins, New York already has a great deal of their and the nation's focus. It should be an exciting and dramatic two weeks. As this week begins, the Clinton and Sanders campaigns continue to spar over whether there will be a Democratic debate in New York before the state votes.</p> <p>All three Republican candidates - Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and John Kasich - are set to attend the New York GOP's annual gala, set for April 14. The candidates are expected to campaign in New York over the next two weeks.</p> <p>The day of the New York presidential primaries, April 19, is also the date of special elections in the state Legislature, including the races to replace both former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. Both those races appear competitive two weeks out. The Senate race is especially important given that Democrats are eyeing this year's elections as a chance to take control of the chamber - they already have a wide majority in the Assembly.</p> <p>Monday will see return to a focus on the recently-passed state budget. Hillary Clinton will rally in New York City Monday with Gov. Cuomo and others to celebrate that the budget includes a path to a $15 per hour minimum wage and a paid family leave policy.</p> <p>There is sure to be more analysis of the $147-plus billion budget this week, it was passed Friday after much last-minute negotiating (a deal was announced just a few hours before the midnight Thursday deadline, with voting by the Legislature taking place through Thursday evening and into Friday - the state's fiscal year begins April 1). The new budget was met with some criticism, largely over the process by which it was agreed upon and passed with little time for review by lawmakers and the public, and much celebration, especially over the minimum wage and paid family leave provisions, as well as increased funding for education, transportation infrastructure, and more. There is a lot of budget language to digest as the details have been made public.</p> <p>The Legislature is due in Albany for three days of post-budget legislative session this week. Including this week, there are 27 days of session scheduled between now and its scheduled end on June 16. Issues to address include mayoral control of New York City schools, which expires at the end of June (the Senate will hold two May hearings, it recently announced, at which Mayor de Blasio is expected to testify), a property tax abatement program to spur affordable housing development (renewing or replacing the expired 421-a program), raising the age of adult criminal responsibility from 16, the Dream Act, and much more - including government ethics reform, which the governor says will be his top priority after none was included in the budget deal.</p> <p>On Monday we expect the City Council's official response to Mayor Bill de Blasio's $82 billion preliminary budget plan. The Council has held a month of budget hearings and now has the state budget to consider, so it is able to give its response to the mayor, who will take it and the state budget into account as he prepares his executive budget. When de Blasio releases his updated spending plan in a few weeks, it will kick off another round of Council budget hearings as the two sides head toward a deal by the end of June and the July 1 start of the city's new fiscal year. Since major cuts in funding to the city from the state that Gov. Cuomo had in his budget plan were taken out of the final deal, there will be little drama to the city budget process the rest of the way. The biggest bone of contention appears to be whether the mayor is insisting on enough agency savings. There will also be small battles over things like <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6240-library-funding-one-discrepancy-in-quiet-city-budget-season" target="_blank">levels of library funding</a>.</p> <p>Many eyes are also <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6262-with-clock-ticking-east-new-york-negotiations-to-heat-up" target="_blank">on East New York as the week begins</a>. A large area of the Brooklyn community is set to be rezoned, the first of 15 neighborhoods where the de Blasio administration plans to significantly change land use rules to facilitate more housing and community improvements, but the clock is ticking as the administration and local stakeholders, led by City Council Member Rafael Espinal, <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6262-with-clock-ticking-east-new-york-negotiations-to-heat-up" target="_blank">negotiate the final details of the plan</a>. There is no zoning subcommittee or land use committee vote scheduled as of Sunday evening, but one could be scheduled if a deal is reached. The parties have until the end of the month to reach and pass a deal.</p> <p>As always, there's a great deal happening&nbsp;all over the city, with many events to be aware of - read our day-by-day rundown below.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?</em><br /><em>E-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>***</em></p> <p><strong>The run of the week in detail:</strong></p> <p><strong>Monday<br /></strong>Both houses of the New York State Legislature are in session on Monday in Albany.</p> <p dir="ltr">The City Council’s preliminary budget response to Mayor de Blasio is expected on Monday.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 11 a.m. Monday at the Javits Center in Manhattan, The Mario Cuomo Campaign for Economic Justice will hold a "victory rally for $15 minimum wage and paid family leave"&nbsp;- participants will include "Governor Andrew M. Cuomo; Hillary Clinton; George Gresham, President of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East and Chair of the Mario Cuomo Campaign for Economic Justice; labor leaders; advocates and minimum wage workers." City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito is expected to attend the rally, according to her schedule.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Monday at 1 p.m. at 1 Police Plaza,&nbsp;"Mayor de Blasio and Police Commissioner William Bratton will host a press conference to discuss monthly crime stats," according to the mayor's public schedule.</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">At the City Council</a> on Monday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">10 a.m., the Committee on Transportation will meet to discuss several items, such as the provision of certain parking privileges for press vehicles, the requirement of curb extensions at certain dangerous intersections, and the establishment of Earth Day 2016 as a car-free day for private and all non-essential city vehicles.</li> <li dir="ltr">10:30 a.m., the Committee on Rules, Privileges and Elections will meet to discuss various candidates for appointment to the Civilian Complaint Review Board, the Board of Corrections, and the City Planning Commission.</li> <li dir="ltr">1 p.m., the Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions and Concessions will meet to address several land use applications.</li> <li dir="ltr">1 p.m., the Committee on Contracts will hold an oversight meeting on the challenges facing nonprofits in city contracting.</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">At 11:30 a.m. Monday, schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña&nbsp;will visit "a Model Dual Language Program to make an announcement," at High School for Dual Language and Asian Studies in Manhattan.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Monday at noon,&nbsp;"At a press conference Monday, the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance will release a new report on Mayor de Blasio's OneNYC Plan, his administration's blueprint for increasing the city's environmental sustainability and resiliency. The report shows that six low-income communities of color on the waterfront designated by the city as Significant Maritime and Industrial Areas (SMIAs)—the South Bronx, Sunset Park, Red Hook, Newtown Creek, Brooklyn Navy Yard, and the North Shore of Staten Island—are still the most vulnerable to the threats of climate change and not sufficiently protected by the OneNYC Plan. A number of constructive recommendations for strengthening the plan are offered in the detailed report."</p> <p dir="ltr">At 5 p.m. Monday, Comptroller Scott Stringer will deliver remarks&nbsp;"at 32BJ Security Contract Rally" at the Wall Street Bull. At 9 p.m., Stringer will appear on BronxTalk with Gary Axelbank (BronxNet TV or Bronxnet.org).</p> <p dir="ltr">At 7:30 p.m. Monday in Albany, the burgeoning Museum of Political Corruption will host a <a href="http://www.museumofpoliticalcorruption.org/news.html" target="_blank">roundtable discussion and public forum</a> on political corruption following a reception and fundraiser. Speakers include Frank Anechiarico, professor of government and law at Hamilton College; Blair Horner, Executive Director of the New York Public Interest Research Group; Zephyr Teachout, Fordham Law School professor and Congressional candidate; Jimmy Vielkind, Politico NY Albany bureau chief; and Thomas Bass, SUNY Albany professor, who will moderate.</p> <p><strong>Tuesday<br /></strong>Both houses of the New York State Legislature are in session on Tuesday in Albany.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 8 a.m., Bill Mulrow, secretary to Gov. Andrew Cuomo will <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/#utm_medium=email&amp;utm_source=cnyb-events&amp;utm_campaign=cnyb-events-20160317" target="_blank">discuss</a> the administration’s budget goals and legislative priorities, including a $15 minimum wage, paid family leave, and infrastructure projects, at a Crain’s New York Business event. Moderating the conversation will be Crain’s New York editor Erik Engquist and Ken Lovett of the Daily News.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 10 a.m. Tuesday on the Upper East Side,&nbsp;the launch of LinkNYC Kiosks with free Wi-Fi and more, featuring City Council Member Ben Kallos, Assistant Commissioner Telecommunications Planning at NYC Department of Information and Technology Stanley Shor and LinkNYC General Manager Jen Hensley (86th Street and 3rd Avenue, South East Corner).</p> <p dir="ltr">At the City Council on Tuesday: at 10 a.m., the Committee on Immigration will address a resolution calling on the U.S. Supreme Court to issue a decision in U.S. v. Texas, which overturns the Fifth Circuit’s ruling and upholds the implementation of President Obama’s expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) programs.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 2 p.m., a town hall meeting to discuss the 2017 referendum to hold a New York constitutional convention will be held at the University at Buffalo. The event will feature a number of experts, such as Gerald Benjamin of SUNY New Paltz and Henrik Dullea, who served as director of state operations and policy management for Governor Mario Cuomo from 1983-91, who will discuss what a constitutional convention would look like and the issues at stake in constitutional reform.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6 p.m., The Coalition to End Broken Windows will launch a two-day <a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/breaking-broken-windows-tickets-21796569125" target="_blank">conference</a>, Breaking Broken Windows, at the CUNY Graduate Center. Participants will evaluate, debate, and debunk Broken Windows policing theory, which “contends that policing disorder leads to reductions in serious crime.” They will also analyze the era of mass criminalization and imprisonment while working towards alternative solutions for a better future for New York City. Speakers include a variety of academics, advocates, and journalists, including Noha Arafa, of New Yorkers Against Bratton, Janine Jackson of Fairness &amp; Accuracy in Reporting, and Professor Alex Vitale of Brooklyn College.</p> <p dir="ltr">Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in Queens, "City Council "Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer and Access Queens will host a Town Hall on the 7 train with New York City Transit President Veronique "Ronnie" Hakim. At this event, 7 train riders, angry and frustrated by seemingly endless delays, overcrowding, and weekend and evening closures, will have the opportunity to ask questions and share concerns directly with the president of New York City Transit."</p> <p><strong>Wednesday<br /></strong>Both houses of the New York State Legislature are in session on Wednesday in Albany.</p> <p dir="ltr">The Manhattan Institute and the Fordham Institute will host a <a href="http://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/future-charter-schools—and-school-choice—-nyc-8621.html?et=5c3c75c9f5a6e1fc8f4bc64f46e771fc" target="_blank">conference</a> beginning at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday to address “The Future of Charter Schools—And School Choice—In NYC,” following a recent study ranking U.S. cities on various school-choice metrics (by the Fordham Institute) finding that local political support for charters in NYC has fallen from 8th to 26th place, and the city’s overall ranking from 3rd to 12th. Speakers include Priscilla Wohlstetter, professor at Teachers College, Columbia University; James Merriman, president of the New York City Charter School Center; Michael Petrilli, president of the Fordham Institute; and Charles Sahm, Director of Education Policy at the Manhattan Institute.</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">At the City Council</a> on Wednesday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">10 a.m., the Committee on Public Safety will meet to address several resolutions on Nicholas’ Law, the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act, Congressional funding for gun violence research, safeguards against wrongful convictions, and opposing the Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act.</li> <li dir="ltr">11 a.m., the Committee on Economic Development will hear a bill requiring a survey and study of racial, ethnic, and gender diversity among the leadership of city contractors.</li> <li dir="ltr">11 a.m., the Committee on Land Use will meet to address several issues deferred from the meeting of the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises and the Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting, and Maritime Uses.</li> <li dir="ltr">1 p.m., the Committee on Governmental Operations will meet to evaluate the structure and content of the preliminary Mayor’s Management Report.</li> </ul> <p>On Wednesday at 11 a.m. in Albany,&nbsp;"State Senator Liz Krueger will hold a forum on modernizing sales tax collection in New York State. New York State's current system of sales tax collection has not kept up with changes in retail payment methods and technological innovation. This forum will evaluate proposals for modernizing the collection of sales tax to improve its efficiency for retailers and to reduce the potential for fraud through sales tax suppression. One tax researcher has estimated that sales tax suppression costs New York State $1.7 billion in revenue annually. A number of other states and countries have adopted or are exploring the adoption of new technologies to address these issues."</p> <p>At 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, the Brooklyn Historical Society will host a <a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/moving-beyond-the-rhetoric-creating-a-diverse-workplace-in-the-21st-c-tickets-22062477464?ct=t(March+Programs+Week+3+(03082016))&amp;mc_eid=[UNIQID]&amp;mc_cid=6d60e307a9" target="_blank">panel</a> to discuss “Moving Beyond the Rhetoric: Creating a Diverse Workplace in the 21st Century.” Panelists include professionals leading Bloomberg LP’s Diversity and Inclusion group; Kristen Titus, Founding Director of NYC Tech Talent Pipeline; Anthony Crowell, President of New York Law School; Eulas Boyd, Dean of Admissions at Brooklyn Law School; and Tom Finkelpearl, Commissioner, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs” and will discuss their experiences in building and instituting workplace diversity policies.</p> <p><strong>Thursday<br /></strong>At 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Columbia’s schools of International and Public Affairs and Law will host a public policy forum about policing, criminal justice reform, and public integrity. Loretta Lynch, the 83rd Attorney General of the U.S., will deliver the keynote address. Former Mayor David Dinkins, who the event is named for and is a professor at Columbia, will deliver remarks. Professor Ester Fuchs will moderate a panel on&nbsp;on "Criminal Justice Reform and Public Integrity" featuring Mark Peters, Commissioner, NYC Department of Investigation; Daniel C. Richman, Paul J. Keller Professor of Law, Columbia Law School; Ken Thompson, Brooklyn District Attorney; Nicholas Turner, President and Director, Vera Institute of Justice. (This event is by invitation only.)</p> <p dir="ltr">At the City Council on Thursday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">10 a.m., the Committee on Finance will meet to address a land use application and introduce a bill establishing a temporary program to resolve outstanding penalties imposed by the environmental control board.</li> <li dir="ltr">1:30 p.m., the City Council will hold a full-body stated meeting, which will be prefaced as usual by a pre-stated press conference hosted by Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">State Legislature hearings Thursday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">10 a.m. in Albany, the Assembly Standing Committee on Insurance and the Assembly Standing Committee on Health will be hosting a <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/write/upload/publichearing/20160318.pdf" target="_blank">public hearing</a> to evaluate the process of modifying or enhancing health insurance coverage requirements under the Affordable Care Act.</li> <li dir="ltr">Noon in Oakdale, the Senate Joint Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction will host a <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?sh=hear" target="_blank">public meeting</a> to examine the issues facing communities in the wake of increased heroin abuse.</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">At 5 p.m. Thursday, the MTA will hold a <a href="http://web.mta.info/mta/news/hearings/" target="_blank">public hearing</a> about a proposal to restore service to the N and Q lines in connection with the opening of Phase I of the Second Avenue Subway, expected to be completed late this year.</p> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend<br /></strong>U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara <a href="https://twitter.com/PreetBharara/status/715551466505814016" target="_blank">is scheduled to deliver</a> the keynote speech at the New York Press Association Spring <a href="https://www.regonline.com/builder/site/tab2.aspx?EventID=1812032" target="_blank">Convention</a>, which will begin at 9 a.m. Friday.</p> <p>At 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, Staten Island Borough President James S. Oddo will join the ROLE Call in hosting the NYC Fatherhood and Family Enrichment Conference at Port Richmond High School. This <a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/nyc-fatherhood-and-family-enrichment-conference-2016-tickets-21128906127" target="_blank">event</a> aims to enhance Fatherhood Engagement by offering seminars and workshops in family and fatherhood services.</p> <p>***<br />Have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics? E-mail Gotham Gazette executive editor Ben Max any time:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>&nbsp;(please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).</p> <p>***<br />by Kelly Fan and Ben Max<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/640px-New_York_City_Hall.jpg" alt="New York City Hall" height="450" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">New York City Hall</span></p> <hr /> <p><strong>What to watch for this week in New York politics:</strong></p> <p>We're about two weeks from New York's April 19 presidential primary vote. The three remaining Republican candidates and two remaining Democrats have been campaigning in New York, which is more in play than it has been in several cycles. Hillary Clinton is set to hold events in New York City and Albany Monday, including a rally with Gov. Cuomo and a meeting with state Assembly Democrats, and while the candidates are also paying attention to Wisconsin as the week begins, New York already has a great deal of their and the nation's focus. It should be an exciting and dramatic two weeks. As this week begins, the Clinton and Sanders campaigns continue to spar over whether there will be a Democratic debate in New York before the state votes.</p> <p>All three Republican candidates - Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and John Kasich - are set to attend the New York GOP's annual gala, set for April 14. The candidates are expected to campaign in New York over the next two weeks.</p> <p>The day of the New York presidential primaries, April 19, is also the date of special elections in the state Legislature, including the races to replace both former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. Both those races appear competitive two weeks out. The Senate race is especially important given that Democrats are eyeing this year's elections as a chance to take control of the chamber - they already have a wide majority in the Assembly.</p> <p>Monday will see return to a focus on the recently-passed state budget. Hillary Clinton will rally in New York City Monday with Gov. Cuomo and others to celebrate that the budget includes a path to a $15 per hour minimum wage and a paid family leave policy.</p> <p>There is sure to be more analysis of the $147-plus billion budget this week, it was passed Friday after much last-minute negotiating (a deal was announced just a few hours before the midnight Thursday deadline, with voting by the Legislature taking place through Thursday evening and into Friday - the state's fiscal year begins April 1). The new budget was met with some criticism, largely over the process by which it was agreed upon and passed with little time for review by lawmakers and the public, and much celebration, especially over the minimum wage and paid family leave provisions, as well as increased funding for education, transportation infrastructure, and more. There is a lot of budget language to digest as the details have been made public.</p> <p>The Legislature is due in Albany for three days of post-budget legislative session this week. Including this week, there are 27 days of session scheduled between now and its scheduled end on June 16. Issues to address include mayoral control of New York City schools, which expires at the end of June (the Senate will hold two May hearings, it recently announced, at which Mayor de Blasio is expected to testify), a property tax abatement program to spur affordable housing development (renewing or replacing the expired 421-a program), raising the age of adult criminal responsibility from 16, the Dream Act, and much more - including government ethics reform, which the governor says will be his top priority after none was included in the budget deal.</p> <p>On Monday we expect the City Council's official response to Mayor Bill de Blasio's $82 billion preliminary budget plan. The Council has held a month of budget hearings and now has the state budget to consider, so it is able to give its response to the mayor, who will take it and the state budget into account as he prepares his executive budget. When de Blasio releases his updated spending plan in a few weeks, it will kick off another round of Council budget hearings as the two sides head toward a deal by the end of June and the July 1 start of the city's new fiscal year. Since major cuts in funding to the city from the state that Gov. Cuomo had in his budget plan were taken out of the final deal, there will be little drama to the city budget process the rest of the way. The biggest bone of contention appears to be whether the mayor is insisting on enough agency savings. There will also be small battles over things like <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6240-library-funding-one-discrepancy-in-quiet-city-budget-season" target="_blank">levels of library funding</a>.</p> <p>Many eyes are also <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6262-with-clock-ticking-east-new-york-negotiations-to-heat-up" target="_blank">on East New York as the week begins</a>. A large area of the Brooklyn community is set to be rezoned, the first of 15 neighborhoods where the de Blasio administration plans to significantly change land use rules to facilitate more housing and community improvements, but the clock is ticking as the administration and local stakeholders, led by City Council Member Rafael Espinal, <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6262-with-clock-ticking-east-new-york-negotiations-to-heat-up" target="_blank">negotiate the final details of the plan</a>. There is no zoning subcommittee or land use committee vote scheduled as of Sunday evening, but one could be scheduled if a deal is reached. The parties have until the end of the month to reach and pass a deal.</p> <p>As always, there's a great deal happening&nbsp;all over the city, with many events to be aware of - read our day-by-day rundown below.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?</em><br /><em>E-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>***</em></p> <p><strong>The run of the week in detail:</strong></p> <p><strong>Monday<br /></strong>Both houses of the New York State Legislature are in session on Monday in Albany.</p> <p dir="ltr">The City Council’s preliminary budget response to Mayor de Blasio is expected on Monday.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 11 a.m. Monday at the Javits Center in Manhattan, The Mario Cuomo Campaign for Economic Justice will hold a "victory rally for $15 minimum wage and paid family leave"&nbsp;- participants will include "Governor Andrew M. Cuomo; Hillary Clinton; George Gresham, President of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East and Chair of the Mario Cuomo Campaign for Economic Justice; labor leaders; advocates and minimum wage workers." City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito is expected to attend the rally, according to her schedule.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Monday at 1 p.m. at 1 Police Plaza,&nbsp;"Mayor de Blasio and Police Commissioner William Bratton will host a press conference to discuss monthly crime stats," according to the mayor's public schedule.</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">At the City Council</a> on Monday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">10 a.m., the Committee on Transportation will meet to discuss several items, such as the provision of certain parking privileges for press vehicles, the requirement of curb extensions at certain dangerous intersections, and the establishment of Earth Day 2016 as a car-free day for private and all non-essential city vehicles.</li> <li dir="ltr">10:30 a.m., the Committee on Rules, Privileges and Elections will meet to discuss various candidates for appointment to the Civilian Complaint Review Board, the Board of Corrections, and the City Planning Commission.</li> <li dir="ltr">1 p.m., the Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions and Concessions will meet to address several land use applications.</li> <li dir="ltr">1 p.m., the Committee on Contracts will hold an oversight meeting on the challenges facing nonprofits in city contracting.</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">At 11:30 a.m. Monday, schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña&nbsp;will visit "a Model Dual Language Program to make an announcement," at High School for Dual Language and Asian Studies in Manhattan.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Monday at noon,&nbsp;"At a press conference Monday, the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance will release a new report on Mayor de Blasio's OneNYC Plan, his administration's blueprint for increasing the city's environmental sustainability and resiliency. The report shows that six low-income communities of color on the waterfront designated by the city as Significant Maritime and Industrial Areas (SMIAs)—the South Bronx, Sunset Park, Red Hook, Newtown Creek, Brooklyn Navy Yard, and the North Shore of Staten Island—are still the most vulnerable to the threats of climate change and not sufficiently protected by the OneNYC Plan. A number of constructive recommendations for strengthening the plan are offered in the detailed report."</p> <p dir="ltr">At 5 p.m. Monday, Comptroller Scott Stringer will deliver remarks&nbsp;"at 32BJ Security Contract Rally" at the Wall Street Bull. At 9 p.m., Stringer will appear on BronxTalk with Gary Axelbank (BronxNet TV or Bronxnet.org).