Items tagged with 'Kirsten Gillibrand'
Updated February 2
The other day we mentioned that Kirsten Gillibrand had, at that point, voted against each of the Trump administration cabinet nominations -- the only US Senator to do so. She's been getting national attention for that fact this week, and in comments here at AOA people were interested, too.
With that interest in mind -- and to make it easy to find the info in one place for New York's Senators -- we're putting together a running tally of how Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer are voting on the Donald Trump's cabinet picks. We'll update it as votes come along in the Senate.
Let's have a look...
The National Journal has a big article on Kirsten Gillibrand's rise to prominence in national politics, and the evolution of her positions on various issues along the way. From "How Kirsten Gillibrand Shed Her Past on the Way to Liberal Stardom," by Ben Terris:
It's a stretch to imagine Gillibrand running for president any time soon: There's a Hillary-sized shadow hanging over 2016, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo also appears above her on the New York depth chart. But this is a Democratic Party desperate for new blood and new talent. At 46, Gillibrand fits the bill perhaps better than anyone--and she has begun to build a national persona that can match her ambitions. Her battle against the Pentagon over sexual assaults in the military has won her headlines and praise. At the same time, she's a stunningly adept fundraiser who earns loyalty from her colleagues the old-fashioned way--by doling out money. It's telling that when potential women presidents are mentioned, the list tends to begin and end at Clinton. There is opportunity there.
But to reach that place in the firmament, Gillibrand will have to pull off what many politicians before her have had to do: reconcile her past political identities with her present ones. Gillibrand isn't the first Democrat from a rural, centrist background to try to build a bridge to the progressive wing of the party. (See: the other Clinton, Bill.) And often, it can be easier to accomplish than those liberals trying to convince rank-and-file voters that they are one of them, as both Barack Obama and John Kerry before him struggled to do. But that doesn't mean she won't have some explaining to do on what can be politely termed her evolution.
How she navigates those questions will say a lot about her readiness for the grand stage.
If you've been following along over the past few years, a lot of it won't be new to you. But it's another picture of KG as a persistent, savvy, highly-skilled politician.
Kirsten Gillibrand's office announced today that the Senator is asking the US Secretary of the Interior to designate the Albany Pine Bush Preserve as a National Natural Landmark. From the letter KG's office released:
The Albany Pine Bush Preserve is a unique ecosystem located on a 3,200-acre site in Albany County, New York. The preserve is one of the best-remaining examples of an inland pine barren habitat. The open areas and well-drained sandy soils of the preserve support a globally-rare pitch pine-scrub oak community and is home to more than 1,300 species of plants, 156 species of birds, 20 species of amphibians and reptiles, and 30 species of mammals, as well as rare species of butterflies and moths. Among its diverse flora and fauna, the Albany Pine Bush supports the federally-listed endangered Karner blue butterfly, as well as the rare inland barrens buckmoth. The Albany Pine Bush is the site of one of thirteen Federal Recovery Units working to rebuild adult populations and restore suitable habitat for the Karner blue butterfly across the range of the endangered species.
The term "National Natural Landmark" sounds kind of impressive -- and the National Park Service website says "NNLs are the best remaining examples of a type of feature in the country and sometimes in the world." But we get the impression it's a largely symbolic. The designation doesn't change ownership of the landmark, nor does it impose any land use restrictions, according to an FAQ about the program posted by the National Park Service. It's largely a voluntary commitment by the landowner to preserve the landmark. (The Albany Pine Bush Preserve is a state preserve.)
If anything, the National Natural Landmark designation is another sign that people's perception of the place continues to evolve, to the ecosystem's benefit. The last couple of hundred years haven't been kind to the Pine Bush. It suffered from a rather poor reputation in the 19th century. The Thruway and Washington Ave Extension were plowed through it. A mall was built. A landfill sited in it. It's only in the last four decades or so that momentum has shifted in the direction of preservation.
The Pine Bush once covered an area of about 40 square miles -- it's now about 1/8 that size.
There are 596 National Natural Landmarks in the US and its territories -- and 27 sites designated as National Natural Landmarks located at least partially within New York State, according to the National Park Service. The list includes two in the immediate Capital Region: Bear Swamp in Albany County, and Petrified Gardens in Saratoga County.
Kirsten Gillibrand was on the Daily Show Thursday night talking about her admirable efforts to reform how the military handles sexual assault, as well as a few other issues. The first segment is embedded above, and the second after the jump.
The second segment -- especially the extended segment at the Daily Show website -- is worth watching because John Oliver (politely) tries to put the screws to KG over the amount of money she's taken from banking organizations such as Goldman Sachs. It's interesting to watch Gillibrand field Oliver's questions. Once again she displays a remarkable ability to both side-step and reframe the question (that is, not really answer it) while at the same time coming off as totally reasonable and likable.
That's a valuable skill for politician. And maybe it's a peek into the reasons KG is apparently becoming a formidable player in the Senate -- and keeps getting mentioned as an eventual presidential candidate.
The National Journal does an annual vote rating of Congress members (methodology), then it ranks the representatives and senators on "liberal" and "conservative" scales. And this year, in National Journal's estimate, Chris Gibson ranked as the most liberal House Republican -- with a voting record more liberal than that of 10 House Democrats.
From an accompanying article about Gibson:
Gibson placed the furthest left of all House Republicans in National Journal's 2012 ideological vote ratings. Whether that means he is the most liberal, the most moderate, or perhaps just the least conservative member of the GOP conference is in the eye of the beholder. The way Gibson sees it, he landed near the middle of both ratings in his first term because he balances a pro-growth and an anti-debt agenda, all while representing a district (New York's 19th) that Obama carried twice.
"This is the kind of representation that gets things done, that creates jobs," Gibson said. "We can bring people together in an era rife with partisanship and divide."
After the jump, a quick scan of the ratings for other regional Congress members, and little more about the NY 20th, which Gibson represented until the most recent redistricting. (We'll just say it now... yes, there's a graph.)
Kirsten Gillibrand was on the Daily Show last night. KG was there to talk about the Democratic National Convention, and getting more women involved with politics The video is embedded above. And part two is post jump.
Increasing the number of women in politics is one of KG's frequent focuses. She was on a panel about topic yesterday at the convention -- she talked about her 2006 run against John Sweeney and her grandmother, Polly Noonan (a key figure in the political machine that ran Albany). [TU CapCon]
Watching these Daily Show segments reminded us of how Gillibrand often doesn't come across as a typical politician. Instead of the measured, bland presence that many politicians usually have on TV, KG registers as enthusiastic. That's drawn her some flak, but it makes her stand out. And she comes through the TV more like a real person. That's a pretty useful skill for a politician.
A large majority of New Yorkers support raising the state's minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50 per hour, according to the Siena poll out today. Of the people polled, support for the increase ran 78-17. The group registering the lowest support for the increase was Republicans -- and even among that group, 58 percent support it.
A few other interesting bits from today's poll:
+ One of Andrew Cuomo's strategies since becoming governor has appeared to be finding ways to allow the legislature to look good (while still doing what he wants it to do). It seems to be working: the number of people saying they have a "favorable" opinion of the Assembly and Senate are at "highest ever" levels* -- in the upper 40s.
+ The Occupy Wall Street movement registered its lowest favorability so far -- 38/52 favorable/unfavorable. The Tea Party's favorable/unfavorable: 38/58.
+ If the presidential election was now: Obama 57 | Romney 37.
+ The percent of people who said "don't know" or have "no opinion" of Kirsten Gillibrand is 25 percent -- the same as it was back in January 2011. We suspect this is roughly the same percentage of people who would feel open about admitting they don't follow politics or government at all. Chuck Schumer's don't know/no opinion: 9. See also: Chuck who?
+ KG still easily beats any of the potential Republicans in a hypothetical matchup for the US Senate.
+ The percent of people who agreed that New York State is on the "right track": 55 percent, a "highest ever" level.
* "Trends reflect questions asked at least twice since the first Siena College Poll in February 2005."
There was some interesting blowback today for Kirsten Gillibrand on SOPA/PIPA -- federal legislation touted as a way for copyright holders to crack down on piracy, but in practice would muck up much of the internet. Under pressure from widespread online protest this week, Congressional leaders took the bills off the table today. [TechDirt] [Wired]
Both Chuck Schumer and KG were co-sponsors of PIPA (basically the Senate version of SOPA), and tech industry people in NYC organized a large protest (with actual, in-real-life people) outside the senators' office there on Wednesday. [BetaBeat]
Apparently in response to the protests and the pulling of the bill, KG (or her office) posted on her Facebook page today:
Whether passing the 9/11 Health Bill, repealing DADT, or my call to action for women, I have always urged New Yorkers to make their voices heard. There has been an outpouring of democracy in action over the last several weeks on PIPA & SOPA. While many of my colleagues and I have worked hard to address concerns with the current bill, it is clear this proposal will not create consensus on how to crack down on the real problem of online theft that threatens tens of thousands of New York jobs in a balanced way that ensures our tech companies will continue to flourish. It is time for Congress to take a step back and start over with both sides bringing their solutions to the table to find common ground towards solving this problem. New talks between stakeholders -- media companies, music and film companies, Silicon Valley and Silicon Alley here in New York is a critically needed step forward. Make no mistake, we must act to protect the theft of intellectual property that costs our economy billions in revenue -- but we must get it right without unintended consequences that could stifle the internet.
Which, in turn, prompted Markos Moulitsas (the Kos in Daily Kos) to argue that KG is "trying to have her cake, and eat it too, on PIPA." And the overarching reason, in his view: she's looking ahead to 2016 and a run for a White House.
No one seems happy about the deal -- a fact reflected in the votes and comments from local Congressional reps, who split on how they voted...
Kirsten Gillibrand has been pushing the cause of open public data this week. The clip above is her presentation at the nerd-wonk Personal Democracy Forum on Monday -- she talked about her office's disclosure of schedules and earmarks and how's she's pushed for similar disclosure for all Congressional members.
KG also announced this week that she's co-sponsoring the "Public Online Information Act," a bill that would require public info to be made available online in a searchable format before it could be considered public.
It's good to see this kind of support for open data initiatives -- in the Information Age (or whatever you call right now), useful access to data generated by the government should be a civil right. But if KG and other open government people want to really shake things up, they'll push for the federal government (which has money) to help develop tools for local governments (which don't have money) to collect, manage and share public data. The state of access to local public data is currently underwhelming -- even for data that should be relatively easy to post. (When was the last time you searched crime reports online for your town -- oh, right, you probably can't.)
A few cities are already headed in this direction. New York City has made a big deal of it recently, releasing a "road map" toward becoming a "digital city." It's touting the push as a way of increasing civic engagement and economic development. (It already makes some data available via a "data mine.")
That kind of initiative is easier for a place like NYC -- it has a huge budget. The jump is much bigger for local municipalities that can't be even manage to consistently post their press releases online (nevermind in a format that's not pdf).
The Brennan Center recently released a "report card on New York's civil literacy." Newsflash: it's low, in most of the way's you'd expect (nope, the President can't declare war; the founders weren't trying to found a Christian nation; the Constitution's goal wasn't to increase the power of the 13 original states).
But this bit made us take notice/wonder/laugh wryly: 58 percent of New Yorkers in the survey failed to name at least one of the two current New York members of the US Senate. As the report notes (emphasis added):
Respondents were not given any list to choose from, so they had no opportunity to guess or "refresh their recollection." Kirsten Gillibrand, New York's junior Senator, was appointed less than two years ago, after then-Senator Hillary Clinton was appointed Secretary of State. Senator Gillibrand had never previously run for statewide office, and the fact that her name wasn't widely known is not surprising. Chuck Schumer, though, has represented New York State since 1999 and is a major national player on the political stage. It is significant that so few New Yorkers were able to provide his name when asked, especially when we consider that both senators' names were on the ballot in the November 2010 elections and both were campaigning during the time the poll was conducted.
That's right, Chuck Schumer, who hasn't passed up an opportunity for a press conference -- ever* -- still not at the top of a majority of New Yorkers' minds.
It's worth noting that Schumer did get 65.5 percent of the vote in last year's election, so he's doing OK -- whether people remember his name or not.
The full Brennan Center report is embedded after the jump.
* Unconfirmed, but probably true.
The Siena poll out today reports that Andrew Cuomo currently has his highest-ever favorability rating -- 77 percent of respondents reported having a favorable opinion of the governor.
People have pretty much swooned over Cuomo. In addition to that crazy-high favorability mark, 57 percent say he's doing an "excellent" or "good" job as governor. Seventy percent say they trust him, over the legislature, to do the right thing for the state. And 47 percent say they would give Cuomo's proposed state budget a grade of A or B. (Let's see what people think after the budget's actually finished -- legislating has a way of killing the mood.)
And get this: 47 percent of respondents say the state is now on the right track (as opposed to 39 percent saying it's heading the wrong way). It's the first time since October 2007 the right track number has been higher than the wrong track.
Kirsten Gillibrand While not in the throes of full-on infatuation, New Yorkers do seem to be warming to Kirsten Gillibrand. KG's favorability mark was 57 percent in this poll, the highest it's ever been. And 52 percent said they'd re-elect her.
KG and her family had been living at her mom's house in Albany temporarily after they sold their house in Columbia County, so they could move closer to family. Being closer to the airport is probably a nice bonus, too.
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
If Jon Stewart is a person of influence, Kirsten Gillibrand got a pretty good endorsement last night.
Sample line, Stewart on KG's efforts in the Senate: "You know what you are? You're The Who in a hotel -- you're just wrecking the joint."
Update: We've heard from Kirsten Gillibrand's office that the senator's family is only temporarily moving into her mom's home while they look for a house in the Albany area.
The house is on Noonan Lane -- off 9W, tucked behind the Thruway. The road became a bit like KG's family's private driveway. Noonan is the name of KG's maternal grandparents. Polly Noonan, her grandmother, was the righthand woman to Erastus Corning. And the forever-mayor apparently spent many a night on the road. From Paul Grondahl's Mayor Corning:
Since [Corning's] wife resolutely refused to attend these events and was never seen at such functions, Corning often attended alone, or he was accompanied, at least to overtly political functions where their companionship would not raise eyebrows, by Polly Noonan. After these functions, whether Polly Noonan attended or not, Corning often made his way back later in the evening not to Corning Hill but to Noonan Lane.
And then the mayor would sit in a recliner, drink scotch and watch sports with Noonan's husband, according to Grondahl's account. [Places and Spaces] [TU]
KG's mother and father -- Penny and Douglas Rutnik (they're no longer together) -- built their house (the one KG's moving into) on the same road, as did two of Polly Noonan's other children. [NY Mag]
As you can tell from the satellite image, it looks like the end of the lane has a bit of a compound feel about it. Hey, you can't be a political family dynasty without a compound.
(Credit to Chris Churchill for picking this story out from the stream between Christmas and New Year's Day.)
This was a big week for Kirsten Gillibrand. Two pieces of legislation for which she's gained a high-profile supporter were approved in Congress. First, it was the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell. And yesterday, it was the bill funding health care for 9/11 responders.
The legislative successes landed her on the front page of the New York Times today:
Once derided as an accidental senator, lampooned for her verbosity and threatened with many challengers who openly doubted her abilities, a succinct, passionate and effective Senator Gillibrand has made her presence felt in the final days of this Congress.
Her efforts have won grudging admiration from critics, adulation from national liberals and gay rights groups, and accolades from New York politicians across the political spectrum, including Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who once shopped for potential candidates to oust her.
Even her relentlessness, which once drew mockery, is now earning the highest compliment of all: professional jealousy from her more senior colleagues.
Chuck Schumer said this week that KG's persistence on the 9/11 bill had Senate colleagues asking him to call her off:
You know, some of these senators said: Would you stop her from bothering me? And I said: No! And the result of all that hard work we see today. What a great victory for a new legislator, isn't that fabulous. For any legislator, but for someone this new to do so much so soon is utterly amazing. [State of Politics]
This coverage represents quite a shift in the media's attitude toward KG. Earlier this year as she faced a possible challenge for her Senate seat, stories often focused on issues such as her weight loss and the the tone of her voice. And just this past fall Harry Reid reportedly called KG "the hottest member" of the Senate.
As it happens, this recent arc is roughly similar to one Gillibrand followed here in the Capital Region. She wasn't given much chance of knocking off John Sweeney (though his self-destruction didn't hurt). And there were doubters she could hold onto the seat in the majority Republican district (which she did, easily).
May we suggest a new media frame for KG: not to be underestimated.
image: New York Times
... It is impossible to overstate how perfectly the issue addressed all of her political imperatives. Since her appointment, Gillibrand had been pleading with gay-rights leaders to consider her an ally; this was her chance to prove that she really was. It also promised to boost her overall image with liberal primary voters and her reputation with high-end Democratic donors around New York City, among whom DADT repeal, and gay rights in general, was particularly important. Plus, with Democrats running the White House and Congress for the first time since '94, the stakes were real; this wouldn't be an exercise in symbolism. There was also minimal chance of general-election blowback, with swing voters, especially in blue states like New York, increasingly ready for DADT to go.
... after two years in the Senate, DADT has become Gillibrand's signature issue. Job security may have been her primary motive, but the repeal fight also helped Gillibrand establish her own political identity in the Senate and with New Yorkers, and to develop her own voice.
Kornacki notes that DADT probably would have been repealed without KG's efforts, but "all of her efforts helped ensure Saturday's result." The whole piece is worth reading -- it puts KG's Senate career in context.
Kirsten Gillibrand's home in Hudson is up for sale -- the list price: $1.48 million. [NYT]
Check out this snip from the listing on the real estate agent's site, titled "Gatsby & Spectacular Hudson River Views":
Mesmerizing sunsets and all day long stunning views of the Hudson River and the Catskill Mountains welcome you to a surreal magical landscape that you might think you once stumbled upon in a childhood dream ...this once in a lifetime slice of heaven is the perfect backdrop to make memories generation after generation. Beginning with the private drive guarded by towering shade trees through which the light bounces off Ol' Man River, informal and formal gardens, patios and porches greet you with each gentle rolling slope of the velvet lawn as it rolls down over the river.
There are a handful of photos on the listing page.
The house is listed as having 5 bedrooms, 4.5 baths, a "gracious" kitchen, a "delightful guest cottage," and a barn/4 car garage on 13 acres.
Here's the Zillow listing for the address, which appears to have incorrect info. (The "zestimate" is listed as $717,000.)
KG's office told NYT that the senator and her husband "plan to buy a house closer to family in the Capital Region." [NYT City Room]
Hmm... so what would be a good spot for the Gillibrands? We could see Slingerlands -- big houses, a bit rural, close to Albany and only about 20 minutes from ALB.
Because we know that you arrange your social schedule around such events, here's tonight's lineup:
US Senate: Kirsten Gillibrand and Joe DioGuardi
7 pm on YNN
The Siena poll out this week reported that Gillibrand has large lead, but there should still be some good back-and-forth here. KG is a very capable debater and DioGuardi went after her in a debate last Friday.
NY 20th: Scott Murphy and Chris Gibson
8 pm on WMHT
We're looking forward to this debate because both candidates are accomplished people who seem to be serious about the issues confronting the country -- though they differ greatly on how they think we should take on those challenges. Their debate earlier this week did get a little heated when the flip-flopping allegations came out. Still, there should be some substantial back-and-forth here. And the race is relatively close.
The situation is bad for Paladino no matter how you cut the results. Independents favor Cuomo 61-26. And upstate, where Paladino had to do well to be competitive, Cuomo leads 57-33.
It's not even close on favorability, either: 62 percent say they have a favorable view of Cuomo -- and 69 percent say they have an unfavorable view of Paladino.
Poll results from other statewide races are in the table above. The poll was conducted October 14-18 and screened for likely voters. Margin of error: +/- 3.9.
"I think faith transformed my interest in politics into a calling for service," she says. "I think it's metaphorical . . . to actually raise your voice. But you have to really fight hard. Just as I was talking to you about trying to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell. It takes enormous effort. Nothing happens in Washington unless you really push--push your colleagues, push the White House, push the leadership. You don't have to necessarily do it in an aggressive way. You can do it in a very kind way. But people need to know it's important to you. It's the belief in something that can make the difference in winning the debate. They need to know that you care."
The piece follows KG through DC, NYC and Columbia County (Hudson gets some pub). The writer, Jonathan Van Meter, practically gushes about her. (Maybe it was the cheese she had put in his omelet.)
There are a few photos, too.
The Siena poll out this morning reports that Andrew Cuomo leads Carl Paladino 57-24 in the race for governor (margin of error +/- 3.5). And Rick Lazio registers at... eight.
So, that's quite a different result from yesterday's Quinnipiac poll that reported Cuomo was ahead by just six points. And a Survey USA poll also out yesterday reported Cuomo was ahead by nine points.
There are a few differences between the Siena poll and the other two. First, Siena included Rick Lazio and the others did not. And the Siena poll surveyed registered voters, while the others surveyed "likely" voters.
Polling data uber-nerd Nate Silver examined the likely voter issue after Wendnesday's surprising Q Poll result. Likely voter models tend to favor Republicans a bit. But after talking with people at Quinnipiac, Silver concluded it probably doesn't explain Paladino's surge in the poll.
So... who knows where things are at right now. There are still 40 days before Election Day, which is plenty of time for the situation to change. Let's hope for a debate or two. Or at least a more interesting exchange between the candidates than a Photoshop competition.
A few other bits from the Siena poll
+ Chuck Schumer leads Jay Townsend 64-30.
+ Kirsten Gillibrand leads Joe DioGuardi 57-31 (though, that Survey USA poll only had her up 45-44)
+ No one knows who's running for attorney general. Both candidates -- Eric Schneiderman and Dan Donovan -- have don't know/no opinion scores over 60. The same thing goes for the comptroller matchup between Tom DiNapoli and Harry Wilson.
Carl Paladino beat Rick Lazio in the Republican primary for governor -- and it wasn't even close. He was ahead by a 2-1 margin when the AP called the race last night. [AP] [NYDN]
Embedded above is a clip from Paladino's post-primary speech, posted by State of Politics (here's part two). Here's transcript clip:
They say I'm too blunt. Well I am, and I don't apologize for it.
They say I'm an angry man. And that's true! We're all angry - not just because we woke up on the wrong side of the bed. We're angry about paying the highest income taxes and property taxes in the nation and getting less and less for it. We're angry about our incompetent, dysfunctional government that pays no attention to the desires of the people. We're angry about the cesspool of corruption and conflicts of interest and self-dealing that's the Albany of today.
But here's what my critics, what they don't quite understand: I know there is a way to bring opportunity and economic growth back to new york state. And you're coming with me and we're going to do it. And I believe we can.
We're New Yorkers and we're Americans - we can do anything we set our minds to. Those who say that New York's brightest days are behind us - those who say our our state is so broken it can't be fixed - those that say nothing can be done to rebuild New York - they're dead wrong!
You see, I believe our brightest days are ahead of us.
A Siena poll from mid-August had Paladino trailing Andrew Cuomo by a wide margin in a hypothetical general election match-up for governor. That poll also reported that Lazio was leading Paladino for the nomination.
Earlier on AOA: Who is Carl Paladino?
Other notable primary results
+ Former Congressman Joe DioGuardi won the Republican primary for US Senate and will face Kirsten Gillibrand. Jay Townsend won the other Republican primary for US Senate and will face Chuck Schumer. [NYT] [AP]
+ Incumbent Neil Breslin fought off a challenge from Luke Martland in the Democratic primary for the 46th state Senate seat (the district that covers Albany County). He'll face Republican Bob Domenici, and Michael Carey -- who's running on an independent line. [TU] [TU Local Politics]
+ State senate majority leader Pedro Espada was defeated by Gustavo Rivera in the Democratic primary for the 33rd state Senate seat (the Bronx). Rivera is a former Kirsten Gillibrand staffer. Though, as one voter told NYT: "The best thing about him is that his last name isn't Espada." [NYDN] [NYT]
Kirsten Gillibrand ranked #3 on the The Hill's 2010 list of the "50 Most Beautiful People" on Capitol Hill. That's the highest of any elected official (a staff aide and a lobbyist took the top two spots).
From the KG profile:
After adjusting to motherhood, Gillibrand seems to be back into her exercise groove. ("Most of us are not Heidi Klum and Angelina Jolie, who look great the next day" after having a baby, she said. "For me, it took a good two years.") She co-captained the female Congress members' softball team, plays tennis and squash when she can, fits in jogs here and there and is hoping to run the New York Marathon again (she's run it twice before).
A few bits from the Siena Poll out today:
+ Sixty-five percent of respondents said they're against David Paterson's plan to lay off 10,000 state workers at the start of next year. A majority of every demographic opposes the layoffs (the closest split: 53 percent of men oppose).
+ When asked if they would like to see their current state senator re-elected, or have someone else get the spot, 50 percent of respondents said "someone else." (Tough talk, New York. Let's see how that turns out in November.)
+ Andrew Cuomo's favorability is down to 59 percent -- but he still crushes the rest of the field.
+ People still seem unsure about Kirsten Gillibrand (40 percent say they'd prefer "someone else" vs. 34 percent who say they'd like to see her elected) -- but check out the don't know/no opinions for her three potential Republican challengers: David Malpass (81), Bruce Blakeman (80), Joe DioGuardi (75).
+ Chuck Schumer's favorability is at 54 percent -- its lowest point ever.
The margin of error was +/- 3.4 percent. Here's a breakdown of the full results.
In this "Talk Stoop" segment for NBC New York, Kirsten Gillibrand mentions that she tries to play squash with Al Franken every week. And he always wins.
KG was the captain of the squash team at Dartmouth in 1987-88 (she had played tennis at Emma Willard). Her former coach there told Vanity Fair last year that the then-Tina Rutnik "won with finesse and knowing where to hit the ball."
Also: She says it doesn't bother her when people call her "Kristen."
Kirsten Gillibrand and Rachael Ray teamed up on Capitol Hill yesterday to press the case for healthier school lunches. From a NYT article, which reports that KG "unleashed" the Ray on other lawmakers:
"How could you go to any state in the union and say you are not for an extra couple of cents to eradicate hunger, to make our kids healthier, stronger, better focused?" [Ray] said. "It doesn't make any sense that you would even have to have a long conversation about that, to me."
Specifically, Gillibrand and Ray were pushing for the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act.
KG has made school lunches one of her focus issues -- this week she was pushing legislation that would ban trans-fat from school meals. RR has also campaigned for healthier food in schools.
It appears the conventional wisdom (or whatever) is shifting from "Kirsten Gillibrand isn't going to make it" to "Kirsten Gillibrand is unstoppable." From a NYT story today about "What Makes Gillibrand Scary?":
... Ms. Gillibrand possesses assets most of the aspiring senators lack. She has a legitimate geographic base, having represented an Albany-area Congressional district in a part of the state where her family is prominent. She has a network of donors, especially women, who are not going to abandon her. She has a commitment to working her tail off to keep the seat, a fact that even her political enemies grudgingly acknowledge.
And, perhaps most important, she has $5.1 million in her campaign account.
Nothing like a big stack of money to scare off opponents. KG's skill/luck at clearing the field of electoral opponents for her Senate seat has prompted all sorts of theories, including one that involves Al D'Amato secretly supporting her while he publicly supports a Republican.
Earlier this week, a writer for TPM asserted (absurdly) that KG is... "the most powerful woman in American politics." (That kind of press should really help KG's relationship with Nancy Pelosi.) Not bad for someone whose favorable rating in the last Siena poll was just 32 percent -- with 38 percent of respondents saying they "prefer someone else" for the Senate.
And all this while she's, reportedly, busy "in the middle of diapers and bottles and bills and votes and markups."
If this kind of press keeps up, we'll await news of a kryptonite intolerance...
State delaying refund checks, Save the Y rally, father of American Idol judge to challenge Kirsten Gillibrand, Hasbrouck makes NBA
Paterson said yesterday that "we wouldn't project that the Saratoga racing season is in jeopardy at this point." Members of the racing industry have said recently the Saratoga season could be in doubt because of problems with New York City OTB and the stalled-again Aqueduct racino. [YNN]
Paterson signed The Family Health Care Decisions Act yesterday, which allows family members and close friends to make decisions on behalf of a patient who lacks capacity. The law has broad support, but was hung up in the legislature for 17 years. [YNN] [TU]
More than 100 people showed up yesterday for the Save the Y rally outside the Washington Ave location in Albany (photo above -- more photos here). Protesters criticized the Capital District YMCA and city officials for their handling of the location's now-imminent closure. A spokesman for the Y says it "just wasn't possible" to keep the location open. [Fox23] [Sebastien B] [TU] [YNN]
Day 11 of the Steven Raucci trial focused on testimony by former Schenectady school district athletic director Gary DiNola, who testified that an un-exploded device left on his car and vandalism of his house had "terrorized" his family. The testimony featured a heated exchange between DiNola and Raucci's lawyers, who objected to his characterization of the situation. Emails introduced as evidence indicated Raucci at one point wrote to DiNola: "I'm not a tolerant person to begin with. I'm even less tolerant of people who show me disrespect." In an email from DiNola to district superintendent Eric Ely, DiNola said that he had "learned to park my beat-up Volvo in front of the security cameras near the loading dock." [Daily Gazette $] [TU] [Fox23] [CBS6]
Conflicting reports about what Paterson said, Sararoga paid parking off the table, another potential Gillibrand challenger drops out
The friend David Paterson allegedly enlisted to talk with the woman who sought an order of protection against a top aide reportedly has told investigators that Paterson asked to pass along this message to the woman: "Tell her the governor wants her to make this go away." A Paterson spokesman said last night that it was not the message the governor sent -- and when he did talk with the woman, it was about getting the media off her back. [NYT] [TU]
Harry Corbitt, the New York State Police superintendent, announced last night on Capitol Tonight that he's retiring -- he said the "media fire storm has really disrupted my ability to function in that capacity." Denise O'Donnell, the state official who oversaw the state police, resigned last week after saying she couldn't "in good conscience" remain a part of the Paterson administration. The head of the State Troopers Police Benevolent Society released a statement yesterday trying to distance rank-and-file troopers from "the reported actions of a few people in higher positions." [CapNews9] [TU CapCon] [CapNews9]
David Paterson has called a cabinet meeting this morning at the Capitol. [Daily Politics]
Saratoga Springs' finance commissioner says downtown paid parking is now "off the table at this point." The city's budget had included $1.35 million in revenue from parking. [Post-Star] [Saratogian]
Both the NY Post and NYT are reporting that Harold Ford has decided to not run against Kirsten Gillibrand for the US Senate.
From a NYT op/ed by Ford that will run in Tuesday's paper:
"I've examined this race in every possible way, and I keep returning to the same fundamental conclusion: If I run, the likely result would be a brutal and highly negative Democratic primary -- a primary where the winner emerges weak-ened and the Republican strengthened."
A Siena poll out last week reported that KG led Ford 42-16 in a hypothetical primary matchup -- even though many voters statewide were less than certain about her overall candidacy.
So, who's up next?
The word going around of late has been that Mort Zuckerman -- the owner of the New York Daily News -- has been thinking about possibly running on the Republican line. Zuckerman has mainly been a supporter of Democrats -- but apparently he thinks a run as Republican could bypass a messy primary. [CityFile] [NYT] [OpenSecrets] [NYT]
Or, so it would seem from a Siena poll out this week.
The poll reports that voters continue to want someone other than David Paterson to be governor, continue to like Andrew Cuomo, continue to be unsure about Kirsten Gillibrand, and continue to think the state is headed in the wrong direction.
A few highlights after the jump.
Multiple shootings over the weekend, stats indicate drop in Troy crime, Tedisco calls for tougher animal laws, big research grant for Siena
Schenectady police say a woman was shot in the face Sunday morning in her apartment in Mont Pleasant (map). Police say witnesses reported that a man had been ringing the woman's door bell repeatedly and then kicked in her door. The SPD says it's looking for the suspect. [Fox23] [TU] [Daily Gazette $]
Albany police say a woman was shot yesterday evening on Broad Street. [Fox23]
Colonie police are investigating the death of a man found outside a muffler shop on Central Ave Saturday (map). The man's body was reportedly leaning against a building. Police say no cause of death was found during the initial autopsy -- foul play is not suspected. [CapNews9] [CBS6] [Troy Record] [Fox23]
The City of Troy reported that federal stats indicate the city's overall crime rate was down 2.5 percent last year compared to the year before -- and violent crime was down 11 percent. [City of Troy Facebook]
An arbitrator has ruled that an Albany cop accused of pointing a gun at a clerk should serve a 30 day suspension. [TU]
Rumors swirl about Paterson, Bruno bacon not delivered, clerk and robber crash through window, a Schenectady gift basket for Stephen Colbert
The big news at the state Capitol is... a NYT story about David Paterson... that hasn't been published yet... and no one seems to know when it will be. The story is rumored to include some sort of bombshell -- though that, too, is currently a mystery (Gawker commenters had some ideas). The governor reportedly met with Democratic party leaders over the weekend to discuss whether or not he will follow through on his vow to run for election this fall. And there are rumors about serious discontent within his administration. A spokesman for Paterson called all the recent rumors "a new low even by the standards of planet Albany." [TU] [Gawker] [AP/Post-Star] [NY Post] [CBS6]
Harold Ford accused Kirsten Gillibrand of using "underhanded tactics" in her attempt to gather early endorsements from county Democratic Party leaders around the state. Gillibrand is calling for Ford to disclose whether he got a bonus from Bank of America. [NYT] [NYO]
Much of the $75 million in state money promised by Joe Bruno just before he left office hasn't made it through. [TU]
The chairwoman of an inspector general's panel charged with tracking stimulus money says much of the federal funding distributed to New York State has yet to be spent. [TU]
The man accused of stabbing three people near the intersection of State and Henry Johnson following LarkFest last year was convicted on Friday on three counts of assault. He could get 25-50 years in prison. The victims said the man ran at them, shirtless, and yelled "I live for this, this is what I do!" during the attack. The man had been up for trial in 2008 for another alleged stabbing in Troy in 2007, but a judge tossed the case for procedural reasons. [CapNews9] [Troy Record] [CBS6] [Troy Record] [TU]
A Schenectady man died from carbon monoxide poisoning in his apartment after turning on his stove to keep warm because the apartment's thermostat was malfunctioning, keeping the heat down. [Daily Gazette $]
Paterson says budget gap growing, Gillibrand asks Obama question, rabid kitten found, another escaped dog
David Paterson says the state is now facing an $8.2 billion budget gap -- that's up about $750 million from the previous estimate. The state's budget director says the widening gap is the result of smaller than expected tax revenue from Wall Street bonuses. In the increased estimate had member of the legislature criticizing the governor for not providing an "accurate picture" in his proposed budget. [TU] [AP/Post-Star] [NYT] [Daily Politics]
The Greenfield man accused of stabbing and killing a tenant last year during a fight pleaded guilty to manslaughter yesterday. The case ended up being a bizarre tangle of allegations. [Saratogian] [TU]
No jail time for pedestrian death, RPI mansion zoning app bounced, Ford and Gillibrand race for donors, Schenectady beckons to Stephen Colbert
The woman who pleaded guilty to hitting and killing a pedestrian -- and then temporarily driving away -- on Madison Ave in Albany a year ago was sentenced to probation, restitution and community service. The victim's family said justice was not served by the sentencing. The judge presiding over the case said the misdemeanor plea deal "on its face, does not look right." Prosecutors say the evidence didn't support a felony charge. [Troy Record] [WTEN] [TU] [Fox23]
Congress Street in Troy between 15th Street and Brunswick Ave will be closed today from 10 am - 4:30 pm for what the city says is the emergency demolition of a building (map). The city's engineer says the front wall of the former Industrial Tool and Die building "could rupture at any time." The building had already been slated for demo. (CBS6 says it will be streaming video of the demolition.) [@TroyMayor] [TU] [Troy Record] [CBS6]
Troy's Zoning Board of Appeals has bounced RPI's application for a height variance for the new president's mansion. [Troy Record]
David Paterson the vetoed the legislature's ethics reform package. The governor said the bill didn't go far enough. Legislative leaders are now talking about trying to override the veto. [TU] [NYDN] [NYT]
Harold Ford was on the Colbert Report last night. As Colbert remarked: "Evidently six minutes at my interview table counts as New York State residency." Ford continued to assert that he's "always been pro-choice" -- and said that his view on a same-sex marriage is "a changed position."
Colbert also recommended that Ford make a helicopter touch-and-go visit to Schenectady.
Kirsten Gillibrand was also on TV last night -- she talked with Rachel Maddow about Don't Ask, Don't Tell (KG is pushing for the policy to be repealed). That video is embedded after the jump.
Also: A Marist poll out yesterday reports that Gillibrand leads Ford in a hypothetical primary 44-27 (25 percent were "unsure").
And get this: the Marist poll also reported that Chuck Schumer's approval rating is now below 50 percent for the first time 2001.
Details about Harriman redevelopment, Clinton endorses Gillibrand, college endowments take hit, burglaries in Manning Blvd neighborhood
The two state officials in charge of redeveloping the Harriman State Office Campus in Albany say the redevelopment plan will be incremental. The Harriman Campus board also now says it will release Columbia Development's proposed plan for the site. [TU] [HRTDC]
While New York did score some of that federal rail funding -- other states got a lot more. [TU]
Laws banning driving-while-cellphoning don't appear to be reducing the number of accidents. The number of tickets issued in New York State for violating the ban has been increasing steadily. [NYT] [TU]
Bill Clinton has endorsed Kirsten Gillibrand. [NYDN]
Catholic Charities is starting the Capital Region's first needle exchange program in Albany. [TU]
You kind of get the feeling that Kirsten Gillibrand had just about enough of all the Harold Ford stuff yesterday. After tweeting about his "parakeet" comment, she then proceeded to seek out the media in an effort to repeatedly slam Ford.
To the AP: Ford was "unable to convince Tennessee voters to trust him or put their vote in him, and now he's moved to New York and thinks he should be senator."
To the TU: "I don't know who he thinks I am, but I'm certainly not going to be pushed aside by him and a few of his banker buddies." (Ford is on leave from Bank of America/Merril Lynch.)
To the NY Daily News: "He waltzed into his father's congressional seat after failing the bar. And then he comes to New York City and joins a big bank, and is now running with a few banker buddies and thinks he should be in the US Senate."
To the New York Times: "For him to say he is an outsider and an independent is laughable."
To the NY Post: "All we know about him is his record, which is abysmal for New York."
In polls people keep saying they don't know enough or have no opinion about KG. If this keeps up, you gotta think that will change -- for better or worse.
By the way: there is someone who has officially announced a challenge to Gillibrand for the Democratic nomination -- though his mom seems concerned that he's spending too much on campaign buttons.
Oh, yeah: In that clip above, Stephen Colbert named Harold Ford "Alpha Dog of the Week," in part for "Lifting your leg on New Yorkers and telling us it's just egg cream."
At the Capitol yesterday in Albany, Harold Ford said this about Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer:
"Understand that you are not elected to the United States Senate to be a parakeet, or take instructions from the Democratic leadership."
To which Kirsten Gillibrand (or whoever tweets for her) responded around noon today via Twitter:
"Parakeet?" I wouldn't allow my 6 yr old to engage in this kind of namecalling. And HF thinks he should be Senator?
Presumably she also wanted to add: "I'm rubber and you're glue, whatever you say bounces off me and sticks on you" -- but, well, you know, Twitter limits you to 140 characters.
Ford is also on Twitter. Sadly, there have been no @ responses between the two. Yet.
By the way: Ford had an op/ed piece in NYT yesterday about how the Democrats could chart a "better course."
photo: Flickr user Young in Panama
Ford takes shot at Gillibrand and Schumer, TU Center turns profit, second ESP man caver sentenced, Phillip Livingston school up for sale
Harold Ford was in Albany yesterday to make the rounds at the Capitol and ESP -- and take shots at both Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer. Ford said on Talk 1300 that both senators were elected to be independent and not act like a "parakeet" for for the Democratic Party. A Gillibrand spokesman shot back: "The notion that [Ford] is independent is completely contrived." Said one legislative intern to the TU after meeting Ford on the ESP concourse: "He should really look into getting a New York accent." [AP/Troy Record] [NYO] [NYDN] [NYT] [TU]
David Paterson said yesterday that his potential gubernatorial campaign opponents shouldn't be hiding in the "candidate protection program." [NYDN]
Annoyed that the governor keeps calling them back for special sessions, the legislature has decided to just not adjourn -- basically blocking more special sessions. [Daily Politics]
Albany County announced that the Times Union Center, which it owns, turned a profit of almost $1.8 million last year -- up from about $900k the year before. That's the second-highest profit in the facility's 20-year history (not adjusted for inflation). [Albany County] [TU]
We couldn't help but notice the juxtaposition in coverage of Harold Ford and Kirsten Gillibrand this past weekend.
