Items tagged with 'Andrew Cuomo'

Cuomo moving to raise minimum wage for state employees to $15 per hour

andrew cuomo state employee 15 per hour screengrab

The Cuomo admin announced Tuesday that Andrew Cuomo is moving to unilaterally set a $15 minimum wage for state employees.

The increase would be phased in over the next few years, rising to $15 in New York City by the end of 2018, and by 2021 in the rest of the state. It's projected the increase would affect approximately 10,000 state employees -- 9,000 of them outside New York City.

The governor publicly announced the plan at a Fight for 15 rally in New York City. "This is about basic fairness and basic justice," he said of the push to raise the minimum wage both in New York State and across the country. "We're going to lead the way. The nation's going to watch us."

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Getting some sense of a $15-per-hour minimum wage

George Washington 1 dollar bill closeup

When Andrew Cuomo recently proposed raising the state's minimum wage for all industries to $15, it created a big stir -- in large part because that's a big jump from the state's current minimum wage of $8.75 (soon to be $9). And it highlights the question: What is the "right" minimum wage?

Here's one way of thinking about that question for different parts of New York State...

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Cuomo: Raise New York State's minimum wage to $15 an hour for all industries

cuomo biden 15 minimum wage screengrab

Cuomo announced the push during an event in New York City with Joe Biden.


Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday that he will be pushing to raise the state's minimum wage to $15 an hour. The announcement accompanied word from the governor that the state Department of Labor has accepted the wage board recommendation that the minimum wage for fast food workers increased to $15 an hour.

Cuomo's push to raise the overall state minimum wage isn't that surprising (even if he had downplayed the push for $15 earlier this year). He had tried to get the legislature to accept an increase to $10.50 ($11.50 in NYC) during the last legislative session. And the fast food wage board plan was pretty clearly an attempt to out maneuver the opposition in the legislature. (State Senate Republicans -- the most likely road block to the minimum wage increase -- criticized Cuomo's handling of the fast food wage increase Thursday.) [NYT] [Politics on the Hudson]

Invoking the memory of both FDR and his father, Andrew called the proposed increase as matter of economic justice. "You cannot support a family on 18,000 a year in New York State, not to mention having a decent living," he said with Joe Biden looking on in New York City. "Every working man and woman in the state of new york deserves $15 an hour as a minimum wage and we're not going to stop until we get it done."

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On order: Another look at the minimum wage

nys minimum wage history cropped

A minimum wage consistent across many industries in New York State dates back to 1962. Here's how it's increased over time, with a comparison in 2015 dollars for some perspective. (Inflation calculations via the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics calculator.)

This chart is recycled from last month, when we put together a bunch of different ways of putting the level of the minimum wage in context. With Andrew Cuomo talking again this week about raising the minimum wage, specifically for fast food workers, we figured it was a good time to highlight that post again.

From Cuomo's op/ed in NYT:

Fast-food workers and their families are twice as likely to receive public assistance compared with other working families. Among fast-food workers nationwide, 52 percent -- a rate higher than in any other industry -- have at least one family member on welfare.
New York State ranks first in public assistance spending per fast-food worker, $6,800 a year. That's a $700 million annual cost to taxpayers.

(Update: See this Capital article about an error in Cuomo's op/ed regarding the number of fast food workers who are raising children.)

The median hourly wage -- that is, the point at which half the people make more and half make less -- for fast food cooks in the Albany metro area was $9.25 per hour in 2014 May, according to numbers published by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, with an annual average wage of $20,520. The BLS also breaks out numbers for "combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food," and the median wage for the Albany metro area was $8.93.

The median hourly wage for restaurant cooks generally in this area was $11.48 per hour, $9.89 for servers, and $9.13 for dishwashers. (Here are the same sets of numbers for New York State generally.)

Elsewhere: Back in March Steve Barnes looked at how an increase in the minimum wage for tipped employees was set to affect restaurants -- and non-tipped restaurant employees such as dishwashers.

5 things from the 2015 State of the State / state budget presentation

state of state 2015 three amigos slide

Sometimes people have a little too much with Powerpoint.

Andrew Cuomo delivered his combined State of the State/state budget presentation -- the Powerpoint of the State, if you will -- Wednesday afternoon.

It was long (almost an hour-and-a-half). And the briefing book for it is 550 pages.

So here's a quick, 5-things scan of the presentation.

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Fracking to be banned in New York

The Cuomo's administration's long-awaited decision on whether to allow hydrofracking in the state arrived today during a cabinet meeting -- and it will move to formally ban the method of extracting natural gas from the earth. [NYT]

The decision was pegged to the long-delayed state Department of Health study of the issue. A key clip from Capitol Confidential:

While [acting state health commissioner Howard] Zucker took pains to point out that the data on long-term impacts of hydrofracking is not fully conclusive, he turned personal in his decision.
"Would I live in a community with HVHF (high-volume hydraulic fracturing) based on the facts I have now?" Zucker said. "Would I let my child play in the school field nearby, or my family drink the water from the tap or grow their vegetables in the soil? After looking at a plethora of reports ... my answer is no."

Allowing fracking had been pitched as potential economic development for the Southern Tier, which sits atop natural gas deposits in the Marcellus Shale formation. Pennsylvania allows fracking, and a large swath of the state has natural gas wells now. The Southern Tier has some of the highest unemploymen rates in the state. [NPR State Impact]

But fracking also appears to involve some significant environmental risks, especially for ground water, and environmentalists and other advocacy groups have been pushing hard on the Cuomo admin over the last few years to not allow fracking.

Today's moment of post-election whatever

As Andrew Gregory (@lunchboxbrain) joked of a possible Cuomo response: "Did I need the coffee? Yes. Did the baby need to tweet about it? No."

NY Governor 2014: 5 (+1) maps

election2014 Cuomo Astorino diff map clip

Updated with a bonus map.

Andrew Cuomo won re-election Tuesday over Republican challenger Rob Astorino 53-39 (according to the official unofficial count this morning with 93 percent of precincts reporting).

And while a win is win, it's not the landslide that the Cuomo team had at one time been trying to pile up. [NYT]

Here are county-by-county gubernatorial results from around the state in 5 clickable maps.

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"Is it Coxsackie?!" "Yes, it is."

Andrew Cuomo appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman Tuesday night to read the top 10 list: "Top Ten Ways New York State Is Better Than Ever." The clip is embedded above. Oh, Coxsackie.

Cuomo has been making the media rounds this week as part of the promotion of his new memoir. He was also on Charlie Rose Tuesday night -- it doesn't look like the video's been posted yet. We caught a good chunk of the interview, which was interesting in a few ways. Among them: Cuomo tried to push back against critics from inside in the Democratic Party that he's not progressive enough by trying to reframe the idea of what "progressive" means.

By the way: Gannett's Joseph Spector bring ups the $16 million CBS is getting from the state to keep to the Late Show in New York after Letterman is replaced by Stephen Colbert.

Clickable county by county results for the Cuomo-Teachout primary

cuomo teachout primary result map

The deeper the blue, the higher the percentage of Cuomo votes. The deeper the yellow, the more Teachout votes. (Unofficial results with 98 percent of precincts reporting.)

Map of the day: The above is a county-by-county breakdown of votes in the Democratic gubernatorial primary.

As you know, Andrew Cuomo beat challenger Zephyr Teachout 60-33. But it was a strong showing for Teachout. And as the map indicates, she ran ahead of the governor in many parts of the state.

There's a clickable large-format map after the jump, along with a few notes.

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Donald Trump, Rob Astorino, and the gun rally on the Empire State Plaza

gun rally esp donald trump

Donald Trump after his speech at an anti-SAFE Act rally on the ESP Tuesday.

Donald Trump was at the Empire State Plaza Tuesday for an anti-SAFE Act rally -- as were Carl Paladino, the former Republican candidate for governor, and Rob Astorino, who looks to be the next Republican candidate for governor, along with (we're guessing) about 2,000 people.

Trump talked about protecting the 2nd Amendment during his time up on stage, and then talked a bit about maybe buying the Buffalo Bills during a short press session afterward. Then he left, in a helicopter apparently.

The celebrity something-aire wasn't really the interesting thing during the time we listened on the sunny plaza Tuesday. We ended up being more curious about Astorino -- the Westchester County exec -- who we hadn't seen much of before.

Here are a few thoughts and observations, about the rally, about Astorino, and about Andrew Cuomo...

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A quick scan of State of the State 2014

sos 2014 andrew cuomo screengrab

We believe you're familiar with the governor, Andrew Cuomo.

As you know, this year's State of the State speech was Wednesday. There will be all sorts of coverage dissecting for the next few days. This isn't that. This is just a few quick-scan highlights.

And here they are...

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A quick scan of Joe Biden's appearance at the state Capitol

Biden and Cuomo

Vice President Joe Biden dropped into Albany today for an appearance at the state Capitol, to talk about rebuilding infrastructure after the storms that have hit the state in recent years, to literally and figuratively give Andrew Cuomo a pat on the back -- and see a Cuomo powerpoint presentation. "I wish everyone could see this presentation," Biden said (really, he actually said that).

Infrastructure is an important issue, but it's one of those topics that tends to make people start to glaze over a bit -- you know, until it breaks. So it's worth paying attention to it, maybe even better if someone else watched it for you. As we did.

Here's a quick-scan recap of Biden's appearance at the Capitol Tuesday...

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How New York's deck of counties split on the casino vote

nys counties casino vote majorities map

Red = counties in which a majority voted "yes." Black = counties in which a majority voted "no." (Corrected.)

One of the items up for a vote Tuesday was a proposed New York State constitutional amendment that would allow up to seven full casinos around the state, starting upstate. The Cuomo admin has been pushing the idea as economic development, and framed it that way again after the vote. [NYS BOE] [NYT] [Cuomo admin]

The amendment was approved, 57-43. But support around the state was evenly distributed. In fact, majorities in three of the Capital Region's four core counties voted against it -- one of the majority "no" counties was Saratoga, which has a good chance of ending up with a casino. [NYS BOE]

We pulled the unofficial vote tallies on the casino amendment and mapped the results by county. Two clickable maps are after the jump.

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"Distrustful, even cynical"

state capitol across plaza 2012 DecemberBits from the Siena poll released today:

+ When asked about how they view state politics, 52 percent of respondents said they were "distrustful, even cynical."

+ About 1/3 of respondents said it was either "very likely" or "somewhat likely" that their own state Senator or Assembly member could be arrested for corruption.

+ Percent who said they support: term limits, 82 percent; limiting candidates to one party line, 55 percent; a full-time legislature with no outside jobs, 54 percent. (If that were a Jeopardy clue, the correct response would be: "What are three things unlikely to happen with the New York State legislature?")

+ Andrew Cuomo's "favorable" number was 62 percent (it was 77 percent two years ago). And 16 percent of respondents said he was doing a "poor" job, the highest level so far. Fifty-three percent said they'd vote to re-elect him as things stand now.

+ On supporting full casinos in the state: 49 percent support, 44 percent oppose.