</p> <p dir="ltr">At 7:30 p.m. Monday in Albany, the burgeoning Museum of Political Corruption will host a <a href="http://www.museumofpoliticalcorruption.org/news.html" target="_blank">roundtable discussion and public forum</a> on political corruption following a reception and fundraiser. Speakers include Frank Anechiarico, professor of government and law at Hamilton College; Blair Horner, Executive Director of the New York Public Interest Research Group; Zephyr Teachout, Fordham Law School professor and Congressional candidate; Jimmy Vielkind, Politico NY Albany bureau chief; and Thomas Bass, SUNY Albany professor, who will moderate.</p> <p><strong>Tuesday<br /></strong>Both houses of the New York State Legislature are in session on Tuesday in Albany.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 8 a.m., Bill Mulrow, secretary to Gov. Andrew Cuomo will <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/#utm_medium=email&amp;utm_source=cnyb-events&amp;utm_campaign=cnyb-events-20160317" target="_blank">discuss</a> the administration’s budget goals and legislative priorities, including a $15 minimum wage, paid family leave, and infrastructure projects, at a Crain’s New York Business event. Moderating the conversation will be Crain’s New York editor Erik Engquist and Ken Lovett of the Daily News.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 10 a.m. Tuesday on the Upper East Side,&nbsp;the launch of LinkNYC Kiosks with free Wi-Fi and more, featuring City Council Member Ben Kallos, Assistant Commissioner Telecommunications Planning at NYC Department of Information and Technology Stanley Shor and LinkNYC General Manager Jen Hensley (86th Street and 3rd Avenue, South East Corner).</p> <p dir="ltr">At the City Council on Tuesday: at 10 a.m., the Committee on Immigration will address a resolution calling on the U.S. Supreme Court to issue a decision in U.S. v. Texas, which overturns the Fifth Circuit’s ruling and upholds the implementation of President Obama’s expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) programs.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 2 p.m., a town hall meeting to discuss the 2017 referendum to hold a New York constitutional convention will be held at the University at Buffalo. The event will feature a number of experts, such as Gerald Benjamin of SUNY New Paltz and Henrik Dullea, who served as director of state operations and policy management for Governor Mario Cuomo from 1983-91, who will discuss what a constitutional convention would look like and the issues at stake in constitutional reform.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6 p.m., The Coalition to End Broken Windows will launch a two-day <a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/breaking-broken-windows-tickets-21796569125" target="_blank">conference</a>, Breaking Broken Windows, at the CUNY Graduate Center. Participants will evaluate, debate, and debunk Broken Windows policing theory, which “contends that policing disorder leads to reductions in serious crime.” They will also analyze the era of mass criminalization and imprisonment while working towards alternative solutions for a better future for New York City. Speakers include a variety of academics, advocates, and journalists, including Noha Arafa, of New Yorkers Against Bratton, Janine Jackson of Fairness &amp; Accuracy in Reporting, and Professor Alex Vitale of Brooklyn College.</p> <p dir="ltr">Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in Queens, "City Council "Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer and Access Queens will host a Town Hall on the 7 train with New York City Transit President Veronique "Ronnie" Hakim. At this event, 7 train riders, angry and frustrated by seemingly endless delays, overcrowding, and weekend and evening closures, will have the opportunity to ask questions and share concerns directly with the president of New York City Transit."</p> <p><strong>Wednesday<br /></strong>Both houses of the New York State Legislature are in session on Wednesday in Albany.</p> <p dir="ltr">The Manhattan Institute and the Fordham Institute will host a <a href="http://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/future-charter-schools—and-school-choice—-nyc-8621.html?et=5c3c75c9f5a6e1fc8f4bc64f46e771fc" target="_blank">conference</a> beginning at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday to address “The Future of Charter Schools—And School Choice—In NYC,” following a recent study ranking U.S. cities on various school-choice metrics (by the Fordham Institute) finding that local political support for charters in NYC has fallen from 8th to 26th place, and the city’s overall ranking from 3rd to 12th. Speakers include Priscilla Wohlstetter, professor at Teachers College, Columbia University; James Merriman, president of the New York City Charter School Center; Michael Petrilli, president of the Fordham Institute; and Charles Sahm, Director of Education Policy at the Manhattan Institute.</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">At the City Council</a> on Wednesday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">10 a.m., the Committee on Public Safety will meet to address several resolutions on Nicholas’ Law, the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act, Congressional funding for gun violence research, safeguards against wrongful convictions, and opposing the Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act.</li> <li dir="ltr">11 a.m., the Committee on Economic Development will hear a bill requiring a survey and study of racial, ethnic, and gender diversity among the leadership of city contractors.</li> <li dir="ltr">11 a.m., the Committee on Land Use will meet to address several issues deferred from the meeting of the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises and the Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting, and Maritime Uses.</li> <li dir="ltr">1 p.m., the Committee on Governmental Operations will meet to evaluate the structure and content of the preliminary Mayor’s Management Report.</li> </ul> <p>On Wednesday at 11 a.m. in Albany,&nbsp;"State Senator Liz Krueger will hold a forum on modernizing sales tax collection in New York State. New York State's current system of sales tax collection has not kept up with changes in retail payment methods and technological innovation. This forum will evaluate proposals for modernizing the collection of sales tax to improve its efficiency for retailers and to reduce the potential for fraud through sales tax suppression. One tax researcher has estimated that sales tax suppression costs New York State $1.7 billion in revenue annually. A number of other states and countries have adopted or are exploring the adoption of new technologies to address these issues."</p> <p>At 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, the Brooklyn Historical Society will host a <a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/moving-beyond-the-rhetoric-creating-a-diverse-workplace-in-the-21st-c-tickets-22062477464?ct=t(March+Programs+Week+3+(03082016))&amp;mc_eid=[UNIQID]&amp;mc_cid=6d60e307a9" target="_blank">panel</a> to discuss “Moving Beyond the Rhetoric: Creating a Diverse Workplace in the 21st Century.” Panelists include professionals leading Bloomberg LP’s Diversity and Inclusion group; Kristen Titus, Founding Director of NYC Tech Talent Pipeline; Anthony Crowell, President of New York Law School; Eulas Boyd, Dean of Admissions at Brooklyn Law School; and Tom Finkelpearl, Commissioner, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs” and will discuss their experiences in building and instituting workplace diversity policies.</p> <p><strong>Thursday<br /></strong>At 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Columbia’s schools of International and Public Affairs and Law will host a public policy forum about policing, criminal justice reform, and public integrity. Loretta Lynch, the 83rd Attorney General of the U.S., will deliver the keynote address. Former Mayor David Dinkins, who the event is named for and is a professor at Columbia, will deliver remarks. Professor Ester Fuchs will moderate a panel on&nbsp;on "Criminal Justice Reform and Public Integrity" featuring Mark Peters, Commissioner, NYC Department of Investigation; Daniel C. Richman, Paul J. Keller Professor of Law, Columbia Law School; Ken Thompson, Brooklyn District Attorney; Nicholas Turner, President and Director, Vera Institute of Justice. (This event is by invitation only.)</p> <p dir="ltr">At the City Council on Thursday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">10 a.m., the Committee on Finance will meet to address a land use application and introduce a bill establishing a temporary program to resolve outstanding penalties imposed by the environmental control board.</li> <li dir="ltr">1:30 p.m., the City Council will hold a full-body stated meeting, which will be prefaced as usual by a pre-stated press conference hosted by Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">State Legislature hearings Thursday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">10 a.m. in Albany, the Assembly Standing Committee on Insurance and the Assembly Standing Committee on Health will be hosting a <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/write/upload/publichearing/20160318.pdf" target="_blank">public hearing</a> to evaluate the process of modifying or enhancing health insurance coverage requirements under the Affordable Care Act.</li> <li dir="ltr">Noon in Oakdale, the Senate Joint Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction will host a <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?sh=hear" target="_blank">public meeting</a> to examine the issues facing communities in the wake of increased heroin abuse.</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">At 5 p.m. Thursday, the MTA will hold a <a href="http://web.mta.info/mta/news/hearings/" target="_blank">public hearing</a> about a proposal to restore service to the N and Q lines in connection with the opening of Phase I of the Second Avenue Subway, expected to be completed late this year.</p> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend<br /></strong>U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara <a href="https://twitter.com/PreetBharara/status/715551466505814016" target="_blank">is scheduled to deliver</a> the keynote speech at the New York Press Association Spring <a href="https://www.regonline.com/builder/site/tab2.aspx?EventID=1812032" target="_blank">Convention</a>, which will begin at 9 a.m. Friday.</p> <p>At 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, Staten Island Borough President James S. Oddo will join the ROLE Call in hosting the NYC Fatherhood and Family Enrichment Conference at Port Richmond High School. This <a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/nyc-fatherhood-and-family-enrichment-conference-2016-tickets-21128906127" target="_blank">event</a> aims to enhance Fatherhood Engagement by offering seminars and workshops in family and fatherhood services.</p> <p>***<br />Have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics? E-mail Gotham Gazette executive editor Ben Max any time:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>&nbsp;(please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).</p> <p>***<br />by Kelly Fan and Ben Max<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></p> Did Bill De Blasio's Tirade Help Andrew Cuomo Get His Groove Back? 2015-09-13T05:00:00+00:00 2015-09-13T05:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5886:did-bill-de-blasios-tirade-help-andrew-cuomo-get-his-groove-back Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/21369805421_5d9c67dec4_z.jpg" alt="Cuomo labor day parade" height="399" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Gov. Cuomo at the Labor Day parade (photo: The Governor's Office <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/governorandrewcuomo/page2" target="_blank">via flickr</a>)</span></p> <hr /> <p>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.</p> <p>"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 an hour, construction workers deserve $15 an hour, and home healthcare aides deserve $15 an hour, and taxi-cab drivers deserve $15 an hour, and every working man and woman in the State of New York deserves $15 an hour as a minimum wage - and we are not going to stop until we get it done!" Cuomo said, his voice rising.</p> <p>It was a triumphant moment for the governor, and for unions and progressive groups who have worked for the last year to get Cuomo on board with a $15 hourly minimum wage. It is being called a major about-face by many watchers, including some who note that Cuomo now supports a policy his rival, Mayor Bill de Blasio, has been pushing for quite some time and that Cuomo had previously dismissed.</p> <p>The move, along with other recent Cuomo plays, is in striking contrast to the Cuomo of last spring, who some confidants and legislators describe as aimless, distracted, and maybe a little bit bored.</p> <p>Now, though, any such perception has dissipated, perhaps in large part thanks to de Blasio's exasperated June tirade against the governor, which came at the end of this year's legislative session. Harsh, damning words from the mayor may have been the challenge Cuomo needed in order to reinvigorate.</p> <p>De Blasio pulled no punches, boldly saying Cuomo had made promises he didn't intend to keep, is vindictive, and backed policies that were harmful to New York City. "And what I believe here is the governor worked with the Senate in some cases to inhibit the work of the Assembly, to inhibit the agenda that New York City put forward," de Blasio told NY1 anchor Errol Louis <a href="http://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/news/2015/06/30/de-blasio-slams-cuomo-for--lack-of-leadership-.html" target="_blank">in a June interview</a>, before sitting down with City Hall reporters to reiterate his message.</p> <p>Cuomo had used de Blasio as a punching bag for months before de Blasio's explosion, even apparently giving publications blind quotes attacking the mayor. But with the feud spilling out into the open, observers say Cuomo was freed in a way, even given a gift--a political opponent to war with in the open.