Governor Andrew Cuomo cruised into the Javits Center this afternoon, speaking at a brief opening ceremony for the annual boat show. Cuomo, a self-described enthusiastic boater and fisherman, is a regular at the boat show.
Cuomo’s brief remarks touched on his own love of boating, with a few cracks about hosting his daughters’ dates on boat trips and his brother Chris’s fishing skills. He also spoke of the economic contributions of the boating industry. Cuomo did not take any press questions, going on a “private tour” of the boat show immediately after the opening ceremony. Notwithstanding that the boat show was open to the public, Cuomo’s staff sought to prevent members of the press from accompanying him as he walked the floor.
Governor Andrew Cuomo began a three day, six speech tour today, replacing the traditional State of The State address in Albany with a roving series of regional appearances. He spoke today to an invited audience of approximately 200 on the 64th floor of 1 World Trade Center. Far above any protesters or discordant views Cuomo’s 40 minute speech provided an array of new programs and funding, a congratulatory look at his six years in office and an outline of how Cuomo may seek a prominent national role during the Trump presidency.
Governor Andrew Cuomo offered interesting introductions of some political friends and frenemies today. As he began his State of the State tour today in Manhattan Cuomo noted the presence of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (“doing great work with us, please stand”), Comptroller Tom DiNapoli (“doing a great job”), NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio (“let’s give him a round of applause”) and NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer (“doing a magnificent job”). He’s had significant friction with Schneiderman, although they’ve had a much more cooperative relationship in the past 18 month, a fraught relationship with DiNapoli since Cuomo was attorney general and a dizzyingly difficult relationship with de Blasio.
Perhaps due to an apparent cold/sore throat, Governor Cuomo also referred to “Cardinal O’Connor” when thanking Cardinal Dolan for offering a blessing before Cuomo took the stage.
Governor Andrew Cuomo continued his Second Avenue subway pre-opening tour Thursday, with a preview of the 96th Street station. Trains are not yet running, but the station is close to completion ahead of the expected January 1st opening. Governor Cuomo, who effectively controls the MTA, has been on active round of site visits and unveilings as the line extension moves toward completion. Cuomo was joined by local elected officials, including Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Congressman Charles B. Rangel and his successor State Senator Adriano Espaillat, Assembly Keith Wright, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Council Member Dan Garodnick. Mayor de Blasio did not attend.
Cuomo and Maloney along with MTA Chairman Tom Prendergast spoke to an audience jammed into the station entrance and did a walk-through of the station.
New York State’s Electoral College convened Monday, casting its 29 votes for New York’s home state candidate Hillary Clinton. Led by former president Bill Clinton, the electors met in the majestic state senate chamber at the Capitol for a tightly scripted session without any disruption or deviation. Clinton’s New York victory, expected to be a foundational bloc for her winning campaign, was instead a cruel coda to the disorienting election night experience of an anticipated presidency suddenly vanishing. There were some smiles and applause in the senate chamber Monday, but it wasn’t a celebration. Like a jilted groom recasting the pre-paid reception as a party, New York Democrats could cheer their own victories and predominance in their state but the overriding feeling was the last-minute loss of something so much bigger.
Former President Clinton and Governor Andrew Cuomo were the stars of the show, with Cuomo presiding as president of the convention. They entered the senate chamber together to a standing ovation, after all of the other electors and spectators had taken their seats, later rising to cast their ballots together. Cuomo lauded Clinton during his closing remarks, drawing a standing ovation for the former president.
Will the anger and discontent fueling Donald Trump’s presidential campaign energize a “yes” vote in next year’s ballot question of whether to convene a New York State constitutional convention?
First, some background. Article XIX of the New York State Constitution provides for a ballot question every twenty years of whether to convene a constitutional convention, often referred to as a “ConCon,” with the next such vote set for 2017. If a simple majority vote yes on convening a convention, delegates to a convention will be elected in November 2018 and the convention will convene in April 2019. Voters rejected conventions in 1997 and 1977. Voters did approve a convention in 1965 (on the ballot pursuant to a statutory mandate from the legislature) and it was held in 1967, although voters later rejected the revised constitution produced by that convention.
