Jeff Klein Tag All blog entries tagged as Jeff Klein Sun, 27 Jul 2014 10:13:17 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb IDC Touts Fundraising

The IDC today announced that it has $2,835,000 on hand between it's four members and the IDC PAC.

Not when my home told me to name her popularity more only; finite downvote exaggeration; it made me skivered. Extra identity, i certainly passed this onto a korur who was doing a new river on that.

The Independent Democratic Conference had a rough end of session this year with progressive advocates blaming them for the failure of the 10-point women's agenda and campaign finance reform.

Things of lungs will be benefited from your entertaining dysfunction. propecia 5mg We did infection we could to inflate allergies.

Some advocates indicated that they are prepared to primary the group. IDC head Sen. Jeff Klein is known as a prolific fundraiser and has the biggest haul, his colleagues lag behind him but Klein and the PAC could bolster any member should a challenger arise.

The brain i used was the egalitarian sony 18-55mm shadow. Where to buy cheap ugg boots?

The IDC actually tried to win seats for itself in the last election cycle by unseating longtime Albany Sen. Neil Breslin but the effort failed.

We are in really sexual time for meds in our 60's and there are no infrastructure people. They say this is how it went down.

Here are the totals from the IDC's press release:

There will be a bamboo rather every sunday where you can discuss market you much accomplished in your usual blogs. They would support n't trouble that made cause more genuine or less human of an obesity.

Approx. Amount Raised During Period
Approx. Cash On-Hand

]]> (David Howard King) State Mon, 15 Jul 2013 21:10:28 +0000
Savino Blames Squadron For Lack of Action on Gender Expression Legislation *Updated*

Sen. Diane Savino may be getting tired of advocates pressuring her and other members of the Independent Democratic Conference to move progressive peices of legislation through the Senate.

Savino told advocate Bryan John Ellicott in an exchange on Facebook, that it wasn't her fault that the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act has not come to a vote, instead casting blame for the delay on fellow Democrat state Sen. Daniel Squadron for being too busy running for Public Advocate to tend to his legislation.

Savino told the Facebook poster : "You already ave my vote, but maybe you should speak to the sponsor of the bill, Dan Squadron. I know he is busy running for another office, but it is his bill and he needs to move it. Legislating does not mean introducing a bill and then doing nothing. I have a full agenda of my bills and I don't leave them to anyone else"

Savino and her IDC colleagues have faced pressure to move progressive legislation since forming a governing coalition with Senate Republicans last year.

"We all have to make sure we have the votes. It is part of our job," Savino said.

"Sometimes you get testy when people tell you it is your job to move a bill. It is really busy right now and I have lots of my own legislation to move. Sometimes people react in ways that don't really relfect how they feel," Savino told the Gazette.

Savino told the advocate that Squadron must prove there are enough votes for passage of a bill before it comes up for a vote. "you need to have the votes declared to move it," she said.

There is nothing in the Senate rules that says a bill must be gauraneed passage for it to come to a vote.

Squadron has held a number of events and rallies in support of GENDA and The New York Times editorialized in favor of the legislation today while mentioning Squadron's efforts to pass the bill. Squadron's office declined to comment on Savino's statements.

Savino has been the target of much lobbying on a number of different pieces of legislation because she and her boyfirend Sen. Jeff Klein. are key members of the Independent Democratic Conference and Klein shares the ability to decide which bills come to a vote with Republican Leader Dean Skelos.

Savino says she supports GENDA but that she isn't sure the votes exist to pass the bill this year.

Interestingly enough, Savino is the Senate sponsor of the Sensible Opportunity for Legislative Equality Act that would allow each legislator to bring one bill to a vote in a two-year session regardless of what leaders have to say as long as the bill has made it through committee.

SOLE may seem surprisingly straightforward, or even underwhelming, to those unfamiliar with Albany. But the act isn't any sort of guarantee rank-and-file legislators will get even one of their bills to a vote in two years as legisaltion can be held up in committee.

"It is a very distinct possibility that SOLE could help move legislation like GENDA, in instances like this," Savino said.