From the New York Times:
Mr. Ford, a five-term congressman from Tennessee, has given himself until the end of February to decide whether to challenge Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand in New York's Democratic primary, but in the first week of a statewide tour, he is quickly revealing what kind of candidate he would be: an effortless retail politician, equally at ease in baroque restaurants and Baptist churches, who makes instant, Clinton-like connections with voters.
And from the New York Daily News:
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is turning herself into a leaner, meaner campaigning machine - showing a slimmer silhouette as a tough election battle looms.
Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) confirmed to the Daily News what observers have been noticing in recent months - she's dropped some pounds.
She declined to say how many, but outsiders are betting 15 to 20.
Let's just go on the record right now: we won't even think of voting for Harold Ford until we know how many calories he eats each day.
A Siena poll out this week reported that only 29 percent of respondents said they would like to vote for Kirsten Gillibrand for US Senate in November -- 45 percent said they preferred someone else. That's a trend that's pretty much held steady since KG was appointed to replace Hillary Clinton a year ago.
So why don't voters seem to warming to Gillibrand? The NYO's Reid Pillifant recently offered a theory that was new to us: it's KG's speaking voice. From his Pillifant's piece:
"Kirsten Gillibrand has what I would call a non-regional American young female's accent," wrote Dr. Bert Vaux, a sociolinguistics scholar at the University of Cambridge, who was asked by The Observer to analyze Ms. Gillibrand's public speaking. "Though I lack the phonetic expertise to put my finger on what exactly is involved in this, her voice quality is of the sort that is typically associated with pre-workforce-age white American females. Judging by the case of this woman, this speech pattern has now extended into higher age ranges."
We always thought the KG/Tracy Flick comparison was cheap and wrong. But we have to admit that when we watched her "accept" the appointment last January, we thought: "It kind of sounds like she's running for student body president."
A few other bits about Gillibrand/Ford after the jump.
We've put off writing about the potential Harold Ford challenge to Kirsten Gillibrand all week.
It's probably because whenever the story's come up, we've just thought, "Dude. Run. Don't run. Make-up your mind. All this non-campaigning campaigning is boring." (Maybe we're fatigued by Andrew Cuomo.)
So it goes. Here's the quick scan of the whole week of will-he-should-he-what-if...
Education groups sue over state aid, Schumer apologizes to flight attendant, police say stolen Timberlands kicked off chase, Albany councilman calls for cancellation of "Jersey Shore"
A coalition of education groups -- headed by NYSUT -- filed suit against David Paterson yesterday in attempt to eliminate the delay in education aid payments. The coalition argues that Paterson has overstepped his authority -- and the uncertainty created the action is making budgeting difficult. Paterson accused the coalition of trying to be "extra special" interest groups. [TU] [NYT] [Fox23] [Daily Politics]
Saratoga Springs' finance commissioner says the city may have to borrow money to cover the gap created by delayed state aid payments. [Saratogian]
Democrats in the Rensselaer County legislature says three incoming Republicans should not be allowed to serve in both the county legislature and their town boards. One of the incoming Republicans called the practice "totally legal." [TU] [Troy Record]
Richard Daines, New York's health commissioner, got an H1N1 shot during a photo opp yesterday. Even though flu activity in the state is decling, Daines called the flu a "tricky virus" and urged people to still get vaccinated. [CapNews9] [TU] [Fox23]
Chuck Schumer apologized yesterday for calling a flight attendant a "bitch" after she told him to stop talking on his mobile phone. Kirsten Gillibrand was sitting next to him on the plane (and apparently did end her call) and Republicans are now criticizing her for not publicly condemning Schumer's actions. [NYDN] [Politico] [NYT] [Daily Politics]
Record snowfall yesterday, Paterson defends Wall Street, parking ticket plan approved, new license plates still on the way, again no ice skating at ESP
Yesterday's storm dropped 7.3 inches of snow on the Capital Region, according to the National Weather Service (forecasts on Tuesday had been predicting 2 to 5 inches). That's a record for December 9 (the previous high mark was 6.3 inches). Parts of Saratoga County reported getting as much as 10 inches. [NWS] [Saratogian]
A freight train hit a snow plow at a crossing in Northumberland yesterday morning, killing one of the the men on the plow truck and injuring the other (map). The crossing doesn't have gates or signals. [Post-Star] [CapNews9] [Saratogian]
Albany County's public works commissioner says yesterday's short, strong blast of snow made it hard to keep the roads clear during rush hour. Troy somehow found a way to clear its streets without Bob Mirch. [TU] [Troy Record]
David Paterson again vowed to hold back aid to local governments in order to keep the state solvent (his budget director compared the fiscal situation to driving in the snow). The chair of the state Senate finance committee says Paterson will be sued it he tries to do that. [NYO] [Daily Politics] [TU]
During the same speech yesterday, Paterson also defended Wall Street -- calling it the engine of New York State's economy. Said a state Senate "source" of the speech: "I half-expected to see Michael Douglas come out and reprise his role as Gordon Gekko." [NYT] [NYDN]
Porco appeal focuses on nod, state budget gap deal could be close, job cuts at Skidmore, police say 11-year-old called 911 on alleged robbers, CDTA bus bursts into flames
The judges hearing Christopher Porco's appeal in a Brooklyn state appellate court yesterday focused on the admissibility of the nod that detectives say Joan Porco made indicating Christopher was responsible for the attack. Joan Porco says she has no memory of the crime -- and the defense argued that prevented Christopher from being able to confront his accuser. The prosecution argued that the defense just missed its chance to have Joan Porco testify that she didn't remember. Christopher Porco is currently serving 50 years in state prison for the murder of his father and attempted murder of his mother. [TU] [Fox23] [CapNews9] [Troy Record]
A deal to close the state budget gap could be near. Or not. Members of the legislature indicated last night that they had put together a plan to cut $2.8 billion (from the $3+ billion gap), which borrows almost $400 million federal education aid from next year for this year's budget. David Paterson said that wasn't good enough -- and announced that he would move to withhold payments to local governments in order to keep the state solvent. [TU] [NYDN] [Daily Politics] [NYT]
The board overseeing redevelopment of the Harriman State Office Campus announced yesterday that Columbia Development has been picked to develop the site. Officials with Columbia have close ties to Jerry Jennings, which prompted a competing developer to accuse the board of making a politically motivated choice. [CapNews9] [TU]
Legislature back for another try at budget fix, demand up at food banks, local venture capitalists criticized for not taking enough risks, the weekend in crime
The state legislature is scheduled to be back in town today for another special budget session. David Paterson continued to sound the alarm about the budget gap, warning of "furloughs, layoffs, borrowing, downgraded credit ratings" and a range of delayed payments (including to state workers). He also has continued to blame the legislature -- especially the state Senate -- being in "denial" about the problem. It seems the legislature's not a huge fan of him, either. [CapNews9] [Daily Politics] [NYDN] [NY Post]
Summations in the Joe Bruno trial are expected to start today. On Friday, Jared Abbruzzese, a longtime Bruno friend and business associate, testified that he had hired Bruno has a consultant for the senator's contacts and "aura." He said the $80k he paid Bruno for a horse was payment to settle a "a moral obligation" for canceled consulting contracts. And Abbruzzese also said Bruno introduced him to Donald Trump, who -- in Abbruzzese's words -- "walked over me." Even though Abbruzzese was the prosecution's last witness, he may have been most helpful to the defense. It was also announced on Friday that Bruno will not be testifying in his own defense. [TU] [TU] [Fox23] [NYDN] [NYT] [TU] [Troy Record]
Kirsten Gillibrand has been calling state senators in an effort to get "yes" votes for the same-sex marriage bill. [Daily Politics]
Extraordinary legislative session very ordinary, Army still investigating Colonie soldier's death, judge blocks Fort Orange Club demolition, prisoners to make new license plates
Today is Veterans Day.
Yesterday's "extraordinary" session of the state legislature produced rather ordinary results -- there was no agreement on cuts to close the state budget gap and no Senate vote on the same-sex marriage bill. Late yesterday afternoon David Paterson said he will call the legislature back next Monday and Tuesday. He also said the Senate would vote on same-sex marriage "at a date not certain between now and the end of the year." [TU] [NYT] [Daily Politics] [NYO]
Joe Bruno trial Day Seven: the business manager of a Saratoga County plumbers union testified that Bruno recommended Wright Investment Services -- and didn't mention that he was a consultant for the firm. The union also got two state grants, perhaps at Bruno's discretion, around the time it invested $4 million with Wright -- and the timing of those came up yesterday during testimony by state Senator Betty Little. After one of Bruno's attorneys tried to introduce five years of member items as evidence, Judge Gary Sharpe scolded both sides. "This trial has lost its way for a long time. This is not an election campaign," he said. [Troy Record] [TU] [Fox23] [NYT]
The Army says "the facts and circumstances" surrounding the death of Colonie soldier Amy Seyboth Tirador in Iraq are "still under investigation." The military has called Seyboth Tirador's death "non-combat-related" -- her family has been telling the media that she was shot in the back of the head on a base in Kirkush. [TU]
The condition of 12 bridges in the Capital Region -- and 110 upstate bridges in total -- scored lower on state inspections than the now-closed Champlain Bridge, according to an analysis by a group of upstate legislators. There was a rally outside the Capitol yesterday calling for more state funding for upstate bridge maintenance. [TU] [Fox23]
The Troy city council has proposed budgets cuts it says will hold next year's tax increase to 2.2 percent. The slate of cuts includes the elimination of a handful of city jobs, including the commissioner of public works and the mayor's spokesperson. [TU] [Troy Record]
Official warns that state won't be able to pay bills, flu shot shortage, Troy will get money for homelessness after all, airlift wing headed for Antarctica
The state budget director says the state may not have enough cash to cover all its scheduled payments in mid-December. David Paterson and the legislative leaders met yesterday about covering the $3 billion budget gap, though it doesn't sound like they made much progress. Paterson said that the state is facing an economy that he believes will be "the worst we will see in our lifetime." [TU] [Daily Politics] [WTEN]
A judge has denied Save the Pine Bush's request for a restraining order that would have prevented the Albany landfill expanding from proceeding. [TU]
Public clinics and doctors' offices say they're having a tough time getting enough doses of seasonal flu vaccine. Saratoga County had to cancel its upcoming flu shot clinics because it couldn't get sufficient supplies. There have been flu shot shortages all around the US because of increased demand and the need to concurrently manufacture the vax for H1N1. [TU] [Post-Star] [NYT]
Public voices concerns about Troy crime, questions about Paterson's budget cutting plan, supervisor race includes accusations of illiteracy, high demand for flu vaccine
More than a hundred people showed up last night at Troy City Hall for the public forum about a recent streak of crime in the city. Both mayor Harry Tutunjian and police chief Nicholas Kaiser stressed that crime is down for the year. Citizens said they were concerned about gangs in Lansingburgh and a lack of officers walking beats. [Troy Record] [CapNews9] [CBS6] [Fox23]
Saratoga Springs police say they're investigating a report from a Skidmore student that she was nearly assaulted by a taxi driver early Saturday morning>. The student says she was able to escape when the cab stopped near campus. The SSPD says it hasn't identified the company that owns the cab. [Saratogian] [Fox23] [TU]
Critics of David Paterson's proposed $3 billion in budget cuts say the list includes a bunch of one-time shots and some questionable assumptions. It appears that Democrats in the Assembly are leaning toward along with Paterson's plan. It doesn't look like the state Senate is all that interested, though. [TU] [Daily Politics] [Daily Politics]
Both Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand released statements yesterday calling for state senator Hiram Monserrate to resign. Gillibrand said Monserrate doesn't leave soon, the state Senate should bounce him. State Senate majority conference leader John Sampson is expected to announce the formation of a committee that will look at what to do about Monserrate. [Daily Politics] [CapNews9] [NYO]
State budget widens and Paterson warns of pain, Raucci to get pension even if convicted, Gillibrand pushes repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, goat kidnapped
New York State comptroller Tom DiNapoli now says the state's budget gap could be as big as $4.1 billion. David Paterson has said that he will release a slate of proposed budget cuts that would involve "pain." LG Richard Ravitch, who's helping Paterson with budget issues, says the plan will be "asking every agency in the government to cut back significantly." As bad as things might be this year, apparently the real problem is next year when the federal stimulus money ends. As one anonymous legislator told Liz Benjamin: "Then we're in deep sh*t." [TU] [NYT] [CapNews9] [Daily Politics]
Adrian Thomas, the Troy man charged with causing the death of his infant son, took the stand in his own defense yesterday -- and testified that he had lied during his videotaped interrogation by police. Thomas said he admitted to police that he slammed the child down so he "could go to the hospital and see my son and my wife." [Troy Record] [TU]
Albany police have arrested two men -- one already in prison, the other 18 years old -- for a 2007 murder on Second Street. [TU]
The Lansingburgh High School student suspended for having a pocketknife in his car says he's been contacted by West Point and told the incident won't have any effect on his application to the service academy. [WTEN]
Steven Raucci, the now-retired Schenectady school district employee accused of arson, intimidation and harassment related to his former job, will receive a pension of $79,067 -- even if he's convicted. [TU]
DA says recent attempted abduction reports not unusual, man accused of throwing person into a fire, police taser man in Schenectady, David Hyde Pierce returns to Saratoga
Despite a recent string of reports, the Schenectady County DA says he doesn't believe there's been an unusual number of attempted abductions. [TU]
The state Department of Transportation says there's been an increase in the number of fender benders on Route 85 in Slingerlands where the roundabouts have been installed -- but fewer accidents involving injuries. The DOT reported a similar trend for the Malta roundabouts last year. [TU] [Daily Gazette $]
State Democrats have reportedly given David Paterson until December to turn his poll numbers around ahead of next year's gubernatorial race. [AP/TU]
The state has spent $19k to install hand sanitizer dispensers in state buildings -- including the Capitol -- around Albany. [PolitickerNY]
East Greenbush police say a man threw an 18-year-old into a bonfire during a party early Friday morning. The alleged victim reportedly suffered second degree burns on many parts of his body. The alleged tosser has been charged with first degree assault. [Fox23] [WTEN] [WNYT]
Finger pointed at "chief finger pointer," Luther Forest reportedly beat out Brazil and China, Schumer and Gillibrand hedge on Paterson, microloans in Watervliet
Democrats in Rensselaer County have hit back at allegations of absentee ballot fraud by accusing Republicans of similar electoral wrongdoing. The Dems are focusing their attention of Republican Bob Mirch, who they're calling -- we kid you not -- the "chief finger pointer." [TU] [Troy Record]
Brian Stratton's proposed Schenectady budget includes an almost 6 percent tax increase. Stratton says the city is facing "challenging times," which include big increases in pension and healthcare costs. [TU] [Fox23]
GlobalFoundries chairman Hector Ruiz told the National Press Club that Luther Forest beat out sites in Brazil, China and Russia for the new chip fab. [TU]
Fight over funds for homeless in Troy, Ellis to continue mayoral run, attempted abduction reported in Schenectady, Cohoes goes flashy
A spokesman for Harry Tutunjian says the Troy mayor's move to turn down $845k in federal money aimed at helping the homeless was "politically courageous." The mayor's administration has said the city doesn't have the money necessary to hire someone to administer the funding -- though critics have suggested the move is political payback. [TU] [Troy Record]
It appears that Corey Ellis will continue his Albany mayoral campaign on the Working Families in the general election. Ellis lost the Democratic primary to Jerry Jennings 56-44. [TU]
Leif Engstrom has come out as the winner the Democratic primary for the newly created job of Albany city auditor. There's no general election opponent, so the job is his. [TU]
A Marist poll reports that a majority of New Yorkers don't want David Paterson to run for governor -- but they also would rather not have Barack Obama be the one to push Paterson out. [Marist] [Daily Politics] [PolitickerNY]
In a radio interview yesterday David Paterson basically said that Andrew Cuomo would have bad poll numbers, too, if he were governor right now. [PolitickerNY]
PEF -- one of the two biggest state worker unions -- says it will be lobbying David Paterson to approve more $20k buyouts for its members. [TU]
RPI says it now appears five students have come down with the H1N1 influenza. The school has set up 90 isolation rooms to handle a potential flu outbreak. In an email, the school's medical director said "the number of cases could change very quickly." Sage also reported this week that two of its students have H1N1. [CapNews9] [Troy Record] [RPInsider] [CBS6]
+ People continue to have an unfavorable view of David Paterson (29/59 favorable/unfavorable)
+ People continue to prefer someone else as governor (71 percent)
+ Andrew Cuomo continues to hold a strong lead in the hypothetical gubernatorial race (52-39 over Rudy Giuliani)
+ And people continue to say they don't know enough about Kirsten Gillibrand (47 percent)
Here's something new: the poll has started asking people whether they think the state budget gap can be closed without new taxes or fees. Eighty percent of people said they didn't think that was going to happen.
