Statewide Candidates on Ballot Propositions



We’ve asked each of the Democratic and Republican candidates for governor, comptroller and attorney general for their positions on the three November ballot propositions.

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.”

Here’s what the candidates had to say:

Governor:

When I asked Governor Cuomo for his positions, on October 13th, he said that he had yet to take a position on Prop 2.  We’ve included his October 23rd response to another reporter in which he gives a position on Prop 2.

Continue reading

The Forgotten Parties



Governor Andrew Cuomo has campaigned actively on only two of his four ballot lines; the Democratic Party and Women’s Equality Party lines, publicly ignoring the Independence and Working Families Party lines.

At recent press Q&A’s I’ve asked Cuomo about his two neglected lines.  When I asked him what the Independence Party means to him, Cuomo replied “just what it says” and then launched into a description of his four ballot lines.  On Saturday, at a Women’s Equality Party rally, I asked Cuomo whether he plans to campaign actively on the Working Families Party Line.  “I’m campaigning actively, that’s what I’m doing out here.”  When I noted that he’s appeared at Democratic Party and Women’s Equality Party events and began to ask if he plans to appear at any Independence or Working Families Party events, he replied “people can vote for me on any line that they want to vote for me.”

de Blasio Press Q&A: The Sandy Anniversary Edition



Mayor Bill de Blasio marked the second anniversary of Hurricane Sandy with a press conference on the beach in the Midland Beach section of Staten Island.  Earlier, he had participated in a home rebuilding in Coney Island.

de Blasio was joined at the press conference by members of his administration, including Amy Peterson, Dan Zarelli, Mitch Silver and Bill Goldstein, and elected officials including state senators Diane Savino and Andrew Lanza, council members Steve Matteo and Alan Maisal, Borough President Jimmy Oddo and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

We’ve divided the video of his Q&A as de Blasio did during the press conference; Sandy-related, Ebola-related and off-topic.

Sandy:

Ebola:

Off-topic:

de Blasio and a Rockaway Plan



Mayor Bill de Blasio has recently spoken about a broad plan for economic development and transportation improvements in Rockaway.  He’s spoken only in very general terms, however, without offering any details or more than a vague timeline.

He first discussed it at a press conference in Far Rockaway on October 15th, offering that he anticipates putting forth a “holistic development plan” that will outline a “long term vision for the economic growth of the Rockaways and the transportation to go with it.”  When I asked about the timing, he responded that “you’re going to hear some more announcements in the coming months related to the Rockaways that are specific and then thereafter you’re going to see a much bigger plan … I think that’s something you’re going to see next year.”  Today the Mayor responded that a plan, or at least elements of a plan, would be released “in the coming weeks and months.”

It’s unclear precisely what the Mayor intends, but his words clearly, indeed expressly, create big expectations.

One note – the Mayor’s schedule for Thursday includes “a meeting at City Hall with administration and elected officials to discuss Rockaway redevelopment.”  That’s consistent with recent reports that Rockaway elected officials seeking to stave off the looming end of Rockaway ferry service would meet with de Blasio.  His schedule gives a broader cast to that meeting, “Rockaway redevelopment,” rather than just ferry service.

Here’s video of his recent comments:

Astorino in Rockaway



Rob Astorino returned to Rockaway today, touring Beach 116th Street on the two year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy.  As his visit wrapped up, he spoke with reporters at the beach end of Beach 116th.

Q&A Excerpts:

Here are selected excerpts.  Among the question topics are transportation infrastructure, Governor Cuomo’s lack of appearances in Rockaway, what he would do differently concerning the state’s Sandy recovery efforts and whether he views Governor Cuomo’s heavy use of official events as “abusing the power of his office.”

Republican Electeds Support:

I asked Astorino about the limited support that he’s received from Republican elected officials.

Our coverage of Astorino’s prior visits to Rockaway are here and here.

Cuomo In Oakdale (Updated)



Governor Andrew Cuomo hosted a Sandy-themed presentation at the Oakdale campus of St. Johns University this afternoon, along with Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, Congressman Tim Bishop, Southhampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst, Environmental Facilities Corp. President Matt Driscoll, Stony Brook University Samuel Stanley and DEC Commissioner Joe Martens.  The presentation described Sandy-related projects underway, including a $380 million project to improve the sewer service in Suffolk, $880 million to improve the Bay Park sewage treatment plant in Nassau County and a newly-announced project to conduct research on nitrogen loading.

Press Q&A:

Contrary to his recent gaggles, Ebola was only a modest part of the gaggle.  Sandy figured prominently in the questions and in his opening statement.  Here is Governor Cuomo’s full Q&A session with press:

Update – Ebola Excerpts:

The gaggle featured three Ebola-related questions.  The first was whether there is confusion concerning the evolving quarantine policy and whether there is any “daylight” between New York and New Jersey on that policy, the second asked whether he’s concerned about differing CDC and state policies and whether those differing policies send a “mixed message.”  The final Ebola question concerned travelers “grabbing a connecting flight” and how the quarantine policy will apply to them.