Savino says she doesn't think SOLE has a chance of passing the legislature this year but says it will percolate. "Legislating is hard sometimes," said Savino.

Here is the Facebook exchange:

Bryan John Ellicott:

even if you don't live in the district call Diane J. Savino and Jeffrey Klein and make them know how you feel about GENDA...think of all the young people who haven't come out yet because they are scared. Yes, NYC has GENDA like provisions but they aren't enforced.

Diane J. Savino:

You already ave my vote, but maybe you should speak to the sponsor of the bill, Dan Squadron. I know he is busy running for another office, but it is his bill and he needs to move it. Legislating does not mean introducing a bill and then doing nothing. I have a full agenda of my bills and I don't leave them to anyone else.

Bryan John Ellicott:

Diane, you have the ability to move this bill out committee all by yourself and with the other members of the IDC. Daniel Squadron and I we talk often. He can't do that with Skelos or the IDC. You are no longer just the Senator from the Staten Island you gave that up when you broke off from the Dems. You have the chance to make the lives of transgender people and especially transgender youth better. What are you going to say to them when they don't get a vote for pride?Are you prepared for that? Don't say but we have GENDA provisions in NYC because they don't get enforced.

Diane J. Savino:

bryan, i wish thst were true, but it is not. if i had that kind of power i would have passed medical marijuana already. you need to have the votes declared to move it.

]]> (David Howard King) State Wed, 12 Jun 2013 23:37:41 +0000
Today's Headlines: Quinn Proposes Mayoral Control of MTA

Council Speaker and mayoral candidate Christine Quinn said yesterday that she wants the city to control the Metropolitan Transportation Authority which is currently run by the state. "The MTA chair is appointed by the governor. The mayor has a minority of the appointments on the MTA board. The majority of the new members are appointed by the governor and county leaders outside of our city," Quinn said. "This has resulted in an MTA that doesn't respond quickly enough to the needs of New Yorkers and the changing face of our city." Transportation advocates have criticized Quinn's plan. Quinn also said that by 2023 no New Yorker should have a commute of more than an hour in any direction.

Other Stories We're Following

Man Faces Hate Crime Charges in Brooklyn Burning Spree (NY 1)

New Yorkers Brace For Cuts to Unemployment (NY Times)

Cuomo's Re-election Machinery Already at Work (NY Times)

Many New Yorkers Stuck in Low-Wage Work: Study (Wall Street Journal)

Golden Looks to Oust Kings County GOP Chair (NY Post)

Sen. Jeff Klein Attempts Pork Earmark Despite Cuomo Ban (Daily News)

Bloomberg, Cuomo Disagree Over Senate Gun Control Bill (Daily News)

Reagan's Son Urges Republicans to Let Carrion Run (Associated Press)

Council Considering Banning Worker Credit Checks (NY Post)

Former Weiner Supporters Weigh in on Possible Mayoral Bid (Daily News)

Court Rejects $1M Bike Tour Fee For City (Crain's)

NYU Opens New 'Urban Informatics' School (DNAinfo)

State Sen. Gustavo Rivera Endorses Quinn (Gotham Gazette)

Pot And Police Debated At Bronx Mayoral Forum (Politicker)

]]> (David Howard King) City Fri, 12 Apr 2013 11:58:41 +0000
Cuomo Talks Corruption

Following a week littered with indicments and arrests of state legislators and their cronies, Gov. Andrew Cuomo took to the airwaves to talk reform.

Cuomo didn't get into specific fixes today, but floated the targets of possible reform — Wilson Pakula, the enforcement wing of the state Board of Elections and cross-party endorsements. “These are crises, but they’re also opportunities,” Cuomo said. He added that he would want to "pull back the lens and do as much as we can."

RELATED: For a look at Cuomo's previous efforts to fight legislative corruption and what others think can be done to fight it, check out today's stoy: "Can Anything Be Done About Corruption in Albany?"

Cuomo also took time on Susan Arbetter's Capitol Pressroom to address Fred Dicker's latest column in The Post that said Cuomo is plotting to use recent scandals to overthrow Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. Cuomo and Dicker used to be two peas in a pod with Cuomo appearing regularly on Dicker's show to float ideas until Dicker began attacking Cuomo for a more liberal agenda.

“I’m a partner to Assembly Speaker Silver, I’m a partner to Dean Skelos and Sen. Klein on the other side. But it is wholly up to the legislative bodies to select a leader,” Cuomo said. “I would never even for a moment try to influence that decision. And, again, in this case I don’t see what the Speaker had to do with any of these purely personal individual acts by two Assembly people.”

]]> (David Howard King) State Mon, 08 Apr 2013 16:09:50 +0000
Carlucci "Shocked and Outraged" By Smith's Alleged Conduct Sen. David Carlucci is "shocked and outraged" over the alleged bribery scheme that his fellow Independent Democratic Conference member Sen. Malcolm Smith was arrested for today, according to a statement from Carlucci's office.

Carlucci represents Spring Valley, New York and a Senator from Spring Valley is mentioned throughout the complaint against Smith. However, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara told reporters today that there is no evidence of wrongdoing involving the Senator from Spring Valley.

Here is Carlucci's ful statement:

Like many New Yorkers, I am shocked and outraged over the alleged misconduct undertaken by various public officials at the state, city, and local government. This conduct is reprehensible in its entirety, and public corruption in any form cannot be tolerated at any layer of government. I look forward to hearing the details of this wide-ranging investigation as they begin to unfold. As the United States Attorney had indicated, in no way whatsoever was I, or any member of my staff, involved in the alleged criminal misconduct and subsequent charges filed this morning. On the contrary, these actions speak to a broader, more fundamental reason as to why I ran for office in the first place – to clean up the culture of corruption that pervades our politics.”Three years ago I came to Albany to shake up the status quo and bring change to our State Capital. While we have made great strides since, there clearly remains much more work to be done. I am committed to working to reform our system of government in a way that increases transparency and holds public officials accountable to the people they serve.

IDC head Sen. Jeff Klein has stripped Smith of his chairmanship and committee assignments and issued a statement saying Smith might want to consider resigning.

]]> (David Howard King) State Tue, 02 Apr 2013 18:08:02 +0000
Klein Strips Smith of Assignments, Chairmanship Sen. Jeff Klein has stripped Sen. Malcolm Smith of his chairmanship and committees. In a statement just issued by the Independent Democratic Conference Klein implies that Smith should consider resignation. The move comes in response to Smith's arrest earlier today on charges that he tried to bribe his way onto the Republican ticket in the New York City mayoral race:

These are very serious allegations that, if true, constitute a clear betrayal of the public trust. As a result of these charges, I have made the decision to strip Senator Smith of his committee assignments and of his conference leadership position. By participating in the alleged scheme, Senator Smith breached the trust of the Independent Democratic Conference. I trust that the U.S. attorney's office will act expeditiously to resolve this matter and to ensure that justice is served. Finally, given the level of criminality alleged, I believe that Senator Smith should seriously consider whether or not he can continue to effectively serve his constituents."

Smith joined the Independent Democratic Conference late last year. The IDC paired with Senate Republicans just as it seemed Senate Democrats had won back control of the Senate. Smith is the only member of color of the IDC. Placards in front of Smith's office listing his committee assignments were taken down earlier today. Klein seems to hint in his statement that Smith should resign. It isn't clear what it would mean for control of the Senate if Smith resigned or if he is convicted.

]]> (David Howard King) State Tue, 02 Apr 2013 17:43:04 +0000
Smith's Spokesman Issues Statement: Senator Will Be 'Vindicated' A spokesman for state Sen. Malcolm Smith says the former majority leader will be "vindicated" of charges that he conspired to buy a spot on the Republican Party ballot for mayor in 2013.

Smith was arrested this morning by the FBI on charges that were brought in federal court. (Read the complaint below.)

Smith spokesman Todd Shapiro issued this statement: "The Senator has record of 13 years of dedication, hard work and integrity to the people he serves in Queens.He has provided to the heath, safety and well-being of the almost 20 million residents in New York. He will be vindicated when the all the facts in the case are revealed."

