Ballot Propositions – Cahill Edition



We asked Republican candidate for attorney general John Cahill for his position on each of the three ballot propositions on the November ballot. If approved by voters those propositions will: 1) Create a redistricting commission to draw the new state legislative and House of Representatives’ district lines every 10 years, with the commission members appointed by the state legislative leaders, 2) amend the current constitutional requirement of distributing paper versions of proposed bills to state legislators to allow for electronic distribution and 3) authorize New York State to borrow up to $2 billion for school funding, with a stated purpose of “improving learning and opportunity for public and nonpublic school students”, including the purchase of equipment, expanding school broadband access, building classrooms for pre-K and replacing trailers and installing “high-tech security features.”

Cahill opposes the first and third propositions, creating a redistricting commission and approving the bond issue, but has not yet taken a position on the second proposition, allowing electronic bills in the legislature.

Be sure to see the ballot proposition positions of the gubernatorial candidates, the comptroller candidates and LG candidate Kathy Hochul.

Astorino on Grimm



Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino tonight expressed support for incumbent, and indicted, Congressman Michael Grimm.  Grimm, who represents Staten Island and a small section of Brooklyn, faces Democrat Dominic Recchia in the general election.  We spoke at the conclusion of a town hall Astorino held on Staten Island.

de Blasio Press Q&A: The Broad Channel Edition



Mayor Bill de Blasio held a press conference today in Broad Channel, the small island enclave in Jamaica Bay, celebrating the markedly improved performance of the City’s Build It Back program and announcing expanded goals for the program. The mayor briefly viewed a home being reconstructed by Build It Back and then moved around the corner for his press conference. Continue reading

Cuomo Campaigns; The Bronx & Washington Heights Edition (Updated x 2)



Governor Andrew Cuomo campaigned in the Bronx and Washington Heights today, at rallies aimed at Puerto Rican and Dominican-American voters.

Disruption:

The Bronx rally had two disruptions, with the second the more dramatic.  As Governor Cuomo spoke about the DREAM Act, a group of about 8 protestors stood and successively shouted at him.  Cuomo continued speaking, not acknowledging the disruption.

The video sound is as it occurred, unedited and not dubbed.  My camera was plugged into the event sound feed, with the lectern microphone as the sole sound source.  The audio of the protestors is therefor very limited.  As the shouts rose the event staff brought the music back up, as you’ll hear.  The narration is simply Cuomo continuing his speech, with some striking coincidence between his words and the action in the back of the room.

Update – Gaggle:

Governor Cuomo spoke with the press following his Bronx rally.  He began with an opening statement and then answered questions on topics which included the Independence Party (whose ballot line Cuomo is on), the protest at the rally and Cuomo’s efforts on passing the DREAM Act, a recent report that 34,000 people have been designated under the SAFE Act as ineligible to own guns and the prospect of Ebola-related restrictions on commercial flights.

Continue reading

Hochul on the Hustings, Hudson Edition (Updated)



Multi-party candidate for lieutenant governor Kathy Hochul campaigned through the Hudson Valley Saturday, with a “Women’s Equality Party” bus tour stopping in Mt. Kisco, Poughkeepsie and Kingston.  At each stop Hochul announced her (and running mate Andrew Cuomo’s) endorsement of the local Democratic state senate candidate; Justin Wagner in Mt. Kisco, incumbent Terry Gipson in Poughkeepsie and incumbent Cecilia Tkaczyk in Kingston.

These races are highly competitive and are expected to play a central part in determining control of the state senate.  Wagner is seeking an open seat, currently held by Republican Greg Ball.  Tkaczyk faces former state senator George Amedore, who she defeated in 2012 by 18 votes and Gipson faces a strong challenge from Republican Sue Serino.  It’s notable that Cuomo is engaging in these races, although that engagement is tempered by the lack of appearing in person.

Hochul’s Poughkeepsie appearance at Marist College, spectacularly perched above the Hudson River, included Senator Gipson declaring “well that’s a surprise” immediately after Hochul announced the Cuomo/Hochul endorsement.  It may not have been an immediate surprise, seeing as this was a planned campaign stop, but it is a marked longer-term turn of events.  In 2012 Cuomo endorsed and campaigned for Republican and then-incumbent Senator Steve Saland against Gipson.  Saland was one of four Republican senators voting in favor of marriage equality in June 2011, and Cuomo publicly supported all four.

When I asked Hochul about the change from opposing to supporting Gipson, she offered that she and Cuomo “feel very strongly that Senator Gipson will be the vote we need to get the full Women’s Equality Agenda through the legislature.”

We also spoke with Hochul about the three propositions on the November ballot – her views are here.

Ballot Propositions – Hochul Edition



There are three ballot propositions on the November ballot. If approved by voters they will: 1) Create a redistricting commission to draw the new state legislative and House of Representatives’ district lines every 10 years, with the commission members appointed by the state legislative leaders, 2) amend the current constitutional requirement of distributing paper versions of proposed bills to state legislators to allow for electronic distribution and 3) authorize New York State to borrow up to $2 billion for school funding, with a stated purpose of “improving learning and opportunity for public and nonpublic school students”, including the purchase of equipment, expanding school broadband access, building classrooms for pre-K and replacing trailers and installing “high-tech security features.”

Kathy Hochul supports all three propositions.  She’s the first of the five statewide candidates we’ve spoken with to do so.  Her running mate, Governor Andrew Cuomo, supports the first and third propositions but stated that he has not taken a position on the second, which would allow the use of electronic bills in the legislature.  We spoke with Hochul at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, her second of three stops today on a “Women’s Equality Express” bus tour.

