Lobbying Commission Delay Explained
January 18th, 2011

Right as we speak, the City Council is voting to approve four of the five members to sit on a lobbying commission charged with examining the effects of the city’s lobbying law overhaul in 2006.

The panel, however, is nearly three years late.

Chaired by former council member Herbert Berman, the panel was supposed to be called in 2008. When we wrote about it in August, adminsitration officials said the approval of the city’s subsequent pay to play law in 2007, which restricted contributions by lobbyists, delayed its implementation.

Today, Council Speaker Christine Quinn said the delay was attributed to finding the right people.

“We wanted to find a diverse group of commissioners,” said Quinn.

Both the mayor and the council select the commission’s members. Those commissioners include, Berman, Jamila Ponton Bragg, Lesley Horton and Margaret Morton. The final commissioner should be appointed soon.

The commission will likely examine how the lobbying law affects small nonprofits, who have struggled to comply with all of the city’s robust reporting requirements.

By on January 18, 2011, 3:29 pm
In category: City Hall,Community Development,Economy,Electoral Politics,Eye Opener,Gotham City,Governing,Law,nextNY,Public Finance | 2 Comments »

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


Crowley Statement on Fire Charges
January 14th, 2011

We already know Council Speaker Christine Quinn opposes charging drivers for accidents that need emergency services — a proposal from the Fire Department in response to budget cuts.

But what does Fire and Criminal Justice Services Chair Elizabeth Crowley have to say?

Here is her statement delivered at the Fire Department’s hearing on the issue today.

“Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the proposed rule which would impose a schedule of charges for Fire Department motorist services, which is before you for consideration at todays hearing.

In the City Council, I Chair the Committee on Fire and Criminal Justice Services, which oversees the New York City Fire Department. Our first responders not only fight fires and save lives, but also respond to the needs of motorists on the citys roadway accidents.

One of governments most important responsibilities is to keep people safethat is why we allocate taxpayer money to our emergency services. To raise revenue by charging New Yorkers deemed to be at fault in auto accidents is unreasonable, misguided and a simple case of double-dipping. New Yorkers already pay for this service by means of taxes on their income and property. The FDNY Commissioner Sal Cassano considers these charges as a fee for service but lets call this fee for what it really is: a double tax.

If the FDNY starts charging for emergency response to motorist accidents, what will they charge for next? Will there be fees for putting out house fires? We cannot begin to go down this dangerous road; therefore, I respectfully request that you withdraw this proposal from consideration.”

By on January 14, 2011, 12:15 pm
In category: City Hall,Civil Rights,Crime & Safety,Economy,Electoral Politics,Environment,Eye Opener,Gotham City,Law,Measuring UP,nextNY,Public Finance,Social Services | Comments Off on Crowley Statement on Fire Charges

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


Bloomberg Issues Weather Emergency Declaration
January 11th, 2011

This just in from the mayor’s office:

WEATHER EMERGENCY DECLARATION

At the direction of the mayor, the public is hereby advised that significant snowfall has been forecast for tonight.

1. The public is urged to avoid all unnecessary driving during the duration of the storm and until further directed, and to use public transportation wherever possible. If you must drive, use extreme caution. Information about any service changes to public transportation is available on the MTA website at http://www.mta.info/.

2. Any vehicle found to be blocking roadways or impeding the ability to plow streets shall be subject to towing at the owners expense.

3. Effective immediately, alternate side parking, payment at parking meters and garbage collections are suspended citywide until further notice.

4. The Emergency Management, Fire, Police, Sanitation, and Transportation Commissioners will be taking all appropriate and necessary steps to preserve public safety and to render all required and available assistance to protect the security, well-being and health of the residents of the City.

By on January 11, 2011, 4:50 pm
In category: City Hall,Crime & Safety,Electoral Politics,Environment,Eye Opener,Gotham City,Governing,Law,Measuring UP,nextNY,Public Finance | 2 Comments »

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


Winter Weather Alert
January 11th, 2011

weather_lg

As I am sure you and the Bloomberg adminsitration are aware, New York City is expecting a snowstorm this evening.

As of noon, the National Weather Service predicted between 8 and 14 inches of snow and warned that travel would be hazardous.