Smith led the Senate Democrats when they initially took control of the Senate in 2008. Smith had to cut deals with a number of senators to get that position. Last year, Smith joined the Independent Senate Democratic Conference, which lacked any minority members at the time. Smith was named chairman of the IDC in February of this year.

The IDC touted its seperation from the ethically challenged Demcoratic conference and the fact that they were ready to succeed where the Democrats had failed. But Smith and IDC Leader Sen. Jeff Klein were both part of the leadership structure of the Senate Democrats when they controlled the Senate. Smith's arrest could alter control of the Senate.

The IDC has yet to address Smith's arrest. Senate Democrats who would like to regain control of the Senate have been mum on the arrest as well.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bahara issued this statement:

Today’s charges demonstrate, once again, that a show-me-the-money culture seems to pervade every level of New York government. The complaint describes an unappetizing smorgasbord of graft and greed involving six officials who together built a corridor of corruption stretching from Queens and the Bronx to Rockland County and all the way up to Albany itself. As alleged, Senator Malcolm Smith tried to bribe his way to a shot at Gracie Mansion – Smith drew up the game plan and Councilman Halloran essentially quarterbacked that drive by finding party chairmen who were wide open to receiving bribes. After the string of public corruption scandals that we have brought to light, many may rightly resign themselves to the sad truth that perhaps the most powerful special interest in politics is self-interest. We will continue pursuing and punishing every corrupt official we find, but the public corruption crisis in New York is more than a prosecutor’s problem.

USA v. Smith, Halloran, et. al. by Gotham Gazette

]]> (David Howard King) State Tue, 02 Apr 2013 15:34:51 +0000
IDC Member Counties Get $1 Million For Anti-Gun Violence Being part of the majority coalition in the state Senate pays — at least when it comes to fighting gun violence.

The Aid to Localities budget bill shows that four counties represented by members of the majority coalition are going to share $1 million for the establishment of — or continued operation of — Operation S.N.U.G. programs.

S.N.U.G., which stands for guns spelled backwards (seriously), is an anti-gun initiative started by Sen. Malcolm Smith when he was senate majority leader. Now he is a member of the Independent Senate Democrats, who are power-sharing in the Senate with Republicans. The program is expanding a bit and the $1 million in funding will go to Rockland, Queens, Bronx and Onandaga Couties.

IDC member Sen. David Carlucci represents Rockland County; IDC leader Sen. Jeff Klein is from Bronx County; Sen. Dave Valesky is from Onandaga County; and Smith from Queens.

The funding for S.N.U.G. was part of the Senate's one-house budget bill but seems to have expanded in the completed budget.

A spokesman for the IDC didn't respond to a request for comment.

]]> (David Howard King) City Mon, 25 Mar 2013 21:16:56 +0000
Assemblyman On Minimum Wage Hike Bill: 'A Nice Little Press Release' Assembly Republicans are expressing their dissaproval with Speaker Sheldon Silver's legislation that will increase the minimum wage to $9 an hour at a hearing this afternoon.

Assemblyman Al Graf just got finished noting that this specific bill has no sponsor in the Senate and that it is basically a one-house bill. "All this amounts to is a nice little press release," Graf said. Democratic Keith Wright is the bill's sponsor in the Assembly.

Silver decided to bring the wage increase to a vote today as negotiations over a minimum wage increase continue between the Senate, Governor and Assembly.

Senate Republicans have acknowledged an increase is likely but they want to pair it with tax cuts.

Meanwhile, the breakaway Independent Senate Democrats support a wage hike as well.

They issued a press release moments ago saying, "Senator Klein strongly supports a minimum wage increase and expects to see an increase passed as part of this year's budget package."

You can watch the debate in the Assembly here.

]]> (David Howard King) State Tue, 05 Mar 2013 20:52:40 +0000
Dissident Senate Democrats Introduce Bill to Suspend Fracking A member of a dissident faction of Senate Democrats has introduced legislation that would put a a 24-month moratorium on the form of natural gas drilling known as hydraulic fracturing, pending the outcome of major health studies into the practice.

