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Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the New York Police Department say that 90 percent of all guns used in crimes in the city in 2011 came from another state. Bloomberg vowed to continue to fight the influx of out-of-state guns despite protests from lawmakers. "To those who say, 'Stay out of our state,' our answer is: We'd love to," said Bloomberg, "Just as soon as you stop letting guns seep into the black market, land in the hands of criminals and be used to murder our citizens." Bloomberg issued a list of the top out-of-state sources for guns. Virginia tops the list, followed by North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania and Georgia. GOTHAMVOTES: 2013 CITY COUNCIL RACES TO WATCHThe debate over what to do to prepare for the next big storm is shaping a fierce City Council race in southern Brooklyn. Six contenders are vying to replace term-limited Councilman Michael Nelson in the 48th district. By Latima Stephens. CONTINUE READING
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Mayoral Race Enters Negative Phase (NY Times)
Pataki Cleared in Lawsuit Over Sex Offenders' Rights (NY Times)
Spitzer Collects 27,000 Signatures
Eliot Spitzer filed 27,000 petition signatures with the Board of Election last night in his bid to get on the Democratic line for New York City Comptroller. Spitzer announced his run with only 4 days left to file signatures. His opponent, should at least 3,750 of his signagutes stand up to scrutiny, Scott Stringer filed 100,000 signatures. Stringer's camp and allies areexpected to mount challenges to some of the signatures. Spitzer's campaign paid some signature seekers $800 a day leading up to the Thursday deadline. Experts think Spitzer will make for interesting news for quite some time to come.
Gotham Votes 2013: We've got your elections news! From now until November, we'll be curating the races, from the Bronx to Staten Island. And, as we get closer to the primary on Sept. 20, look out for expanded information on the candidates and the issues.
Cuomo's Moreland Commission Meets Behind Closed Doors (Albany Times Union)
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.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver announced he is moving to expel Assemblyman Vito Lopez last night. Silver, facing a firestorm of criticism for his office's handling of the Lopez sexual harassment scandal is looking to take decisive action as soon as Monday. Silver refused to expel Lopez last year as the scandal broke but stripped Lopez of his seniority and committee assignments. Now, with more criticism focused on his office following the release of the Joint Commission on Public Ethic's damning report, Silver says he plans to introduce a resolution that according to his spokesman Michael Whyland will be, "voted on Monday to ask the Ethics & Guidance Committee to consider the full JCOPE report and to recommend appropriate sanctions including expulsion of Assemblymember Lopez." Earlier Thursday Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters the Assembly shouldconsider expelling Lopez. “The reaction from the legislature should be zero tolerance,” Cuomo said. “If he doesn't resign, he should be expelled.”
City to Sell Councilwoman's Debt to Collectors (Daily News)
Voting Machine Firm Offers City Help in Upcoming Election (Daily News)
Lopez's Girlfriend Sticks With Her man (Daily News)
The State Assembly has again passed legislation that would protect transgender New Yorkers under the state's human rights law by a vote of 85-46.
The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act expands the definition of hate crimes in the state to explicitly include transgender people. The Assembly has passed the bill annually since 2003 but the Senate has failed to do so.
Debate on the Assembly floor yesterday mostly focused on theoretical bathroom situations — something Assemblyman Daniel O'Donnell of Manhattan was not amused by. "Spare me your arguments about godamned bathrooms!" he told the chamber.
The bill's sponsor, Assemblyman Richard Gottfrfied of Manhattan, read a statement from Albany Police Cheif Steven Krokoff to the chamber on how Albany's GENDA legislation has not caused any major problems in the city.
Krokoff addressed a group of GENDA lobbyists earlier in the day saying, "I'm proud to be here today! Thank you for allowing me to come here and champion this cause." Gender expression non-discrimination has been law in Albany since 2004.
Sen. Daniel Squadron seems to be the first elected calling directly for Sen. Malcolm Smith's resignation following his arrest by the FBI for his alleged involvement in a scheme to buy the Republican line in the New York City mayor's race.
"The charges outlined in today's complaint are simply shocking. This is something that belongs in 'House of Cards,' not an election to decide who will run our city or any part of our government," said Squadron in a statement.
For the uninitiated 'House of Cards' is a totally-awesome take down of corruption in politics and journalism presented in episodic format by Netflix. I highly recommend it.
"Regardless of the outcome of the criminal charges filed against Senator Smith, he has lost the public trust -- and he should resign," Squadron continues. "Scandal after scandal underscores the need for fundamental reform of the system, including laws to create a better campaign finance system and more open and competitive elections, and to disentangle public service from for-profit business."
Squadron is currently running for public advocate.
State Sen. Daniel Squadron was ahead of his time as far as dealing with gun violence in New York goes.
The senator who represents parts of Brooklyn and lower Manhattan wrote an op-ed in the Daily News and held a rally where he called for legislators to return to Albany to pass bills that are aimed at reducing gun violence. One of those bills would crack down on assault weapons. At the time, legislators were considering coming back to Albany for a special session to give themselves a pay raise.
Now, following the massacre in Newton, Conn., legislators may return to Albany for a special session to pass tougher gun laws â€“ including a measure that would patch holes in the state's assault weapons ban.
Squadron issued this letter to his supporters today:
While other legislators are crossing their fingers that they will return to Albany sometime this year to vote themselves a pay raise, Democratic state Sen. Daniel Squadron wants them back in their seats for an entirely different reason.
This morning Squadron and a number of Senate and Assembly Democrats as well as advocates and community members gathered at site of the recent shooting at Campos Plaza to call for a special session to address gun violence by passing a package of bills.
"Before one more innocent life is lost, it's time for the legislature to pass these critical bills,â€ť Squadron said. â€śFrom the crime-solving tool of microstamping to my bill to crack down on assault weapons, these common sense measures would be a big step toward protecting New York's families. Yet again and again the gun lobby keeps these guns on our streets and our communities at risk â€” and we too often see the consequences right here at home."
Jackie Hilly, executive director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence praised the idea in a statement:
We cannot continue to allow our children to die in playgrounds and mothers to die on the street. For too long important legislation has been forced to the back burner. Now is the time to pass common sense measures to help protect families and communities in New York....
We cannot continue to allow our children to die in playgrounds and mothers to die on the street. For too long important legislation has been forced to the back burner. Now is the time to pass common sense measures to help protect families and communities in New York.
Following the Deutsche Bank fire in August of 2007, Sen. Daniel Squadron and Assemblyman Richard Gottfried championed legislation that created the New York State Taskforce on Building and Fire Safety.
This summer, the taskforce issued a report that found discrepencies that allow state-owned buildings in New York City to be exempt from certain fire regulations.
Now both legislators are pushing the City Council to act to plug those gaps. Squadron and Gottfried will be holding a press conference at noon outside of the former Deutsche Bank building on Greenwhich and Liberty streets. Following the conference both legislators will testify at the City Council hearing.
Photo of response to Deutsche Bank fire by Brian Fountain.