Republican Manny Alicandro launched his campaign for attorney general last week, appearing on Wall Street in front of Federal Hall. Alicandro’s appearance was low wattage, without a backdrop of supporters and a limited showing of party leaders with one Republican county chair, Mike Rendino of the Bronx, and two Conservative Party chairman, Tom Long of Queens and Gerard Kassar of Brooklyn joining him.
The race was transformed hours later as incumbent attorney general Eric Schneiderman suddenly resigned, shortly after The New Yorker reported on multiple allegations of assault by Schneiderman against romantic partners. Schneiderman had been widely viewed as virtually certain to be reelected to a third term, and the Republican Party had found little interest from potential candidates. At his launch Alicandro appeared to likely be the only candidate for the Republican and Conservative Party nominations, but additional prospective candidates have surfaced in the wake of Schneiderman’s resignation. Continue reading Alicandro Launches→
Gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon appeared at a Union Square rally following the Pro-Cannabis Parade last Saturday, urging full legalization of marijuana. Speaking to about 1,000 people Nixon cast her support as primarily driven by racial disparity in marijuana arrests, declaring that “I want to do it first and foremost because it’s a racial justice issue.”
Legalization has moved close to, if not quite right inside, the political mainstream in recent years. It’s still somewhat outside that mainstream with New York elected officials however, and that distance was reflected in the paucity of electeds and candidates appearing at this rally. Although the rally was fairly heavy on gubernatorial candidates, with Nixon, Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins and Reform Party hopeful Joel Giambra appearing, neither Andrew Cuomo or Marc Molinaro appeared or have voiced support for full legalization. Assembly Member Dick Gottfried, who proudly touted his 1975 bill that decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana, and Council Member and candidate for lieutenant governor Jumaane Williams also spoke.
The Working Families Party endorsed Cynthia Nixon for governor and Jumaane Williams for lieutenant governor, rejecting its 2014 path of political accommodation and instead supporting Nixon and Williams over Governor Andrew Cuomo and Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. The 2014 endorsements were contentious, with a pragmatic view of the utility of supporting Cuomo’s reelection overcoming the ideological kinship many in the party had with Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu. Several large unions have left the WFP since then however, with 32BJ and CWA withdrawing just ahead of the Nixon endorsement.
New York elected officials flocked to Park Avenue to support 32BJ SEIU in its contract talks with building owners. Thousands of 32BJ SEIU union members gathered for a rally featuring speeches from many of those elected officials and culminating in a vote to authorize a strike should negotiations fail. Elected officials attending included Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Public Advocate Tish James, Comptroller Scott Stringer and many state and city legislators.
Governor Andrew Cuomo touted the reunification of New York State Senate Democrats, bringing ostensibly erstwhile rivals Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Jeff Klein together in a press conference. Stewart-Cousins, the head of the “mainline” Senate Democrats and Klein, head of the Independent Democratic Conference or IDC, pledged unity and cooperation during a press conference Wednesday in Cuomo’s Manhattan office.
An Air Force helicopter pilot, a New York City fire marshal and former fire fighter and a newly-minted attorney were commemorated with a memorial service in Washington Square Park and a celebration in a nearby NYU auditorium Thursday. Remarkably it was one man who filled all of those professional roles, at the age of 37.
Christopher “Tripp” Zanetis died in Iraq, piloting a helicopter while on active duty with the 106th Rescue Wing of the Air National Guard. He had been called up in January, a few months after graduating from Stanford Law School and joining the law firm Debevoise & Plimpton as an associate. His professional career began with the New York City Fire Department, first as a fire fighter and then as a fire marshal. Adding to the multiple intersecting layers of his life reflected in the memorial service, Zanetis graduated from NYU and worked in a nearby firehouse during his FDNY career. Continue reading Photo Gallery: Zanetis Memorial→
FDNY Lieutenant Michael Davidson was laid to rest Tuesday, with thousands of firefighters and others attending his funeral at Manhattan’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Davidson, whose father is a retired FDNY firefighter and whose brother is a current FDNY firefighter, died fighting a five alarm fire in Harlem Thursday night. Davidson’s survivors include his wife Eileen and their four children, ages 7,6,3 and 1.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, Public Advocate Tish James, Comptroller Scott Stringer and Council Speaker Corey Johnson attended the funeral, with de Blasio and Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro giving eulogies. Council Members Bob Holden, Jimmy Van Bramer, Keith Powers and Joe Borelli, Rep. Dan Donovan and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer also attended.
Joe Percoco, former top aide to Governor Andrew Cuomo, was convicted today on three of the six bribery charges he faced in a federal trial. Percoco emerged from the courthouse with his attorneys, stopping to briefly speak with the assembled press before walking across Foley Square to the subway.
Governor Andrew Cuomo and former vice president Al Gore appeared together at NYU Friday in an environmental protection themed presentation. Cuomo announced that he has formally requested that New York be excluded from the federal government’s expansion of offshore oil and gas drilling access and touted several other initiatives that he’s undertaken as governor.
A helicopter crashed in the East River Sunday evening, killing five of the six persons aboard. The crash, at about Manhattan’s 88th Street and close to Gracie Mansion, triggered an enormous rescue effort from the NYPD and FDNY. The pilot survived, but all five passengers died.
The helicopter sank shortly after crashing, but the crew of a nearby tugboat lashed the wreckage to the tug. NYPD and FDNY rescue crews worked to extract the victims as the tug and helicopter floated downstream, with the five passengers brought ashore at the 36th Street ferry dock in Manhattan.
We caught up with Joe Percoco this afternoon as he departed from his federal corruption trial on a small bit of good news for him. Today the jury, after several partial days of deliberation, advised the court that it is deadlocked and several jurors asked to be released from further service. Judge Valerie Caproni directed the jury to continue deliberating, although she released them early for the day and cancelled deliberations on Wednesday as a significant snowstorm is expected.
Percoco and his attorneys exited the federal courthouse at 40 Centre Street, with attorney Barry Bohrer speaking briefly with the press before the group headed across Foley Square to the subway. Percoco listened as his attorney spoke, but offered no comments of own.
Fresh, sunny in places. That’s how an Irish weather forecast might have described Rockaway Saturday afternoon as strong winds, cool temperatures and mostly bright skies greeted the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The parade kicks off a month of St. Patrick’s Day parades around the region.
Attendance by both elected officials and spectators was light this year, with a handful of Queens elected officials appearing. Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, NYS Senator Joe Addabbo, Assembly Members Stacey Pheffer Amato and Michael DenDekker and Council Member Eric Ulrich marched, receiving a friendly reception. Mayor de Blasio, Comptroller Scott Stringer, Public Advocate Tish James and Council Speaker Corey Johnson did not attend, although James was reported to have attended the pre-parade breakfast. Senator Chuck Schumer has often attended past Rockaway parades, but neither he nor any other statewide elected official attended.