+ On whether to approve hydrofracking: 40 percent support, 45 percent oppose.

crosstabs | poll was conducted April 14-18 | margin of error: +/- 3.4

+ Andrew Cuomo's calibrations
+ State legislation: $10,000

Andrew Cuomo's calibrations

nymag cuomo machievelli cover 2013-AprilWe finally got around to reading "The Albany Machiavelli," the long profile of Andrew Cuomo by Chris Smith in this week's NY Mag. Smith remarks that "Cuomo may be this country's best politician--in the interest-swapping, nut-­cutting, backroom sense--since Lyndon Baines Johnson." And there are a bunch of interesting back room bits about Cuomo's handling of issues, his relationship with the legislature, how fracking vexes the Cuomo political calculations, the potential role of Hillary Clinton in blocking in his presidential ambitions.

This section resonated with us:

So far that experiment has been a solid success, especially for Cuomo. He's been more fiscally responsible than many of his predecessors. He's boldly and forcefully delivered on progressive ideals, legalizing gay marriage and passing some of the toughest gun laws in the nation. He's been rewarded with high public-approval numbers in New York and heightened national stature. Yet there's also a cost, and a considerable irony, to Cuomo's tactics. For all his speechifying about the "us" of government, he runs a government of one, controlling decisions large and small. And the way Cuomo wins his battles--strong-­arming and horse-trading; a mastery of talking past inconvenient questions and facts--tends to antagonize enemies and allies, as in the most recent round of budget wrangling, in which he managed to chafe both liberals and business fat cats. People are afraid of him; David Paterson, as governor, once described feeling like Cuomo was lurking under the floorboards of the executive mansion, holding a saw. In politics, fear can be a highly useful tool, but it is a risky one. The governor doesn't have many friends. ...
As Cuomo looks to score a wide reelection margin in 2014, he has become New York's most successful governor since, well, the early days of Mario Cuomo. Yet he's engendered much more fear than love--an emotion the governor believes is overrated, in politics anyway. The growing turbulence will show whether he's right about the value of affection in Albany--and whether Andrew Cuomo will loom larger in history than his father.

Now a little arm chair political science: We get the sense that everyone respects Andrew Cuomo, even his enemies and detractors (maybe especially his enemies and detractors). But do people like him? You know, in talking with people it's like there's this acknowledgement that Cuomo has imposed a certain order on state politics, and the situation is no longer the embarrassing train wreck it had been. It's just that there isn't much (if any) love or passion for him. And that's a problem if you're running for president -- because as much as issues and all that stuff matter, there's also an emotional part of it for voters.

Anyway. This (here, totally stripped of its context) quote-- "They have needs, and you have needs. And your appetite has to be calibrated thusly." -- kind of us made us a feel a little bit for Sandra Lee.

A quick scan of Andrew Cuomo's 2013 budget

andrew cuomo budget presentation 2013

Now with descriptive podium.

Two weeks ago was the State of the State address (the talk), this week: the budget proposal (the walk). The budget is a big deal for the state, because it's the Cuomo administration putting its money (actually, all our money) where its mouth is.

Like last year, this year's budget presentation didn't include the dire pronouncements about gloom and doom that had been so common in previous years. As Andrew Cuomo said at Tuesday's presentation, "It's not supposed to be traumatic." He even called this year's budget proposal "simple and straightforward." (Those are always in the eye of the budget beholder -- we are talking about a plan to spend $130something billion here.)

So let's get to it...

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New gun control legislation passed, signed

Andrew Cuomo signing SAFE Act

Andrew Cuomo signing the legislation shortly after 5 pm on Tuesday.

The state Assembly passed -- and Andrew Cuomo signed (video) -- the NY Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act Tuesday afternoon. The state Senate passed the gun legislation late Monday night. The law takes effect immediately, though many provisions in it don't start right away.

The law is notable for a few reasons. New York now has the strictest assault rifle ban in the nation. And, from a symbolic and political perspective, New York becomes the first state to pass new gun control legislation after the Newtown shootings.

A quick overview of what's included in the law is after the jump, as well as a rundown of how Capital Region legislators voted.

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Someone finally sticks it to Andrew Cuomo

andrew cuomo flu shot 2013-01-10

And it turns out that person was Dr. Nirav Shah, the state's health commissioner. He jabbed the governor with a flu shot Thursday.

The best line probably came from Jimmy Vielkind on Twitter: "I think this entire thing was an excuse for Andrew Cuomo to have a picture of his biceps in the newspapers."

As mentioned, this is turning out to be a rather active year for the flu. The recent wave prompted Boston to declare a public health emergency this week -- the city was robocalling people urging them to get flu shots. [AOA] [Google Flu Trends] [AP/ABC] [Boston Globe]

While it would have been better to get the jab a few weeks back (or earlier), it's still not a bad idea to roll up your sleeve for one. They're super easy to find this season -- you can walk into pretty much any Walgreen's/CVS/Rite Aid and get one at the pharmacy. It costs about $30 for the regular flu shot (it might be covered by your health plan). Sure, it takes a week or two for your body to build up immunity from the shot, but the flu could continue to be active for months.

And while you might think, "Eh, I'm relatively young and healthy, I'll be fine" -- that may be true, but if you pick up the virus you could end up spreading it to people who are not so young and/or healthy. There have been multiple studies indicating that vaccinating young people -- kids, especially -- ends up being a good way of protecting seniors from the flu.

Also: getting the flu -- the real flu, not just a cold -- sucks.

Here's a bunch of info about flu shots from the CDC (there are a few options, including a version that doesn't involve getting stuck with a needle). The health agency recently reported that this season's shot (it changes each year) is a pretty good match for what's been circulating.

In other news: We'll say it again, cover your mouth when you cough. Wash your hands.

photo: Cuomo admin Flickr

A quick scan of State of the State 2013

andrew cuomo 2013 state of the state screengrab

There will be all kinds of coverage of Andrew Cuomo's State of the State address everywhere over the next few days. But for right now, here's a quick, scannable overview of this afternoon's speech -- enough to get you through a conversation today -- you'll find it after the jump.

Spoilers: "innovation hot spots," upstate New York, casinos, equality, and gun control.

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Shake up for horse racing in New York

horse in stable at saratoga race courseTwo important recent developments about horse racing in New York:

State takeover of NYRA
The Cuomo admin announced today (Monday) that Andrew Cuomo has signed the legislation that creates the "NYRA Reorganization Board" -- basically the committee that will carry out the three-year state takeover of NYRA, a plan that was announced this past spring. This is important because NYRA is the org that runs the Saratoga Race Course, Belmont, and Aqueduct. From the press release:

"New York State's racing industry is a major economic driver in the state, supporting thousands of jobs and attracting tourists from around the world," Governor Cuomo said. "New York taxpayers and the betting public deserve a racing industry that is managed competently and does not neglect the health and safety of the horses. The NYRA Reorganization Board will restore public trust, accountability, and transparency to the racing industry in our state, so New York can continue to offer one of the most exciting, enjoyable, safe horse racing experiences in the nation."

The reorganization board will have 17 members -- Cuomo gets to pick seven of them, the Senate and Assembly two each, and the current NYRA board five, with a chairperson nominated by Cuomo.

NYRA has been a scandal-plagued trainwreck for years, so it will be interesting to see if the state takeover smooths things out.

Horse safety
On Friday the Cuomo admin announced a series of reforms aimed at promoting the safety of horses racing on tracks in New York.

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Behold, the Andrew Cuomo bobblehead

andrew cuomo bobbleheadMonday night was Andrew Cuomo bobblhead night at the ValleyCats game. The bobblhead on the right is the one snagged by Jessica R.

Much like the actual Andrew Cuomo, the the bobblehead Andrew Cuomo apparently enjoyed strong popularity. People were lined up ahead of time in order to score one of the 1,500 bobbles. Inevitable next question: will bobblehead Andrew Cuomo run for the bobblehead presidency? The world holds its breath, nodding its head gently, waiting for an answer.

Sadly, the life of a bobblehead can be tough -- a lesson bobblhead Andrew Cuomo found out last night.

Earlier on AOA: Kim's collection of Capital Region/New York State bobbleheads

photo: Jessica R

You might have heard: Andrew Cuomo is popular

andrew cuomo mediumThe Quinnipiac Poll out today reports that Andrew Cuomo's approval rating has hit 71 percent -- the highest level for a New York governor as measured by the Q poll since George Pataki hit 81 percent shortly after 9/11.

Cuomo's approval mark hit a high mark of 77 percent in the Siena poll in February. The polling over the last few months prompted a Washington Post writer to declare Cuomo "most popular governor in the country" back in April.

Of course, if you've followed New York politics for any length of time, the next natural thought is: there's no where to go now but down.

A few other bits from the Q poll:

+ 78 percent of respondents supported some sort of raise in the state's minimum wage.

+ Respondents supported making teacher evaluations public 56-40.

+ Respondents support "the creation of Las Vegas-type casinos" 56-33 -- but support for changing the state constitution to do so is 49-42.

Poll: New Yorkers continue to support medical marijuana, not sure about fracking and MMA

medical marijuana signNew Yorkers support the legalization of medical marijuana 57-33, according to the Siena poll out today.

That result isn't really surprising -- a few other polls in recent years have also registered support for medical marijuana. The only subgroups in this new Siena poll not responding with majority support: Republicans and conservatives. Also, the income group registering the most support for it: $100k+ at 68 percent.

There have been bills in the legislature over the last few years that would legalize medical marijuana. And state Senator Diane Savino has picked the issue up again this year. But the chances of a bill making it through are probably small without support from Andrew Cuomo -- and he appeared to indicate last month he's not on board. [WSJ] [State of Politics]

We're curious to see the results if people were asked about straight out legalization or decriminalization of pot.

A few other bits from the poll...

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Poll: strong support for minimum wage increase

8 dollars 50 cents


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."

Pensions taking big slice of Albany's pie

albany city hallMunicipal budget fact of the day: pension costs eat 22 percent of the city of Albany's budget tax levy.

The Jennings administration released a letter today it says Jerry Jennings has sent to state comptroller Tom DiNapoli "urging real pension reform." Yep, that sounds like a big bowl of boiled vegetables, but this part caught our eye:

The rising cost of pensions has been one of the greatest burdens on our city's finances and taxpayers.
This problem has evolved into a crisis as you have mandated increases in pension contributions over the last several years which have devastated our city budgets. Over the last decade pension costs have ballooned from roughly $700,000 to over $12 million. In 2001, only 1% of the Albany taxpayers property taxes went to pension costs, as of last year they are paying 22% of their taxes to cover pension costs.
This means that ten years ago Albany residents were contributing approximately $7.50 per person to cover pension costs, today they are paying almost $130.

The full letter is after the jump. Not in the letter: criticism of the leaders and administrations who agreed to the contracts with the unions in the first place.

The larger political soap opera context...

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A quick scan of Andrew Cuomo's 2012 budget

cuomo budget 2012 screengrab

Let me show you some PowerPoints...

Updated Tuesday at 6:30 pm.

Andrew Cuomo and his administration presented their proposed 2012-2013 budget this afternoon. The budget is a big deal for the state, because it's the Cuomo administration putting its money (actually, all our money) where its mouth is.

This year's presentation was less dramatic than last year -- there was no declaration of the state being "functionally bankrupt." Cuomo touted the measures taken in last year's budget for helping to make things easier this year. "We regained the public trust," he said, "That is a great gift and an awesome responsibility. Let's build on it this year, even higher, together." (pause for applause)

So, we watched the address and skimmed through the budget briefing docs so you don't have to. Here's a quick overview of Cuomo's proposed budget...