A convention has the authority to rewrite any part of, or the entire, state constitution, but any changes take effect only if subsequently approved by voters in a statewide election. It’s an alluring prospect to many, offering a chance for a favored change stymied by the governor and/or legislature as well as offering the possibility of a broad reshaping of state government. In reality though, the prospect of a convention has generated strong organized opposition from public employee unions, who rightly fear removal of the constitutional prohibition on reducing state employee pensions, and ultimately fallen to the fear of possible excess by a convention free to radically rewrite the Constitution.
Today’s Columbus Day Parade featured New York’s two most prominent Italian-American politicians, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio. Consistent with their general practice they marched separately. (In an unusual occurrence they marched together last month in the Labor Day Parade.)
Arriving for the start of the parade, Cuomo held a brief press gaggle and then marched with the leaders of the parade organizer, the Columbus Citizens Foundation. Cuomo ignored his own parade contingent, a group that included several elected officials and union leaders marching behind a “State of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo” banner and accompanied by a soundtruck. Cuomo waved to the crowd but only approached spectators and shook hands as he was departing. He departed midway through the parade route, after greeting Cardinal Dolan at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Continue reading →
Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio briefly put aside their differences this morning to jointly visit the site of Saturday night’s explosion in Chelsea. They did not make any public comments or answer press questions during their walk, however, instead holding separate press conferences. Cuomo spoke with the press at the site shortly before their walk, following an initial unannounced site visit by Cuomo, while de Blasio spoke with the press shortly afterwards at NYPD headquarters. de Blasio had also held a press conference Saturday night at the site.
The governor and mayor met just outside the security perimeter at 23rd Street and Seventh Avenue, hugging hello and then moving inside the security perimeter accompanied by aides, their own respective photographers and videographers and a small press pool. They spoke with a few small groups of residents and business owners/employees inside the perimeter as they made their way to and from the blast site. Most of the large press presence observed from outside the perimeter, about 100 yards from the blast site.
Cuomo and de Blasio wrapped up their walk with a visit to a Starbucks just outside the security zone, press excluded. Emerging from Starbucks the pair again hugged, amid a press crush, then parted.
Governor Andrew Cuomo supports former opponent Zephyr Teachout in her current congressional campaign, but he couldn’t quite mention her name today. Asked at an unrelated press conference today whether he’ll endorse Teachout and whether he “hope[s] that she wins” Cuomo replied flatly that “I will support the Democratic nominee for Congress in that District … short answer, yes.” Teachout won the 19th Congressional District Democratic primary in June and faces 2006 Republican gubernatorial candidate John Faso in November’s general election.
Teachout, of course, was Cuomo’s 2014 Democratic primary opponent, garnering an impressive 33% of the vote with a shoestring campaign. Cuomo did his best to ignore her candidacy, not actively campaigning until the weekend before the 2014 primary. In a fitting dramatic twist, Cuomo then literally ignored her when she approached him at a parade as he began overtly campaigning.
Governor Andrew Cuomo returned today to Hostos Community College, a favored Bronx press conference site for Cuomo, to announce $30 million in additional funding for the “Urban Youth Jobs Program.” That program provides tax credits of up to $5,000 to employers for each qualified newly-hired employee ages 16-24. Governor Cuomo was joined by numerous Bronx elected officials, including Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., State Senators Jose Serrano and Gustavo Rivera, Assembly Members Jose Rivera, Carmen Arroyo, Marcos Crespo, Michael Blake, Victor Pichardo, and Michael Bennedetto and Council Members Jimmy Vacca and Rafael Salamanca.