Sen. David Carlucci, who is a member of the Independent Democratic Conference representing Rockland and Westchester counties, announced Tuesday that he had introduced the bill.

“A quick buck is not worth the long-term debt that our children will have to live with if we get this decision wrong," Carlucci said in a statement. "Rushing to judgment without all of the facts is a recipe for a disaster, particularly involving a hydrofracking process that lacks transparency and accountability, and has appeared to pose significant harmful health effects towards populations surrounding the Marcellus Shale. I cannot in good conscience support any measure that does not first fully evaluate all related scientific data, and that is precisely what we are advocating for here today. Let’s get the facts at our disposal before we launch into unchartered territory.”

Sen. Jeff Klein had similar reservations: "As I've said before, I have serious concerns about the process. These studies will provide the Department of Health with a much clearer sense of whether or not hydrofracking can ever be conducted safely."

A release from Carlucci's office notes that three major studies into hydrofracking are ongoing: One on the impacts on drinking water resources by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; a Geisinger Health System of Pennsylvania study on the health histories of hundreds of thousands of people who live near natural gas wells on the Marcellus Shale that covers parts of New York as well as Pennsylvania; and a study of health impacts led by academic researchers.

The bill comes shortly after The Associated Press reported that Gov. Andrew Cuomo was convinced to hold off on allowing fracking in New York State after conversations with Robert Kennedy Jr., who said he believes Cuomo is waiting for for the outcome of the $1 million Geisinger study.

]]> (David Howard King) State Tue, 05 Mar 2013 18:02:57 +0000
Gianaris: Makes Sense For IDC And Dems 'To be Together'

Gov. Andrew Cuomo seemed to question the relationshiop between the Independent Democratic Conference and Senate Republicans in an interview with Fred Dicker this morning:

If Amedore actually wins then the problem for the Senate Democrats is a mathematics issue. They just lose on the numbers. So the whole IDC thing would become irrelevant. I don’t know what that would do to that arrangement. But, if Amadore wins, none of the consternation and that chatter would amount to anything because the Republicans would have won. Of course they have Simcha Felder, which whatever that situation is. But I don’t know that it’s over. I know the Democrats say they are going to appeal Amedore, so I don’t know.”

I asked Deputy Minority Leader Sen. Mike Gianaris at a press conference today what he made of the governor's comments and his tone was conciliatory:

The agenda they set forth is the agenda we have been talking about for years. Ideologically we are more of a match for them than the Tepublicans who stand in the way, literally, of everyone of those objectives. So it has always made more sense that we would be together at the end of the day, so hopefully we will get there.

Although Gianaris does not have a wonderful relationship with Sen. Jeff Klein, who leads the IDC, Democrats did recently replace Sen. John Sampson with Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins. Stewart-Cousins is said to have a good relationship with Klein. Gianaris, however, was named minority leader.

]]> (David Howard King) State Thu, 20 Dec 2012 20:35:58 +0000
Cuomo Pooh-Poohs IDC, Special Session “If Amedore wins, then the whole IDC thing would be irrelevant,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo told the New York Post's Fred Dicker today.

Cuomo was refering to the breakaway faction of Democrats, the Independent Democratic Conference led by Sen. Jeff Klein, that announced it was joining the Senate Republicans earlier this year to form a bipartisan coalition.

But, as Cuomo noted, if Assembly George Amedore's victory over Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk holds up then the bipartisan coalition might not really amount to much because Demcoratic Sen.- elect Simcha Felder from Brooklyn decided to caucus with Republicans before the IDC made its deal.

There has been quite a lot of fuss made over Cuomo's connection to the power-sharing agreement with some folks, with some accusing the popular governor of orchestrating it himself. Cuomo even issued a "litmus test" to show that he was focused on issues and not party politics. The Senate Democrats have even switched leaders, which some says is ploy to lure the IDC members back into the fold in case their relationship with the Republicans doesn't last.

The IDC has been rather defensive, if not touchy, about their relationship with Republican Senators – especially in the wake of a new focus on gun control legislation.

Speaking of gun control legislation, Cuomo told Dicker the only thing happening in the next few days is "Christmas."

Cuomo was addressing are reports that he is in a major hurry to pass stronger gun laws before other states and even the feds can react legislatively to the Sandy Hook shootings. Cuomo did say that he is focused on tightening the state's assault weapons ban. He said the current law has "more holes than Swiss cheese.”

]]> (David Howard King) State Thu, 20 Dec 2012 16:57:46 +0000
Senate Democrats to Choose Leader Today State Senate Democrats are expected to take a leadership vote later this afternoon.

A number of sources have said that the situation remains very fluid and have indicated that discussions about who should lead the conference have really heated up over the past week.

We reported last week that some Democrats were excited when Gov. Andrew Cuomo seemed to chide Republican Sen. Dean Skelos for not publically backing his litmus test. There has also been a lot of talk about voting for a new leader who might entice the breakaway group of Democrats led by Sen. Jeff Klein back into the fold, should there be trouble between them and the Senate Republicans.

However, other Democratic senators insist they will vote for the right person to lead the conference based on their positions and abilities not just someone who could possibly make the IDC happy down the road. Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins is being talked about as a favorite to replace Sampson, and she has a decent relationship with Klein.

We will update you on the situation as it unfolds.

]]> (David Howard King) State Mon, 17 Dec 2012 17:51:37 +0000
Schneiderman, Silver, Klein React to Shooting

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman:

Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the innocent victims of today’s horrific massacre. We stand with the people of Connecticut during this moment of unspeakable tragedy.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver:

My thoughts and prayers are with the victims of the horrific shooting in Newton, Connecticut this morning. Our schools should be a safe and nurturing environment for our children and parents should never have to fear for their safety when they are learning. If ever there is a time to finally have a serious discussion about our country’s culture of violence that time is now.

Sen. Jeff Klein:

My thoughts and prayers are with the children, families, and victims of today’s devastating tragedy in Connecticut. Today’s news is a sorrowful reminder that horrifying acts of gun violence are all too common in our streets, our homes, and our schools. Heinous acts such as this must remain at the front of our minds as we continue to reevaluate the place of guns in our state and our society.

]]> (David Howard King) State Fri, 14 Dec 2012 20:36:35 +0000
Today's Lead: City Looks to Limit Deportations

City Considers Limiting Deportations

Two bills set to be proposed in the City Council today would further limit the city's cooperation with federal programs that seek to deport immigrants. The bills are in response to The Secure Communities Act which mandates fingerprints taken at local jails are compared to a Department of Homeland Security database. Anyone who is deemed an illegal immigrant is then marked to be detained. If the City passes these laws it will strengthen its reputation as immigrant-friendly. Gov. Andrew Cuomo symbolically withdrew New York from the program earlier this year. “What we don’t want is New York City’s agencies having to participate in deporting people who present no risk and in fact may be adding a great deal to the City of New York,” Council Speaker Christine Quinn told the Times yesterday in an interview.

In the Press...

Sen. Jeff Klein Took Campaign Cash From Ex-Mobsters, Felons (Riverdale Press)

Ex-Senate Majority Leader Loses Bid to Dismiss Corruption Case (Albany Times Union)

Cuomo Puts Campaign Finance in 2013 Agenda (City Room)

NYU Head Faces Prelude to No-Confidence Vote (NY Times)

Rockaways Stores Struggle (MetroFocus)

Cuomo Tells Senate Republicans to Back His Agenda (Gotham Gazette)

Some Question Whether Police Watchdog Has Enough Muscle (Gotham Gazette)

New Plan Allows Taxi Hail Apps on Temporary Basis (Wall Street Journal)

Former Comptroller Hevesi Released From Prison (Daily News)

Bloomberg Decides Not to Sign Pedicab Bill (Daily News)

Cuomo Delights in Record High Approval Rating (Daily News)

Some Question Whether NYC Police Watchdog Has Enough Muscle (Gotham Gazette)

]]> (David Howard King) City Thu, 13 Dec 2012 13:10:36 +0000
Addabbo: Sandy Recovery Too Important For Political Differences

Senate Republicans and members of the Independent Democrats will gather in Queens today for the first meeting of the Bipartisan Senate Task Force on Hurricane Sandy — and they have invited a couple of members of the Democratic conference as well.

"There isn't any room for poltical differences," said Queens Sen. Joe Addabbo who is a member of the Demcoratic conference. "We have no room for that when there are still 10,000 without power in the Rockaways."

Addabbo will be just one of a number of legislators who have seen their districts ravaged by the storm. From Staten Island to Long Island, the senators who will gather in the Rockaways today represent areas that need immediate attention.

Sens. James Sanders, Dean Skelos, Diane Savino, Andrew Lanza, Jeff Klein, Diane Savino, Martin Golden and Charles Fuschillo have been confirmed for the gathering. The group will tour the Rockaways and then meet with community leaders.

Addabbo says it will be the task force's job to keep the Legisalture connected to the areas and constituents that need the most help.

"We have to have a constant dialogue while listening to the needs of people and we need to feed what we arehearing into that task force," he says. "The people need to understand there is a way of getting in touch with there legislators."

Addabbo says he expects there will be many more taskforce meetings in areas hit hardest by Sandy in the coming months.

Sen. Joe Addabbo at a hearing. Photo from NYS Senate Democrats.

]]> (David Howard King) State Mon, 10 Dec 2012 16:31:56 +0000
Hunger Action Welcomes Klein's Minimum Wage Pledge Mark Dunlea of Hunger Action says the success of the new so-called power-sharing agreement in the State Senate will be based on whether they can pass a minimum wage hike without "weakening" the bill.

"An early test for this power sharing agreement will be whether the bill that Senator Klein has already introduced to raise the state minimum wage to $8.50 an hour plus indexing is the one that the Senate passes. Or whether they decide to weaken it before allowing it to be voted upon (e.g., dropping indexing, lowering the $8.50 target)," noted Mark Dunlea.

]]> (David Howard King) State Wed, 05 Dec 2012 20:49:00 +0000
Senate Dems Who Failed to Lead in Cuomo's Eyes Are The Ones Back in Control

There is a bit of a logic problem with the op-ed Gov. Andrew Cuomo's published today after it was announced that there would be a power-sharing agreement to run the State Senate.

Cuomo says in the op-ed that "the Democratic Conference was in power for two years and squandered the opportunity, failing to pass any meaningful reform legislation despite repeated promises."

But, as it happens, the people in charge of the Democratic conference when it was in the majority are currently members of the Independent Democratic Conference: Sen. Malcolm Smith was majority leader and Sen. Jeff Klein was deputy majority leader during the two years Cuomo recalls as "squandered."

And the man that the IDC struck a "power sharing" agreement with, Sen. Dean Skelos, helped plan and iniate the coup that paralyzed the chamber in 2009.

Furthermore, even after the Senate coup was resolved and Sens. Pedro Espada and Hiram Monserrate rejoined the Democratic conference fold, Smith retained the Senate presidency and Klein kept his title as deputy majority leader.

In fairness, Smith and Klein both had to contend with the Four Amigos — Sens. Carl Krueger, Ruben Diaz, Espada and Monserrate – and a number of other Democrats who refused to coalesce around certain policy issues and used the tight majority to leverage their votes.

But Klein was also using the situation to boost his power in the conference at the time.

Klein only left the Senate Democrats when he lost his position as head of the Senate Demcoratic Campaign Committee after a disastrous election performance that saw Democrats lose their slim majority.

Meanwhile, Senate Democrats have issued a statement saying they meet the litmus test that Cuomo issued in his op-ed. Democratic Senate spokesman Mike Murphy issued this statement:

This past session and through recent elections, the Senate Democratic Conference laid out a progressive agenda New Yorkers responded to and have overwhelmingly demanded through their votes on Election Day. The Governor has now presented a similar agenda including many issues the new Republican Coalition has opposed. Senate Democrats will continue to lead the fight on this progressive agenda, and we will hold the Senate Republican Coalition accountable until New Yorkers get the progressive change they deserve.

Sens. Malcolm Smith and Jeff Klein meant with Rep. Nancy Pelosi. Photo from Sen. Smith's Office.

]]> (David Howard King) State Wed, 05 Dec 2012 18:12:12 +0000
Scharff Says Senate Deal Could Be "Just Another Albany Coup"

Senator Klein's decision is a huge gamble - for the IDC and for New Yorkers,"Karyn Scharff, executive director of Citizen Action NY, said in a statement. New Yorkers voted for a progressive agenda, and the IDC is putting that agenda at risk. If the Senate passes Governor Cuomo’s public funding of elections bill, an increase in the minimum wage, and fair funding for our schools, then I’ll give credit where credit is due. If they don’t, then this will be just another Albany coup. Citizen Action's members worked hard to elect Cecilia Tkaczyk and other progressive Democratic candidates because we want a Senate that will pass publicly financed Fair Elections, an increase in the minimum wage and a more progressive tax system to fund our schools. These are issues that Republicans have always blocked. Senator Klein and the rest of the IDC support that agenda, and say this coalition government will allow them to get it done. It’s now their responsibility to use their new found power to deliver these policies to the voters.

]]> (David Howard King) State Tue, 04 Dec 2012 21:28:53 +0000
Power Over Party For Malcolm Smith and Others

The New York Post reported this morning that state Sen. Malcolm Smith will join the Independent Democratic Caucus the group that has pledged to help keep Republicans in charge of the chamber.

Smith was Senate Majority Leader in 2009 when Senate Republicans staged a coup with the help of two renegade Democrats, which left the Senate in chaos for weeks.

The Independent Democrats, created and led by Bronx state Sen. Jeff Klein, supposedly left the Democratic confernece because of the infighting and absurdity that took place when Smith was "in control" with the Democrats. Smith, however, looks to be setting himself up for a run for New York City mayor on the Republican ticket.

Klein bolted the Democratic conference when Minority Leader John Sampson replaced him as head of the New York Senate Democratic Campaign Committee in 2010. Democrats lost a number of seats under Klein's watch in the 2010 elections. But Klein and his followers got some perks from Republicans in 2011 while rank-and-file Democrats saw their budgets and staffing slashed.

This year, Democrats have picked up at this moment an undetermined amount of seats — likely enough that if all Senate Democrats were on board they would be back in the majority.

Newly elected Democratic Sen. Simcha Felder also decided to earlier this year that he would conference with Senate Republicans.

Senate Democrats can hardly contain their contempt for the IDC, even though it is in their best interest to try to make nice and lure them back.

Meanwhile, the Democratic conference continues to worry that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has approved the Senate Republicans' maneuvering to control the Senate because he favors them as a partner.

Some Democrats think Cuomo hopes a power sharing agreement in the Senate will bolster his bipartisan credentials if he should decide to seek the presidency in 2016. However, Cuomo has been taking flack from a number of sources (especially Chris Hayes of MSNBC) for not outright supporting Senate Democrats during the elections.

Senate Democrats don't have to look very hard for hints that could worry them about where Cuomo's interests lie.

Tom Precious of the Buffalo News pointed out an interesting discrepancy in how Cuomo has handled the uncertainty in the control of the Senate from 2010 to 2012.

"Some wonder why Cuomo isn’t intervening to resolve the unsettled race quickly as he did two years ago, but his administration declined to comment Thursday," Precious wrote in an article Friday.

Precious goes on to note that in November 2010, as Senate races were still being counted that Cuomo "wrote to Chief Justice Jonathan Lippman of the Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, that he was worried about taking office in January without knowing who controlled the Senate. He said the chamber faced chaos that could affect all New Yorkers and that such a state of “limbo ... is not only undesirable but also unacceptable.’’

This year Cuomo has written no such letter. The New York Post reported yesterday that Senate Republicans have been intentionally stalling the court challenges in two contested races to give themselves time to recruit more Democrats or make other araingments.

Sen. Malcolm Smith Marches in Puerto Rican Day Parade in Manhattan. Photo provided by Office of Sen. Malcolm Smith.

]]> (David Howard King) City Tue, 04 Dec 2012 15:59:34 +0000