Cuomo essentially repeated his points of yesterday, asserting that his policy has been consistent as “announced” on Friday and later “detailed.”  He noted that the United States Army has adopted a 21 day isolation policy for soldiers returning from the Ebola zone and, pointedly observing that the CDC has yet issue a policy, asserted that the “CDC should talk to the Army … and work it out with them first.”

Concerning the question of whether or how passengers transiting through the Port Authority airports (and presumably meeting the other quarantine policy standards) will be treated, Cuomo replied “that’s gonna then depend on the jurisdiction, the home jurisdiction.”  It’s unclear what he meant or whether the Port Authority has a clear policy for dealing with such passengers.

This video excerpt has the three Ebola-related questions and answers:

Cuomo Pushes School Bond Proposal



Governor Andrew Cuomo today promoted the proposed $2 billion school bond issue appearing on the November ballot.  Cuomo created a “Smart Schools Commission” in April to advise on how to spend the $2 billion proceeds of the proposed bond issue, and the commission formally delivered it’s report to the governor today.

The discussion at the commission’s presentation was all about technology in schools, with the greatest emphasis on broadband access.  The ballot proposition, if approved, would also permit using the bond proceeds “[t]o construct, enhance, and modernize educational facilities to accommodate pre-kindergarten programs and provide instructional space to replace transportable classroom units” and “[t]o install high-tech security features in school buildings and on school campuses.”  According to allocations posted on the governor’s website (which list the amounts for every school district) New York City will receive $783 million of the $2 billion bond proceeds.

After each of the commission members made remarks, Governor Cuomo spoke about the commission and ballot proposal.  Here are his remarks, albeit with his introductory comments omitted.

Ed Mangano:

Governor Cuomo gave an enthusiastic introduction of Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano.  A Republican, Mangano crossed party lines to endorse Cuomo for reelection and star in a TV commercial for Cuomo.  Cuomo is, of course, running against another Republican county executive.  Mangano has twice defeated Democrat Tom Suozzi, an erstwhile Cuomo electoral rival.

Cuomo Defends Quarantine (Updated)



Governor Andrew Cuomo today staunchly defended his modified Ebola-related quarantine plan.  Speaking to reporters after an event promoting the proposed school bond issue on the November ballot, he spoke at length about his plan, terming it “entirely reasonable” and describing his primary responsibility as acting “to protect the people of the state of New York.”

At an unusual Sunday night press conference, held with Mayor Bill de Blasio, Cuomo had softened the terms of proposed quarantines to allow for a loose home quarantine.  As set out Sunday night, persons who had contact with Ebola patients in three specified West African nations would be restricted to their homes, but allowed contact with their family/household and visitors.

Press Q&A:

Here’s the full press Q&A:

Update – Read My Book:

Toward the end of his Q&A, Governor Cuomo made a quip about his recently published memoir.  He had repeatedly discussed the 21 day quarantine requirement, emphasizing the somewhat softened quarantine conditions.  (The comment happens at about 15:25 of the full Q&A.)

Governor Cuomo’s full press Q&A from Sunday night is available here.

Ebola Quarantine Rollback



In an unusual Sunday night press conference, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio presented a softened version of the Cuomo/Christie Ebola quarantine plan.  At a solo press conference Sunday afternoon de Blasio had essentially accepted the Cuomo/Christie, although he urged a softer approach.  Joined by New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker and New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Travis Bassett, Cuomo and de Blasio presented a plan that now requires persons exposed to Ebola victims in three West African nations to “set-quarantine” at home or in quarters provided by the state under looser rules and restrictions.

Q&A:

Here is the extended Q&A:

Let’s Move On



“Let’s move on” was the essence of Mayor de Blasio’s message in discussing the joint New York/New Jersey Ebola-related quarantine policy announced late Friday by Governor Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie without advising Mayor de Blasio.  This evening, at a Bellevue Hospital press conference, de Blasio made clear both that he was not part of creating or implementing that policy, but also that he accepted it and the state government’s authority to institute it.

Here’s what he said when asked directly about it:

He did, however, harshly criticize the treatment of a nurse forcibly quarantined by the New Jersey:

Ebola Politics



In a democratic society where government leaders are selected through political elections, fully separating politics from policy is never possible.  It’s important to try, however.  That notion applies to the unfolding problem of the emergence of Ebola in New York.  There’s no absolute script to follow, and it’s important and fair that government officials should be given room to adjust and change their plans and actions as they digest new information and problems.  Governor Cuomo’s statement that “this is just evolving and we’re just learning and you adjust to the facts as you learn them” is reasonable.  One of his most recent actions, however, has looked more politically focused, due to the manner and circumstances of his announcing it. Continue reading

James, Astorino & Bull Connor



At a Cuomo campaign rally in Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy, New York City Public Advocate Letitia James compared Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino to Bull Connor, the infamous Commissioner of Public Safety in Birmingham Alabama who unleashed fire hoses and attack dogs on civil rights marchers in the 1960’s.  After the rally I asked Governor Cuomo, who was on stage as James spoke, whether he shared that view.

Cuomo and Astorino have often exchanged barbs around a lawsuit by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development against Westchester County, where Astorino is County Executive.  Astorino has previously accused Cuomo of “race-baiting” in comments about the lawsuit.

More coverage from the rally is here.