Here is the latest forecast from the National Weather Service:

URGENT – WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NEW YORK NY
1148 AM EST TUE JAN 11 2011

…COASTAL STORM TO IMPACT THE AREA TONIGHT AND WEDNESDAY…

WESTERN PASSAIC-EASTERN PASSAIC-HUDSON-WESTERN BERGEN-
EASTERN BERGEN-WESTERN ESSEX-EASTERN ESSEX-WESTERN UNION-
EASTERN UNION-NEW YORK (MANHATTAN)-BRONX-RICHMOND (STATEN ISLAND)-
KINGS (BROOKLYN)-NORTHERN QUEENS-SOUTHERN QUEENS-
1148 AM EST TUE JAN 11 2011

…WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 7 PM THIS EVENING
TO 6 PM EST WEDNESDAY…

A WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 7 PM THIS EVENING
TO 6 PM EST WEDNESDAY.

* LOCATIONS…NEW YORK CITY…AND NORTHEAST NEW JERSEY.

* HAZARDS…SNOW…HEAVY AT TIMES.

* ACCUMULATIONS…8 TO 14 INCHES…WITH LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS
POSSIBLE.
Read the rest of this entry »

By on January 11, 2011, 1:57 pm
In category: Albany,City Hall,Crime & Safety,Electoral Politics,Environment,Eye Opener,Gotham City,Governing,Law,Measuring UP,nextNY,Public Finance,Transportation | 5 Comments »

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


Blizzard Answers At Council Hearing
January 10th, 2011

Deputy Mayor Goldsmith Answers Questions from the City Council--(c) William Alatriste New York City Council

On Christmas Eve, days before snow began to fall on New York City, Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty were on the phone.

The winter weather watch had not yet been issued by the National Weather Service. Doherty and Sadik-Khan talked about their options for the looming storm, which at that time was supposed to bring several inches to the Big Apple.

Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith, who oversees both agencies, was in Washington, D.C. To this day, it is unclear where Mayor Michael Bloomberg was.

A day later, on Christmas, the National Weather Service upgraded the city’s storm warning to a blizzard at 3:55 p.m. It defiantly told New Yorkers: “Do not travel.” It warned the city could see high winds and up to 16 inches of snow.

On Dec. 26th, two days after their first conversation about the storm, the two commissioners decided not to call a city snow emergency — a rare designation that would force certain residents to move their cars off narrow streets and prohibit driving any vehicle not equipped with chains or snow tires.

They did not tell Goldsmith or the mayor about their decision.

This one decision, officials said today, created a serious snowball effect that ultimately left the city unprepared to deal with the now-infamous Boxing Day blizzard.

“We didn’t want residents to take those cars out, start looking for a parking space — we all know in New York City it’s very difficult to find — and then [create] more problems that we were trying to avoid,” Doherty told the City Council this afternoon at the first of seven hearings on the blizzard response. Every agency head involved and 42 council members attended today’s hearing, including Council Speaker Christine Quinn who normally sits out of the hearing process.

In retrospect, Goldsmith said this afternoon, the decision to call a snow emergency would have acted like a “catalyst,” triggering other agencies to respond with speed and seriousness to the storm. Instead, between Dec. 26 and New Year’s Day, Bloomberg administration officials scrambled to keep up with the 20-inch snowfall, which left ambulances, buses and abandoned vehicles stuck in unplowed streets.

Officials acted without a concrete chain of command and City Hall failed to get a complete picture of how bad the situation really was, Goldsmith said.

“The mayor did not have the information he deserved,” Goldsmith said, contending there was a communication breakdown between city agencies. “I accept responsibility in doing that more rigorously in the future,” he added.

Goldsmith, a former mayor of Indianapolis who joined the administration last spring, promised to never let it happen again. As part of that pledge, the administration unveiled a 15-point plan to prevent similar slow responses. (More on that plan here.) They will have an opportunity to test it tomorrow. Snow is expected to start accumulating tomorrow evening, and by Wednesday night we could have another foot on the ground.
Read the rest of this entry »

By on January 10, 2011, 7:02 pm
In category: Albany,City Hall,Crime & Safety,Economy,Electoral Politics,Environment,Eye Opener,Gotham City,Governing,Measuring UP,nextNY,Public Finance,sustainability,Transportation,Work and Labor | 1 Comment »

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


Blizzard Fallout Continues
January 6th, 2011

Mayor Michael Bloomberg got testy with the City Hall press corps this afternoon during a briefing on the city’s next big snowfall, which is expected to start Friday.