Topics in a post-announcement press Q&A included whether Cuomo will support Bronx Borough President, and Cuomo ally, Ruben Diaz Jr. in a 2017 mayoral run against Bill de Blasio, details on a state program to fund the green card application fees of 2,000 applicants, delays in the Cuomo administration response to the still unfolding Hoosick Falls drinking water catastrophe, whether Cuomo will work to turn control of the state senate to the Democrats, whether Cuomo will sign recently- passed AirBnB legislation, the State’s response to increasingly severe occurrences of K2/spice overdoses and whether he will support 2014 gubernatorial opponent Zephyr Teachout in her congressional campaign. As Cuomo departed he also briefly responded to a question on whether Heastie and Diaz will join the governor’s “Adirondack Challenge” this weekend.
Governor Andrew Cuomo spoke with the press this afternoon, following a Staten Island bill signing ceremony marking the passage of a law intended to combat the growing scourge of opioid addiction. This was Cuomo’s third such appearance of the day, preceded by visits to Buffalo and Farmingdale.
Question topics included Cuomo’s assessment of the recently completed legislative session, details of the anti-opioid law signed today, Cuomo’s recent demand that the MTA address a rise in reported sexual assaults in the subway system and the reported lane Lincoln Tunnel lane closure by NYPD officers ensnared in a corruption investigation.
In recent days Governor Andrew Cuomo has publicly engaged two of the massive transportation agencies he controls on hot button topics, demanding in an open letter that the MTA act to address a recent spike in sexual assaults reported as occurring on the New York City subway system and demanding answers from the Port Authority on a report that NYPD officials ensnared in a corruption investigation arranged for a special escort, with a lane closure, through the Lincoln Tunnel.
On the MTA, Cuomo began with a general discussion of the ongoing capital spending on the subway system and a declaration that “first and foremost mass transit has to be safe.” He appears open to adding MTA police or State Troopers to the subway system, but left it open and subject to an MTA determination and possible request. (The New York City Police Department, under the mayor, patrols the subway and is primarily responsible for law enforcement there. The MTA Police is a force of about 700 which patrols the Metro-North and Long Island Railroads and the MTA’s bridges and tunnels.) The logistical limitations of the the MTA Police and State Police seem to preclude any major such effort. The overlay of the long-running Cuomo/de Blasio frictions would add an additional political layer of complications. Cuomo did not respond to the portion of my question asking whether he views the NYPD’s performance in addressing subway system sexual assaults as inadequate.
I also asked Cuomo whether he’s determined if the news reports of a lane closure in the Lincoln Tunnel at the behest of NYPD officials now ensnared in a corruption investigation are accurate and, if so, what the consequences will be. The Lincoln Tunnel is run by the Port Authority and the Port Authority Police, a force wholly separate from the NYPD. Any lane closure or other disruption would presumably require the actions or acquiescence of the PAPD. The bi-state Port Authority is controlled jointly by Governor Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who has some familiarity with lane closures.
Cuomo does not yet have an answer on the alleged lane closure, nor a time frame for receiving one. When asked for a time frame for answers Cuomo declined, saying only that while he wants an answer he does not want to interfere in an ongoing investigation.
Cuomo spoke with the press following an appearance in Staten Island promoting measures to combat opioid addiction.
Those are extraordinarily powerful accusations that, if true, warrant removal from office and criminal prosecution. Cuomo figures in to this episode because under Article XIII of the state Constitution he holds the power to remove the District Attorney. Cuomo is not responsible for criminally investigating Spota, but he may face a decision to act on removal of Spota.
Spota, in office since 2001, has a growing list of problems. Former Suffolk County Police Chief James Burke, a longtime Spota deputy and hired as county police chief on Spota’s recommendation, recently pled guilty to beating a suspect in custody and then covering up the episode. The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District is reported to be investigating both Spota’s office and a top deputy of Spota’s on “a wide array of allegations.”
Adding to the twists in this story: Spota and Bellone are both Democrats, and Bellone has a strong relationship with Cuomo. Stay tuned.
Here’s Cuomo’s response today:
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