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A group of corporate leaders and real estate executives, concerned about the departure of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, plan to spend up to $10 million in City Council races this year to make sure electeds are business friendly. The Jobs For New York political action committee will direct donations to pro-business Council candidates from both parties because the City Council has major sway over development but also because the mayoral race is so uncertain. The Council will have 21 open seats this year mostly due to term limits. Good government advocates say the group could change the way Council campaigns are run. “The entire point of a City Council race is to reflect the needs of the neighborhoods in a district,” Susan Lerner of Common Cause told The New York Times. “This undercuts the neighborhood-based nature of a district and replaces neighborhood concerns with industry concerns.”

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Obama Expected to Ask For $50 Billion in Storm Aid


Preisdent Barack Obama is expected to ask Congress for about $45 to $50 billion in storm aid reports The New York Times. That figure is far below the $82 billion requested by New York, New Jersey at Connecticut “While $50 billion is a significant amount of money, it unfortunately does not meet all of New York and New Jersey’s substantial needs,” Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten E. Gillibrand of New York and Frank R. Lautenberg and Robert Menendez of New Jersey, all Democrats, said in a joint statement. The storm aid may get tangled up in the battle between President Barack Obama and Republican legislators over debt and tax rates.

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In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the issue of climate change was the major deciding factor in Mayor Michael Bloomberg's endorsement of President Barack Obama today. After detailing in an op-ed for Bloomberg View what the city has done to battle the climate change that he says is responsible for harasher weather patterns, Bloomberg wrote:

We need leadership from the White House -- and over the past four years, President Barack Obama has taken major steps to reduce our carbon consumption, including setting higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks. His administration also has adopted tighter controls on mercury emissions, which will help to close the dirtiest coal power plants (an effort I have supported through my philanthropy), which are estimated to kill 13,000 Americans a year.

Bloomberg, an independent who has funneled millions of dollars to Republicans in New York State, laid out his reasoning for losing faith in Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

I believe Mitt Romney is a good and decent man, and he would bring valuable business experience to the Oval Office. He understands that America was built on the promise of equal opportunity, not equal results. In the past he has also taken sensible positions on immigration, illegal guns, abortion rights and health care. But he has reversed course on all of them, and is even running against the health-care model he signed into law in Massachusetts.

If the 1994 or 2003 version of Mitt Romney were running for president, I may well have voted for him because, like so many other independents, I have found the past four years to be, in a word, disappointing.

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Today's Lead Stories...

Partial Transit Restored, Free Rides


Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a traffic emergency for today and Friday making mass transit free for those using the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's busses and trains. "The service in many cases is limited, the service in many cases will be crowded," Cuomo said at a late night press conference in the city. The move came afterimmense gridlock Wednesday. City busses were jammed with commuters and gas lines stretched for over half a mile. Commuters who wish to drive into the city will have to car pool. The entire transportation infrastructure has yet to be restored with flooding still impeding some routes but partial service has been restored. Check out the MTA's post-storm stubway map.




In the Press...

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a radio interview today that he will stump for President Barack Obama in other states. Cuomo has been rather low key when it comes to the presidential election and that may be because his intentions regarding 2016 are under the focus of much discussion.

“They’ve asked me to do surrogate work in other states, I’ll do whatever they ask me to do,” Cuomo said. But added:

I’m very aware of that for the simple reason that it hurts me as governor,” he said. “If you politicize me, you cast aspersion on my motivations and intent, you suggest I have my own political agenda for doing things, you’re going to hurt my capacity and ability to serve as governor. I just won’t allow that to happen.

Photo provided by the Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

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"The second debate was clearly a decisive victory for President Obama. He demonstrated he has an effective record as commander in chief, presented a real plan for moving America's economy forward, and provided a stark contrast to Mitt Romney's endorsement of the same failed ideas that led us into this fiscal crisis in the first place. New Yorkers and all Americans were given a clear choice in this debate for our nation's future and the President's performance has made it an easy choice," said Cuomo in a statement.