By the way: Paterson said today that it's looking like the mid-year budget gap will be $3 billion.
Obama to visit Capital Region, man accused of carjacking in Troy, pilot hailed for emergency landing, he's a LEGO weirdo
President Obama will be speaking about the at HVCC on Monday about the economy. He's expected to highlight the college's role in training workers for high tech jobs. HVCC has a special program set up to train workers for the GlobalFoundries chip fab. There had been rumors Obama would appear at the GloFo site, but apparently time constraints ruled that out. (The president has to make it NYC later that afternoon so he can appear on Letterman.) Apparently Paul Tonko and Scott Murphy have been lobbying for Obama to make a visit here. There are no details on tickets for the event, yet. [TU] [TU] [Troy Record] [Post-Star] [CBS6] [Fox23] [WTEN]
Kirsten Gillibrand is catching criticism for her vote to continue federal funding of ACORN. The org has been in the spotlight after its employees were caught telling people how to cheat the tax and mortgage systems. A pundit says Gillibrand's support of the org is probably intended to help her win votes in New York City. [TU] [NYDN] [Fox23]
In a new Marist poll, 70 percent of respondents said David Paterson was not a viable candidate for governor in 2010. [Daily Politics]
Troy Police say a man fleeing from a thwarted home robbery hijacked a car from a woman at a car wash in Brunswick. A resident of the house where the alleged incident began said he chased the suspect off with a baseball bat. The suspect then allegedly ran to the car wash, told the woman -- who was vacuuming her car -- to get her young son out of the back, and then sped off. Police say they caught him in Troy. [Troy Record] [WNYT] [TU] [CBS6]
Schenectady High "persistently dangerous" again, Ellis says people don't feel safe in Albany, state texting while driving ban signed, parking permits for Troy?, Paterson finds catharsis and a milkshake
Schenectady High School made the the state Department of Education's list of "persistently dangerous" schools for the second straight year. Superintendent Eric Ely says the district didn't ask to have the school removed from the list because "We're not happy with what we're seeing." Ely also Schenectady is reporting all of its incidents to the state -- he said other districts are not doing that. [NYSED] [TU] [Fox23]
Former state Supreme Court judge Thomas Spargo, whose chambers were in Albany, was convicted yesterday of trying to shake down attorneys with cases before him. The prosecution alleged that Spargo was soliciting the bribes so that he could pay for his defense in an ethics investigation. Spargo was booted from the bench in 2006. [TU] [Troy Record] [Fox23]
Saratoga Springs police say two people were arrested yesterday after it appears that one of them accidentally shot himself at the Adelphi Hotel in downtown Saratoga. The woman staying with him, who's from New Jersey, was charged with felony weapon possession because she doesn't have a permit for New York. The cops say they were tipped off when the man, who's been charged with reckless endangerment, showed up Saratoga Hospital and wouldn't say how he'd gotten the wound in his leg. [TU] [Saratogian] [Post-Star]
Albany mayoral candidate Corey Ellis said yesterday during a campaign appearance that there "far too many violent crimes in this city, and that too many people don't feel safe in their neighborhoods." Jerry Jennings' campaign has been touting statistics that indicate crime has been dropping in the city. [Ellis press release] [TU]
Jennings held a campaign fund raiser at Michael Bloomberg's home in Manhattan earlier this month. [TU]
In the Siena poll release today, 54 percent of respondents said they wish they could throw out all the state legislators and start over. In fact, it sounds like New Yorker are longing for the good old days (which are apparently about the same time as Sterling Cooper's heyday).
From the poll....
Albany County closer to requiring menu calorie counts, state facing huge infrastructure costs, call for community policing, new state tax credit for home buyers, Dubai ruler sheiks up yearling sale
The Albany County legislature has passed a law requiring that chain restaurants post calorie counts on menus. If county exec Mike Breslin signs the bill, it would take effect next February. New York City already has such a law. [TU] [CapNews9] [CBS6]
The Albany County legislature also passed a bill that bans Bisphenol A (BPA) from baby bottles and sippy cups. [Troy Record]
The state comptroller says New York is facing $250 billion in infrastructure repair costs over the next two decades -- and where all the money will come from is unclear (controller's office report). [CBS6]
State Senate majority Democrats have created a $120k/year job for Pedro Espada's son. [NY Mag]
Scott Murphy has been holding "Congress on Your Corner" meetings with constituents around his district to talk about health care reform -- he was in Saratoga and Rensselaer counties yesterday. Murphy says he's in favor of a health insurance mandate. [CapNews9] [Post-Star]
Hoping to make use of David Paterson's low poll numbers, national Republicans have been referring to Kirsten Gillibrand as "Paterson-appointee Kirsten Gillibrand." [NYT]
Man shot to death by Schenectady police, no more Bruno bacon, conflict over dredging dump site, artist accused of stealing his own paintings
Schenectady police say an officer shot and killed a man wielding a butcher knife Saturday afternoon. Schenectady's public safety commissioner says the man moved quickly toward the officer -- and there's "nothing that indicates" the officer did not comply with department's laws and regulations. The Schenectady County DA's office says it will investigate. The officer who fired on the man had been shot in the line of duty ten years ago. Saturday's shooting was the first by an officer in Schenectady since 2002. [Daily Gazette] [CapNews9] [CBS6] [TU] [Daily Gazette] [TU]
A state panel has concluded that the City of Albany's refusal to release "fixed" parking tickets could be a violation of state law. [TU]
With Joe Bruno no longer sending this bacon this way, the Capital Region's haul of state Senate pork is down 76 percent. [TU]
Andrew Cuomo has apparently "begun to embrace the possibility of a run for governor." [NYT]
It sounds like Carolyn Maloney is now leaning against challenging Kirsten Gillibrand in the Senate Democratic primary. [Politico]
Kirsten Gillibrand has proposed legislation that would ban trans-fats from schools. And she says she's working legislation that would ban junk food from school vending machines.
KG says rising rates of obesity prompted her to focus on this issue. And to make the point, her staff pulled the numbers for the incidence of overweight/obesity in New York State by county.
Curious about where the Capital Region, uh, weighed in statewide, we ranked all the counties by their percentage. The list is after the jump.
Update: We've added a color-coded map with the county-by-county breakdown.
Ravitch appointment blocked, motivational event jams traffic, Schenectady SD paid $13k for Raucci report, Troy dog park drama continues
A state Supreme Court justice in Nassau County has issued an injunction stopping Richard Ravitch's appointment as lieutenant governor. The justice also ruled that Malcolm Smith -- who's (again) the state Senate president -- would take over the role of governor if something happened to David Paterson. A spokesman for Paterson says the administration will appeal in the ruling. Despite the injunction, Ravitch says he'll be showing up for work today. [NYT][NYDN] [Daily Politics] [Fox23]
The "Get Motivated" event at the TU Center yesterday contributed to a big traffic jam in downtown Albany yesterday morning -- I-90 and I-787 had mile-long lines of standing cars. The event featured motivational speakers -- including Colin Powell and Rudy Giuliani -- pitching optimism, faith, skepticism of government and motivational products. Powell's speech was apparently the highlight of the day. (Question for another day: if having this gathering during a weekday snarled traffic so badly, what will happen if/when there's a convention center downtown?) [Fox23] [TU] [TU] [Daily Gazette] [Troy Record]
Albany police say two banks -- one on New Scotland and another on Delaware -- were held up yesterday within a span of 15 minutes. And they say it looks the same person was involved in both. The guy apparently got frustrated during the first robbery attempt -- so he left without money and headed for the second bank. [Troy Record] [TU] [CapNews9]
The chairman of the Troy City Council's public safety committee says RPI needs to "bring more to the table" in assistance for fire department coverage of the campus. The union that reps Troy firefighters has been lobbying for RPI to pay a "public safety fee" to help fund firefighter staffing near the campus -- and it appears the union is going to keep pressing the issue. [TU] [Troy Record]
Raucci report won't be released, cool summer may be setting up cold winter, Tedisco hints at run for different office, alleged cold cut heist leads to pepper spraying
The Schenectady school district's internal investigation into Steven Raucci -- the former district employee who's been accused arson and intimidation -- will not be made public. The district says its lawyer "strongly advised" it to not release the report. [Daily Gazette] [TU]
The package of state incentives for the Luther Forest chip fab project is actually closer to $1.37 billion -- and could be more if GlobalFoundries expands at the site. [TU]
A guy who was forcibly sedated at the direction of Albany County law enforcement so they could search his body for drugs in 2006 has settled his lawsuit for $125k. The search included a camera being put up his rectum. [TU] [AP/CBS6]
There's some historical data that indicates we could be in for a cold, snowy winter. [TU]
The Capital Region's tick population -- and the incidence of Lyme disease -- appear to be on the rise. [Daily Gazette]
Not much has changed in state Senate, Gillibrand cut off at Sotomayor hearing, judge admonished for not getting work done, pair accused of using kid to aid burglaries
Now that the state Senate leadership mess has been resolved, the chamber can move on to the really important stuff: staffing budgets. Oh, and Pedro Espada says was made majority leader because senators "trust" that "I can lead that house." [AP/Troy Record] [CapNews9]
Already bolstered by the state Senate's "extraordinary" sessions, downtown Albany restaurants are pulling for a special session. [CapNews9] [TU]
Chuck Schumer (video) and Kirsten Gillibrand (video) introduced Sonia Sotomayor at her Supreme Court nomination hearing yesterday. KG went on so long that she had to be cut off by Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy (the first gavel comes at 6:25 in her video). Gillibrand does have a reputation for being loquacious. [SchumerTube] [GillibrandTube] [TU] [NYT]
Joe Bruno has already spent more than $450k on lawyers this year as part of his defense against federal corruption charges. [Daily Politics]
CSEA members showed up at last night's Albany County Legislature meeting to protest the planned five-day furloughs of county workers. The union says workers found out about the furlough via the media. Albany County exec Mike Breslin says the county is facing a $20 million budget gap. [Fox23] [CBS6]
Paterson says he will force Senate into session, judge snagged in DWI sweep, bristling at being New York's pay toilet, vinyl records store opens in Schenectady
David Paterson says he will call the state Senate into special session tomorrow if the body doesn't get to work today. Said Paterson yesterday of all the drama: "Over the last couple of weeks, the senators' conduct has been laughable." Paterson says Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman would preside over the special session -- a provision that some say could be unconstitutional or create a conflict of interest. The session would focus on "emergency" issues such as the sale tax extension for some counties. Not on that list: same-sex marriage, though Paterson says he intends for the Senate to vote on the bill before the summer break. [TU] [NYDN] [PolitickerNY] [Daily Politics] [NYT]
Two things that might prompt Senators to start moving: they can't hook up their cronies with patronage jobs until the situation's resolved; and all their pork is currently locked in the barrel. [TU] [TU]
Police say an Albany County family court judge was snagged as part of the county-wide drunk driving sweep last Thursday. Green Island police say the judge tried to evade a checkpoint at the Troy-Green Island Bridge and led police on a short chase. [TU] [Troy Record]
The Albany Police Department is reportedly trying to fire two members of the force -- the detective accused of driving drunk through Albany into Bethlehem in February; and the sergeant who's been accused of trying to cover for the detective. [TU]
Senate drama twists again, small plane crashes into Mohawk, firefighters pull unconcisous girl from fire, Whole Foods reportedly scouting area
The state Senate drama took another twist over the weekend when Hiram Monserrate -- one of the Democratic switchers -- said he's returning to caucus with the Democrats. Apparently one of Monserrate's demands for returning to the Dems' caucus was that Malcolm Smith had to go as majority leader. Brooklyn senator John Sampson is reportedly going to take over as head of the Democratic caucus -- but Smith might stay on as leader-in-name-only so the Democrats can pursue their case arguing that the Republican takeover was illegal. [NYDN] [NYDN] [NYP] [TU]
If Monserrate really does switch back, it would leave the Senate split 31-31 -- and that could mean epic gridlock. Dean Skelos and Pedro Espada -- the (new, former?) Senate leaders -- would stay in charge of the body. Typically in a 31-31 split the lieutenant governor would cast the deciding vote -- but New York is currently without a lt governor. Republicans are apparently arguing that Espada -- who's the Senate pro tem -- should get two votes. That's not going over well with the Democrats. [Buffalo News] [NYDN]
By the way: Espada still hasn't settled his numerous campaign disclosure violations, as he promised to do. [TU]
Two people are dead and another missing after a small plane crashed into the Mohawk shortly after take-off from the Mohawk Valley Airport in Glenville yesterday afternoon. Witnesses say it appears the plane didn't get enough speed to take off. [TU] [Daily Gazette]
The Troy pizza shop worker who thwarted a robbery last month was shot four times Saturday in another hit on the shop -- he's expected to live. Police say the man confronted the shooter(s) in front of the store because he thought something was up. The shop is a Domino's -- the company is offering a $5000 reward for info. [TU] [Troy Record] [CapNews9]
Drama continues in the state Senate, NYCLU sues Troy over "Virtual Jihadi," FBI raids downtown Saratoga office
The new leadership of the state Senate says it will go into session this afternoon -- whether it has access to the Senate chamber or not. Democrats have literally locked the chamber and are holding the keys. Possibly-new majority leader Dean Skelos says there's nothing that requires the Senate to meet in its chamber -- and the body could go into session in a park if need be . [TU] [NYT] [NYDN]
Democrats say Pedro Espada -- one of the two Dems who are now caucusing with the Republicans -- switched because the leadership denied him almost $2 million in pork for two new, possibly shady, non-profits. They're also focusing attention on accusations that Espada's been involved with campaign finance mishaps -- and may not live in his district. Espada says Democrats are engaging in "character assassination." [TU] [NYDN]
Republicans are reportedly trying to recruit more Democrats to their coalition, including the sponsor of the Senate's version of the same-sex marriage bill. Meanwhile, Democrats are trying to get Hiram Monserrate -- one of the two switchers -- to flip back by threatening to primary him. [NYT] [Daily Politics]
When/if the Senate goes into session, Skelos says there is "going to be a new way of governing." Good government groups say the reforms already presented by the coalition are a step in the right direction. [Fox23] [CapNews9]
And in non-Senate news...
Deal to avoid state worker layoffs "expected" today, Albany landfill expansion approval could come soon, Rensselaer County computers being de-wormed, UAlbany getting new building
The announcement of a deal between the state worker unions and the Paterson administration to avoid layoffs is "expected" to come today. The deal will reportedly include $20k buyouts for employees eligible for retirement -- which has some observers asking where the money is going to come from. The deal also apparently includes a new, less generous tier in the state pension system. [NYDN] [TU]
It's looking like the state DEC could approve the expansion of the Albany landfill soon. The dump is projected to be full before the end of this year -- six years sooner than originally planned. [TU]
The search has been called off for the man who went missing in the Mohawk on Sunday. A friend who accompanied the man that day said strong currents tipped their canoe. Rains earlier that week had increased the Mohawk's flow that weekend. [Troy Record] [TU] [USGS]
Among Scott Murphy's first slate of requested Congressional earmarks (pork): $2 million for a new Saratoga Springs public safety building. Murphy has posted his full list of requested earmarks online. [Saratogian] [Post-Star]
Another potential 2010 primary challenger to Kirsten Gillibrand has announced she won't be running against KG. [NYDN]
David Paterson's new top advisor described himself as being "like the 300-pound offensive tackle blocking for the quarterback called Governor David Paterson." [NYT]
The Siena poll out today reports that the public's perception of David Paterson hasn't gotten any worse -- but it's not really any better, either.
Seventy-one percent of people polled said they still preferred "someone else" as governor in 2010. And people say they still prefer Eliot Spitzer to Paterson (21/11).
In hypothetical 2010 matchups, people say they prefer Andrew Cuomo to David Paterson 70-19 -- and Cuomo over Rudy Giuliani 53-41
A few more tidbits -- about same-sex marriage, Kirsten Gillibrand and tax caps -- after the jump.
Police say Saratoga Winners fire was arson, earthquake near Berne, two men Cheney'd while hunting turkey, time capsule found
Colonie police say the owner of Saratoga Winners set the club on fire so he could collect the insurance money. The owner is a former gynecologist -- his medical license was revoked 2006. [Troy Record] [TU]
Stillwater says water usage in the town is down 2 million gallons (no time frame given)-- perhaps out of concern about PCB contamination from the Hudson seeping into the town's wells. [CapNews9]
One of the highest-profile potential primary challengers to Kirsten Gillibrand says he won't run for the Senate. Steve Israel, a Congressman from Long Island, says President Obama asked him to not challenge Gillibrand. [TU] [NYT]
A man in New York City died last night from complications related to the emerging H1N1 influenza -- New York's State's first reported death from the virus. NYC has closed 10 schools in an effort to keep a lid on another flu flare up. [NYT]
City treasurer received ghost tickets, it's good to be a lobbyist, problems at the Muddy Cup, Chopper uses AdvantEdge cards to notify of recall, Fallon was quizzed for final credits
Albany city treasurer Betty Barnette has testified that she had no knowledge of the ghost ticket system until she read about it in the news -- but the TU has obtained copies of seven no-fine tickets given to... Barnette. She says she has no memory of receiving the tickets. [TU] [CBS6]
Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand are apparently becoming BFF. He's even memorized her mobile number. [NYT]
The Saratoga County towns that had sued to hold up the Hudson dredging over concerns about their drinking water supply have dropped their suit. The dredging project is scheduled to start this month. [Daily Gazette]
I have already traveled to many corners of New York State to introduce myself and to hear your concerns and answer questions directly. Now I want to continue that conversation on-line and open up the dialogue using the web as a way to reach the online community.
So, today I'm announcing the launch of ConversationswithKirsten.com, a web site that will help further our conversation.
The site offers the opportunity for New Yorkers to easily submit questions and comments, sign up to receive updates, and allow me to respond via emails, live blogs, conference calls and postings on the site.
It looks like you can upload your video questions and -- presumably -- she'll answer them. But it's hard to say. As far we can tell, there's nothing that explicitly says that's how it works. We're tempted to upload a video that essentially asks "Is this thing on?"
If that is how the site works -- and it's really an open exchange -- it could be interesting. Otherwise, it kind of sounds like some "Web 2.0" gloss painted on the old-school campaign "town meeting."
Earlier on AOA: Where's our CongressTube?
Paterson proposes spending cap, man arrested after 29 years on the run, more suspected H1N1 cases test negative, Schenectady's empty neighborhoods
David Paterson has proposed capping increases in state spending at the average rate of inflation over the previous three years. Paterson says a cap "will force government to live within its means." The Governor says that if such a cap was already in place, the state would have spent $17 billion less over the last five years. A spending cap would probably have to be added to the state constitution to have any real effect. [AP/Saratogian] [NYDN] [Daily Gazette] [TU] [NYT]
Police arrested a Troy man yesterday who had escaped from a Tennessee prison 29 years ago. Robert T. Henry had been serving a 15 year sentence there for robbery. Henry apparently saw that Tennessee officials were looking for him as part of a sweep of old fugitive cases -- and he contacted them to proclaim his innocence. Henry says he was pardoned, though there doesn't seem to be a record of it. Though he apparently kept an apartment, police say he told them he'd been living in Prospect Park. [Troy Record] [TU] [Tennessean] [CapNews9] [Fox23]
The sister of Albany police chief James Tuffey testified before the Common Council last night that her daughter's car did not carry a bull's eye sticker when it was involved in a 2007 crash. The TU has reported that Albany cops didn't ticket the chief's niece for the crash because she had a sticker. [TU]
Just when you thought that David Paterson couldn't get any more unpopular -- he has. According to a Siena poll out today, Paterson's favorable/unfavorable numbers hit 27/63. That's the lowest point so far.
A few more notes -- including one about New Yorkers' support of same-sex marriage -- after the jump.
The news that Eliot Spitzer had been caught in a prostitution sting went public a year ago today.
It almost seems like it's been even longer than that -- so much has happened since then. After a year, who's up? Who's down? We've put together a scorecard.
Chip fab company says it's committed, Paterson says he'd take a pay cut, DA says frozen man may have overdosed, Albany High to be delayed for protest
While the paperwork hasn't all gone through, officials from GlobalFoundries -- the new AMD spinoff -- say they are committed to building the new chip fab at Luther Forest. "I don't know how much more formal of a commitment we can make," said the new company's president. GlobalFoundries says it expects to be turning out chips at full capacity by 2012. [Daily Gazette] [Post-Star] [TU]
David Paterson told a crowd in Buffalo yesterday that he would consider taking a 10 percent pay cut -- and he said he doesn't think a similar cut for the Legislature is a bad idea. Paterson also reiterated his support for a high-speed rail connection between Buffalo and Albany. (Earlier on AOA: High-speed rail? Maybe not so fast.) [Buffalo News]
Competition for federal stimulus money is fierce at the state Capitol as the team led by New York's stimulus czar -- AKA Captain Asphalt -- sifts through more than 7,500 projects. Local officials have proposed almost $42 billion in stimulus-funded projects -- the state has been given $4 billion. [NYT]
A bill that would reform the Rockefeller Drug Laws was passed by the state Assembly yesterday. Such reforms have been passed many times by the Assembly, but always died in the Senate. But now that Democrats control both chambers, the odds of passage seem higher -- though it's far from a done deal. [TU] [NYT]
A bunch of downstate Democrats are lining up for a potential primary challenge to Kirsten Gillibrand in 2010. [NYT]
RPI President Shirley Jackson announced yesterday that she will be taking a five percent pay cut. [AOA]
NYT wrote a whole story about how Kirsten Gillibrand never stops talking. One person at an event said she was told by staffers to interrupt KG:
"They said, 'She's great, but she's a talker, so we're going to give you a sign if she's getting out of control,' " Ms. Gil recalled.
Sure enough, Ms. Gil said, during the meeting Ms. Gillibrand's aides quietly passed a handwritten note to the principal asking her to interrupt their boss and move on to the next question. Twice.
Our new senator also apparently likes to inflict interminable vacation slide shows on people.
More charges for alleged arsonist, woman found guilty of lying about cops, pearl found in clam, Jerry Jennings will mess up his hair
The Schenectady County DA, says Stephen Raucci, the Schenectady School District employee who's been accused of arson and intimidation, was indicted yesterday by a grand jury on sealed charges. And the Saratoga DA says State Police have charged Raucci with unsuccessfully trying to bomb a car in Clifton Park. That means Raucci has now been charged with crimes in three different counties -- Schenectady, Rensselaer and Saratoga. [CapNews9] [TU]
A Lansinburgh woman is dead after police found her fatally wounded in the basement of her house yesterday morning. Authorities says the woman's boyfriend had to be tasered after he threatened police and firefighters who arrived at the scene with a knife. Police found two kids in the house, unharmed. A spokesman for the TPD says it was a "gruesome crime scene." [Troy Record] [TU]
The Ravena woman who accused Albany cops of doing a cavity search on her during a traffic stop in late 2007 was convicted yesterday on charges that she lied about the incident. The woman had rejected an earlier plea deal that would have required her to admit that she had lied. [TU] [Troy Record]
A crowd of about 400 RPI students rallied yesterday outside a Board of Trustees dinner on campus. The students were protesting "the manner in which recent administrative actions and policy decisions have been executed." According to that TU story, its reporter -- Marc Parry -- was asked by the administration to leave the demonstration. Apparently it was OK for the Troy Record to be there -- it even shot video of the rally. And here's a photo of the scene (more photos of the rally and the board here). [TU] [Student Senate] [Troy Record] [Troy Record] [unknown]
The federal stimulus bill has a lot of people talking about high-speed rail again because it includes $8 billion for such projects. The Secretary of Transportation says high-speed rail could be a "transformational issue" for the Obama Administration.
And one of the regions that supposedly will benefit is Upstate New York.
Great. We'd love to be able to hop a train in Rensselaer and be in NYC in less than two hours. But we're not ready to get our hopes us just yet.