Gubernatorial candidates Cuomo and Astorino give their positions here.  Comptroller candidates DiNapoli and Antonacci give their positions here.

Jindal for Astorino



Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal joined New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino at a press conference this evening, denouncing President Obama’s and Governor Cuomo’s efforts at fighting the Ebola virus as weak and ineffective.  Although both are Democrats, Obama and Cuomo do not appear particularly close generally and they have not had a shared public presence to date in the fight against Ebola. They are, however, the respective political targets of Jindal and Astorino.

In their opening statements Astorino and Jindal also focused on a shared target – Common Core.  Astorino frequently criticizes Common Core and pledges to stop its implementation if elected.  Jindal, once a supporter, has significantly structured his putative presidential bid around his opposition.

Press questions were on two broad topics; Ebola and Chris Christie. I asked Astorino and Jindal about Governor Cuomo’s statement today that only the federal government can ban flights from West African countries, not the New York and New Jersey governors as Astorino and others have demanded, and Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye’s statement that no such direct flights arrive at Newark or JFK.  Astorino first called for such ban on October 7th.  As you can see (in the first question) those statements didn’t seem to alter Astorino or Jindal’s views or demands.  I also asked Jindal whether the Louisiana attorney general’s recent effort (supported by Jindal) to block the incinerated remains of possessions of Ebola victim Thomas Duncan from being disposed of in a Louisiana landfill was adding to growing hysteria.  Other questions included whether Jindal has spoken with Chris Christie, who heads the Republican Governors Association about his lack of support for Astorino, whether Jindal would, if he were still head of the RGA, use RGA resources to support Astorino, whether Jindal agrees with Senator Rand Paul that the federal government is being untruthful about the danger from Ebola and what Jindal thinks of Cuomo’s performance as governor.

Here is the full Q&A:

Ballot Propositions – Comptroller Candidate Views



There are three ballot propositions on the November ballot. If approved by voters they will: 1) Create a redistricting commission to draw the new state legislative and House of Representatives’ district lines every 10 years, with the commission members appointed by the state legislative leaders, 2) amend the current constitutional requirement of distributing paper versions of proposed bills to state legislators to allow for electronic distribution and 3) authorize New York State to borrow up to $2 billion for school funding, with a stated purpose of “improving learning and opportunity for public and nonpublic school students”, including the purchase of equipment, expanding school broadband access, building classrooms for pre-K and replacing trailers and installing “high-tech security features.”

I’ve asked comptroller candidates Tom DiNapoli and Bob Antonacci for their positions on each of the propositions.  DiNapoli opposes the first proposition, supports the second and  refrains from offering a view on the third citing his office’s role should that proposition be approved.  Antonacci opposes the first and third propositions, the redistricting commission and school bond issue, but supports the second proposition allowing electronic bills in place of paper bills in the state legislature.

I spoke with DiNapoli on October 8th, as he was endorsed by a large group of Bronx Democratic elected officials, and I spoke with Antonacci immediately after their televised debate Wednesday night.

N.B.  Gubernatorial candidate views on the ballot propositions are here.

Cuomo Discusses Cuomo



Governor Andrew Cuomo ventured into personal territory Wednesday, albeit in his own unemotional manner.  He attended a book signing for his newly published memoir at the Union Square Barnes & Noble, autographing copies for approximately 100-150 people.

He spoke for about 5 minutes before sitting and signing, describing the “three basic stories” covered in his book.  First among them was the “very personal … story of the darkest, most difficult time” of his life around his 2002 electoral defeat and subsequent divorce.  Additionally, by his telling, the book covers the story of “what we did in government” and the story of his father, former governor Mario Cuomo, and how he came into politics.

Here are his full remarks:

de Blasio Returns to Far Rockaway



Mayor Bill de Blasio returned to Far Rockaway Wednesday, unveiling two jobs initiatives while visiting a Sandy recovery/jobs fair.  He announced a “Build it Back Local Hiring Initiative,” requiring Build it Back contractors to post job opportunities and give residents of Sandy-impacted neighborhoods first priority to register for job opportunities, and a “Rockaways (sic) Economic Advancement Initiative” providing expanded services to job seekers.  The jobs fair was the product of a July promise by Amy Peterson, Director of the Office of Housing Recovery.

de Blasio has spoken in very broad terms of the opportunity that the Sandy recovery effort provides “to not just right the wrongs of Sandy, but start righting some greater wrongs“, and he continued that theme Wednesday.  Pledging to put forth a “holistic development plan” and to “undo a lot of what done wrong in the past” on Rockaway’s economic development, de Blasio said that he will make “some more announcements in the coming months … that are specific and then thereafter you’re going to see a much bigger plan.”

Topics during the Q&A portion of his press conference included the looming discontinuance of the Rockaway ferry, a broad consideration of his earlier statement about “righting greater wrongs,” what happened to government funding for a ferry obtained by Anthony Weiner and Joe Addabbo, whether there is any City effort to “track down scammers” in the Build it Back program, how satisfied de Blasio is with the pace of Build it Back, whether an updated evacuation plan is contemplated in conjunction with increasing the housing supply in Rockaway and a government memo reported by The Wave which stated that more money was available from FEMA than publicly acknowledged and that such additional funding could be a political liability.  Here is the full Q&A: