Grimm Discusses Immigration



Rep. Michael Grimm today voiced a more optimistic view on immigration reform than many of his fellow House Republicans.  He described the existing immigration system as “completely broken” and “unsustainable” and said that on the question of “deal[ing] with those that are here” there’s “more common ground than you think” in the House of Representatives.  Grimm was dismissive of President Obama’s recently announced executive order, but expressed a belief that legislative action is possible.

We spoke with Grimm in Port Richmond, just after he handed out free turkeys to a group that likely included undocumented immigrants.  The distribution was in conjunction with the Rev. Erick Salgado and was held at the site of Rev. Salgado’s church on Staten Island, which was destroyed by fire several months ago.  I began by asking Grimm how a moment like this affects his thinking on immigration.  He did not respond directly on that point, but gave a detailed response on the broader issue of immigration.

Three Cities, Three Gaggles, Three Speeches (Updated)



Governor Andrew Cuomo revved up his reelection campaign Saturday with a three city bus tour.  Visits to Albany, Syracuse and Rochester included a rally and speech in each, followed by a gaggle, the somewhat informal press Q&As in which the press and the subject stand in a tight circle for their back and forth.

Today’s bus tour was billed as a “Women’s Equality Party” tour, with Governor Cuomo focused on his “Women’s Equality Act.”  His reelection campaign has mostly been conducted through the Women’s Equality Party ballot line he’s created for November, with his focus on codifying, and thereby protecting, the right to an abortion.

To start our report, here is video of each of his three gaggles and speeches.  Questions were primarily about the Women’s Equality Party and Women’s Equality Agenda and Cuomo’s comments on addressing sexual harassment throughout society.  Among the other topics were Rob Astorino’s characterization of recent Cuomo comments as “race baiting”, the Vito Lopez matter and it’s handling by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, an Onondaga Lake construction project and the reports of travelers at Newark Airport who may have the Ebola virus (all in the Syracuse gaggle).

Albany:


Syracuse:


Rochester:

Quinn Presses Pay Equity (Updated)



Christine Quinn pressed the issue of pay equity today in her new role as the face of the “Women’s Equality Party”.  Speaking at a press conference at Teamsters Local 237, she continued her recent public efforts at promoting the “Women’s Equality Agenda,” with a particular focus today on the pay equity component of that agenda and proposed law.

Update – Buffalo Jills:

Here is the full question and answer on the Buffalo Jills lawsuit:

Chris, Rob & The Early Arrival



Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino arrived at a campaign event 30 minutes ahead of it’s scheduled start Tuesday, to Christine Quinn’s consternation.

Quinn, former speaker of the New York City Council, is the chief public face of the “Women’s Equality Party”, a ballot line recently created by Governor Andrew Cuomo, and she hoped to confront Astorino with a pledge that Team Cuomo is pushing.  The pledge essentially provides that signatories will support legislation next year on a “Women’s Equality Plan”, covering a variety of issues ranging from pay equity to human trafficking laws to “allow[ing] for the recovery of attorneys’ fees in employment and credit and lending cases.”  Most contentious, however, is a proposed codification of abortion rights.  Should Roe v. Wade ever be overturned, and states permitted to determine state by state whether abortion is legal, that would become a significant legal matter.

Astorino says he supports nine of the ten points in the “Women’s Equality Plan”, objecting to the codification of abortion rights.  Team Cuomo has been pushing the Women’s Equality Party and Women’s Equality Plan in an effort to highlight Astorino’s opposition to allowing abortions, and Quinn sought a face to face moment Tuesday.  Here’s what happened.

Little Neck Douglaston Memorial Day Parade (Updated)



Many elected officials participated in todays Little Neck Douglaston Memorial Day Parade, among them Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Public Advocate Tish James, Comptroller Scott Stringer and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

Update – Electeds on Parade:

We look at the Mayor’s, and other elected officials, reception:

de Blasio & Cuomo Remarks:

In what could be titled “a tale of two proclamations”, the Mayor and Governor each made brief remarks at the start of the parade and each presented their own proclamation to the parade organizers.  Neither took questions.  de Blasio invoked his father’s World War II service and injury, and subsequent struggles, in urging the audience to “never let their memories go” of service members injured or killed.  Cuomo described himself as a “Queens boy” for whom it is a “pleasure to be back on [his] home turf.”  H e declared it “a day to remember that freedom is not free”, noting that “we still have boys in harm’s way.” Their full remarks are here:

Steve & Teddy:

Congressman Steve Israel, chair of the DCCC, met a historic figure.  Every parade needs a little goofiness after all.

Quinn on a Successor (Updated)



At a City Hall press conference this afternoon, Capital New York reporter Sally Goldenberg asked outgoing Council Speaker Christine Quinn for her thoughts on the prospect of the council selecting a speaker who does not support marriage equality.  Here is Speaker Quinn’s response.

Update – Williams:

Earlier, we asked Council Member and speaker contender Jumaane Williams about the weight that his fellow council members should give to his positions on marriage equality and abortion rights in selecting the next speaker.  Williams is alone among the announced speaker contenders in opposing both.

Lhota Post-Mortem: Chapter One



Let’s be clear, and fair:  The mayoral odds were overwhelmingly stacked against Joe Lhota.  Voter registration and demographics alone put him at an enormous disadvantage, giving him little chance of winning.  Absent a campaign collapse by Bill de Blasio exceeding that of Weiner and Quinn combined, a Lhota victory was improbable.

Lhota nonetheless missed a significant opportunity.  He was slow to accept and capitalize on the notion that he needed to convince voters that, despite safe streets and a fairly stable economy, a crisis was brewing and that Lhota would be the right choice to avoid it. When he did accept that notion, he chose the wrong crisis. Continue reading

Lhota’s Election Night (Updated x 2)



Here is the full statement that Joe Lhota made to the press after his concession speech.  The visuals on the concession speech were poor for TV/video cameras, and the campaign provided this additional opportunity for TV/video.

Update – Concession Speech:

Here is Joe Lhota’s concession speech.

Update #2 – Primary Victory Speech:

To complete the record, here is Lhota’s complete primary night victory speech.

Lhota Wraps Up (Updated x 2)



Joe Lhota concluded his campaign today, with his last scheduled campaign event a joint appearance greeting voters with former mayor Rudy Giuliani at 86th Street and Lexington Avenue.  Displaying a sense of relief that the campaign is over, and buoyed by the experienced campaigner accompanying him, Lhota appeared to enjoy his time with voters.  Giuliani reveled in the moment, laughing, smiling and joking as greeted well-wishers and posed for photos.

Update #2 – Rudy Unleashed:

Here’s a special look at Rudy Giuliani’s appearance this morning with Joe Lhota.

Update – Mayor Selfie:

Many people took selfies with Lhota and Giuliani.  Rudy Giuliani, no stranger to having his picture taken, shared some thoughts about selflies.

Press Q&A:

Afterwards, Lhota and Giuliani spoke with the press.  Here is their full Q&A.

Lhota Country



Joe Lhota visited Lhota Country Saturday afternoon; Metropolitan Avenue in Middle Village.  Walking a commercial strip for about an hour, he received a friendly, supportive response.  It was modest in quantity as there were not any arranged campaign events or rallies and the street was not particularly busy, but most people were friendly and supportive, with no visible signs of hostility.

Walking Tour:

Here are a few revealing excerpts from Joe Lhota’s walking tour.

Labor Contracts:

A looming issue for the next mayor are the currently expired municipal labor contracts.  With every city municipal labor contract having expired during the Bloomberg administration, unions are expecting new contracts and significant amounts of retroactive pay.  During a Q&A with the press, I asked Lhota about his role in the budget negotiations of 1995/1996.  Those negotiations produced the so-called “double zero” or “zeroes for heroes” labor contracts, which had no increases for two years.  The day before, when campaigning for Lhota on Staten Island, Rudy Giuliani had praised Lhota for his role in those negotiations.

Joe & Rudy (Updated x 2)



Yesterday Rudy Giuliani joined Joe Lhota on the campaign trail, visiting two senior centers in Staten Island.  Giuliani was the dominant presence, touting his record and the changes he wrought on the City as mayor while slamming Bill de Blasio.  He also fired off the occasional plug in support of Joe Lhota.

Giuliani and Lhota held two press conferences, one at each stop.  This excerpt from their first stop, in Great Kills, captures Giuliani’s message.

Update – Zeroes for Heroes:

In this clip, Rudy Giuliani focuses on the importance of an “independent” mayor, describing “20 years of mayors who’ve been able to say, if it was bad for the city, go to hell.”  In describing the value of a “mayor independent of these unions”, Giuliani noted that  Lhota “helped negotiate” the municipal union contracts that included two years of no raises –  the “double zero” or “zeroes for heroes” contracts of 1995 and 1996.

Update #2 – A Changed City:

The Lhota campaign has not fully figured out how to deal with Mayor Bloomberg.  At times Lhota is complimentary of Bloomberg, even highly so.  At other times, on particular issues, Lhota can be highly critical.  Lhota seems pulled between the reality that he needs Bloomberg-likers as the basic component of any winning coalition he could hope to assemble and his need to offer something new or different.  He’s never embraced the role of an unequivocal Bloomberg supporter, and whether a cause or an effect, Bloomberg has reciprocated.

The late reemergence of Mayor Giuliani reminds us of how the city has changed since he left office.  Among the many ways that it’s changed are the city’s demographics, expectations of how government should operate and in where political power rests.

I asked Mayor Giuliani how he thinks the city has changed since he left office, and how he thinks that may affect the next mayor.