Pataki to take on Gillibrand?, Albany council pursuing ghost ticket scandal, Troy could be among first for stimulus money, cable bills going up, crustacean capers hot right now
The head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee has reportedly approached George Pataki about running against Kirsten Gillibrand in 2010. [AP/Troy Record]
State Democrats "familiar" with the situation say David Paterson is considering the return of Charles O'Byrne, who was his top advisor until O'Byrne resigned over tax problems. Paterson is reportedly frustrated by accusations that his administration is coming apart. [NYT] [NYP]
The Albany Common Council has scheduled sworn testimony in March from police department and union officials about the ghost ticket scandal. Officers called to testify will have to be paid three hours of overtime if the hearing doesn't occur during their regular shift. [TU]
The Schenectady police officer accused of being serially absent from patrol has been suspended without pay for a month. The officer topped the department's pay list last year after racking up enormous amounts of overtime. [Daily Gazette] [TU]
One of the Albany River Rats says "guys were flying around like ping-pong balls" as the team bus rolled over on the Mass Pike during its crash early Thursday morning. Four players and one of the team's broadcasters were hospitalized overnight. A spokesman for Yankee Trails, the company that owned the bus, says the driver at the wheel yesterday is an "exceptional" operator. Mass state police are investigating the cause of the crash -- ice appears to be the leading candidate. The Rats' game scheduled for tonight has been postponed. [TU] [Daily Gazette] [TU] [Troy Record]
As we mentioned in Morning Blend today, things haven't exactly been going David Paterson's way lately.
Somehow he's managed to piss off liberals (for picking Gillibrand), conservatives (for trying to tax porn), state worker unions (for giving his staff pay raises), and blind people in wheel chairs (for proposing to cut healthcare spending).
And now Andrew Cuomo is lapping him in a hypothetical 2010 Democratic primary for governor. A Quinnipiac poll out this week reports that registered Democrats prefer Cuomo more than 2-1 over Paterson in such a match-up. Ouch. (A Siena poll had them basically tied in such a race back in January.)
The Q Poll also had some bad news for Kirsten Gillibrand.
Registered Dems in the poll said they preferred anti-gun Rep. Carolyn McCarthy to KG 34-24. That said, "don't know" was leading the pack at 39 percent.
Earlier on AOA:
+ Speculate on 2010? Sure, why not.
Paterson under fire from every direction, Gillibrand says guns no longer under her bed, job cuts at GE Research, Rensselaer waterfront developer says if they come -- they will build it
David Paterson is catching criticism from what seems like every direction right now. State worker unions are wailing at the news that many aides in the Paterson administration have gotten pay raises since last summer's hiring freeze and spending cuts. The proposed "iTax" on digital downloads is being criticized by conservatives because it potentially could tax pornography downloads (they say taxing it legitimizes it). And in response to the barrage of TV ads criticizing his proposed healthcare cuts, Paterson said this past weekend: "I don't care how many blind people in wheelchairs you roll out. I'm going to get this budget balanced and I'm going to get it balanced by April 1." [NYP] [NYDN] [AP/TU] [Newsday]
A spokesperson for Kirsten Gillibrand says the senator has moved the guns out from underneath her bed now that everyone knows that's where she stored them (because, you know, she told everyone). Also: Gillibrand says her mom has eight guns. [TU] [AP/Daily Gazette] [AP/Troy Record]
Chuck Schumer endorsed Scott Murphy yesterday in the race to fill Gillibrand's former House seat. He and Murphy also made pretzels. [Saratogian]
Roy McDonald (the guy who replaced Joe Bruno in the state Senate) says Saratoga County's share of money from a state road maintenance fund could be cut more than 25 percent in the next state budget. Saratoga County got more than $2 million from the fund last year (as did Albany County). [Saratogian] [NYDOT]
Here comes the stimulus money, APD says Bailey case isn't cold, jailhouse marriages, TV station's parent company files for bankruptcy, the flamingos are back
New York State is in line to get almost $25 billion in federal stimulus money, according to an analysis by the state. Among the many projects that could get funding in the state: high speed rail service from Buffalo to NYC. Local municipalities have also been getting their wish lists together. [AP/TU] [Troy Record]
The two candidates in the race for Kirsten Gillibrand's former House seat are in a race to see who can smear the other guy first. The mud boiled down: Jim Tedisco's campaign says Scott Murphy is a light-weight and tax dodger, Murphy's campaign says Tedisco is a career politician who's milked taxpayers for car costs. In a more positive direction, Murphy is hoping to get his wife's large extended family -- many of them Republicans -- to vote for him. And Tedisco is picks up his dogs' poop. Also: Kirsten Gillibrand and Paul Tonko were in Albany over the weekend to endorse Murphy (no, Albany is not in the 20th Congressional district). [TU] [TU] [Daily Gazette] [Daily Gazette] [Troy Record]
The Albany Police Department says the murder of UAlbany student Richard Bailey "is absolutely not a cold case." Bailey's father, a retired NYC cop, says he has faith in the APD's ability to find the murderer. [TU] [TU]
The vast majority of restaurants in Albany County did OK on county health inspections in 2008, according to a Times Union analysis. Among the few that didn't: Tandoor Palace on Lark Street, the Corner Food Court at the corner of Lark and Washington, and the Metro 20 Diner on Western. [TU]
Stimulus stimulates budget talk, chip fab deal hits snag, guilty verdict tossed over racial remark, candy maker expects subdued Valentine's Day
Both Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand voted for the federal stimulus bill yesterday -- they say New York State could be getting about $20 billion from the bill. That has state leaders thinking about the impact on the state budget. David Paterson says the state still needs to make significant budget cuts. He also said he wouldn't support the proposed tax on high-income households -- unless the Legislature could come up with $11 billion in budget cuts. [Daily Gazette] [TU] [NYDN]
The AMD shareholder vote on the spin-off that would own the Luther Forest chip fab was delayed yesterday after the company couldn't get enough votes together for an official decision. The vote was rescheduled for next week -- both company and local officials seemed confident the deal would still go through. AMD's stock dropped 12 percent on news of the delayed vote. [Daily Gazette] [TU] [Saratogian]
The FBI and State Police raided tenant offices at the Port of Albany yesterday. The raid is part of an ongoing investigation into extortion and bid-rigging among businesses there. [Daily Gazette] [TU]
Joe Bruno's federal trial has been scheduled for November of this year. His attorney says they'll be trying to get charges dismissed before then. One complication for the trial: finding jurors with an open mind about Bruno's guilt or innocence. [TU]
Check out this video Liz Benjamin took of Kirsten Gillibrand talking about her position on same-sex marriage. (KG was responding to a story in the NYT that Malcolm Smith said same-sex marriage didn't have the votes to become law in NY this year.)
1) We can't help it, but the phrase "Dicker interview" makes us laugh a little bit too much.
2) At the risk of outing ourselves as C-SPAN watchers, it's interesting to see a politician's full answer to a question like this.
Gillibrand! Tonko! Whoever's the next KG! We want our CongressTube!
Earlier on AOA:
+ Jimmy Tedisco does bad things to Frank on YouTube
Local governments line up stimulus projects, sniping in the Governor's office, DA says 40-year-old case will be hard to prosecute, group trying to raise money for cat's heart surgery
Local governments have quite the wish list lined up for the federal stimulus money that could be on they way. The cities of Albany, Schenectady and Troy combined have more than $600 million of proposed projects. On the list: a new city hall for Troy, money for the Albany convention center, and a new rail line connecting Schenectady and Albany. [TU] [Daily Gazette]
The state worker unions have been meeting with the Department of Civil Service to discuss procedures for layoffs. There has been no official word that mass layoffs are in the works. [TU]
There are a bunch of interesting tidbits in a NYT piece today about Kirsten Gillibrand. Among them is Jim Tedisco's apparent admiration for her ability to, well, tell people what they want to hear:
On Sunday, Ms. Gillibrand said she no longer favored branding immigrant-friendly cities such as New York as "sanctuary cities" and denying them federal tax benefits. On Monday, she no longer favored deputizing police officers as immigration officers.
"It's not so much of changing my view as broadening," Ms. Gillibrand said.
Perhaps, although James Tedisco, a Republican assemblyman who is running for her old congressional seat, complimented her: "She's very good at listening and regurgitating it back at you intelligently," he said.
Admiration swells in his voice. "That's the mark of a good politician and a fine public servant," he said.
Ice and freezing rain on the way, budget process again focus of Capitol, Bruno calls indictment "garbage," texting gets UAlbany teams in trouble, don't be a spigot pig
The storm that's moving the through the area today has already glazed large portions of the South and Midwest. Ice and freezing rain are expected here this afternoon. [AP]
New York State comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says year-end bonuses on Wall Street were down 44 percent this year -- and that will cost the state $1 billion in tax revenue. [Biz Review]
David Paterson says he won't pursue the source(s) of the leaks about Caroline Kennedy from his administration. That's created a weird situation where many members of the press know who the leaker (or leakers) is -- and the governor's telling them not to tell anyone. [AP/Troy Record] [NY Post]
After officially being tapped as the Republican candidate in the upcoming special election to replace Kirsten Gillibrand, Jim Tedisco said his focus will be "jobs, jobs, jobs." Tedisco doesn't actually live in the Congressional district (he's not required to), but says he'll move there. [TU] [Daily Gazette]
Local home prices hold steady, former NYS health commissioner accused of abusing staff, Bruno says they've messed with the wrong guy, Honest Weight sales up
Median home prices in the the Capital Region fell one percent last year, according to figures from the Greater Capital Association of Realtors. The number of transactions did slow considerably -- down 15 percent. In the four core counties of the Capital Region, median prices held steady -- and in Albany County the median sales price actually went up one percent. An economics consultancy is projecting that home prices here will fall two percent this year. [Biz Review] [TU]
Kirsten Gillibrand is scheduled to take the oath of office for the Senate today. At 42-years-old, she'll become the nation's youngest US Senator. [AP]
As many as 25 Democrats are hoping to snag the nomination to run for Gillibrand's soon-to-be old House seat. There are also a bunch of Republicans in the scrum, though it seems three frontrunners have emerged (Tedisco, Little, Faso). [TU] [Daily Gazette]
Former New York State health commissioner Anotonia Novello "shamelessly and blatantly exploited and abused her staff, adding a new dimension to the definition of 'arrogance' and 'chutzpah'," according to the NYS Inspector General's office. Among Novello's alleged transgressions: she commandeered state staff and vehicles for frequent shopping expeditions. Novello's lawyer says the former commissioner didn't do anything that "calls for criminal prosecution." [NYT]
We read all the coverage about Kirsten Gillibrand's appointment to the Senate so you don't have to.
And there certainly has been plenty of it.
It's official. David Paterson has publicly announced that he is appointing Kirsten Gillibrand to Hillary Clinton's Senate seat.
And we're now reminded of the line uttered by Alec Baldwin's character in State and Main after he flips the station wagon he's driving: "So, that happened."
As Jeff pointed out this morning, searches for "Kirsten Gillibrand" have skyrocketed on Google over the past day. Google Trends has currently pegged her "hotness" as "on fire."
In fact, she's second on today's "hot trends" list only to a guy involved in that Caylee story we always see Nancy Grace talking about.
By the way: @EdXeno says he just saw satellite trucks from CNN and WNBC headed this way.
graph: Google Trends
Paterson to appoint Gillibrand to Clinton's seat, unemployment rate jumps, state employee accused of loan sharking, woman profits from lucky mistake
An aide to David Paterson has confirmed that the governor will appoint Kirsten Gillibrand to Hillary Clinton's Senate seat. Paterson's office has been contacting local elected leaders to assemble them for a press conference this afternoon. And Gillibrand returned to the Capital Region last night. [AP] [TU] [CBS6]
Names are already surfacing of people looking to take over Gillibrand's seat in the House. Sandy Treadwell says he'll run again. State senator Betty Little is apparently interested, as are Jim Tedisco and John Faso. Former Saratoga Springs mayor Val Keehn and current city public safety commissioner Ron Kim also say they're interested. [CapNews9] [NCPR] [TU] [Saratogian]
The Capital Region's unemployment rate in December hit 5.9 percent, that's up almost two points from the same period a year ago. It's now at its highest point since 1991. An analyst with the state Labor Department says the region's unemployment rate could surpass 7 percent by the end of this year. [TU] [Daily Gazette]
The Albany County Sheriff's Department busted a handful of prostitution operations around the area yesterday. Four of the people arrested were 19-years-old or younger. One of the operations was based in Colonie right near the Crossings park -- cue the "we never thought it would happen here" soundbite from the neighbors. [TU] [Daily Gazette] [Fox23]
Updated at 9:15 pm: This TU article contains the best evidence we've seen that Paterson will name Gillibrand on Friday.
After supposed front-runner Caroline Kennedy dropped out last night because of (a tax problem?, a nanny problem?, a public speaking problem?, a who-knows-what problem?), the media has picked a new front runner. And it's Kirsten Gillibrand.
As you can probably imagine, that has people scrambling.
Caroline's officially out, unemployment rate projected to climb, group calls public health students' confession "tainted," geese block traffic
Caroline Kennedy released a statement early this morning announcing the she has dropped out of the contention for Hillary Clinton's (now former) Senate seat for "personal reasons". Kennedy withdrawal from the process seemed a little haphazard -- and media reports about her intentions were all mixed up last night. [NYT] [AP/TU] [NYDN] [AOA]
With Kennedy out of the race, the attention is turning primarily to Andrew Cuomo and Kirsten Gillibrand. News crews were reportedly seen setting up outside Gillibrand's house in DC last night. [Politico]
An economics consultancy is projecting that unemployment in the Capital Region will hit 7.2 percent this year. [Biz Review]
According to APD dispatch records, the detective accused of driving drunk through south Albany into Bethlehem two weeks ago was observed along the way by an off-duty Schenectady cop. But police never caught up to the detective's truck until after he arrived home. And by the time they got there, officials from the police officers' union were already there. [TU]
The full US Senate is expected to confirm Hillary Clinton next week for Secretary of State, which means David Paterson will probably announce her replacement shortly thereafter.
So who's the best bet to get the job? Well, it appears the (conventional) wisdom of crowds points toward... well, it points a couple of directions.
Timmons found guilty, Gillibrand says she is a candidate for Clinton's seat, Jackson talks with RPI faculty about recent layoffs, local foreclosures up in 2008
Note: the TU's site was down this morning
A jury found Jermayne Timmons guilty yesterday of firing the shot that killed Kathina Thomas. The teen could now get 15 years to life. Timmons' lawyer says they plan to appeal. Thomas' mother says she hopes Timmons is sent away for life. Charlie Muller, who runs the Albany gun buyback program, says both Thomas and Timmons are victims of the situation. [AP/Daily Gazette] [Fox23] [CapNews9]
Kirsten Gillibrand said yesterday that she is a candidate for the Hillary Clinton's Senate seat and she has interviewed with David Paterson about the job. [CBS6] [Post-Star]
The City Mission of Schenectady says demand for meals and a place to stay was up signficantly last year. And the recent cold weather is also increasing demand -- the shelter laid out mats for extra people last night. [Daily Gazette] [Daily Gazette]
On the latest episode of Top Senator: David Paterson refrains from getting his gut involved, Maureen Dowd says "thank God," and candidates answer questions about their kids' Facebook accounts.
Updated Wednesday at 11 am
While you were opening presents and downing egg nog, the contestants on Top Senator were angling to set themselves up for Hillary Clinton's Senate seat.
Here's where things are at...
All the buzz and speculation about who will get Hillary Clinton's Senate seat seems to be getting to David Paterson. The Gov said yesterday, "[F]rankly, this is a serious issue, which I think is starting to be treated as some sort of reality TV show. No, this is reality of life."
Hey, wait a minute. Turning this into a reality TV show might not be such a bad idea...
The big buzz right now is that Caroline Kennedy could be in line to replace Hillary Clinton in the Senate.
David Paterson says the daughter of JFK has talked to him about the seat, but he called the conversation "informational" and said Kennedy didn't outright express an interest in the job -- though he did indicate she's "thinking about it." (He also used the situation for some humor at a dinner this past weekend.)
New plan for Albany Convention Center, tech park for Arsenal, pepper spray fog sends six to hospital, ESP skating rink protests
The Albany Convention Center Authority has reformulated its plan for the project, separating the convention center, parking garage and hotel into their own parts. The new plan is expected to cut the cost of the project by about 40 percent. The authority says it won't be doing less, it'll just be "putting the pieces together differently." [Daily Gazette] [TU]
A federal investigation and raid in Watervliet led to the arrest of three men on charges they were making bombs and growing marijuana. [TU]
The plan to turn a significant portion of the Watervliet Arsenal into a tech park was officially announced yesterday. Outgoing US Rep Mike McNulty says the site could eventually support 1000 jobs. [Daily Gazette] [Troy Record]
Democrats strike deal for control of state Senate, Schumer touting Gillibrand, longtime Saratoga sheriff gets challenger, wrong way driver causes four accidents, students organize for french fries
Note: the TU's site wasn't loading this morning.
Democrats in the state Senate have worked out a deal with the "Gang of Three" senators who were threatening to side with Republicans in the upcoming leadership vote. As part of the deal, Malcolm Smith will become head of the state Senate (president pro tem), but Pedro Espada will become majority leader (no, it usually doesn't get split like that). Also apparently part of the deal: the chamber won't bring up a vote on gay marriage, which one of the Gang of Three opposes. [NYT] [NYDN] [NYP]
Chuck Schumer is reportedly encouraging David Paterson to pick Kirsten Gillibrand to replace Hillary Clinton. [NYP]
The solider from Rensselaer County accused of killing two superiors in Iraq was found not guilty by a military jury yesterday at Ft. Bragg in North Carolina. The judge had to clear the courtroom after the verdict prompted yelling from the victims' families. [AP/Daily Gazette]
Police say bystanders flocked to the aid of the family hit by a pickup truck on State Street in Schenectady Wednesday. An SPD spokesperson says the accident scene was one of the worst he's ever seen, with little kids "lying in the street screaming for their mother." [Daily Gazette]
Pickup plows into family of pedestrians, ESP skating rink won't open, Saratoga packs 'em in for Gillibrand, ghost ticket investigation urged
A pickup truck hit a family of seven as they were crossing State Street in Schenectady late yesterday afternoon. A police spokesmen said there were "bodies all over the street" and it was "the worst thing" he'd ever seen. Two of the injured children were airlifted to Albany Med -- they were in critical condition last night. [TU] [WNYT] [Daily Gazette]
Opponents to the expansion of the Albany dump were out in force last night at a public comment meeting. One city resident called said the dump problems wouldn't be fixed until there's a new mayor. And Colonie residents complained about the smell. The dump is projected to be full by the end of next year. [TU] [WNYT]
The family of the man who was mistakenly identified by police as having died in a car wreck says the error was preventable. They say police didn't take notice that the body didn't match their son's license -- it was 200 pounds heavier and had different color eyes. They also say police never asked them to identify the body. [TU]
The skating rink on the ESP will not open this year. The state says it can save $150,000 keeping the rink closed. [TU]
Barack Obama officially announced today that he's nominating Hillary Clinton to be his Secretary of State. So, New York's going to need a new senator.
David Paterson gets to pick Clinton's replacement. The Gov's said to be leaning toward picking someone who's some combination of 1) a minority, preferably a Latino 2) from upstate 3) a woman. Here's a breakdown of the people who seem to be the front runners. We've also included a few names that are notable, but not necessarily likely:
Paterson goes looking for help in DC, Gillibrand on list to replace Clinton, Albany gets an upgrade, infamous B&B gets new purpose
David Paterson and other top state officials were in DC yesterday lobbying for federal aid -- with little progress. Chuck Schumer said help -- if there is any -- would not arrive before there's a new Congress in January. [TU] [NYDN]
In what was perhaps not the best PR move during a budget crunch, the state's Office of General Services bought a $21,000 custom rug for the Governor's Mansion. Upside: Turkish rugs are apparently very much in style now. [TU]
Kirsten Gillibrand is reportedly on the list of people David Paterson is considering to replace Hillary Clinton -- if Clinton takes the Secretary of State job in the Obama Administration. Paterson apparently would like to appoint someone who's a woman or Latino or from upstate. [NYT]
Jerry Jennings said yesterday that he wants to "create a new template for urban education" in Albany. He didn't elaborate, though. [TU]
Local voter turnout down, hundreds of Senate staffers looking for work, Gillibrand's national star rising, burned man set himself on fire
It looks like voter turnout in the Capital Region actually declined this past Tuesday, in part because of Republicans who stayed home. One hot spot for increased turnout: Schenectady. [Daily Gazette]
Local Republican state reps warn that downstate, Democratic control of the state legislature and governorship will be bad for the Capital Region. First casualty: Hugh Farley's sleep. [Daily Gazette]
With the Democrats probably taking over leadership of the state Senate, hundreds of staffers will be out of a job. [TU]
The Saratoga Springs City Court judge election won't be decided to until at least next week. Democrat Jeffrey Wait leads Republican Matt Dorsey by 242 votes, with more than a 1,000 absentee ballots still to be counted. If Wait holds on to win, it will be in large part because of overwhelming support in Skidmore's precinct. [Daily Gazette] [Saratogian]
Local economy OK... for now, Gillibrand talks about tobacco industry work, bridges described as "structurally deficient," neighbors fight over tree
Kirsten Gillibrand addressed her time as a lawyer representing tobacco company Philip Morris yesterday. Campaign finance records indicate she's received at least $16,700 from executives connected to the company (which is now called Altria) -- Gillibrand says she wasn't aware the company had contributed. Gillibrand's history with the company has been publicized recently by a former Pataki aide on a blog and in comments on other blogs (including here on AOA). Gillibrand's opponent in this year's election is Sandy Treadwell, who served as NY secretary of state during the Pataki administration. [TU] [OpenSecrets]
Those 4-foot by 8-foot Treadwell campaign signs are OK as long as they're on private property, according to Clifton Park's director of building and zoning. Democrats there had complained the signs violated zoning rules. [Daily Gazette]
A memo released by federal prosecutors alleges that former state assemblyman Chris Ortloff said "... honestly I don't have a moral problem with this ... " about his desire to have sex with tween girls. The now former member of the state parole board was arrested in Colonie this week after a sting operation. [TU]
Paterson: cut another $2 billlion, Gillibrand votes no again, two Broadway shops closing in Saratoga, pumpkin prices up, tapas in Cohoes
David Paterson says he will call the state Legislature back after the November election so they can work on making another $2 billion in cuts from the current budget. At a leaders meeting on Friday, Paterson said the Leg doesn't understand how bad the situation is, to which Dean Skelos said: "I don't need to be lectured." [NYT]
Kirsten Gillibrand voted against the Wall Street bailout bill again on Friday -- her second no vote on it. She said the plan was "could be dangerous." Mike McNulty voted "yes" on it for the second time. [TU] [CapNews9]
National Grid says natural gas prices will be up 11 percent this winter. [TU]
Many of Schenectady County's top managers are getting a raise in next year's proposed budget. That's not going over well with some people because the budget also includes a 13 percent tax hike. [Daily Gazette]
We noticed this week that Kirsten Gillibrand was described as a "Blue Dog" Democrat in a story about her vote on the Wall Street bailout bill.
Wait a second... a what?
The Blue Dogs are a coalition of House Democrats who describe themselves as "moderate and conservative" and "particularly active on fiscal issues, relentlessly pursuing a balanced budget and then protecting that achievement from politically popular "raids" on the budget." There are currently 37 members of the coalition.
Local House members split on bailout, kid curfew in Albany?, state workers could get four day work week, Gov involved in local septic tank dispute
The Capital Region's two members of the House voted differently yesterday on the Wall Street bailout bill. Kirsten Gillibrand voted against, saying in a release that the bill was "fundamentally flawed." (Sandy Treadwell, her Republican opponent in the November election says he also opposed the bill.) Mike McNulty voted for the bill. (His probable replacement, Democrat Paul Tonko, said he hasn't read the bill.) Incidentally, yesterday was supposed to be McNulty's last day in DC as a Congressman -- though now it looks like he'll be going back for another vote. [TU] [Saratogian] [Daily Gazette] [Troy Record]
New York State's comptroller says it now looks like the Wall Street meltdown will cost the state $3.5 billion in lost tax revenue over the next year-and-a-half. He's projecting the state will lose $1.75 billion just from decreases in year-end bonues given out by financial firms. [Biz Review]
Schenectady mayor Brian Stratton has proposed a budget for next year that would raise taxes 3 percent and increase water and garbage fees. It would be the first tax increase in three years for Schenectady. It was also the first time in three years no one clapped at the budget unveiling. [TU] [Daily Gazette]
Albany County comptroller Mike Conners says his most recent audit of the DA David Soares' office will include allegations "more serious" than money missing from a safe -- though Conners won't say what until October 6. Also present at this announcement: Soares' opponent in the November election, Roger Cusick. [TU]
Albany Common Councilman Glen Casey is proposing a curfew for kids under 17 as a way to reduce crime. Troy and Schenectady already have curfews. [TU]
Sewer system overloaded, trans-fat ban detailed, two kids use knife to rob Crossgates kiosk, light rail for Capital Region?
The flooding in Albany last week was just a matter of the city's sewer system running out of capacity. Parts of the system date back to the Civil War. Also: the flooding on South Pearl was a secondary effect of the Hackett Blvd back-up. [TU]
Albany County officials have announced that all restaurant food in the county will have to be trans-fat free starting January 1. And by June 2009 all desserts and baked goods will have to be, as well. The ban has some critics calling it an expansion of the "nanny" state. The trans-fat ban was approved in 2007, but the rules were only announced last Friday. [TU] [Daily Gazette]
The state Senate has passed a four percent cap on yearly property taxes increases. David Paterson supports the cap, but Democrats in the Assembly aren't fans. [TU]
A foundation says New York State has the nation's second-highest tax burden. [Biz Review]
Harry Tutunjian has called a special meeting of the Troy City Council to discuss a plan to lease the Verizon Building for use as city hall. (The current city hall is slated to be knocked down.) One city councilman says the mayor's moving way too fast. [TU] [Troy Record]
A rough plan for the state budget, unemployment rate up, APD to publish crime map, Lebrun into semi-retirement
Governor Paterson and legislative leaders announced that they have a rough outline for a state budget. The plan would increase state spending about 4.5 percent to about $124 billion and restores about $500 million in cuts that Paterson had recently proposed. It does not include the new tax on million dollar incomes that Sheldon Silver has been pushing. The completed budget is due April 1. [NYT]
Officials in Saratoga Springs are happy about the state budget plan because it looks like it will preserve the city's cut of VLT money, which makes up about 10 percent of the city's budget. Spitzer's plan would have taken much of that money away. [Saratogian]
Paterson says he doesn't think the state budget can include pay raises for legislators. But no worry, they can always just use campaign cash for seemingly whatever they choose. Falling under "whatever": Bills tickets, dinner at Jack's, a trip to Ireland. [AP/TU]
Kirsten Gillibrand made appearances through the area yesterday to talk about infrastructure, taxes and alternative energy. Not talked about: her pregnancy, though a constituent thinks the Congresswoman is going to have a boy. [TU]
The Capital Region's unemployment rate hit 5.1 percent (up from 4.4 a year ago), which was actually higher than that of the statewide rate (5 percent). That hasn't happened in a long time. [TU]
A state appeals court ruled that the town of Ballston was within its rights to change its zoning rules in order to keep a new Wal-Mart from being built. [Daily Gazette]
Roundabout fever is spreading! The latest to catch it? Scotia. [Daily Gazette]
Fred Lebrun is heading into semi-retirement. [TU]