Bloomberg announced he would pilot GPS systems on 50 city sanitation trucks during tomorrow’s snow and send out the city’s SCOUT teams to monitor the cleanup’s progress. The mayor said one of the problems during the Boxing Day blizzard was a miscommunication between City Hall and those on the snow-covered streets.

But when questions turned to last month’s blizzard, its management and Bloomberg’s whereabouts during the storm, the mayor’s response went frigid. Bloomberg abruptly ended the press conference, leaving the room with reporters shouting questions after him.

When asked where he was during the storm, the mayor said: “I have a right to a private life.”

Bloomberg was repeatedly asked about the performance of the city’s Emergency Medical Service and why chief John Peruggia was the first fallout from the blizzard.

“Last week’s storm exposed problems in the way [EMS is] operated and I decided to make changes in EMS,” Bloomberg said. “[Peruggia] did not give the public the service that the public has a right to expect when it came to ambulances.”

“I though it was time to have a fresh look,” the mayor said.

The city is expected to get two to six inches of snow tomorrow. Bloomberg said today his administration has responded to 70 storms of similar magnitude.

“We plan to do a great job,” the mayor said.

By on January 6, 2011, 7:01 pm
In category: City Hall,Crime & Safety,Electoral Politics,Eye Opener,Gotham City,Governing,Law,Measuring UP,nextNY,Public Finance,Transportation | 1 Comment »

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


Council and Mayor Reach Budget Agreement
January 6th, 2011

After nearly two months of negotiations, the City Council and the Bloomberg adminsitration have reached a deal on $585 million in mid-year budget cuts, which will stave off nighttime closures at 20 fire companies and save nearly 200 positions at the Administration for Children’s Services.

While it’s good news for some city agencies (the Department for the Aging and Department of Youth and Community Development included), the council could not save everything — including adult homeless services and a 5.4 percent cut to libraries.

We recognize the difficult times we face and the council has worked incredibly hard to ensure that any cuts that are made are done in the most thoughtful and responsible manner, said Speaker Christine C. Quinn in a press release. We worked to secure funding for programs that serve the most vulnerable New Yorkers and to find alternative savings in order to reach a fiscally responsible budget that meets the needs of all New Yorkers.

The agreement only addresses proposed cuts in this fiscal year. In the November plan, next year’s budget is already set to see a $1 billion cut.

Later this month, Mayor Michael Bloomberg will release his preliminary budget, which is sure to slash spending even more.

Here the full press release from the council:
Read the rest of this entry »

By on January 6, 2011, 11:26 am
In category: Albany,City Hall,Community Development,Economy,Electoral Politics,Gotham City,Governing,nextNY,Public Finance,Social Services | 1 Comment »

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


Mayor Signs ATM Bill
January 5th, 2011

The veto pen has been put away.

After much contemplation, Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed legislation to drastically increase fines for illegal ATMs yesterday. The mayor held off on signing the measure in December after small businesses raised concerns that it might hurt communities with little access to major banks.

Fines for property owners with illegal ATMs — basically any ATM on a sidewalk — will climb from $250 to $5,000. If a property owner racks up $50,000 in fines, then the ATM will be seized.

By on January 5, 2011, 6:31 pm
In category: City Hall,Economy,Electoral Politics,Gotham City,Law,nextNY,Public Finance | Comments Off on Mayor Signs ATM Bill

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


Quinn Denies Member Item Unequal Distribution
January 5th, 2011

Are member items distributed equally at the City Council?

Council Speaker Christine Quinn says so.

Refuting a report in the New York Times this week, Quinn said all of the council’s discretionary dollars, which come in the form of individual member items, capital funding and more, are spread throughout the five boroughs sans favoritism.

“The report looked at one of the funding sources the council allocated in the budget,” Quinn said before today’s meeting. “There are numerous different funding sources: initiatives, member items, the speaker’s list.”