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A quick scan of the State of the State 2012

Cuomo SOTS screen shot.jpg

Today's SOTS at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center

There will be all kinds of coverage of Andrew Cuomo's State of the State address everywhere over the next few days. But for right now, here's a quick, scannable overview of this afternoon's speech -- enough to get you through a conversation today -- you'll find it after the jump.

Spoilers: It mentions casino gambling and convention centers, and "reimagined" government.

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Cuomo and legislative leaders say they have a deal to restructure state income tax

Thumbnail image for NYS Capitol from ESPAndrew Cuomo and legislative leaders announced today that they've reached a deal to restructure the state's income tax.

The Cuomo admin is touting the restructuring as an attempt to "restore fairness to the tax system." Basically, it makes the tax structure more progressive -- that is, the more a person makes, the higher their rate. The admin says 4.4 million New Yorkers will get a tax cut under the new structure.

So, if you're under $300,000 (and more than $40k), you would get a tax cut under this arrangement. Above $300k, your taxes are going up (compared to the rate from a few years back). [NY Post]

As usual, it's little (or a lot) more complicated than that. The bracket breakdown in the press release doesn't really tell the whole story because it doesn't include the temporary personal income surcharge ("millionaire's tax") that's currently in effect -- the TU's Jimmy Vielkind has put together a spreadsheet that makes it a bit more clear.

The Cuomo admin says the new structure generates $1.9 billion in additional revenue for the state -- though that's about $2 billion less than what was generated by the "millionaire's tax", which expires at the end of this month. [NYT] [TU CapCon]

The deal announced today also includes funding for infrastructure projects, support for a constitutional amendment to allow full casino gaming, grants for flood recovery, a few other initiatives.

If you're thinking to yourself: "Wait, did I miss the part where this was all discussed and debated publicly?" The answer is: no, of course not. This is New York.

Arrests at Occupy Albany

occupy albany lafayette arrests 2011-11-12

One of the protesters being arrested.

State Police arrested approximately 25 Occupy Albany protesters in Lafayette Park shortly after 11 pm Saturday. The park is across the street from the Capitol and owned by the state -- the Cuomo administration instituted a curfew there in late October. This group of protesters had gathered in a deliberate attempt to see if there would be a response from the state. [TU]

As they were clearing the park, State Police said they would also arrest members of media in the park. Media members moved to the sidewalk, but then returned to the park and were not arrested.

Saturday afternoon, State Police had arrested an Occupy protester -- Bradley Russell -- in Lafayette Park for building an "illegal structure" there. Occupy Albany had sent out a press release Friday announcing that Russell intended to build the "freedom fort" as a protest against the state curfew. [TU] [OA press release, pasted after jump]

The Occupy Albany protest previously had been contained to the city-owned Academy Park, which is directly adjacent to Lafayette. Officials from the city of Albany and Albany County have said local police would not arrest or charge protesters staying in the city-owned side of the park.

Here's a tweet-by-tweet of how things went down Saturday night, with photos...

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Revised PEF contract approved, layoffs averted

Thumbnail image for ESP from libraryPEF announced this afternoon that its members had approved its revised contract with the state. As a result, about 3,500 state employees -- many of them in the Capital Region -- will not be laid off.

The vote was roughly 70-30 in favor of the contract.

The revised contract includes no pay increases for 2011, 2012, and 2013 (with a 2 percent raise in 2014). It increases the share employees will have to pay for healthcare. And there are 9 furlough days that will be paid back at the end of the contract.

The contract is a year shorter than the original five-year contract. The union's leadership argued shorter length would allow the union to negotiate the next deal "in an economic environment that may be significantly better than the current one." The leadership also said the new deal included stronger layoff protections, deferred payments for the furlough days (as opposed to "retention bonuses"), and more flexibility in using vacation time to offset an employee's share of healthcare costs.

The PEF membership had voted down the first offer, which was very similar to the deal taken by CSEA, in late September. Andrew Cuomo had been threatening to go ahead with the layoffs if the revised contract wasn't approved.

PEF is the second largest state employee union, after CSEA.

Sights and sounds from Occupy Albany, and a focus on Cuomo

Here's a nice video from Occupy Albany by Bhawin Suchak. It give you a sense of the scene there. (It's worth mentioning the piece is sympathetic to the cause. There's a whole thread here about how orgs and social movements are now creating media coverage of themselves -- but we'll leave that to political scientists and media theorists.) And here's a new photoset from Sunday by Timothy Raab.

Andrew Cuomo
One of the apparent results of the stories circulating that Andrew Cuomo wanted the police to arrest the Occupy Albany protesters for violating park curfew is that Cuomo is emerging as a/one focus of the protest (or, at least, the coverage of the protest -- the media get bored when the story doesn't change). As Jimmy Vielkind asked in a headline this morning: "Is Occupy Albany about Cuomo? Is it now?" There's already been a "Cuomoville" sign (historical context). [Gotham Gazette] [TU]

Ron Canestrari said today that pressure for extending the Millionaire's Tax has been increasing among state politicians -- in part because of the Occupy movements. [State of Politics]

Bill Clinton speaking in Albany September 27

bill clinton at world economic forum 2006 davosUpdate: Here's video of the speech.

Shh, don't tell anyone: Bill Clinton will be speaking in Albany next week (Tuesday, September 27).

The former president will be the keynote speaker at a conference at the Empire State Plaza for the regional economic councils set up by the Cuomo administration. The event is open to the public, but there's a ticket lottery. You must enter by the end of this Tuesday (September 20) and confirm your intent to attend within 24 hours of being notified.

Oddly, the Cuomo admin seems to be underplaying the event a bit. On the website for the economic councils, it's just billed as "Governor Andrew M. Cuomo/ REGIONAL COUNCIL STATEWIDE CONFERENCE/ September 27, 2011- Albany, NY." Stars are always so touchy about whose name goes above the title...

Bill Clinton was last here in March when he spoke at UAlbany.

[via Biz Review]

photo: Flickr user World Economic Forum

Lewis Black on Albany

lewis black closeup

One of our favorite Lewis Black lines, about mad cow disease: "What were these ranchers thinking when they started feeding cows to other cows? Hey, when I eat human, I get a little crazy myself!"

Comedian and playwright Lewis Black is heading for Albany in a few months to do his stand-up act at The Palace. Black is well known for his rants and observations about politics, which is pretty much our local sport.

So we gave him a call to ask what he thinks about some of the things that have been going on lately at the state Capitol.

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Roy McDonald will vote yes on same-sex marriage

roy mcdonaldThe Capitol media Twitter feeds erupted late this afternoon with news that state Senator Roy McDonald -- who reps Rensselaer County and most of Saratoga County -- will vote yes on the bill that would legalize same-sex marriage. That brings that vote count in favor to 31 (one short of a majority).

Said McDonald to the Times Union's Jimmy Vielkind:

"I'm trying to do the right thing. Rather than wait I worked with the governor ... I'm not out to alienate anybody. This is driven by compassion. ... My lifestyle is my lifestyle -- I don't want anyone telling me or my children what to do."

McDonald, as quoted by the NYDN's Ken Lovett:

"You get to the point where you evolve in your life where everything isn't black and white, good and bad, and you try to do the right thing.
"You might not like that. You might be very cynical about that. Well, f--- it, I don't care what you think. I'm trying to do the right thing.

And McDonald quotes via tweets by NYT's Danny Hakim:

"I think I'm doing the right thing, it's the appropriate thing, and if the public respects that, I'm grateful. If they don't... then I move on. ..."
"I'm tired of blowhard radio people, blowhard television people, blowhard newspapers. They can take the job & shove it."

McDonald had voted "no" the last time around, and he's said for weeks that he was undecided on the issue. He had been the subject of some intense lobbying lately, including a billboard along I-787 urging him to support same-sex marriage. He becomes the second Republican Senator to say he'll vote "yes."

There's a clip of McDonald talking about his decision, after the jump.

Andrew Cuomo submitted a bill today that would legalize same-sex marriage (the bill is embedded after the jump). From the memo for "The Marriage Equality Act":

Section 3 of this bill would add new Section 10-a to the Domestic Relations Law (DRL) providing that: (1) a marriage that is otherwise valid shall be valid regardless of whether parties to the marriage are of the same or different sex; (2) no government treatment or legal status, effect, right, benefit, privilege, protection or responsibility relating to marriage shall differ based on the parties to the marriage being or having been of the same sex rather than a different sex; and, (3) all relevant gender-specific language set forth in or referenced by New York law shall be construed in a gender-neutral manner.

The Cuomo admin says the bill aims to keep civil marriage separate from "the religious institution of marriage." One of the provisions of the bill amends the current law "to make clear that no member of the clergy acting in such capacity may be required to perform any marriage."

The bill would take effect 30 days after it's signed.

A similar bill has passed the Assembly in previous years and is expected to do so again. Dean Skelos has said the Senate could have a vote on the bill this week. [Daily Politics]

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Andrew Cuomo would like you to pay attention to the road

texting while drivingThe Cuomo admin proposed legislation that would make it illegal to use any portable electronic device while driving (exception: phone with a hands-free device). From the release:

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced he will introduce new legislation that will crack down on drivers caught using a portable electronic device including blackberrys, iPhones, i-pads, laptop computers, gaming devices and any other portable device, or talking on a cell phone without a hands free device, while driving. The bill would impose unprecedented penalties drivers caught using such a device by adding three points on a driver's license in order to curb the dramatic rise of this dangerous activity. Governor Cuomo's legislation would also make driving while using any portable electronic device a primary, rather than just a secondary offense, meaning that drivers can now be stopped solely if they are found to be using such a device while driving.

As it is now, you can't be stopped specifically for texting or phoning while driving -- you have to be pulled over for some over offense (say, crossing the double yellow because you weren't watching) and then you can be tagged for using your phone.

You might think you can text and drive with no problem -- we're all above average drivers, right (oh, wait...) -- but you're probably wrong. There's research that indicates a distracted driver is about as bad as a driver with a .08 blood alcohol level, which is the legal limit for drunk driving. (The New York Times produced a good series about the risks of distracted driving.)

The Cuomo admin hasn't posted the actual bill, yet, so there are still some questions. Among them: what about dashboard GPS devices (trying to find out where you're going can make you forget about where you're going). And automakers are starting to put dashboard computers into cars.

There's already a bill in the legislature that would make texting while driving a primary offense.

photo: Flickr user mrJasonWeaver

Oh, the bristling with excitement

sandra leeFrom the NY Mag cover package about Andrew Cuomo and First Lady-friend Sandra Lee:

The media in the state capital of Albany, a.k.a. the world capital of boring, bristled with excitement from the moment it became clear that Andrew Cuomo would run for governor. Not because of Cuomo so much as for the woman whose home he shares in Westchester. Eleanor Roosevelt aside, the First Ladies of New York have heretofore not merited inclusion on TMZ's stalk list. (Quick: State a single fact--anything at all--about Libby Pataki.) Sandra Lee was something entirely new: a bona fide famous person in her own right.
The speculation was partly political. With her cheery mass-market appeal, would Lee be an upstate asset, an electoral-map ringer in remote towns where Cuomo, the dark prince of a New York City-oriented political dynasty, was a less-natural sell? But mainly what galvanized the Albany crowd was her raw human star power. ... It's hard to think of another First Lady, anywhere, whose Q rating eclipses her significant other's, with the possible transatlantic exception of Carla Bruni and Nicolas Sarkozy and trans-space-time-­continuum exception of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier. ...
Would Lee redecorate the governor's mansion? Enliven those fusty rubber-chicken dinners with festive tablescapes? There was a touching Waiting for Guffman quality to the way the glamour-starved local press corps dubbed the prospective gubernatorial couple Sandrew. ...

We seem to have been absent on the days when the media here "bristled with excitement" over Sandra Lee. There were a few moments of amusement, sure (raises hand). Siobhan's description is probably more accurate.

The article covers a lot of a familiar ground, but unlike most other pieces, Lee agreed to be interviewed. It once again makes the point that is Lee is not a regular person -- she's tougher, smarter and more resourceful than most of the rest of us (with a better organized closet). And she has a Jedi-like ability to influence people. (There's a great scene in the piece in which Lee basically owns this guy from Tyson, convincing/forcing him to triple the company's donation of chicken to New York food banks.)

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On public concubinage

andrew cuomo mediumOf all the criticisms one could make of Andrew Cuomo, this is probably the weirdest (and dirtiest sounding): "public concubinage."

Edward Peters -- self-described as "one of the most widely-known lay [Catholic] canon lawyers in North America" and reportedly an adviser to the Vatican -- wrote earlier this year that Cuomo and First Lady-friend Sandra Lee live in "public concubinage" -- and as a result, Cuomo should not be allowed to receive communion. [NYT] [Canon Law Blog]

And Cuomo did just that at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Albany after his inauguration -- during a mass led by bishop Howard Hubbard, no less. Peters accused Hubbard of a "dereliction of pastoral duty" for not admonishing Cuomo and Lee "for their objectively and publicly sinful status." And Peters recently told a conservative news site that Cuomo's action "produces grave scandal within the faith community." [NYDN] [CNS]

The Albany diocese released a statement this afternoon about all this in which it basically told Peters to mind his own business (politely). And Cuomo said to reporters today: "For me, I choose to keep my religion and my religious practices private and not discuss it in the political arena." [State of Politics] [TU CapCon]

Not being read up on concubinage -- public or otherwise -- we did a little research. According to Wikipedia (so you know it must be true), it's defined as:

Concubinage is the state of a woman or man in an ongoing, usually matrimonially-oriented relationship with somebody to whom they cannot be married, often because of a difference in social status.

Well, there are certainly status differences here. She is more famous than he is. And a lot richer.

Earlier on AOA: Sandra Lee in Vogue

Sandra Lee in Vogue

Sandra Lee in VogueSandra Lee is featured in the latest issue of Vogue. The story, "Sandra Lee: The Woman in White," touches on her painful childhood, her relationship with Andrew Cuomo and her rise to Food Network fame.

Some not-so-well-known facts that come out in the story: She's street savvy (when Sandra and the writer, Gully Wells, were walking in New York City she pulls Wells from some fast-moving cabs); she lived with her grandmother for her first four years and then was taken back by her mother and father, who both abused her; and she loves the color white. A lot.

From the story:

A creamy carpet covers the entire floor, a family of decorative polar bears frolics on the sideboard in artificial snow, an enormous silver tiger reclines on a mother-of-pearl coffee table, and in the fireplace are -- what else? -- white birch logs that are clearly never going to see a match.

But other than the white obsession, she seems pretty normal. She even ordered "eggs and bacon with a side of granola" for breakfast during the interview. (Though it did seem to be a bit of a "documented instance of public eating.")

Earlier on AOA:
+ Yes, usher in the golden age of semi-homemade dinner parties
+ It uses tomato soup, too
+ New York's next First Lady-friend?

photo: Vogue

New Yorkers to Cuomo: be mine

andrew cuomo mediumThe 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.

Speed reading the coverage of Andrew Cuomo's budget proposal

cuomo budget presentation 2011To much fanfare (and powerpoint) Andrew Cuomo presented his proposed state budget yesterday.

During the presentation he described the state as "functionally bankrupt," and remarked that he viewed his dental appointments for root canal as a welcome respite from the budget process. So, that gives you a sense of where the state's at.

We've read a bunch of the details and coverage of the budget so you don't have to. Let's get to it...

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Are you enjoying the honeymoon with Andrew Cuomo?

andrew cuomo mediumThe Siena poll out today reports that Andrew Cuomo's favorability is at 70 percent -- it's highest point since June 2009. And when respondents were asked who they trusted to do the right thing -- Cuomo or the legislature -- the governor was picked 68-17.

Also possibly of interest: 50 percent or more of respondents in every ideological group had Cuomo pegged as "moderate."

On race

The poll also asked people about race relations in New York State: "As we look to next week's commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday, how would you describe the state of race relations in New York State? Would you say they are excellent, good, fair, or poor?"

Overall, 55 percent respondents said race relations were excellent or good. 43 percent said they were fair or poor.

Among white respondents the split was 60/40. Among African-Americans it was 36/63.

Walking the Hall of Governors at the Capitol

Hall of Governors at NYS Capitol

Where governors walked. And, just recently again, the rest of us.

By Akum Norder

Architecture, at its best, creates buildings that not only shelter us, but that reflect something of our values or ideals. Churches inspire our eyes to soar upwards, awed by dappled light through stained glass. Banks are designed (well, they used to be designed) to look solid, strong, unshakeable.

State capitols usually feature a central, light-filled rotunda for this very reason. It's a manifestation of our democratic values: government as something open, transparent, accessible, welcoming to all.

And then there's New York.

"Open, accessible and welcoming" are words few would apply to New York's state Capitol. You're more likely to hear things like "labyrinthine," "dark," "can't get anywhere unless you already know where you're going." If we see architecture as a representation of government, then, well, you might say we have the state capitol we deserve.

With that said, it's an absolutely beautiful building. And now we can see a little bit more of it.

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A quick scan of State of the State 2011

cuomo state of state 2011

And did I mention that I brought Power Point slides?

There will be much coverage of Andrew Cuomo's first State of the State speech all over the media. But if you're just looking for a quick overview of what he said, or just enough to not have a blank look when someone says, "hey, how about that State of the State? -- here's a quick scan...

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Right back @ you, governor

fake andrew cuomo twitter pageUAlbany nanoscience grad student Nick Fahrenkopf noticed this past weekend that the Twitter account originally linked to on Andrew Cuomo's official gubernatorial site didn't exist. So he created the account. We go to NYT for the rest of the story (links added):

And Mr. Fahrenkopf's first few Twitter messages seemed right out of the governor's press office, providing links to the first executive order that Mr. Cuomo signed on Saturday, the transcript of his inaugural address, and a Web page to enter the lottery to receive tickets to the State of the State address on Wednesday.
But the tone eventually got less statesmanlike, as the subjects veered toward his dislike of the Executive Mansion (not enough parking for his muscle cars), possible staff appointments (including his predecessor, David A. Paterson, to write jokes for his speeches); and plans for the next snowstorm (shoveling people out in Albany, à la the Twitter-friendly mayor of Newark, Cory A. Booker).

Of course, word got around that the account wasn't actually Andrew Cuomo (if only). But it was (and continues to be) fun. And as Nick tweeted (on his own account) yesterday: "To be fair- Cuomo has his hands full. There is a lot to be done. But don't do Web/Twitter/Social Media half ass."

Could the fake world already be a view into the real world? Because Fake Shelly Silver is already annoyed with Fake Andrew Cuomo.

By the way: the real Andrew Cuomo Twitter account is @nygovcuomo.

Andrew Cuomo's inauguration speech

cuomo inauguration wordle small

Here's a bigger version of the image.

The image above is a word cloud based on the posted text of Andrew Cuomo's inaugural speech.

It's pretty much what you'd expect. The only thing that really jumped out to us was Cuomo's apparent love of the word "going." One sentence from the speech: "As governor, I'm going to tell you what I'm going to do, because I told you what I'm going to do." OK, then.

A NYT piece this past weekend focused on Cuomo's speaking style. It was alternately described as "a staccato rhythm and an intensity in delivery," classic middle-class white New Yorker," not patrician, "eerily similar to his father's," and "one part Christopher Walken; another part his father, Mario M. Cuomo; and another part old-country Italian."

Video from the inaugural speech is embedded after the jump.

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What exactly does Andrew Cuomo's "sexiest-man voice" sound like?

andrew cuomoAndrew Cuomo appears on this year's People Magazine "Sexiest Men" list. The New York Times, which follows these developments closely, reports:

Mr. Cuomo, 52, snagged a coveted slot in the double issue of People, which surveys the international landscape of bulging pectorals and rippling abdominals. "I was," Mr. Cuomo said in an interview, "slightly surprised initially."
He was not, however, entirely humbled by it. Asked what kind of regimen he had followed to make the cut, Mr. Cuomo responded wryly: "A lot of it's just natural. It's genetic sculpting."
That, he said, and a sparing diet, and twice-weekly sessions on the treadmill.
Mr. Cuomo appeared in the magazine's 50-and-over cohort, alongside Sting, Liam Neeson and Michael Bolton. Asked how he was selected, Liz Sporkin, executive editor of People, did not gush about his physical attributes. "His many years of public service make him sexy," she said.

NYT also had the pleasure (?) of hearing Cuomo's "sexiest-man voice."

(Thanks, everyone)

Earlier on AOA:
+ Kirsten Gillibrand in Vogue
+ Gillibrand one of Capitol Hill's "most beautiful"
+ Paterson's (not) too sexy

photo via Andrew Cuomo Facebook

Siena poll: New Yorkers "optimistic" about Cuomo

andrew cuomo mediumA few bits from the Siena Poll out Monday:

+ Andrew Cuomo's favorable/unfavorable: 64/26

+ Percent of respondents who said they were "optimistic" about Cuomo's chances of creating jobs: 75 percent

+ Percent of respondent show said they were "optimistic" about Cuomo's chances of balancing the state budget: 59 percent

(Respondents were generally optimistic for Cuomo's chances on every policy front.)

+ Percent of respondents who said New York's fiscal condition is "fair" or "poor": 92 percent

+ The top two priorities, by far: developing new jobs and balancing the state budget

+ 53 percent said Democrats and Republicans should "share power" to run the state Senate.

+ "Do you support or oppose the Governor and Legislature passing a law to legalize same sex marriages in New York?": support: 52 | oppose: 39

+ 85 percent said they don't like talk about Cuomo running for president

photo via Andrew Cuomo Facebook

Golden era of semi-homemade dinner parties and cocktail hours on hold

sandra leeBecause we know this has been consuming your thoughts: Sandra Lee won't be relocating to the Governor's Mansion, nor will she have any official state titles, duties or staff. [WSJ] [NYDN]

Alas. She won't be here to "usher in a golden age of dinner parties and cocktail hours" in our fair capital. There will be no tomato soup lasagna. And local bartenders, note: you can scale back the ordering of appletini supplies.

We're still holding out hope for great garnishes, though.

Earlier on AOA: New York's next First Lady-friend?

photo: Food Network

Siena poll: Cuomo crushing Paladino

The Siena poll out today reports that Andrew Cuomo leads Carl Paladino 63-26 among likely voters. That's approaching the territory of Eliot Spitzer's landslide in 2006.

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.

Earlier on AOA:
+ Gubernatorial debate live blog
+ Gubernatorial beer poll results

Siena poll: Cuomo still has big lead on Paladino

cuomo and paladino

Sixty-one percent of respondents agreed that Paladino is "a loose cannon who doesn't have the temperament to be governor."

The Siena poll out today reports that Andrew Cuomo leads Carl Paladino 56-32 among likely voters (margin of error +/- 3.9 points). And among independents, Cuomo leads 50-39.

Siena's last poll on the governor's race, in September, reported Cuomo up 57-24 on Paladino (that poll also included the now-dropped out Rick Lazio, and it was of registered voters). So, in some sense Paladino has picked up a bit of ground. But he's bumping up against this political problem:

+ 59 percent of respondents in this new poll say they have an unfavorable opinion of Paladino

+ 61 percent agreed that he's "a loose cannon who doesn't have the temperament to be governor." (Yep, this poll was conducted after the Bolton Landing Brouhaha.)

+ Cuomo also has a wide lead when voters were asked which candidate would do better on a range of issues (except taxes).

FiveThirtyEight's prediction model currently has Cuomo with a 97.8 percent chance of winning (the model doesn't include today's Siena poll).

"Cloud Cuckooland"

The story (legend?) of Carl Paladino got even stranger this week when he told the Syracuse Post-Standard that he helped defuse a hostage situation at Syracuse University while he was a law student there in 1970. It's a great story... except for the fact that other people -- and archived press clips -- say it didn't happen (emphasis added):

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Lazio out

Rick Lazio announced today that he's dropping out of the race for governor. Even though he had lost the Republican primary, he still had a spot on the Conservative line. [State of Politics YouTube]

Said Lazio: "While my heart beckons me forward, my head tells me that my continued presence on the Conservative line would simply lead to the election Andrew Cuomo..."

Not that Lazio's a fan of Paladino. He went on to criticize both candidates -- and many of the shots were aimed right at Paladino.

I look at the two major party candidates and I see flawed individuals -- flawed in terms of public character, flawed in terms of commitment to ideas and principles that will restore restore growth and pride to our great state ... I 'll be watching very closely to see if either candidate can prove to me -- and to New York -- that they can rise above the empty slogans and the name calling. ...
I strongly believe that Andrew Cuomo can not bring about change. But I remain unconvinced that Carl Paladino will bring the improvement that New Yorkers need, deserve and want.
The people deserve a civil campaign and a vibrant exchange on the challenges real New Yorkers face. They deserve leaders who are good, decent, responsible people who will put citizens first. They deserve real results from public servants who are accountable for what they say, how they say it, what they don't say and what they truly deliver.

As it happens, getting Lazio off the ballot isn't as simple him saying, "Thanks, you've all been wonderful, I'm out" -- and it looks like he'll be nominated for a state Supreme Court judgeship in order to complete the maneuver. [Daily Politics]

Lazio's exit should clear up the polling picture a bit. The polls from last week that included Lazio had him at 8 and 9 percent. That's not much -- but if Cuomo and Paladino are close, it could have made a difference.

Earlier on AOA: Rick Lazio finished as just a shot glass in AOA gubernatorial beer poll

Client 9, the movie

The trailer is out for the Eliot Spitzer documentary Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer. It's directed by Academy Award winner Alex Gibney.

The early word on the doc has been positive. Spitzer apparently granted Gibney access without asking for editorial control (something Ashley Dupree reportedly wouldn't do). Joe Bruno appears in the film -- he's featured in the trailer pounding a punching bag and looking like a tough guy.

Client 9 debuts in theaters November 5.

It's remarkable how, more than two years after the spitzering, Eliot Spitzer keeps popping up in the conversation. His new CNN show starts up soon. And he's been very willing to say things that grab attention -- like in this segment on CNN this week quote from this week about Andrew Cuomo, and the matchup with Carl Paladino:

Well, what he needs to do is speak to the public and, of course, the problem that Andrew has is that everybody knows that behind the scenes, he has the dirtiest, nastiest political player out there and that is his reputation from years in Washington.

To which Cuomo responded today in Rochester:

That's saying something from Eliot Spitzer. I think Eliot Spitzer's record of performance and honor speaks for itself.

By the way: NYT reports that David Paterson will appear this weekend on Saturday Night Live

[via @rmadeo]

Another day, another poll

cuomo and paladinoA Marist poll out this morning reports that Andrew Cuomo is leading Carl Paladino 52-33 in the race for governor. Rick Lazio registered at nine percent. The poll surveyed "likely voters" and the margin of error is 3.5.

So, to recap this week of conflicting polls:

Quinnipiac: Cuomo leads Paladino 49-43 (out Wednesday)
A poll of likely voters. Rick Lazio not included.

SurveyUSA: Cuomo leads Paladino 49-40 (out Wednesday)
A poll of likely voters. Rick Lazio not included.

Siena: Cuomo leads Paladino 57-24 (out Thursday)
A poll of registered voters. Rick Lazio included (8 percent).

Marist: Cuomo leads Paladino 52-33 (out Friday)
A poll of likely voters. Rick Lazio included (9 percent).

There's been a lot of talk this week about how these polls are put together -- whether Lazio should be included and whether the surveys should be of registered voters or "likely voters." Some experts have argued that it's too early to start sorting people people based on whether they're likely to vote. [FiveThirtyEight] [TU]

Election Day is now 39 days away.

By the way: AOA's completely unscientific "Who would you like to have a beer with?" poll showed Andrew Cuomo up on Carl Paladino 48-43 (Rick Lazio 9 percent). Of course, it should be noted that we didn't include a "none of the above -- please let me drink alone" option.

Gubernatorial beer poll results

gubernatorial beer poll results

Poor Rick Lazio -- his pint looks like a shot glass.

Yesterday Jeff suggested that we poll people on which of the major gubernatorial candidates they would most like to have a beer with. The utterly unscientific results are above (as of about 4:30 pm Thursday). More than 200 people voted.

It looks like a tight race to the bar. And you never know what's going to happen in a race that close. (Will one of the candidates buy? Come on, Carl! You're worth $150 million!)

This could be (probably is) coincidental, but the beer poll results actually match up pretty well with this week's Q Poll that showed Paladino trailing Cuomo, 49-43.

Earlier on AOA:
+ Siena poll: Cuomo still has a big lead
+ Cuomo vs. Paladino -- stop the landslide?

Fine print: This is a completely unscientific poll. Results have been rounded. Margin of error? Depends on how much you drink.

Siena poll: Cuomo still has a big lead

cuomo and paladinoThe 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.

Drinking with Andrew and Carl

pint of beer

The key to electoral success?

After today's post about the seemingly-narrowing race for governor between Andrew Cuomo and Carl Paladino, Jeff suggested we do our own one-question poll.

The question: which candidate would your rather have a beer with? We're pretty sure we know what Jeff is getting at here (you probably do, too -- more after the jump), so let's go with it. And just to mix it up, we'll add Rick Lazio into the mix.

Push all the stuff about parties and policies and platforms to the side -- just on the basis of personality alone -- who would you rather have a drink with?

We'll post results of this completely un-scientific poll at the end of Thursday.

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Cuomo vs. Paladino -- stop the landslide?

cuomo and paladino

For what seems like forever now, the conventional wisdom has been that Andrew Cuomo will cruise to an easy win in the race for governor. And the poll data backed up this view.

Until now. (With a caveat.)

A Quinnipiac poll out today of likely voters reports that Cuomo leads Carl Paladino by just 6 points, 49-43 (margin of error 3.6). And Paladino leads Cuomo among independents, 49-43.

These results are quite a contrast to other poll results. A Rasmussen poll out earlier this week reported Cuomo was up 54-38. And in mid-August, the Siena poll reported that Cuomo was ahead of both Lazio and Paladino by more than 30 points in hypothetical matchups.

It's not surprising that Paladino has gotten a bump after all the attention from winning the Republican primary -- there were people who probably didn't know, or only vaguely knew, who he was before that.

But here's the caveat to today's Q poll: it doesn't include Rick Lazio (nor did the Rasmussen poll). And, so far at least, Lazio is still in the race on the Conservative Party line. And if he stays in, you gotta think he's going to draw votes that would otherwise go to Paladino.

Political stat nerd Nate Silver tweeted today that leaving Lazio out of the poll was "pretty clearly wrong." As of yesterday, Silver's model was forecasting Cuomo had an almost 97 percent chance of winning the governorship. But the model has its own caveats -- among them, it was based on the mid-August Siena poll.

So take all these numbers with a grain or two of salt. There are 41 more days until Election Day.

Cuomo photo: Cuomo campaign Facebook | Paladino photo: Paladino campaign Facebook

Paladino wins Republican nomination for governor, and other primary results

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

+ State senator Eric Schneiderman edged out Kathleen Rice in the Democratic primary for attorney general. He'll face Republican Dan Donovan in the general election. [Bloomberg]

+ 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]

Cuomo crushing

ny governor campaign money july 2010

Things are looking pretty good for Andrew Cuomo -- and pretty bad for Rick Lazio.

Cuomo's campaign reported yesterday that it has $23.6 million in cash on hand. Lazio's campaign? Almost $689k. Yep, that's thousand.

And in the Siena poll out this week, Cuomo was ahead of Lazio 60-28 in a hypothetical gubernatorial matchup. (Carl Paladino, who's trying to get on the ballot to challenge Lazio in a Republican primary, doesn't fare any better -- he loses 64-23 against Cuomo.)

With a lead like that, we might take an RV campaign vacation, too.

campaign finance totals via the NYS Board of Elections

Speed reading the coverage of Andrew Cuomo's campaign announcement

andrew cuomo campaign announcement

Gubernatorial candidate.

Andrew Cuomo has publicly declared that he's running for governor (finally).

Here are a bunch of the quick scan highlights from the coverage, including bits about Cuomo's plan, his apparent cold shoulder toward Sheldon Silver, being an insider-outsider-upsidedownsider and Sandra Lee.

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Andrew Cuomo announces for governor

Andrew Cuomo officially announced that he's running for governor Saturday with a video posted on his website:

From the video message:

Our state government in Albany is disreputable and discredited.
New York State is upside down and backwards; high taxes and low performance. The New York State government was at one time a national model. Now, unfortunately, it's a national disgrace. Sometimes, the corruption in Albany could even make Boss Tweed blush.
In my opinion, politicians of both parties, Democrats and Republicans, share the blame. Both are guilty of playing partisan politics and bringing New York State to the brink.
Because I believe so deeply in the mission of government, I am so troubled by its failure. The Declaration of Independence says when government fails, the people have the right to replace it. Well, New York State government has failed and the people have the right, indeed the people have the the people have the obligation, to act.

Later on in the message, he says: "We want to know how the candidates for the State legislature are going to vote on key issues and we want to know now. Let's make this a litmus test for change."

Here's a transcript of the video. The text is also embedded after the jump.

Cuomo's campaign has posted an issues agenda. Among the main points:

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Yes, usher in the golden age of semi-homemade dinner parties

sandra leeFrom a NYT profile of the relationship between Andrew Cuomo and Food Network star Sandra Lee:

In Albany, which is not known for its cuisine or its social scene, the most anticipated question about Ms. Lee is whether she will move into the governor's mansion and usher in a golden age of dinner parties and cocktail hours. (Ms. Lee creates a new drink for nearly every episode of her show. Her Christmas concoction: a Gingerbread Martini, made with ginger beer, hazelnut-flavored liqueur and butterscotch schnapps.)

As Joshua David Stern notes at Eater, Lee does enjoy a cocktail -- and, when armed with a can of Pam, could have quite the effect on Albany.

The Cuomo-Lee relationship also sets up an interesting possible situation: that the governor of New York's significant other could be both richer and more famous than he is.

By the way: Cuomo is expected to maybe/probably/oh-who-really-knows officially declare that he's running for governor next week. [Bloomberg]

Earlier on AOA: New York's next First Lady-friend?

photo: Food Network

Eliot Spitzer can't stay out of the spotlight

It would appear that Eliot Spitzer is intent on being talked about.

In an interview posted this weekend by NYT, Spitzer said it's unclear whether Andrew Cuomo has the guts to take on tough political fights as governor. He also said he wasn't sure if he would vote for Cuomo.

Of course,there's some history here. Spitzer and Cuomo fought over the Joe Bruno investigation (Spitzer tells NYT Cuomo's approach was a "whitewash"). And Mario Cuomo reportedly said Spitzer wasn't qualified to be governor because he was "a bad man."

The book and the doc

Also stoking the coverage of Eliot Spitzer are Rough Justice, the book by Peter Elkind and the the untitled documentary by Oscar-winner Alex Gibney.

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Andrew Cuomo accuses Pedro Espada of "looting"

pedro espada pointingThe state attorney general's office announced today that it's filed suit against state Senator Pedro Espada for "looting the Bronx based not-for-profit where Espada serves as President and CEO."

Said Andrew Cuomo in a statement: "Taxpayer money was given to this not-for-profit to provide healthcare services to underprivileged patients, but our investigation has found the funds flowed into the pockets of Senator Espada and his supporters."

Among the many allegations: Soundview, Espada's health care not-for-profit, paid for "more than 200 meals totaling more than $20,000 from two sushi restaurants that regularly received orders from Espada's wife and delivered to the Espada home in Mamaroneck."

image: NY Senate

Cuomo hands off Paterson investigation, movie theater planned for Troy, Porco conviction upheld, bizarre chase ends in tasering

Andrew Cuomo has handed off the investigation of the Paterson administration to former chief judge Judith Kaye. Cuomo said a "preliminary review" of the situation concluded "there are credible issues to be resolved." He said he was turning the investigation over to Kaye because of an "abundance of caution, or a zeal to ensure that the public has total confidence in the investigation." (The sharp drop in Cuomo's approval rating in a recent poll might also have had something to do with that.) Kaye has never worked as a prosecutor. She won't be paid to head up the investigation. [NYT] [TU] [Daily Politics] [NY Mag] [NYT] [Daily Politics]

The Paterson administration announced that the tentative agreement with AEG to run a racino at Aqueduct is now off the table. The deal would have paid the state $300 million and revenue from the racino would have helped fund NYRA -- including improvements at Saratoga. That has some now saying that this year's season at The Track could be in jeopardy. [NYT] [TU] [Saratogian] [Saratogian]

Testimony in the Steven Raucci trial yesterday focused an explosive device that attached to the door of a Rotterdam home in 2001. Prosecutors allege that Raucci planted the device in attempt to retaliate over a union matter -- but they say he put it on the wrong house. [Daily Gazette $] [TU]

The Saratoga County sheriff's deputy accused of forcing four women to perform sex acts on him while he was on duty took a plea bargain yesterday. The deal includes six months in jail and a resignation from the sheriff's department. He won't have to register as a sex offender. [Daily Gazette $] [CBS6] [WNYT] [Saratogian]

A $160 million development proposed for the Congress-Ferry corridor in Troy includes a movie theater. The city's planning board also gave the official OK to the new Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, which is now expected to open in August. [TU Places and Spaces] [Troy Record] [Fox23] [CapNews9]

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Speed reading the coverage of David Paterson

paterson with spitzer

In retrospect, not exactly a dream team.

We've read (too) much of the reaction to David Paterson's decision to exit the race for the governor.

Here are a bunch of the quick-scan highlights -- about lame duck status, Paterson's work habits, calls for resignation, the budget, Andrew Cuomo and... yet another SNL skit.

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Toyota recall service in New York

prius stock photo

The 2010 Prius is part of the recall.

The New York attorney general's office announced yesterday that it had reached an agreement with Toyota for "special accommodations" for New Yorkers whose cars are part of the massive recall.

The benefits include:

Pickup and return of the vehicle by a dealership representative or by flatbed truck
Transportation for the customer to the dealership and/or to his or her place of work
Alternate transportation, such as a rental car, a loaner vehicle, or taxi reimbursement, for the reasonable period that the customer is unable or unwilling to use his or her car
Expedited scheduling of repairs

And it's all on Toyota's tab.

A company official told Congress yesterday that it was looking to extend the benefits to all states.

photo: Toyota

Cuomo to investigate Paterson, Bruno sentencing pushed back, guily plea for mom accused of using daughter in burglaries, big snowfall totals in spots

Andrew Cuomo has reportedly agreed to David Paterson's request that the AG investigate Paterson aide David Johnson, the actions of the state police and the governor himself. Paterson announced last night that he had suspended Johnson after the New York Times posted an article in which it reported that a woman had sought an order of protection against Johnson -- and both the State Police and Paterson intervened in some way. [NY Post] [Paterson press release] [NYT]

Joe Bruno's attorney have reached an agreement with the feds on how much money the former state senator will have to forfeit as part of his sentencing. The figure hasn't been released, but it will probably be some portion of the $240k he was accused of receiving fraudulently. Bruno's sentencing has also been pushed to May 6. [TU] [Daily Gazette $] [Troy Record]

The state Senate passed the Family Health Care Decisions Act yesterday. The bill allows a surrogate to make decision on behalf of patient whom doctors have determined lacks decision-making capacity. The bill has already passed the Assembly -- and David Paterson reportedly will sign it. [NY Senate] [TU]

Albany County DA David Soares told the TU's editorial board yesterday that the Albany Police Department is "doing greater work in that department without the former chief there." At a community forum last night, residents suggested interview questions for the eight police chief candidates. [TU] [CapNews9]

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New York is waiting

gillibrand and ford

Voters say they're still unsure about KG -- and even more unsure about Harold Ford.

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.

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Holiday work for SPD union head, bar busted for being jammed with underage drinkers, dog granted order of protection, telethon raises $1.9 million

The head of the Schenectady police union worked for the department on just three days last year -- all of them holidays at 2.5 pay. [Daily Gazette $] [TU]

A state Supreme Court judge has denied the FOIL request submitted by the Daily Gazette and TU for the Schenectady school districts internal report on Steven Raucci. The judge ruled the report was not subject to FOIL and its release could be an invasion of witnesses' privacy. [Daily Gazette $] [TU]

Schenectady County legislature chairwoman Sue Savage is proposing legislation that would require calorie counts on the menus of chain restaurants. Five NY counties -- including Albany County -- and New York City already have such a law. The law would only apply to restaurants with 15 or more locations in the county. [WNYT] [TU] [CapNews9]

The Paterson Administration has finally picked an operator for the Aqueduct racino -- the revenues from which should help fund a bunch of improvements at Saratoga's track. That is, if the money actually comes in. [Paterson] [Saratogian] [NYT]

David Paterson has just $620k on hand right now to spend in a Democratic gubernatorial primary -- Andrew Cuomo has $12 million. But Paterson says he'll raise a lot more. [NYDN] [NY Post]

The smoke-filled room -- which was in Albany this past weekend -- appears to be leaning heavily toward Andrew Cuomo. [WNYT] [TU]

An assemblywoman from Long Island topped the legislature's travel reimbursement list for last year at more than $41,000. [TU]

Saratoga Springs' police chief says budget cuts will make it hard to assign officers to efforts that led to many arrests last year. [Post-Star]

The State Liquor Authority has suspended the liquor license of The Garage, a bar at the corner of Western and Quail in Albany, after a raid last week allegedly found 500 people -- "most appearing to be underage" -- jammed into a space certified for 250. The SLA says the bar had so many it customers it drafted some to be "guest bartenders." The bar's owner wasn't commenting publicly on the raid. The bar is located in the middle of the "student ghetto" -- and the previous operations there have also been tagged for serving minors . [NYSLA] [TU] [Dowd on Drinks]

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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]

The US Census will be hiring 1,500 people in the Capital Region. The temporary jobs will be part time and pay about $15/hour. [CapNews9] [Fox23] [Troy Record]

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]

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Suspended Schenectady cop arrested again, Cuomo to declare in March?, man arrested for 65th time, local pilot flies supply missions to Haiti

Suspended Schenectady police officer John Lewis has been arrested. Again. It's his sixth arrest in the last two years. In this most recent case, he's accused of causing a car accident in the Ellis Hospital parking lot after he allegedly left the emergency department drunk. The SPD first tried to fire Lewis in 1998 for allegedly using a racial slur. The department's waiting for a decision on its most recent attempt to terminate him. [WNYT] [Daily Gazette $] [TU] [Fox23] [CBS6]

A "source close to [Andrew] Cuomo" tells the Daily News that Andrew Cuomo will officially announce he's running for governor in March. David Paterson's campaign manager says "it's clear Mr. Cuomo is running for governor." [NYDN] [NYDN]

David Paterson is apparently going to try again to get the state worker unions to give up their raises this year. [TU]

Colonie assemblyman -- and outspoken MMA critic -- Bob Reilly says he's willing to support a compromise bill that would legalize ultimate fighting in the state if certain restrictions were placed on the sport. [TU]

UAlbany cancelled a cage fighting match scheduled for the SEFCU Arena this past weekend after a state commission said the event appeared to violate state law. [@albstudentpress] [Daily Gazette $]

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Police say home invasions linked to drugs and gambling, Cuomo could wait until April, a familiar robbery attempt

The Albany Police Department said yesterday that the shooting of two men in a Pine Hills apartment last week appears to be connected to sales of pot. The APD said there have been 23 reported "home invasions" in the city over the last year and "illegal activity such as drug sales or gambling." [APD]

An Albany common councilman is proposing a law that would require new city employees to live in the city. The rule wouldn't apply to police and firefighters. [TU] [CBS6]

The Schenectady County DA is backing efforts to keep emails related to the Steven Raucci case from being made public. [Daily Gazette $]

Both houses of the state legislature passed a package of ethics reforms -- and shortly thereafter, David Paterson vowed to veto the bill. The governor says the package doesn't go far enough. [NYT] [Daily Politics] [TU]

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Delmar house burns to ground after explosions, DA says city worker chased down alleged mugger, gun buyback out of money, mansion a bargain?

An explosion badly burned a teenager in Delmar and burned his house to the ground on Saturday (map). Firefighters say they heard two explosions after arriving at the scene. Neighbors say they could feel the explosions. Bethlehem police say they're investigating the possibility that rocket fuel was involved in the explosion. The teen was taken to a burn unit in Westchester County -- an EMT says the teen lost a hand in the explosion. A web site has been set up to help organize aid for the family. [TU] [Fox23] [Troy Record] [WNYT] [TU] [CapNews9] [CBS6]

David Paterson says New York would be "punished" under the health care reform bill moving through Congress. [Daily Politics]

The jurors in the Joe Bruno trial say the experience convinced them that the state needs stronger ethics laws. [TU]

Saratoga Springs' outgoing public safety commissioner is calling for the city attorney to resign after the attorney allegedly threw a folder full of resignation notices at the head of the public works commissioner. [TU] [Daily Gazette $]

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Investigation finds fraud at state forensics lab, Paterson talking about layoffs again, homeless shelters jammed, another bank robbery attempt

A investigation by the state inspector general concludes that Gary Veeder, a former state police forensic scientist, "routinely" failed to conduct a required test on fiber evidence and then lied about performing the test in case records. Twenty-six of the cases were from the Capital Region. State police say it does not appear the fraudulent testing affected any convictions. The IG's report also concludes that Veeder was able to get away with the fraudulent work for years because "laboratory staff's technical, or peer, reviews of Veeder's fiber examinations were substandard, overlooking obvious indications that Veeder had omitted the required fiber test." State police say they're bringing in an outside consultant to address the problem. Veeder is now dead -- he committed suicide at his home in Vorheesville last year. [NYS IG] [Fox23] [WNYT] [NYT] [TU]

The Saratoga County sheriff's deputy accused of forcing an acquaintance to perform a sex act on him while he was on duty has been indicted on 11 new charges. Saratoga County DA James Murphy says three more women have stepped forward to accuse the deputy of similar crimes. [TU] [Saratogian]

Federal prosecutors are predicting jail time for Joe Bruno. [NYDN]

David Paterson says state worker layoffs will be back on the table if state revenues continue to drop. [NYP]

Steven Raucci will stay in jail after a state appeals court affirmed a lower court's decision to deny him bail. The TU and the Daily Gazette are now suing the Schenectady school district for access to its investigation of Raucci. The district has already released a version of the report -- but it was heavily redacted. [Daily Gazette $] [TU] [Daily Gazette $] [TU]

State DEC scientists report that bat populations are down 90 percent in caves where they're studying "white nose syndrome." "We don't have a lot of years to figure this out," says a DEC scientist. [NYS DEC] [TU]

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New York's next First Lady-friend?

sandra leePage Six Mag had a piece this past weekend on the relationship between Andrew Cuomo and his ladyfriend, Food Network star Sandra Lee. Apparently it's all rides on the Harley, watching Ice Road Truckers on the couch and eating lasagna made with canned tomato soup.

Cuomo and Lee haven't said much publicly about their relationship. But it does come up. Lee recently said on a talk show that she would cook in the Governor's Mansion (and bring "great garnishes"). She's said Cuomo is "the most amazing person I've ever met in every way" and referred to his kids as her "weekend daughters."

And the two do sometimes appear together at events together. From Anthony Bourdain's blog post about his encounter with Lee and Cuomo at the Julie & Julia premiere:

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Movement at the Capitol, executives said they didn't know why they were paying Bruno, woman charged for not getting treatment for her dog, school district denies Whalen's appeal

There was movement on legislation at the Capitol yesterday -- just not on the deficit reduction plan. The Assembly passed -- and the Senate apparently is about to -- a bill that reforms the hundreds of quasi-independent state authorities (such as the Thruway Authority). Richard Brodsky, the assemblyman behind the bill, says the authorities have been "rogue institutions" that resembled "Soviet-style bureaucracies" and called the the bill "the most fundamental reform of Albany in decades." [TU] [NYT] [NYO] [NYDN]

And in a display that the Capitol can move quickly, the Senate passed and David Paterson signed a bill called "Leandra's Law" yesterday (the Assembly passed it on Tuesday) that makes it a felony drive drunk with a child in the car. The law also requires that anyone convicted of DWI to have an interlock device installed in their car. The new rules have been described as the toughest DWI law in the country. [NYT] [CNN] [CapNews9] [Wikipedia] [CBS News]

Not present for the last two days of the special session: Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr, who says he's been in the Bronx distributing turkeys. [NYO]

Joe Bruno Trial Day 12: Prosecutors focused on hundreds of thousands of dollars in consulting fees that a series of telecommunications companies paid Bruno -- even though executives for those companies apparently didn't know why they were paying the senator. It also came to light that Bruno helped steer $500k in state grants to a Troy firm connected to two longtime friends/associates, one of whom apparently had a deal with the company to get paid stock in return for helping to score the money (he says Bruno's consulting wasn't connected to the money). A former attorney for the state Senate also testified that he had a "CYA" file to keep notes of his dealings with Bruno regarding ethics issues. And Judge Gary Sharpe scold of the day: "Let the record show the witness made a disgusted glance." [NYT] [NYDN] [TU] [Troy Record] [TU] [Fox23]

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Bruno trial Day 3, shouting over post office closures, seasonal flu still on the way, "water celery" snags development plans, school lunches go local

Joe Bruno trial Day 3: a former official with a Connecticut investment firm testified called Bruno an "introducer" and said the senator brought $140 million worth of investments to the firm. And an attorney for the investment group, testifying with an immunity deal, said Bruno relationship with the firm wasn't vetted by the ethics committee because it was "commonplace." Yesterday also included testimony by NY Daily News columnist Bill Hammond and SPAC president Marcia White, who was once Bruno's spokesperson. [TU] [CapNews9] [Fox23]

Andrew Cuomo announced yesterday that his office has filed an anti-trust suit against Intel for allegedly abusing its monopoly power to keep AMD down. Any penalties assessed against Intel could help AMD, which is the biggest customer of GlobalFoundries -- Cuomo says the GloFo chip fab project in Malta had nothing to do with the suit, though. [NYO][NYT][TU]

The man accused of being the shooter in Troy's Second Street homicide was released on his own recognizance yesterday after the Rensselaer County DA's office wasn't ready for a preliminary hearing. [TU]

More than a hundred people showed up for the public info session about the potential closures of the Pine Hills and Delaware Ave post offices. The crowd included Jerry Jennings, and Common Council members Shawn Morris and Cathy Fahey. The exchanges between the crowd and USPS officials apparently got a bit heated at times. [TU] [CapNews9] [Fox23]

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Thomas found guilty, guilty plea in 40 year old murder, home sales falling through, upstate teaching jobs in high demand, busy beavers causing trouble

A jury found Adrian Thomas guilty of second-degree murder in the case of his infant son's death. The jury reached the decision Friday afternoon after 25 hours of deliberation. Thomas' stepmother says the verdict was influenced by race -- eleven of the jurors were white and one was African-American. Sentencing is scheduled for November 12. Thomas' attorneys say they will appeal. [Troy Record] [TU] [WTEN] [Fox23] [WNYT] [CBS6]

Nelson Costello, the man accused of killing David Bacon 40 years ago in Waterford, pleaded guilty to manslaughter Friday. Recordings of phone conversations between Costello and witness apparently helped prompt the plea. Costello's attorney says his client is remorseful and "almost wants to be punished." Costello has apparently agreed to help officials find Bacon's body in Virginia. [TU] [Saratogian] [WTEN] [WNYT]

There's been yet another report of an attempted abduction, this time in Albany (map). [Fox23] [WNYT]

Archaelogists have found the skeleton of an infant at the former grave site turned up during the Delaware Ave reconstruction in Albany. The remains will be re-buried at a cemetery in Glenmont. [CapNews9] [TU]

David Paterson has scheduled a special session of the legislature for November 10 to address the budget gap. He also wants a joint session on November 9. [NYO] [CapNews9]

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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]

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Stop us if you've heard this before

siena paterson chart

So it goes.

The latest Siena poll is like a replay of the last few months:

+ 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.

Shooting death in Albany, Bruno says he feels vindicated, sheriff says DWI sweep netted mother with kids, forklift used for robbery

Albany Police say a man was found shot and killed at an apartment complex on North Pearl Street late last night (map). There have now been three shooting deaths in Albany during the last 11 days. [TU] [WNYT]

Prompted by the recent spike in violent crime, three Albany Common Council members -- including mayoral candidate Corey Ellis -- called on the city yesterday to implement the recommendations of the Gun Violence Task Force, which issued its final report in January. Jerry Jennings said yesterday that he was tired of people "politicizing the tragedies we are having in the city." [TU] [CapNews9]

While Andrew Cuomo's investigation of the State Police (pdf) did not find evidence of special political unit, the AG's office says it found "several troubling situations in which, at the highest levels of the State Police, political considerations played an improper and determinative role." In a letter, David Paterson said he was concerned about "troubling politicization of certain actions and decisions that occurred at highest levels of the State Police." This investigation grew out of the "Troopergate" scandal -- in which Joe Bruno accused the Spitzer Administration of using state police to spy on him. Bruno said yesterday that the report makes him feel "totally vindicated." [NYS AG] [TU] [NYT] [CapNews9]

The state Committee on Open Government has concluded that the Schenectady School District should have released the entire report produced by its Steven Raucci investigation. [Daily Gazette $]

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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]

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New Yorkers: let's start over

NYS Capitol from ESP

Where's the reboot button on this thing?

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....

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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]

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Plotting and scheming in the state Senate, vote on landfill delayed, Lake George beaches closed, bowling-spectator cop promoted

Today's forecast includes the possibility of severe weather this afternoon and evening. The chance of rain is 80 percent and conditions could include "penny size hail or greater and wind gusts 58 mph or stronger." [NWS] [NWS]

Monday in the state Senate: lots of talking and plotting, but little action. An Assemblyman and a few good government groups are saying that David Paterson could fix the situation by simply appointing a lieutenant governor, and thus giving the Senate a tie breaker. Republicans -- and AG Andrew Cuomo -- say Paterson can't do that. [TU] [NYDN] [Daily Politics]

On a different front, one of the senators has sued the Assembly in an attempt to get it to accept the bills "passed" by the Senate during last week's V8 quorum -- though David Paterson has said he won't the sign the bills even if the Assembly accepts them. [Daily Politics]

Another potential solution that bubbled to the surface yesterday was the idea of co-leadership of the Senate. But it seems the Democrats can't agree with each other, nevermind the Republicans, because many now despise Pedro Espada. And speaking of Espada, he was apparently plotting with the "four amigos" yesterday over lunch at Bongiourno's. [TU] [Daily Politics] [Daily Politics]

The Albany Common Council delayed its vote on the bonds that would fund the landfill expansion. Apparently there's some question as to whether there are enough vote to approve the debt. The landfill could be full as soon as the end of this year. [TU]

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We're going the wrong way

wrong way sign

Turn around.

The Siena poll out today has some interesting -- if not necessarily surprising -- results.

People are still down on David Paterson (though marginally less so) -- but they've also turned against pretty much everyone else in state government (with one exception).

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Albany cop testifies he was yelled at over accident involving chief's niece, Kathina Thomas killed a year ago today, Albany Med gets big gift, Saratoga bike-to-school ban protested

Albany police officer Daniel Condon testified under oath before the Common Council last night that he felt "intimidated" after police chief James Tuffey "yelled" at him over the radio at the scene of a 2007 car wreck involving Tuffey's niece -- Condon ended up not issuing a ticket. Condon was testifying as part of the Common Council's investigation into the ghost ticket scandal. Retired commander Leonard Crouch -- a former head of the police union -- also testified, and accused the council of pursuing the investigation "for no good reason other than personal or political gain." [TU] [CapNews9]

Police say an Albany woman was abducted from her apartment on Elk Street, transported to Troy where she was beaten, and then transported to Schenectady in a car trunk. They say the woman escaped in Schenectady after managing to get the trunk opened from the inside -- a passing driver picked her up and took her to the hospital. Three women have been arrested for their alleged involvement in the kidnapping. A spokesman for the Albany police said the case is like something "right out of a movie or a TV show." [TU] [Daily Gazette] [Troy Record] [Fox23]

Kathina Thomas was killed by a stray bullet in West Hill one year ago today. There's a memorial for her this evening. [TU] [WNYT]

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Poll respondents: when does Cuomo start?

siena paterson 2009-05

Fair to say his public opinion ratings are, uh, less bad?

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.

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Suspected case of H1N1 tests negative, Salt filming continues, acre of garbage revealed, cop crashes through storefront window, bakeries call for cupcake exemption

One of the local suspected cases of the emerging H1N1 influenza has already tested negative. Samples from as many as six suspected cases in the region are still being tested. [TU]

Andrew Cuomo says his office is widening its investigation of kickbacks and other fishy stuff going on with the state pension fund. Andrew Cuomo says "a national network of actors" was involved in defrauding the fund. A handful of people with connections to former state comptroller Alan Hevesi, who ran the fund, have already been indicted. Allegations of wrongdoing at the fund stretch back to at least 2002. [TU] [NYT] [Daily Politics]

A group of politically-appointed attorneys that allegedly maneuvered their way into protected jobs at the state Department of Taxation and Finance have been told by civil service that they need to explain why their jobs shouldn't be revoked. [TU]

The state recently settled a civil rights lawsuit filed by a Schenectady man who said he was fired from his job as a photographer for the state Senate in 2003. The man, who's white, alleged that he had been fired by then-Senate minority leader David Paterson's staff because he wasn't an African-American. [NY Post]

Albany Common Councilwoman Barbara Smith says she wants to know whether it was just a coincidence that a former Albany cop was picked for child porn shortly before he was scheduled to testify about the ghost ticket scandal. [TU]

Filming for Salt continues today through Monday in downtown Albany. Traffic was reportedly all tied up downtown yesterday after filming started again. [TU] [@rmadeo]

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It's all downhill for David Paterson

siena poll graph

November was the high point.

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.

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Stratton talks with Cuomo about getting rid of police force, father charged after whupping, Sundwall off the ballot, CDTA packs 'em in

Brian Stratton met with Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday about the idea of dissolving the Schenectady's troubled police force. Stratton says the AG "wants to help in every way possible." He says one of the options they discussed was the creation of a countywide police force. (Cuomo has lately been pushing for municipalities to consolidate services.) [TU] [Daily Gazette] [Fox23]

The Albany police detective accused of driving drunk through Albany and Bethlehem in January has been indicted on charges of drunken driving and reckless driving. [TU]

Albany schools superintendent Eva Joseph announced yesterday that she's retiring -- she had more than a year left on her contract. [TU]

Albany's city treasurer, Betty Barnette, says the common council's investigation of the ghost ticket scandal is a "witch hunt." Barnette is scheduled to testify before the council next week. [TU]

A Schenectady father has been charged with felony assault after he, in his own words, "whupped" his serially misbehaving 13-year-old son. The father says he "tried the Dr. Phil method," but when that didn't work he "flashed back to old school." [Daily Gazette]

The Three Men in the Room have a reportedly reached an agreement on reform of the Rockefeller Drug Laws. The new laws would give judges the authority to send first time offenders to treatment instead of jail. [NYT]

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State worker layoffs planned as budget gap grows, Tedisco-Murphy debate, Wellington demolition begins, converting ounces to grams

There were two (gulp!) developments yesterday regarding the state budget. First, state leaders announced the projected budget gap for the next fiscal year is now $16.2 billion -- $2 billion more than earlier projections. And then the Paterson administration announced it plans to cut nearly 9,000 state jobs in an effort to save almost $500 million over two years. [TU] [TU]

A state Inspector General's investigation has concluded that a group of Pataki political appointees in the state Department of Taxation and Finance got themselves into protected civil service jobs by tailoring tests and job requirements specially for their own resumes. [TU]

Andrew Cuomo says he's planning to run for re-election as state Attorney General next year -- not governor. "I'm very happy being the attorney general," Cuomo told the crowd last night at a public forum in Schenectady. [Daily Gazette] [TU]

Jim Tedisco and Scott Murphy argued about the definition of pork during their debate last night (full video). (Debate analysis from Bob Conner at Planet Albany.) Earlier in the day they were talking up voters in Saratoga County. And in an email that went out this morning, Barack Obama endorsed Murphy. [TU] [WNYT] [Saratogian] [HuffPo]

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Paterson fans can now be counted on one hand

paterson favorability chart

It's just been one long slide. (Numbers from Siena Research Institute)

OK, that's exaggerating... a little.

A new Siena poll out today reports that David Paterson's favorable/unfavorable numbers are now at 29/58. And when people were asked whether they'd prefer Paterson or "someone else" in 2010, people picked "somone else" 67-14.

Of course, that "someone else" is increasingly looking like Andrew Cuomo (AKA "the hottest thing in politics," according to the Washington Post) . The Siena poll asked about a hypothetical primary between Cuomo and Paterson. The result: Cuomo 67-17 over Paterson. Paterson also loses big to Rudy Giuliani in a hypothetical general election 56-36.

And how about Cuomo vs Guiliani? AC on top 51-41.

By the way, Eliot Spitzer in a Slate piece from Friday: "There has never been a tougher time to be a governor." Heh. Maybe he really has ended up a winner.

Earlier on AOA:
+ Piling on Paterson
+ Everybody hates David Paterson
+ Speculate about 2010? Sure, why not.

Eliot Spitzer surfaces

spitzer on cnnThe former Guv will be talking about Wall Street regulation and his own uh, downturn, this Sunday on CNN at 1pm.

In the interview, which was conducted by Fareed Zakaria, Spitzer reportedly says:

"I have flaws as we all do, arguably. I failed in a very important way in my personal life. And I have paid a price for that."

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Everybody hates David Paterson

Paterson close cropAs 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.

Common council pushes for ghost ticket investigation, new SUNY chancellor, pistol whippings in Center Square, official urges shopping and prayer, Brian Stratton hops a horse in Albany

Four members of the Albany common council say they want to pursue a full investigation of the city's "ghost ticket" scandal. Mayor Jerry Jennings says the city is correcting the problem and would rather see the state comptroller handle the audit. [TU] [Fox23]

The SUNY Board of Trustees is expected to name University of Cincinnati president Nancy Zimpher the next SUNY chancellor today. Zimpher has a reputation has a tough, effective leader. She says she'll open her tenure as chancellor by personally visiting all 64 of the SUNY campuses. [Newsday] [TU] [NYT]

In somewhat gubernatorial fashion, New York AG Andrew Cuomo was making the rounds yesterday in Albany to push for consolidation of the state's many and varied local governments. After meeting with the New York Conservative Party, one member said, "I think we've got a kinder, gentler Cuomo with this guy." [TU] [NYP]

The idea of a tax hike on households making $250,000 and up is gaining momentum in the state Legislature. A similar hike was passed last year in the Assembly and a bill will be introduced in the Senate today. [NYT]

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Special election candidates could spend $4 million total, state worker says he gets $95k for nothing, new baggage scanners at airport, ice cream recall

One expert predicts each candidate in the special election to fill Kirsten Gillibrand's former House seat could end up spending $2 million on the race. The chairman of the Republican National Committee was in Albany yesterday to meet with Jim Tedisco about the race. Scott Murphy, the Democrats' candidate, was in DC earlier this week to meet with Nancy Pelosi and Kirsten Gillibrand. [Daily Gazette] [Troy Record]

The Siena Research Institute reports that consumer confidence in New York State was up a bit last month. The state's consumer confidence is a little lower than the national mark. [Daily Gazette] [Troy Record]

CDTA could get about $14 million over two years from the stimulus bill that's passed the House of Representatives. But the transit org says it's experiencing a "revenue crisis" and the stimulus money would only be a short-term help. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

A state worker with the State Insurance Fund says he's been relegated to a do-nothing $93,803-a-year job because he sued the Pataki Administration 10 years ago. The man says he sued because he was being discriminated against for being a Native American. [TU]

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Speculate about 2010? Sure, why not.

gov primary polling chart

Cuomo's been gaining on Paterson for 2010. (Numbers from Siena poll)

It seems that "playing against type" is working for Andrew Cuomo. Or, at least, it's working for the public.

A Siena poll reports that Cuomo and David Paterson are pretty much even in a hypothetical 2010 Democratic primary for governor (35-33 in favor of Paterson). And Cuomo's favorable rating is actually higher now than Paterson's (64-60).

And when you throw Rudy Giuliani into the mix, things get even more interesting.

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Speed reading the coverage of Kirsten Gillibrand

Kirsten GillibrandWe 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.

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Top Senator final prediction: murky

caroline kennedy

What are her chances? It depends on who's guessing.

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.

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Jury deliberating Kathina case, selection process for Hillary replacement criticized, crash closes major intersection, new life for vacant anchor space at Crossgates?

The jury in the trial of Jermayne Timmons, the teen accused of firing the shot that killed Kathina Thomas, heard closing arguments yesterday before going into deliberations. The jurors were sent home at 9:30 pm and will continue deliberating today. [TU]

The gunman in the I-90 shootout had been on probation after pleading guilty to a handful of charges related to a 2006 robbery in Connecticut. He died Monday night after being taken off life support. [TU]

Jim Tedisco says Hillary Clinton's replacement in the US Senate should be picked by voters in a special election. It would seem that the chances of that actually happening are extremely small. [TU] [AP/Troy Record]

The New York Daily News reports that Andrew Cuomo has interviewed with David Paterson for Hillary Clinton's Senate seat -- though Cuomo's people called the story "factually inaccurate." [NYDN]

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Ice storm knocks out power, violence at Albany High said to be out of control, Freihofers sold, alleged puppy-napping in Troy

Note: The Daily Gazette's website wasn't loading this morning.

Updated: 11:25 am

The ongoing ice storm has knocked out power for about 160,000 National Grid customers in the four core counties of the Capital Region (that figure is from National Grid's website this morning at 11:25 am). National Grid says it has 150 crews in the area working on repairs. [National Grid] [TU]

An anonymous Albany High School employee tells CBS6 that violence is out of control at the school. Among the incidents collected from police reports this school year: a teacher has been pushed to the ground and kicked, another teacher was punched repeatedly in the ribs, there was a three-on-one student beating, and two students hit another student in the back of the head with a padlock. [CBS6]

An anonymous source tells the TU that "ghost" parking tickets have been circulating in the City of Albany since the early 1990s -- and the stickers that marked a car as being eligible for the no-fine tickets were distributed by the Albany Police Officer's Union. Current police chief James Tuffey was president of the union in the early 90s, but he says he never knew about the stickers. [TU]

One upside to the slowing economy: the price of electricity and natural gas is falling. The price National Grid is charging for a kilowatt hour of electricity has dropped about 15 percent over the last year. [TU]

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Colonie facing a lot of red ink, smoking ban proposed around hospitals, Schenectady looking at slick solution for graffiti, chowderfest winners

Auditors for the Town of Colonie report the town is facing a $19.5 million deficit -- that's even bigger than the previous estimates that prompted finger wagging by the state. Town supervisor Paula Mahan says the town is still looking to collect a one-time deficit reduction tax next year. A plan to do that earlier this year was blocked by the state legislature. [TU]

John McCain said last night on 60 Minutes that Andrew Cuomo, who's currently the New York attorney general, would make a good head of the federal Securities and Exchange Commission. [Daily Politics]

Capital Region colleges say they're seeing jumps in enrollment and financial aid requests, possibly because of the state of the economy. [Daily Gazette]

An Albany common council member says he's going to propose a ban on smoking within 100 feet of hospitals. It's not the health effects that have him bothered -- it's the litter. [TU]

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The Scoop

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