</p> <p>The mayor's declaration of war was something pundits and sources close to the Cuomo administration say the governor desperately needed. "The governor is at his best when he has someone to duel in the political arena," one Albany insider told Gotham Gazette. "It is also when he is apt to make mistakes, but he comes alive when he is going for the kill."</p> <p>For some Democrats, de Blasio's tirade was a breath of fresh air - someone, they said, had finally called out the bully. Others, including members of the Cuomo administration saw it much differently. They heard it as the younger brother finally crying "Uncle!" because he had no other means of retaliation.</p> <p>Sources within the Cuomo administration say they saw de Blasio's "tantrum" as an admission that he had failed at moving his agenda and was giving up any hope of future success in Albany. That appears to have left an opening for Cuomo to reassert himself on progressive issues - like minimum wage - that de Blasio has staked out.</p> <p>Not very long ago, Cuomo was advocating a plan that would eventually raise the minimum wage to $11.50 in New York City and $10.50 elsewhere in the state. He appeared to scoff at the Assembly's proposal that would have raised the minimum wage across the state to $15 by the end of 2018. "God bless them — shoot for the stars," Cuomo said, dismissively, in March at a stop in Rochester. The governor has repeatedly cited the Republican-controlled state Senate as a place where such progressive proposals go to die.</p> <p>If Cuomo had made a major announcement on a $15 minimum wage a year ago, it would have appeared as though he had been dragged to the position kicking and screaming by The Working Families Party and de Blasio, who <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5085-wfp-cuomo-deal-transactional-politics-full-display" target="_blank">brokered a deal</a> between the two to prevent a WFP-backed primary challenge to Cuomo in the 2014 gubernatorial race.</p> <p>At the time, Cuomo appeared to agree to back the mayor's proposal to allow the city to raise its minimum wage up to 30 percent higher than the state's (as well as other WFP-backed policies and a Democratic takeover of the state Senate). But this year Cuomo presented his own plan, which did not include giving the city a say over its wage, and was still short of what activists on the left were calling for.</p> <p>But now, Cuomo has swooped in to champion the $15 wage, albeit on an extended phase-in timeline that would implement $15 per hour in New York City at the end of 2018 and state-wide in the middle of 2021.</p> <p>Cuomo is notorious for refusing to move on proposals that he won't receive absolute credit for enacting into law. With de Blasio all but slain in Albany after a rough 2015 legislative session, Cuomo was freed to move on minimum wage and other progressive initiatives, knowing he could charge in and pick up the baton that he had knocked out of de Blasio's hands.</p> <p>Meanwhile, Cuomo enjoys the benefits of being de Blasio's enemy, which boosts his standing with conservatives and moderates (and even some liberals) across the state. Cuomo's favorability ratings dropped to all-time lows this summer, but de Blasio's poll numbers are even lower.</p> <p>"I'm not buying de Blasio gave him an overarching focus, because clearly the governor used the mayor for a punching bag from the very beginning of the administration, whether it be on the millionaire's tax or charter schools," said Doug Muzzio, professor of political science at Baruch College. "It certainly did exacerbate the relationship and gave Cuomo the opportunity to strike out at a perceived tormentor."</p> <p>Cuomo and de Blasio have appeared to go out of their way to avoid each other at public events, though they did speak in person at a September 11th commemoration on Friday. Cuomo has either not invited the mayor to several, like his recent solidarity mission to Puerto Rico, or de Blasio has not appeared interested in attending, like for the governor's announcement of a new LaGuardia Airport.</p> <p>Cuomo has appeared to jab at de Blasio when reporters ask why the two are not meeting at events, which have included several parades. He's also made efforts to strengthen relationships with sometime de Blasio antagonists like Comptroller Scott Stringer and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., and de Blasio ally City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.</p> <p>Last Thursday, Cuomo was honored as "Man of the Year" by the city's largest police union, which is headed by de Blasio nemesis Patrick Lynch. "You deserve to be paid for the job you do," Cuomo told the officers, hinting at their dispute with the city over pay raises. Someone in the back of the room shouted back: "Tell de Blasio!"</p> <p>Cuomo's feud with de Blasio appears to be helping insulate him from backlash he has faced from police unions for signing an executive order giving the Attorney General the ability to act as special prosecutor in cases where police kill unarmed civilians.</p> <p>"De Blasio has served as a foil for the governor with some groups," said Muzzio. "This conflict certainly enhances his influence with certain interests, especially with the Republican-controlled Senate."</p> <p>Cuomo's moves on progressive issues may risk some of his goodwill with Republicans, but nevertheless, the governor has shown a renewed sense of urgency. It is energy that Cuomo has also been putting into efforts not easily labeled as progressive, such as Upstate economic development.</p> <p>Pundits say they feel the Cuomo of the past few months is a stark contrast to the Cuomo of this legislative session, who shied away from public and media appearances for weeks at a time.</p> <p>It's fairly easy to see why Cuomo may have been off his game.</p> <p>His reelection bid was complicated by rebellious progressives and unions who felt Cuomo had delivered more on conservative causes than on Democratic ones. The governor was also reeling from the backlash he faced from shuttering the Moreland Commission. His campaign strategy to ignore his Republican opponent, Rob Astorino, might have been more effective if Fordham professor Zephyr Teachout hadn't joined the Democratic primary. Her campaign quickly made Cuomo appear detached from voters, and at times exposed his tendencies as a bully.</p> <p>Cuomo moved from a closer-than-expected election to face the death of his father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, and the federal indictments of then-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and then-Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. He appeared ready to end the legislative session early after securing a number of education reforms that were fought tooth-and-nail by teachers unions (and opposed by de Blasio). But the pressure mounted on the governor to deliver deals on rent regulations, mayoral control of New York City schools, and other big-ticket items, all while the legislature remained in turmoil thanks to their leadership crises.</p> <p>Virtually all of the deals reached were less than desired as far as de Blasio was concerned, with the one-year extension of mayoral control of schools an especially bitter pill - and perhaps the final nudge over the edge.</p> <p>With session over and his legislative opponents out of town, Cuomo leaped into action, issuing an executive order to create a special prosecutor for police killings. This not only ingratiated Cuomo to many on his left, but also brought one of his main rivals - and a natural de Blasio ally - AG Eric Schneiderman, closer to Cuomo's hip.</p> <p>A flurry of executive activity was capped off by the finding of his fast food wage board that workers in the industry should be paid a $15-an-hour minimum wage. Cuomo was lauded by union leaders and progressive elected officials; his achievements made for evidence in the effort to disprove de Blasio's accusations that the governor was hamstringing the progressive agenda.</p> <p>And, they allowed the governor to demonstrate one of his favorite points: that he gets things done regardless of political ideology.</p> <p>On Thursday, de Blasio's office quickly shot out a statement praising Cuomo's decision to advocate a $15 minimum wage but laced with language highlighting that Cuomo is late to the party the mayor's been leading.</p> <p>"Nothing would do more to lift New Yorkers out of poverty and move our economy forward than raising the wage...We welcome the Governor's support for a $15 minimum wage – and New York City stands ready to help make it a reality," de Blasio's statement reads. "We have been doing all we can here in the city: affordable housing, Pre-K for All, increasing and expanding the living wage, and much more. But combating income inequality requires bold action on all levels of government. I urge Albany to act quickly."</p> <p>***<br />by David King, Albany editor, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/DavidHowardKing" target="_blank">@DavidHowardKing</a></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/21369805421_5d9c67dec4_z.jpg" alt="Cuomo labor day parade" height="399" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Gov. Cuomo at the Labor Day parade (photo: The Governor's Office <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/governorandrewcuomo/page2" target="_blank">via flickr</a>)</span></p> <hr /> <p>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.</p> <p>"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 an hour, construction workers deserve $15 an hour, and home healthcare aides deserve $15 an hour, and taxi-cab drivers deserve $15 an hour, and every working man and woman in the State of New York deserves $15 an hour as a minimum wage - and we are not going to stop until we get it done!" Cuomo said, his voice rising.</p> <p>It was a triumphant moment for the governor, and for unions and progressive groups who have worked for the last year to get Cuomo on board with a $15 hourly minimum wage. It is being called a major about-face by many watchers, including some who note that Cuomo now supports a policy his rival, Mayor Bill de Blasio, has been pushing for quite some time and that Cuomo had previously dismissed.</p> <p>The move, along with other recent Cuomo plays, is in striking contrast to the Cuomo of last spring, who some confidants and legislators describe as aimless, distracted, and maybe a little bit bored.</p> <p>Now, though, any such perception has dissipated, perhaps in large part thanks to de Blasio's exasperated June tirade against the governor, which came at the end of this year's legislative session. Harsh, damning words from the mayor may have been the challenge Cuomo needed in order to reinvigorate.</p> <p>De Blasio pulled no punches, boldly saying Cuomo had made promises he didn't intend to keep, is vindictive, and backed policies that were harmful to New York City. "And what I believe here is the governor worked with the Senate in some cases to inhibit the work of the Assembly, to inhibit the agenda that New York City put forward," de Blasio told NY1 anchor Errol Louis <a href="http://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/news/2015/06/30/de-blasio-slams-cuomo-for--lack-of-leadership-.html" target="_blank">in a June interview</a>, before sitting down with City Hall reporters to reiterate his message.</p> <p>Cuomo had used de Blasio as a punching bag for months before de Blasio's explosion, even apparently giving publications blind quotes attacking the mayor. But with the feud spilling out into the open, observers say Cuomo was freed in a way, even given a gift--a political opponent to war with in the open.</p> <p>The mayor's declaration of war was something pundits and sources close to the Cuomo administration say the governor desperately needed. "The governor is at his best when he has someone to duel in the political arena," one Albany insider told Gotham Gazette. "It is also when he is apt to make mistakes, but he comes alive when he is going for the kill."</p> <p>For some Democrats, de Blasio's tirade was a breath of fresh air - someone, they said, had finally called out the bully. Others, including members of the Cuomo administration saw it much differently. They heard it as the younger brother finally crying "Uncle!" because he had no other means of retaliation.</p> <p>Sources within the Cuomo administration say they saw de Blasio's "tantrum" as an admission that he had failed at moving his agenda and was giving up any hope of future success in Albany. That appears to have left an opening for Cuomo to reassert himself on progressive issues - like minimum wage - that de Blasio has staked out.</p> <p>Not very long ago, Cuomo was advocating a plan that would eventually raise the minimum wage to $11.50 in New York City and $10.50 elsewhere in the state. He appeared to scoff at the Assembly's proposal that would have raised the minimum wage across the state to $15 by the end of 2018. "God bless them — shoot for the stars," Cuomo said, dismissively, in March at a stop in Rochester. The governor has repeatedly cited the Republican-controlled state Senate as a place where such progressive proposals go to die.</p> <p>If Cuomo had made a major announcement on a $15 minimum wage a year ago, it would have appeared as though he had been dragged to the position kicking and screaming by The Working Families Party and de Blasio, who <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5085-wfp-cuomo-deal-transactional-politics-full-display" target="_blank">brokered a deal</a> between the two to prevent a WFP-backed primary challenge to Cuomo in the 2014 gubernatorial race.</p> <p>At the time, Cuomo appeared to agree to back the mayor's proposal to allow the city to raise its minimum wage up to 30 percent higher than the state's (as well as other WFP-backed policies and a Democratic takeover of the state Senate). But this year Cuomo presented his own plan, which did not include giving the city a say over its wage, and was still short of what activists on the left were calling for.</p> <p>But now, Cuomo has swooped in to champion the $15 wage, albeit on an extended phase-in timeline that would implement $15 per hour in New York City at the end of 2018 and state-wide in the middle of 2021.</p> <p>Cuomo is notorious for refusing to move on proposals that he won't receive absolute credit for enacting into law. With de Blasio all but slain in Albany after a rough 2015 legislative session, Cuomo was freed to move on minimum wage and other progressive initiatives, knowing he could charge in and pick up the baton that he had knocked out of de Blasio's hands.</p> <p>Meanwhile, Cuomo enjoys the benefits of being de Blasio's enemy, which boosts his standing with conservatives and moderates (and even some liberals) across the state. Cuomo's favorability ratings dropped to all-time lows this summer, but de Blasio's poll numbers are even lower.</p> <p>"I'm not buying de Blasio gave him an overarching focus, because clearly the governor used the mayor for a punching bag from the very beginning of the administration, whether it be on the millionaire's tax or charter schools," said Doug Muzzio, professor of political science at Baruch College. "It certainly did exacerbate the relationship and gave Cuomo the opportunity to strike out at a perceived tormentor."</p> <p>Cuomo and de Blasio have appeared to go out of their way to avoid each other at public events, though they did speak in person at a September 11th commemoration on Friday. Cuomo has either not invited the mayor to several, like his recent solidarity mission to Puerto Rico, or de Blasio has not appeared interested in attending, like for the governor's announcement of a new LaGuardia Airport.</p> <p>Cuomo has appeared to jab at de Blasio when reporters ask why the two are not meeting at events, which have included several parades. He's also made efforts to strengthen relationships with sometime de Blasio antagonists like Comptroller Scott Stringer and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., and de Blasio ally City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.</p> <p>Last Thursday, Cuomo was honored as "Man of the Year" by the city's largest police union, which is headed by de Blasio nemesis Patrick Lynch. "You deserve to be paid for the job you do," Cuomo told the officers, hinting at their dispute with the city over pay raises. Someone in the back of the room shouted back: "Tell de Blasio!"</p> <p>Cuomo's feud with de Blasio appears to be helping insulate him from backlash he has faced from police unions for signing an executive order giving the Attorney General the ability to act as special prosecutor in cases where police kill unarmed civilians.</p> <p>"De Blasio has served as a foil for the governor with some groups," said Muzzio. "This conflict certainly enhances his influence with certain interests, especially with the Republican-controlled Senate."</p> <p>Cuomo's moves on progressive issues may risk some of his goodwill with Republicans, but nevertheless, the governor has shown a renewed sense of urgency. It is energy that Cuomo has also been putting into efforts not easily labeled as progressive, such as Upstate economic development.</p> <p>Pundits say they feel the Cuomo of the past few months is a stark contrast to the Cuomo of this legislative session, who shied away from public and media appearances for weeks at a time.</p> <p>It's fairly easy to see why Cuomo may have been off his game.</p> <p>His reelection bid was complicated by rebellious progressives and unions who felt Cuomo had delivered more on conservative causes than on Democratic ones. The governor was also reeling from the backlash he faced from shuttering the Moreland Commission. His campaign strategy to ignore his Republican opponent, Rob Astorino, might have been more effective if Fordham professor Zephyr Teachout hadn't joined the Democratic primary. Her campaign quickly made Cuomo appear detached from voters, and at times exposed his tendencies as a bully.</p> <p>Cuomo moved from a closer-than-expected election to face the death of his father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, and the federal indictments of then-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and then-Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. He appeared ready to end the legislative session early after securing a number of education reforms that were fought tooth-and-nail by teachers unions (and opposed by de Blasio). But the pressure mounted on the governor to deliver deals on rent regulations, mayoral control of New York City schools, and other big-ticket items, all while the legislature remained in turmoil thanks to their leadership crises.</p> <p>Virtually all of the deals reached were less than desired as far as de Blasio was concerned, with the one-year extension of mayoral control of schools an especially bitter pill - and perhaps the final nudge over the edge.</p> <p>With session over and his legislative opponents out of town, Cuomo leaped into action, issuing an executive order to create a special prosecutor for police killings. This not only ingratiated Cuomo to many on his left, but also brought one of his main rivals - and a natural de Blasio ally - AG Eric Schneiderman, closer to Cuomo's hip.</p> <p>A flurry of executive activity was capped off by the finding of his fast food wage board that workers in the industry should be paid a $15-an-hour minimum wage. Cuomo was lauded by union leaders and progressive elected officials; his achievements made for evidence in the effort to disprove de Blasio's accusations that the governor was hamstringing the progressive agenda.</p> <p>And, they allowed the governor to demonstrate one of his favorite points: that he gets things done regardless of political ideology.</p> <p>On Thursday, de Blasio's office quickly shot out a statement praising Cuomo's decision to advocate a $15 minimum wage but laced with language highlighting that Cuomo is late to the party the mayor's been leading.</p> <p>"Nothing would do more to lift New Yorkers out of poverty and move our economy forward than raising the wage...We welcome the Governor's support for a $15 minimum wage – and New York City stands ready to help make it a reality," de Blasio's statement reads. "We have been doing all we can here in the city: affordable housing, Pre-K for All, increasing and expanding the living wage, and much more. But combating income inequality requires bold action on all levels of government. I urge Albany to act quickly."</p> <p>***<br />by David King, Albany editor, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/DavidHowardKing" target="_blank">@DavidHowardKing</a></p> Cuomo Waves Left with Executive Actions, Is Met with Shrugs 2015-07-23T03:37:14+00:00 2015-07-23T03:37:14+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5822:cuomo-waves-left-with-executive-actions-is-met-with-shrugs Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/19304123903_15ea392c84_z.jpg" alt="Cuomo wage rally " height="400" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Cuomo at Wednesday's rally (<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/governorandrewcuomo/19304123903/in/album-72157656158267546/" target="_blank">photo</a>: Governor's Office via flickr)</span></p> <hr /> <p>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 Cuomo administration efforts there was no pretense that the wage board was somehow separate from the governor.</p> <p>The Cuomo administration attempted to propagate the appearance of independence for previous executive entities such as the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption, two tax commissions, and even the Department of Environmental Conservation when it made its decision to ban hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in the state. But this time such a separation wasn't useful to the governor.</p> <p>With his poll numbers at an all-time-low, members of his own party in open revolt and facing an ongoing feud with Mayor Bill de Blasio, Cuomo appears to be looking to bolster his standing among Democrats across the state by taking executive action on issues he failed to deliver on during the legislative session. Many prominent Democratic electeds and activists <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5817-black-hispanic-a-asian-caucus-faces-growing-pains-tense-relationship-with-cuomo" target="_blank">have questioned</a> whether Cuomo actually expended any political capital during the legislative session to move progressive issues such as criminal justice reform, the DREAM Act, or a minimum wage increase.</p> <p>"I don't believe the Assembly had a real working partner in the governor or the Senate in terms of getting things done for the people of this city and, in many cases, the people of this state," Mayor Bill de Blasio <a href="http://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/news/2015/06/30/de-blasio-slams-cuomo-for--lack-of-leadership-.html" target="_blank">told NY1</a> late last month.</p> <p>Trust among Democrats was further eroded when Senate Republicans released a memorandum of understanding with Cuomo's office that <a href="http://polhudson.lohudblogs.com/2015/07/21/heastie-safe-act-deal-different-than-cuomos-other-actions/" target="_blank">appeared</a> to state that the governor agreed not to phase in a part of the SAFE Act until Republicans agree to it. Other than that MOU, Cuomo's post-session agenda has been dedicated to taking executive action on issues favored by the left and on which he did not deliver through legislation.</p> <p>Cuomo <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5797-cuomos-executive-action-on-raise-the-age-prompts-questions" target="_blank">has promised</a> to use executive action to remove 16- and 17-year-olds from the state's prison system after failing to enact a sweeping policy to prevent those teens from being tried as adults, much less locked up with them. Failing to reach a deal with the legislature on other criminal justice reforms in the wake of death of Eric Garner, Cuomo signed an executive order earlier this month giving Attorney General Eric Schneiderman the authority to investigate police killings of unarmed individuals, an attempt to reduce the perception that local district attorneys are biased toward the police.</p> <p>Cuomo was celebrated by Democrats when signing the special prosecutor executive order, and he was applauded at Wednesday's minimum wage rally. City Comptroller Scott Stringer heaped praise on the governor as a man of action when he spoke to those gathered. But, many of Cuomo's fellow Democratic electeds and progressive advocates were not so committed to attaching the governor's name to the wage board decision. Three of the state's most powerful Democratic electeds - Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie - all released statements praising the decision, but without any mention of the governor.</p> <p>Celebratory statements from New York Communities for Change and the Working Families Party also failed to mention the governor by name.</p> <p>"I think that's appropriate," said former Cuomo opponent Zephyr Teachout of the lack of support from other Democratic electeds. Teachout is the Fordham Law professor who embarrassed Cuomo with a stronger-than-expected showing during last year's Democratic primary. Teachout tapped into displeasure with the governor from his left.</p> <p>Cuomo defended his use of executive actions during a Wednesday <a href="http://www.wcny.org/cpr072215/" target="_blank">appearance</a> on The Capitol Pressroom radio program, and chose to eliminate any perception that he was separate from the wage board.</p> <p>"I am the executive, I have many powers beyond those which the Legislature passes, right?" Cuomo told host Susan Arbetter rhetorically. "The executive, whether it's the president, the mayor, or the governor, you run the government, and you have a whole host of powers that are apart and aside from the Legislature. I often say to people [that] dealing with the Legislature and getting a budget passed, and then new laws, that's a part of my job. But that's only a part. And by the way, I don't even think that's the majority of my job. I run the government."</p> <p>Teachout doesn't think Cuomo's problem lies exclusively with Democrats. "The governor has broad temperamental issues," Teachout told Gotham Gazette. "It's not like Cuomo has a problem with [only] the left. You are going to have a problem finding any group of voters who believe the governor is actually committed to fighting for them."</p> <p>Cuomo has branded himself as a doer, as an executive who is about making sure the government is running efficiently and effectively, and who can get deals made by working with members of both parties.</p> <p>Blair Horner of the New York Public Interest Research Group said that Cuomo's use of executive action is fairly typical for governors who have served more than one term. "In terms of putting it into context, governors have historically faced challenges in their second terms. Second terms tend to be harder. [Republican Governor George] Pataki had serious trouble in his second term. It wasn't just with Democrats, but with his own party challenging him."</p> <p>Horner said that Cuomo is also dealing with "eroded approval ratings and unprecedented indictments" of state legislative leaders that have made getting what he wants from the Legislature that more difficult. And Horner said Cuomo is particularly notorious for "liking to put points on the board."</p> <p>Many Democrats are happy Cuomo has used his executive powers on the issues he has but feel he acted out of political expediency so that he didn't have to place his Senate Republican allies in a difficult position during the legislative session. These Democrats are therefore reluctant to give him credit.</p> <p>On the other hand, many business groups and Republican electeds are more than happy to connect Cuomo to his left-leaning executive actions, because they are opposed to them. "From day one Governor Cuomo's wage board has sought to silence the business community and force through an unfair and discriminatory increase on a single sector of one industry," said Melissa Fleischut, President and CEO of the NYS Restaurant Association, in a statement. Fleischut went on to accuse Cuomo of "stacking the board" with supporters of a wage increase, and allowing business owners "to get booed and heckled at public hearings."</p> <p>Other business groups have attacked Cuomo for bypassing the Legislature on the wage issue, saying he has too much executive power. It may be surprising, but Teachout agrees to some extent. "The governor of New York has too much executive power and the 'three men in a room' have too much power," Teachout told Gotham Gazette. "Having said that, I'm happy he's using it for positive ends. But you know with this governor that if he has to move, he is always going to act in a way that maximizes his own power."</p> <p>Cuomo is likely to face a lawsuit from the restaurant industry over the wage board's recommendations and subsequent adoption by the Department of Labor.</p> <p>Regardless of his executive actions, pundits say Cuomo has to do something about his sinking poll numbers in New York City, which has been a reliable base for Cuomo in past elections. A June 15 Siena College poll found Cuomo's favorability rating drop to 39 percent, with his numbers dipping among city-based voters.</p> <p>Horner said that executive actions are simply part of Cuomo's efforts to enact his agenda and that part of his agenda has to be "keeping the coalition together."</p> <p>Teachout thinks Cuomo's executive actions indicate that he knows he faces an increasingly hostile electorate. "He is losing that default New York City vote that he could count on last time, and that's a big, big deal. When all you have left is the Buffalo base, that's a real problem. I don't think the wage board does much to help that."</p> <p>Teachout - who has not ruled out challenging Cuomo again in 2018 (assuming he seeks a third term) - said that she believes voters have developed a view of Cuomo similar to the one that de Blasio expressed: a transactional politician, cynical, power-obsessed, and untrustworthy; and not much is going to change that.</p> <p>A key question is how much workers, activists, and elected officials associate Cuomo with the action he is taking. Will the special prosecutor move endear Cuomo in communities distrustful of the police and district attorney offices? Will his move on the minimum wage earn him the loyalty of those low-wage and union workers? Are the progressive activists who have been burned by Cuomo willing to live with a governor who they don't feel they can trust but sometimes delivers for their causes?</p> <p>"I compare this moment to the fracking moment," said Teachout. "I think the administration thought the fracking ban would have an equal impact to the marriage equality moment--that it would be this inspirational moment for people to rally around the governor. But I think most people saw it the same way I did: 'Great! He banned fracking.' But with no change in how they see him."</p> <p>***<br />by David King, Albany editor, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/DavidHowardKing" target="_blank">@DavidHowardKing</a></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/19304123903_15ea392c84_z.jpg" alt="Cuomo wage rally " height="400" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Cuomo at Wednesday's rally (<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/governorandrewcuomo/19304123903/in/album-72157656158267546/" target="_blank">photo</a>: Governor's Office via flickr)</span></p> <hr /> <p>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 Cuomo administration efforts there was no pretense that the wage board was somehow separate from the governor.</p> <p>The Cuomo administration attempted to propagate the appearance of independence for previous executive entities such as the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption, two tax commissions, and even the Department of Environmental Conservation when it made its decision to ban hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in the state. But this time such a separation wasn't useful to the governor.</p> <p>With his poll numbers at an all-time-low, members of his own party in open revolt and facing an ongoing feud with Mayor Bill de Blasio, Cuomo appears to be looking to bolster his standing among Democrats across the state by taking executive action on issues he failed to deliver on during the legislative session. Many prominent Democratic electeds and activists <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5817-black-hispanic-a-asian-caucus-faces-growing-pains-tense-relationship-with-cuomo" target="_blank">have questioned</a> whether Cuomo actually expended any political capital during the legislative session to move progressive issues such as criminal justice reform, the DREAM Act, or a minimum wage increase.</p> <p>"I don't believe the Assembly had a real working partner in the governor or the Senate in terms of getting things done for the people of this city and, in many cases, the people of this state," Mayor Bill de Blasio <a href="http://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/news/2015/06/30/de-blasio-slams-cuomo-for--lack-of-leadership-.html" target="_blank">told NY1</a> late last month.</p> <p>Trust among Democrats was further eroded when Senate Republicans released a memorandum of understanding with Cuomo's office that <a href="http://polhudson.lohudblogs.com/2015/07/21/heastie-safe-act-deal-different-than-cuomos-other-actions/" target="_blank">appeared</a> to state that the governor agreed not to phase in a part of the SAFE Act until Republicans agree to it. Other than that MOU, Cuomo's post-session agenda has been dedicated to taking executive action on issues favored by the left and on which he did not deliver through legislation.</p> <p>Cuomo <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5797-cuomos-executive-action-on-raise-the-age-prompts-questions" target="_blank">has promised</a> to use executive action to remove 16- and 17-year-olds from the state's prison system after failing to enact a sweeping policy to prevent those teens from being tried as adults, much less locked up with them. Failing to reach a deal with the legislature on other criminal justice reforms in the wake of death of Eric Garner, Cuomo signed an executive order earlier this month giving Attorney General Eric Schneiderman the authority to investigate police killings of unarmed individuals, an attempt to reduce the perception that local district attorneys are biased toward the police.</p> <p>Cuomo was celebrated by Democrats when signing the special prosecutor executive order, and he was applauded at Wednesday's minimum wage rally. City Comptroller Scott Stringer heaped praise on the governor as a man of action when he spoke to those gathered. But, many of Cuomo's fellow Democratic electeds and progressive advocates were not so committed to attaching the governor's name to the wage board decision. Three of the state's most powerful Democratic electeds - Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie - all released statements praising the decision, but without any mention of the governor.</p> <p>Celebratory statements from New York Communities for Change and the Working Families Party also failed to mention the governor by name.</p> <p>"I think that's appropriate," said former Cuomo opponent Zephyr Teachout of the lack of support from other Democratic electeds. Teachout is the Fordham Law professor who embarrassed Cuomo with a stronger-than-expected showing during last year's Democratic primary. Teachout tapped into displeasure with the governor from his left.</p> <p>Cuomo defended his use of executive actions during a Wednesday <a href="http://www.wcny.org/cpr072215/" target="_blank">appearance</a> on The Capitol Pressroom radio program, and chose to eliminate any perception that he was separate from the wage board.</p> <p>"I am the executive, I have many powers beyond those which the Legislature passes, right?" Cuomo told host Susan Arbetter rhetorically. "The executive, whether it's the president, the mayor, or the governor, you run the government, and you have a whole host of powers that are apart and aside from the Legislature. I often say to people [that] dealing with the Legislature and getting a budget passed, and then new laws, that's a part of my job. But that's only a part. And by the way, I don't even think that's the majority of my job. I run the government."</p> <p>Teachout doesn't think Cuomo's problem lies exclusively with Democrats. "The governor has broad temperamental issues," Teachout told Gotham Gazette. "It's not like Cuomo has a problem with [only] the left. You are going to have a problem finding any group of voters who believe the governor is actually committed to fighting for them."</p> <p>Cuomo has branded himself as a doer, as an executive who is about making sure the government is running efficiently and effectively, and who can get deals made by working with members of both parties.</p> <p>Blair Horner of the New York Public Interest Research Group said that Cuomo's use of executive action is fairly typical for governors who have served more than one term. "In terms of putting it into context, governors have historically faced challenges in their second terms. Second terms tend to be harder. [Republican Governor George] Pataki had serious trouble in his second term. It wasn't just with Democrats, but with his own party challenging him."</p> <p>Horner said that Cuomo is also dealing with "eroded approval ratings and unprecedented indictments" of state legislative leaders that have made getting what he wants from the Legislature that more difficult. And Horner said Cuomo is particularly notorious for "liking to put points on the board."</p> <p>Many Democrats are happy Cuomo has used his executive powers on the issues he has but feel he acted out of political expediency so that he didn't have to place his Senate Republican allies in a difficult position during the legislative session. These Democrats are therefore reluctant to give him credit.</p> <p>On the other hand, many business groups and Republican electeds are more than happy to connect Cuomo to his left-leaning executive actions, because they are opposed to them. "From day one Governor Cuomo's wage board has sought to silence the business community and force through an unfair and discriminatory increase on a single sector of one industry," said Melissa Fleischut, President and CEO of the NYS Restaurant Association, in a statement. Fleischut went on to accuse Cuomo of "stacking the board" with supporters of a wage increase, and allowing business owners "to get booed and heckled at public hearings."</p> <p>Other business groups have attacked Cuomo for bypassing the Legislature on the wage issue, saying he has too much executive power. It may be surprising, but Teachout agrees to some extent. "The governor of New York has too much executive power and the 'three men in a room' have too much power," Teachout told Gotham Gazette. "Having said that, I'm happy he's using it for positive ends. But you know with this governor that if he has to move, he is always going to act in a way that maximizes his own power."</p> <p>Cuomo is likely to face a lawsuit from the restaurant industry over the wage board's recommendations and subsequent adoption by the Department of Labor.</p> <p>Regardless of his executive actions, pundits say Cuomo has to do something about his sinking poll numbers in New York City, which has been a reliable base for Cuomo in past elections. A June 15 Siena College poll found Cuomo's favorability rating drop to 39 percent, with his numbers dipping among city-based voters.</p> <p>Horner said that executive actions are simply part of Cuomo's efforts to enact his agenda and that part of his agenda has to be "keeping the coalition together."</p> <p>Teachout thinks Cuomo's executive actions indicate that he knows he faces an increasingly hostile electorate. "He is losing that default New York City vote that he could count on last time, and that's a big, big deal. When all you have left is the Buffalo base, that's a real problem. I don't think the wage board does much to help that."</p> <p>Teachout - who has not ruled out challenging Cuomo again in 2018 (assuming he seeks a third term) - said that she believes voters have developed a view of Cuomo similar to the one that de Blasio expressed: a transactional politician, cynical, power-obsessed, and untrustworthy; and not much is going to change that.</p> <p>A key question is how much workers, activists, and elected officials associate Cuomo with the action he is taking. Will the special prosecutor move endear Cuomo in communities distrustful of the police and district attorney offices? Will his move on the minimum wage earn him the loyalty of those low-wage and union workers? Are the progressive activists who have been burned by Cuomo willing to live with a governor who they don't feel they can trust but sometimes delivers for their causes?</p> <p>"I compare this moment to the fracking moment," said Teachout. "I think the administration thought the fracking ban would have an equal impact to the marriage equality moment--that it would be this inspirational moment for people to rally around the governor. But I think most people saw it the same way I did: 'Great! He banned fracking.' But with no change in how they see him."</p> <p>***<br />by David King, Albany editor, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/DavidHowardKing" target="_blank">@DavidHowardKing</a></p> Amid Further Ethics Scandal, What Can Cuomo Do Now? 2015-05-06T21:02:53+00:00 2015-05-06T21:02:53+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5713:amid-further-ethics-scandal-what-can-cuomo-do-now Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/cuomo_side.jpg" alt="cuomo side" height="400" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Gov. Cuomo (photo: @NYGovCuomo)</span></p> <hr /> <p>Last March Gov. Andrew Cuomo killed the Moreland Commission on Public Corruption in a deal with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Republican Majority Leader Dean Skelos. Now, a little more than a year later, both legislative leaders have been arrested and charged with multiple counts of federal corruption. Surrounded by scandal, it isn't immediately clear what the governor can or will do next. One thing that is sure, though, is that the worse Albany looks, the worse Cuomo looks.</p> <p>After Silver's January arrest Cuomo gave a speech at NYU outlining grand ethics reform proposals like public financing of campaigns and enacting a full-time legislature. But when it came time to cut a budget deal, Cuomo again agreed to limited change in order to get an on-time spending plan. After Skelos' arrest this week, the governor has remained relatively quiet. With Albany in disarray and a national laughingstock, what can Cuomo do in a tough situation he has largely made for himself?</p> <p>Reformers and political experts are torn about Cuomo's next move, especially after he's trumpeted many ethics adjustments as the end-all-be-all. Some say Cuomo needs to use the bully pulpit without fear of losing political capital, while others say Cuomo shouldn't say anything at all. On Wednesday Cuomo lamented the fact that if the charges against Skelos are true, it flies against the work he and others, including Skelos, have done trying to clean up the capital.</p> <p>Zephyr Teachout, a Fordham Law professor whose speciality is corruption and 2014 primary opponent of Cuomo's, said that the Skelos indictment shows that none of Cuomo's smaller ethics initiatives have actually changed the climate of corruption in Albany. "Symbolic action won't cut it," said Teachout. "There is no bridge he can start to build right now, there is not one thing he can toss out there at this point."</p> <p>Teachout added that "the thing that is so damning" about the complaint against Skelos is that the alleged corruption occurred since Cuomo's been in office, "not like the Silver indictment where things took place before Cuomo took office. So it shows us these incremental changes haven't paid off."</p> <p>The Skelos complaint details how the majority leader asked Glenwood Management to steer title insurance business to his son. Skelos allegedly threatened to punish members of <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/07/nyregion/big-names-in-new-york-real-estate-figure-into-skelos-and-silver-cases.html" target="_blank">the real estate industry</a> if they failed to comply with his demands and eventually a representative of Glenwood allegedly gave Skelos' son a $20,000 commission for doing no work. Glenwood steers millions of dollars into campaign accounts - including Cuomo's - of candidates running at all levels through the LLC loophole that allows them to subvert campaign finance limits.</p> <p>"We've always suspected this is how things are done behind closed doors, but these complaints have really brought it into the light," said Dick Dadey, executive director of good govenrment organization Citizens Union. "Not just the influence of campaign donations but that some officials use their positions to extort," he added.</p> <p>It was these kinds of relationships that the Moreland Commission was digging into when Cuomo's aides began interfering with it. And it was that kind of scrutiny that led legislative leaders to pressure Cuomo into ending the commission altogether, though it is unclear how much pressure they really had to apply.</p> <p>Teachout said that Cuomo, who has taken in over $1 million from Glenwood, should go to great lengths to demonstrate he is not himself tied to the company in any quid-pro-quo arrangement.</p> <p>"He should tell Glenwood their kind of business is not welcome in Albany, he should reveal his emails with Glenwood and [its head] <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5561-leonard-litwins-political-donations-the-full-picture" target="_blank">Leonard Litwin</a> and say enough is enough on the LLC loophole," said Teachout.</p> <p>Bill Samuels, head of good government organization EffectiveNY, called on Cuomo to return all the donations from Glenwood. "I shouldn't have to call on the Governor to return this tainted money. If he were truly committed to ethics reform and cleaning up Albany, Cuomo would have immediately returned these funds to Glenwood Management and expressed outrage over this latest corruption scandal unfolding on his watch," Samuels said in a statement.</p> <p>Cuomo told Capital New York at a press conference in Syracuse on Wednesday that he would not return the donations or refuse to accept more because Glenwood representatives had not been charged with wrongdoing. "If no one did anything wrong, then you can't just say, 'You have no right to participate in the political process,'" the governor said.</p> <p>Dadey agrees that Cuomo should not have to return the contributions because they were made legally, but says that it would be, "Helpful to know what kind of interactions the administration had with Glenwood."</p> <p>Karen Scharff, executive director of Citizen Action NY, said she feels Cuomo's attempts at ethics reform haven't paid off because he is so concerned about immediate political wins rather than the long-term good. Scharff said she'd like to see Cuomo take to the bully pulpit on public financing of elections even knowing that he won't win this year, but ready to take a loss and do it to build political momentum.</p> <p>Teachout agrees. "If he actually believes in reform he has to show he is willing to take genuine political risk," she said. "He has to come out saying: 'Win or lose I am going to put capital on the line for this to get credibility."</p> <p>Blair Horner, legislative director of the New York Public Interest Research Group, told Gotham Gazette that he has concerns that public financing of campaigns simply won't go anywhere because Senate Republicans are ideologically opposed. He and other good government advocates also worry that Cuomo no longer has any credibility on reform issues and that his proclamations on the subject have become white noise to the public and to legislators.</p> <p>"The governor has eroded the bully pulpit," Horner said. "He has been delivering speeches but not real reform. In Albany, talk is cheap. He has shown that he prefers triage but that doesn't get you anywhere."</p> <p>Dadey said that Cuomo must stay on the soap box to "connect the dots of corruption for the public."</p> <p>"The governor must not allow this saga of scandal and corruption to prevent him from enacting real ethics reform," said Dadey. Good government groups like Citizens Union and NYPIRG, as well as reform-minded legislators and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, have been <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/albany/2015/05/8567420/schneiderman-going-beyond-catching-people" target="_blank">calling</a> for sweeping reforms aimed at truly cleaning up Albany's corruption problem. They say that the time for incrementalism is over.</p> <p>Horner said that action is critical and he thinks the governor could find quick consensus with the Legislature on certain issues. Horner wants to see a new ethics watchdog where "the appointees aren't captives," a bill to restrict legislators' outside income, and legislation to end the LLC loophole. "The time for fake ethics reform has long past," said Horner.</p> <p>Cuomo has remained relatively silent on Skelos' indictment. On Wednesday <a href="http://www.nystateofpolitics.com/2015/05/cuomo-wont-call-on-skelos-to-step-down/" target="_blank">he said</a> he will not call on Skelos to resign because, "I don't have the option of picking who they pick as their leaders. They pick a Senate leader, I will work with that leader," Cuomo said referring to state senators, especially the Republican majority.</p> <p>Doug Muzzio, professor of political science at Baruch College, said he believes Cuomo is doing the best thing he can for himself by remaining mum on the scandals that have left Albany more dysfunctional than ever. "My initial inclination is he should keep quiet, stay far away from it, don't even comment," Muzzio told Gotham Gazette. Cuomo appears to be taking that tack, instead promoting on Wednesday that several private New York colleges have signed on to his campaign aimed at reducing sexual assault on campuses and penning <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/07/opinion/andrew-m-cuomo-fast-food-workers-deserve-a-raise.html?ref=opinion" target="_blank">an op-ed</a> in the New York Times announcing his new move geared at raising the wages of fast-food workers.</p> <p>What he'll do next on ethics reform is far from clear. Muzzio said Cuomo should avoid making any grand speeches on reform because everyone has heard it before. "I don't think Groundhog Day works because the press are gonna hang him for it. He should keep quiet while working toward a strategy of reform because this is going to pass."</p> <p>***<br />by David King, Albany editor, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/davidhowardking" target="_blank">@DavidHowardKing</a></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/cuomo_side.jpg" alt="cuomo side" height="400" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Gov. Cuomo (photo: @NYGovCuomo)</span></p> <hr /> <p>Last March Gov. Andrew Cuomo killed the Moreland Commission on Public Corruption in a deal with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Republican Majority Leader Dean Skelos. Now, a little more than a year later, both legislative leaders have been arrested and charged with multiple counts of federal corruption. Surrounded by scandal, it isn't immediately clear what the governor can or will do next. One thing that is sure, though, is that the worse Albany looks, the worse Cuomo looks.</p> <p>After Silver's January arrest Cuomo gave a speech at NYU outlining grand ethics reform proposals like public financing of campaigns and enacting a full-time legislature. But when it came time to cut a budget deal, Cuomo again agreed to limited change in order to get an on-time spending plan. After Skelos' arrest this week, the governor has remained relatively quiet. With Albany in disarray and a national laughingstock, what can Cuomo do in a tough situation he has largely made for himself?</p> <p>Reformers and political experts are torn about Cuomo's next move, especially after he's trumpeted many ethics adjustments as the end-all-be-all. Some say Cuomo needs to use the bully pulpit without fear of losing political capital, while others say Cuomo shouldn't say anything at all. On Wednesday Cuomo lamented the fact that if the charges against Skelos are true, it flies against the work he and others, including Skelos, have done trying to clean up the capital.</p> <p>Zephyr Teachout, a Fordham Law professor whose speciality is corruption and 2014 primary opponent of Cuomo's, said that the Skelos indictment shows that none of Cuomo's smaller ethics initiatives have actually changed the climate of corruption in Albany. "Symbolic action won't cut it," said Teachout. "There is no bridge he can start to build right now, there is not one thing he can toss out there at this point."</p> <p>Teachout added that "the thing that is so damning" about the complaint against Skelos is that the alleged corruption occurred since Cuomo's been in office, "not like the Silver indictment where things took place before Cuomo took office. So it shows us these incremental changes haven't paid off."</p> <p>The Skelos complaint details how the majority leader asked Glenwood Management to steer title insurance business to his son. Skelos allegedly threatened to punish members of <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/07/nyregion/big-names-in-new-york-real-estate-figure-into-skelos-and-silver-cases.html" target="_blank">the real estate industry</a> if they failed to comply with his demands and eventually a representative of Glenwood allegedly gave Skelos' son a $20,000 commission for doing no work. Glenwood steers millions of dollars into campaign accounts - including Cuomo's - of candidates running at all levels through the LLC loophole that allows them to subvert campaign finance limits.</p> <p>"We've always suspected this is how things are done behind closed doors, but these complaints have really brought it into the light," said Dick Dadey, executive director of good govenrment organization Citizens Union. "Not just the influence of campaign donations but that some officials use their positions to extort," he added.</p> <p>It was these kinds of relationships that the Moreland Commission was digging into when Cuomo's aides began interfering with it. And it was that kind of scrutiny that led legislative leaders to pressure Cuomo into ending the commission altogether, though it is unclear how much pressure they really had to apply.</p> <p>Teachout said that Cuomo, who has taken in over $1 million from Glenwood, should go to great lengths to demonstrate he is not himself tied to the company in any quid-pro-quo arrangement.</p> <p>"He should tell Glenwood their kind of business is not welcome in Albany, he should reveal his emails with Glenwood and [its head] <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5561-leonard-litwins-political-donations-the-full-picture" target="_blank">Leonard Litwin</a> and say enough is enough on the LLC loophole," said Teachout.</p> <p>Bill Samuels, head of good government organization EffectiveNY, called on Cuomo to return all the donations from Glenwood. "I shouldn't have to call on the Governor to return this tainted money. If he were truly committed to ethics reform and cleaning up Albany, Cuomo would have immediately returned these funds to Glenwood Management and expressed outrage over this latest corruption scandal unfolding on his watch," Samuels said in a statement.</p> <p>Cuomo told Capital New York at a press conference in Syracuse on Wednesday that he would not return the donations or refuse to accept more because Glenwood representatives had not been charged with wrongdoing. "If no one did anything wrong, then you can't just say, 'You have no right to participate in the political process,'" the governor said.</p> <p>Dadey agrees that Cuomo should not have to return the contributions because they were made legally, but says that it would be, "Helpful to know what kind of interactions the administration had with Glenwood."</p> <p>Karen Scharff, executive director of Citizen Action NY, said she feels Cuomo's attempts at ethics reform haven't paid off because he is so concerned about immediate political wins rather than the long-term good. Scharff said she'd like to see Cuomo take to the bully pulpit on public financing of elections even knowing that he won't win this year, but ready to take a loss and do it to build political momentum.</p> <p>Teachout agrees. "If he actually believes in reform he has to show he is willing to take genuine political risk," she said. "He has to come out saying: 'Win or lose I am going to put capital on the line for this to get credibility."</p> <p>Blair Horner, legislative director of the New York Public Interest Research Group, told Gotham Gazette that he has concerns that public financing of campaigns simply won't go anywhere because Senate Republicans are ideologically opposed. He and other good government advocates also worry that Cuomo no longer has any credibility on reform issues and that his proclamations on the subject have become white noise to the public and to legislators.</p> <p>"The governor has eroded the bully pulpit," Horner said. "He has been delivering speeches but not real reform. In Albany, talk is cheap. He has shown that he prefers triage but that doesn't get you anywhere."</p> <p>Dadey said that Cuomo must stay on the soap box to "connect the dots of corruption for the public."</p> <p>"The governor must not allow this saga of scandal and corruption to prevent him from enacting real ethics reform," said Dadey. Good government groups like Citizens Union and NYPIRG, as well as reform-minded legislators and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, have been <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/albany/2015/05/8567420/schneiderman-going-beyond-catching-people" target="_blank">calling</a> for sweeping reforms aimed at truly cleaning up Albany's corruption problem. They say that the time for incrementalism is over.</p> <p>Horner said that action is critical and he thinks the governor could find quick consensus with the Legislature on certain issues. Horner wants to see a new ethics watchdog where "the appointees aren't captives," a bill to restrict legislators' outside income, and legislation to end the LLC loophole. "The time for fake ethics reform has long past," said Horner.</p> <p>Cuomo has remained relatively silent on Skelos' indictment. On Wednesday <a href="http://www.nystateofpolitics.com/2015/05/cuomo-wont-call-on-skelos-to-step-down/" target="_blank">he said</a> he will not call on Skelos to resign because, "I don't have the option of picking who they pick as their leaders. They pick a Senate leader, I will work with that leader," Cuomo said referring to state senators, especially the Republican majority.</p> <p>Doug Muzzio, professor of political science at Baruch College, said he believes Cuomo is doing the best thing he can for himself by remaining mum on the scandals that have left Albany more dysfunctional than ever. "My initial inclination is he should keep quiet, stay far away from it, don't even comment," Muzzio told Gotham Gazette. Cuomo appears to be taking that tack, instead promoting on Wednesday that several private New York colleges have signed on to his campaign aimed at reducing sexual assault on campuses and penning <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/07/opinion/andrew-m-cuomo-fast-food-workers-deserve-a-raise.html?ref=opinion" target="_blank">an op-ed</a> in the New York Times announcing his new move geared at raising the wages of fast-food workers.</p> <p>What he'll do next on ethics reform is far from clear. Muzzio said Cuomo should avoid making any grand speeches on reform because everyone has heard it before. "I don't think Groundhog Day works because the press are gonna hang him for it. He should keep quiet while working toward a strategy of reform because this is going to pass."</p> <p>***<br />by David King, Albany editor, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/davidhowardking" target="_blank">@DavidHowardKing</a></p> Outside Experts, Inside Employees Agree: Cuomo's Email Purge Misguided 2015-03-06T00:45:01+00:00 2015-03-06T00:45:01+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5618:outside-experts-inside-employees-agree-cuomos-email-purge-misguided Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/16386730649_2c2c3d4c7a_z.jpg" alt="Cuomo" height="399" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Gov. Cuomo (photo: Governor's Office via flickr)</span></p> <hr /> <p>Governor Andrew Cuomo's new 90-day email deletion policy for all state agencies is being met with widespread disapproval. Experts say it is terrible for transparency; the people who have to abide by the mandate say they don't feel qualified to implement it and that it isn't good for their productivity.</p> <p>According to a number of state workers who spoke to Gotham Gazette on the condition of anonymity, regular work habits have been disrupted by the policy that sees emails purged after three months. They say that the policy costs them time because to abide by it they are forced to weigh the State's monumentally large email retention policy against the purge policy, and then ferret out and save important emails.</p> <p>There is also concern that losing emails will disrupt workflow because employees won't be able to refer back to previous conversations by searching their inboxes, as people often do.</p> <p>The State began the program after consolidating a myriad of email systems into Microsoft Office 365. Capital New York <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/albany/2015/02/8562835/cuomo-administration-begins-large-scale-email-purges" target="_blank">reported</a> the start of the program last week. The program actually gives the administrator the ability to purge employee emails after one day. A coalition of technology- and transparency-minded groups including Reinvent Albany and the NYCLU wrote the governor last month to oppose implementation of the program, arguing that it would cripple Freedom of Information Act laws (FOIL).</p> <p>"This policy was adopted without public notice or comment," reads the letter. "Furthermore, we are extremely concerned that the inevitable destruction of email records under your 90-day automatic deletion policy directly undermines other public accountability laws like the False Claims Act."</p> <p>Cuomo's IT chief Maggie Miller <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/albany/2015/02/8563051/cuomo-it-chief-grilled-over-email-purges" target="_blank">was grilled</a> about the policy during a budget hearing last week. She defended the policy, saying in part, "It's also a matter of, actually, encouraging good behavior, prudent and responsible use of state resources." In terms of concern over space issues and expense, Microsoft Office 365 offers decades worth of email retention.</p> <p>The Cuomo administration has billed the deletion program as a way to improve efficiency, but workers say it's a hinderance and that they don't feel qualified to decide which emails should be saved in case of lawsuits or FOIL requests. "This just isn't my job," said one employee.</p> <p>State rules pertaining to what emails should be saved <a href="http://www.propublica.org/article/why-is-cuomo-administration-automatically-deleting-state-employees-emails" target="_blank">are extensive</a> - they take up 118 pages and 215 separate categories.</p> <p>State Sen. Liz Krueger, a Democrat from Manhattan, told Gotham Gazette that she learned of the policy during that budget hearing and was "horrified."</p> <p>"How many state employees understand the language in the policy about what should be preserved?" Kruger asked. "I asked three FOIL lawyers how complicated it is and whether a layman could interpret the rules and they laughed."</p> <p>Krueger has a bill in the works that would overturn the 90-day policy and establish retention timelines for different areas of government. The bill would add electronic communication to the state's archive laws. She says her legislation will be complicated because it covers so many areas, but takes some inspiration from the Federal Capstone Email Management Policy. It would also make all branches of government, including the Legislature, subject to FOIL. Krueger said she expects bill drafting to be complete in about a week.</p> <p>There is concern among some legislators and advocates who want to stop Cuomo's policy that Krueger's bill is too far-reaching to actually pass. One legislator told Gotham Gazette with condition of anonymity that they felt making the Legislature subject to FOIL is actually a "poison pill," and virtually guarantees it will not pass.</p> <p>Krueger said that her bill is not designed as an attack on Cuomo. "I hope this is a situation where the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing. Maybe the governor made a mistake. This isn't a spat. I'm not here to go 'Ha, ha! I caught you screwing up!' I am here to repair [the situation] because I care about the democratic process."</p> <p>Although the uproar over the policy has been sudden and sharp it isn't exactly surprising that the Cuomo administration implemented it. The administration is known for being extremely secretive, and has been working on the implementation of the program for years.</p> <p>Zephyr Teachout, Cuomo's primary opponent from last year and author of a book on political corruption, has slammed the policy and pointed out that Cuomo is under federal investigation for tampering with The Moreland Commission on Public Corruption.</p> <p>"Everyone knows that Albany - all of it, executive and legislative - has a corruption problem. Some of it's legal, some of it's illegal," Teachout told Gotham Gazette. " At this particular moment, with such low trust in Albany, there's no excuse for an email deletion policy. He should be opening the books, not burning them after three months. Transparency isn't the full answer. X-rays don't cure patients. But you need them to figure out what's going on."</p> <p>***<br />by David King, Albany editor, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/DavidHowardKing" target="_blank">@DavidHowardKing</a></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/16386730649_2c2c3d4c7a_z.jpg" alt="Cuomo" height="399" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Gov. Cuomo (photo: Governor's Office via flickr)</span></p> <hr /> <p>Governor Andrew Cuomo's new 90-day email deletion policy for all state agencies is being met with widespread disapproval. Experts say it is terrible for transparency; the people who have to abide by the mandate say they don't feel qualified to implement it and that it isn't good for their productivity.</p> <p>According to a number of state workers who spoke to Gotham Gazette on the condition of anonymity, regular work habits have been disrupted by the policy that sees emails purged after three months. They say that the policy costs them time because to abide by it they are forced to weigh the State's monumentally large email retention policy against the purge policy, and then ferret out and save important emails.</p> <p>There is also concern that losing emails will disrupt workflow because employees won't be able to refer back to previous conversations by searching their inboxes, as people often do.</p> <p>The State began the program after consolidating a myriad of email systems into Microsoft Office 365. Capital New York <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/albany/2015/02/8562835/cuomo-administration-begins-large-scale-email-purges" target="_blank">reported</a> the start of the program last week. The program actually gives the administrator the ability to purge employee emails after one day. A coalition of technology- and transparency-minded groups including Reinvent Albany and the NYCLU wrote the governor last month to oppose implementation of the program, arguing that it would cripple Freedom of Information Act laws (FOIL).</p> <p>"This policy was adopted without public notice or comment," reads the letter. "Furthermore, we are extremely concerned that the inevitable destruction of email records under your 90-day automatic deletion policy directly undermines other public accountability laws like the False Claims Act."</p> <p>Cuomo's IT chief Maggie Miller <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/albany/2015/02/8563051/cuomo-it-chief-grilled-over-email-purges" target="_blank">was grilled</a> about the policy during a budget hearing last week. She defended the policy, saying in part, "It's also a matter of, actually, encouraging good behavior, prudent and responsible use of state resources." In terms of concern over space issues and expense, Microsoft Office 365 offers decades worth of email retention.</p> <p>The Cuomo administration has billed the deletion program as a way to improve efficiency, but workers say it's a hinderance and that they don't feel qualified to decide which emails should be saved in case of lawsuits or FOIL requests. "This just isn't my job," said one employee.</p> <p>State rules pertaining to what emails should be saved <a href="http://www.propublica.org/article/why-is-cuomo-administration-automatically-deleting-state-employees-emails" target="_blank">are extensive</a> - they take up 118 pages and 215 separate categories.</p> <p>State Sen. Liz Krueger, a Democrat from Manhattan, told Gotham Gazette that she learned of the policy during that budget hearing and was "horrified."</p> <p>"How many state employees understand the language in the policy about what should be preserved?" Kruger asked. "I asked three FOIL lawyers how complicated it is and whether a layman could interpret the rules and they laughed."</p> <p>Krueger has a bill in the works that would overturn the 90-day policy and establish retention timelines for different areas of government. The bill would add electronic communication to the state's archive laws. She says her legislation will be complicated because it covers so many areas, but takes some inspiration from the Federal Capstone Email Management Policy. It would also make all branches of government, including the Legislature, subject to FOIL. Krueger said she expects bill drafting to be complete in about a week.</p> <p>There is concern among some legislators and advocates who want to stop Cuomo's policy that Krueger's bill is too far-reaching to actually pass. One legislator told Gotham Gazette with condition of anonymity that they felt making the Legislature subject to FOIL is actually a "poison pill," and virtually guarantees it will not pass.</p> <p>Krueger said that her bill is not designed as an attack on Cuomo. "I hope this is a situation where the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing. Maybe the governor made a mistake. This isn't a spat. I'm not here to go 'Ha, ha! I caught you screwing up!' I am here to repair [the situation] because I care about the democratic process."</p> <p>Although the uproar over the policy has been sudden and sharp it isn't exactly surprising that the Cuomo administration implemented it. The administration is known for being extremely secretive, and has been working on the implementation of the program for years.</p> <p>Zephyr Teachout, Cuomo's primary opponent from last year and author of a book on political corruption, has slammed the policy and pointed out that Cuomo is under federal investigation for tampering with The Moreland Commission on Public Corruption.</p> <p>"Everyone knows that Albany - all of it, executive and legislative - has a corruption problem. Some of it's legal, some of it's illegal," Teachout told Gotham Gazette. " At this particular moment, with such low trust in Albany, there's no excuse for an email deletion policy. He should be opening the books, not burning them after three months. Transparency isn't the full answer. X-rays don't cure patients. But you need them to figure out what's going on."</p> <p>***<br />by David King, Albany editor, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/DavidHowardKing" target="_blank">@DavidHowardKing</a></p>