She continued: “If you looked at all of those collectively, I think you see a set of data that shows a diverse distribution through out the city.”

We started examining those lists back in 2007 (and have done it every year since). In other funding areas, take capital funding, we have seen a similar pattern: those in leadership get more cash.

For our past coverage, go here and here and here and here and here.

By on January 5, 2011, 3:11 pm
In category: City Hall,Community Development,Economy,Electoral Politics,Gotham City,Governing,Housing,Land Use,Law,Measuring UP,nextNY,Public Finance | Comments Off on Quinn Denies Member Item Unequal Distribution

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


MTA Not Taking Any More Questions
January 4th, 2011

From the MTA

Image from the MTA

Were you befuddled by the stranded passengers on the A or the lack of service for days on the Q post Boxing Day blizzard?

Well, at least for now, you’re not going to get any answers from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

When Gotham Gazette touched base with the authority this afternoon, spokesperson Charles Seaton said the agency won’t be taking any more questions on the service-stalling storm.

“We are being investigated by the [Inspector General’s] office and the City Council,” said Seaton. “We are not taking any more questions on the storm.”

But they will have to on Monday.

Seaton said authority officials would testify at the City Council’s hearing on the blizzard response, scheduled for Monday at 11 a.m. Several top officials at the Bloomberg adminsitration have also been invited to testify, including Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith, Sanitation Commission John Doherty and Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.

Today’s response from the MTA follows a Daily News editorial, which blasts the authority for its slow response to the massive snowfall and demands an explanation.

The investigation by the authority’s inspector general is expected to take 60 days, an official said.

By on January 4, 2011, 5:06 pm
In category: City Hall,Crime & Safety,Electoral Politics,Environment,Gotham City,Governing,Health,nextNY,Parks,Transportation | Comments Off on MTA Not Taking Any More Questions

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


Bloomberg Mulls Over ATM Bill
December 20th, 2010

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is mulling over whether to sign a bill that would drastically increase fines for property owners with illegal sidewalk ATMs after small business owners expressed concern over the bill’s impact this afternoon.

According to a spokesperson, the mayor will take the next couple of days to consider the bill and announce his decision after Christmas.

“I dont want to be the Grinch that stole Christmas,” the mayor said today. “On the other hand the city has requirements, where one of the issues here is the ability to pass on the sidewalk.”

Up until this morning, the mayor was expected to sign the measure, which the council approved earlier this month. At today’s bill signing, small business owners reportedly said the legislation would limit access to cash for neighborhoods without banks and hurt small businesses.

Under the current version of the bill, fines could increase from $250 to $5,000. These ATMs are already illegal, but there is barely any enforcement or regulation of them, council officials said.

If the mayor vetoes the measure, Council Speaker Christine Quinn said the council would move to override it.

“This will give the power for them to be taken off the street,” said Quinn. “It actually gives the city the power and the tools to make this illegal behavior end. That’s a good thing.”

Here is the mayor’s statement this morning courtesy of the City Hall press office:
Read the rest of this entry »

By on December 20, 2010, 2:49 pm
In category: Community Development,Crime & Safety,Economy,Electoral Politics,Eye Opener,Gotham City,Governing,Housing,Land Use,Law,Measuring UP,nextNY,Parks,Public Finance | 3 Comments »

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


Zadroga Delayed
December 9th, 2010

The so-called Zadroga bill to provide health care and compensation to 9/11 responders is the latest hostage in the battle over tax cuts, according to the office of Sen Kirstin Gillibrand, who has been pushing for the measure. A press release said Senate Republicans today have refused to vote on the bill until Congress extends the Bush era tax cuts.

President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans agreed to a deal extending the cuts earlier this week, but some Democrats and a few Republicans have balked at the agreement, saying it is too generous to the very rich and would enlarge the deficit.

Gillibrand’s statement said in part: “The idea that tax cuts for millionaires would derail this legislation is simply outrageous and offensive. The men and women who rushed to the burning towers and worked for hundreds of hours on the pile did not delay and the Senate should not have delayed either, certainly not to give tax breaks for millionaires. .

By on December 9, 2010, 12:19 pm
In category: Electoral Politics,Gotham City,Health | Comments Off on Zadroga Delayed

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


De Blasio on Black Sending Her Kids to Public School
December 8th, 2010

More than a decade ago, incoming Schools Chancellor Cathie Black sent her kids to a boarding school in Connecticut.

When asked yesterday whether she would make the same decision now, Black wasn’t sure.

“I don’t know what we would be doing. I would love to look at all of the schools,” Black told the Daily News. “It’s about choice for parents.”

Her comments spurred this reaction from Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, who has two children in public schools:

As a public school parent, I am disappointed that incoming schools chancellor Cathie Black doesnt know whether she would send her own children to our current public schools. There are certainly significant challenges facing our education system that I want to work with the incoming chancellor to address, most notably providing extra help to the over 100,000 students who are now failing math and english. But if Ms. Black hopes to gain the confidence and trust of public school parents she must at least believe that New York Citys schools are good enough for her children as well as ours.

By on December 8, 2010, 12:22 pm
In category: Albany,City Hall,Education,Electoral Politics,Gotham City,Governing,nextNY | 3 Comments »

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


Bloomberg Lays Out National Job Plan
December 8th, 2010

237M0050

Photo (cc) Edward Reed

Sounding awfully like a presidential candidate, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a six-point job growth plan in Brooklyn this morning, reiterating his call for innovation and large-scale immigration reform in Washington.

Although the three-term mayor has repeatedly denied he has sights on higher office, Bloomberg did not hesitate to take on the political sputtering of the nation’s capital.

“The current barriers standing in the way of innovation and job creation are much more political than economic,” Bloomberg said standing in front of a wall of windows with a crane-spotted skyline at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. “We need change, and whether the recent elections will be a cure for Americas economic problems - or just another symptom of our dysfunctional politics - remains to be seen.”

Tip-toeing around an all-out call for his own brand of leadership, Bloomberg contrasted his successes in the Big Apple to the perpetual stalemate in Washington (though he failed to point specifically at who’s to blame). He called the recent compromise on unemployment benefits and tax credits “encouraging,” but said similar agreements must be more frequent. He took aim at the stimulus package and the health care bill, saying they did not go far enough to promote “innovation.”

He warned the Obama adminsitration to “be very careful” to make sure the financial services bill, meant to prevent another mammoth recession, doesn’t hinder innovation.

The mayor said his adminsitration has developed innovative strategies to propel the city’s recovery at a faster rate than the nation’s. Among them, he said, are the city’s job training and placement centers. The mayor announced he would move to expand the program and open 10 more centers over the next year with the goal of placing 40,000 people in positions per year by 2012.

According to the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, New York City has an unemployment rate of 9.2 percent, while the country’s overall rate is 9.8 percent.

“Especially in these tough times, we need our leaders to inspire the whole country — not criticize half of it,” the mayor said.
Read the rest of this entry »

By on December 8, 2010, 11:34 am
In category: Albany,City Hall,Economy,Electoral Politics,Gotham City,Governing | Comments Off on Bloomberg Lays Out National Job Plan

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


Election Reforms and Reforming Elections
December 6th, 2010

As Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a set of election law proposals he will push in Albany next year, Council Speaker Christine Quinn grilled the city Board of Elections on its performance in November’s election.

While the Board of Elections improved over its handling of primary day — when scores of polling places opened hours late, complaints of a lack of privacy flourished and the overall management was called a “royal screw-up” — Quinn said it still had a way to go.

“There was no royal screw up of significance on Nov. 2,” Quinn said. The speaker has called for the board to give itself grades per polling site, post a sample ballot online and conduct a nationwide search for a new executive director. George Gonzalez, the former executive director, was fired a week before Election Day this year in connection with the board’s performance on primary day.

The board has promised to post sample ballots online before an election, but it has warned officials it would come with a price tag.

When asked today about its executive director search, a board official said it has received one resume and one inquiry about the position. It gave no commitment to conduct a national search.

“There is no formal process,” said Steven Richman, the board’s general counsel. “But the board is open to receiving resumes.”

The speaker took issue with the more than 195,000 difference in votes counted on election night and when the certified results came out last week. Asked if this jump — which the board says is a 14.2 percent difference and press says is 17 percent — was unusual, the board said it did not keep unofficial election tallies from previous elections.
Read the rest of this entry »

By on December 6, 2010, 6:05 pm
In category: Albany,City Hall,Electoral Politics,Gotham City,Governing,Law,nextNY,Public Finance,Work and Labor | 2 Comments »

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


Council Kicks Off Budget Battle
December 6th, 2010

City Budget Director Mark Page brought his usual good tidings to the City Council this morning (insert sarcasm here), as he urged the body to propose alternative cuts if it wants to save any specific program from his budget ax.

The warning occurred at the first of several hearings the City Council has scheduled on the mayor’s $1.6 billion proposed mid-year budget cuts. Released last month, the unusual mid-year proposal is an attempt by the Bloomberg adminsitration to minimize an even larger looming budget deficit for the next fiscal year. If these cuts are enacted, the city will still face at least a $2.4 billion hole come July.

“The $2.4 billion gap is obviously considerable in itself,” said Page. “Unfortunately, the reality we are facing is likely to be considerably worse.”

Page was referring to a potential cut from the state, which faces an approximately $10 billion to $12 billion deficit. He estimates the city could see an additional cut of between $2 billion and $3 billion in state aid.

The council has already proposed more than $130 million in alternative cuts and identified several areas it would like to see held harmless, including case managers at the Department for the Aging and layoffs at the Administration for Children’s Services. Nonetheless, Council Speaker Christine Quinn said this morning the council recognizes the city has to cut back.

“Most of those we support,” said Quinn of the administration’s plan. “I don’t want that to be lost in the conversation today.”

“That said, there are many troubling cuts,” the speaker added and then rattled off her list, including the nightly closures of certain fire companies.

Council members took aim at the adminsitration over a slew of other slashes — from cuts to outreach for homeless youth (which we cover today) to funding reductions at libraries. Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, the chair of the Cultural Affairs Committee, said some libraries could reduce service to two or three days a week under the current cut.

And, of course, the conversation turned to politics.

Councilmember Jimmy Oddo, the council’s minority leader, questioned the administration’s reasoning for extending term limits — an argument based on its ability to use creative solutions for fiscal problems.
Read the rest of this entry »

By on December 6, 2010, 5:19 pm
In category: City Hall,Economy,Electoral Politics,Gotham City,Governing,Housing,Law,Measuring UP,nextNY,Public Finance,Social Services,Work and Labor | Comments Off on Council Kicks Off Budget Battle

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


Vote Early and Often
December 6th, 2010

Even with discovery of some 195,000 lost votes in the city, means New York State apparently still had the lowest voter turnout in the country last month. In response Mayor Michael Bloomberg today urged the state to make it easier to cast a ballot here. Accompanied by several state legislators and representatives of citizens group, Bloomberg a issued a report proposing several changes in state voting law.

The proposals would allow early voting — common in much of the country; make it easier to register and allow people to register up to 10 days before an election, as opposed to the current 25; and let people fill out ballots at home. They also would make it easier to switch parties, a cause probably dear to the mayor’s heart since he has done it at least twice. In response to voter complaints about their paper ballots this year, the mayor also called for simplified ballot instructions.

To read the report, go here.

By on December 6, 2010, 1:59 pm
In category: Albany,City Hall,Electoral Politics,Governing | Comments Off on Vote Early and Often

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


The Power -- or Not -- of Endorsements
December 1st, 2010

This post was originally too vague about when Eric Schneiderman might have considering leaving the attorney general race. It has been updated below.

In a five-way contest with no widely known candidates, endorsements loomed large in this year’s contest for state attorney general, according to the aides who managed the race.

And of all the endorsements two loomed largest: Andrew Cuomo’s and the New York Times.

Speaking at a post mortem roundtable at the New School this morning, the consultants and advisers said the campaign thought Cuomo’s imprimatur would have a huge impact. Aides to Eric Schneiderman — the ultimate victor — said his campaign greatly feared that Cuomo would weigh in for Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice (whatever Cuomo might think of Rice, the conventional wisdom was that he wanted a woman on the Democratic ticket, and Rice was the only option). In fact, Schneiderman’s lead strategist Blake Zeff said, if Rice had gotten Cuomo’s endorsement before the June deadline for filing for the State Senate, Schneiderman might have dropped out of the attorney general contest and sought re-election to his Senate seat instead.

To keep that from happening, the Scheiderman campaign kept contrasting Schneiderman’s role in the fight to repeal the Rockefeller drugs laws with what they portrayed as Rice’s support for them. Given Cuomo had also opposed the draconian penalties for low-level drug use, they hoped this would remind Cuomo why he should not endorse Rice.

It may have worked. For whatever reason, Cuomo stayed out of the primary entirely, although he did endorse Schneiderman for the general election.

While the power of the mainstream media may be on the wane, the New York Times still packs a lot of clout — or at least campaigns think it does. At the round table on this years race for New York state attorney general, candidates discussed how they curried the Times’ favor and how they thought the editorial could shape the race.
Read the rest of this entry »

By on December 1, 2010, 5:22 pm
In category: Albany,Electoral Politics,Eye on Albany,Gotham City | 1 Comment »

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


Council Set to Expand Housing Law
November 30th, 2010

For some New Yorkers, their apartments are far from welcoming.

Their one or two-bedroom abodes actually make them sick.

Three years ago, the City Council approved legislation to target buildings with the worst housing code violations — those perennially without heat or hot water or collapsed floors and roofs. Together, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development and the City Council targeted 200 buildings a year and forced landlords to make the repairs.

Now, Council Speaker Christine Quinn announced this morning, the council is set to consider legislation to expand the program to target larger buildings with hazardous conditions related specifically to asthma, such as vermin or mold.

“We are recognizing peoples’ homes can actually make them sick,” said Quinn, surrounded by a crowd of officials and advocates on the steps of City Hall.

Hazardous building conditions have long been connected to the city’s concentrated asthma pockets, which affect neighborhoods like Sunset Park, Corona or Bushwick. By using targeted enforcement of these violations, Quinn said the city could curtail asthma rates in these areas.

The legislation, she said, promises to more than double the amount of units in the program. The council will have its first hearing on the proposal on Dec. 14.

By on November 30, 2010, 12:04 pm
In category: City Hall,Community Development,Electoral Politics,Environment,Eye Opener,Gotham City,Governing,Health,Housing,Immigrants,Land Use,Law,nextNY | Comments Off on Council Set to Expand Housing Law

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


CCRB Slims Down Prosecution Unit (UPDATE)
November 23rd, 2010

Thanks to a $300,000 budget cut, the Civilian Complaint Review Board will drastically downsize its newly minted prosecution unit — part of a pilot program that allows the board to prosecute cases of police misconduct for the first time.

When first announced in February, the unit was set to have two attorneys, an investigator and a clerical worker. Now that the city faces a $3.3 billion budget deficit next year, the “unit” has been cut down to one attorney, said a board spokesperson. The decrease is part of $1.6 billion in cuts the mayor announced last week.

Despite the obvious setback, the board has pledged to move forward with the experiment.

“One attorney is going to be handling this start up phase,” said Linda Sachs, the board’s spokesperson. “She is a former federal prosecutor, and she is really good.”

While the board currently investigates complaints of police misconduct, it has never had the power to prosecute the claims it substantiates — only the Police Department has. For years, advocates and officials have pushed to bolster the board’s power as, some say, the police fail to prosecute its officers.

Even so, when the city announced the pilot earlier this year some were skeptical, claiming budget cuts could setback the program.

As part of the pilot, the board’s prosecution “unit” will not select cases to prosecute. Selection will be done randomly — one in every five cases set to go to trial will go to the CCRB. It will amount to approximately five cases a year, Sachs said.

UPDATE: The CCRB called in to reiterate its support for the program this morning, contending it will eventually come up with the money to fund it.
Read the rest of this entry »

By on November 23, 2010, 3:44 pm
In category: City Hall,Civil Rights,Crime & Safety,Electoral Politics,Eye Opener,Gotham City,Governing,Law,Measuring UP,nextNY,Public Finance,Work and Labor | Comments Off on CCRB Slims Down Prosecution Unit (UPDATE)

| More

RSS Feed RSS Feed


RSS Feed