Category Archives: Tom DiNapoli

Introductions, The Cuomo Edition



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.

Here’s what Cuomo had to say:

Cuomo Concludes; Chapter 1 (Updated)



Today Governor Andrew Cuomo brought his campaign to a close with three rallies across the state.  He kicked off the day in Manhattan with a very large labor-driven rally at the edge of Times Square.  The rally marked Cuomo’s first 2014 campaign appearance with both Comptroller Tom DiNapoli and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, each of whom are also up for reelection tomorrow.  Kathy Hochul, multi-party candidate for lieutenant governor, was also part of the rally.  Held out on 7th Avenue, the rally stretched at least two blocks (visible to me), with the Cuomo campaign reporting that the rally went for four blocks.

It was a strong showing in support of the four statewide candidates, with many of the leading names in New York’s labor movement speaking.  Among them were George Gresham of SEIU 1199, Stuart Appelbaum of RWDSU, Gary LaBarbera of the Building & Construction Trades Council, Hector Figueroa of 32BJ and Peter Ward of the Hotel Trades Council.

Left unsaid by the labor leaders and candidates, however, was which party or ballot line they’re urging their supporters to choose in voting for all four candidates.  All four are Democrats who also appear on the Working Families Party, Independence Party and Women’s Equality Party ballot lines.  Cuomo has energetically pushed the “Women’s Equality Party”, a ballot line he created this year.  Many see that effort as attempt to draw votes away from the Working Families Party, which counts many of the same unions appearing today as it’s core constituency.

Musical Adaptation:

With the rally held a stone’s throw from the theaters of Broadway, it seemed fitting that Hector Figueroa set part of his rally speech to music.

Update – Cuomo Speech:

Governor Cuomo gave a fiery speech today, harshly attacking Republicans who use “hate” to “try to divide us”.  Our full analysis is here.  Here’s his full speech:

Update #2 – Highlights:

Here’s our highlight reel:

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.

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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.

Dueling Speeches – Comptroller Candidates at the Business Council



Comptroller candidates Tom DiNapoli and Bob Antonacci’s closest encounter ahead of a scheduled October 15th debate was their back to back speeches at the New York State Business Council annual meeting.

DiNapoli:

Democrat Tom DiNapoli is the seven year incumbent, appointed by the legislature in early 2007 to fill virtually all of Alan Hevesi’s term, and elected to his current four year term in 2010.  A member of the assembly for 20 years immediately prior to becoming comptroller, he has well-developed political skills.  DiNapoli has a low profile for a statewide office holder, little known to the public, but is well liked in the political world.  Importantly, he enjoys broad labor support.

DiNapoli barely mentioned his campaign in his speech, saying only that “I certainly hope and I expect to be the New York State Comptroller for the next four years.”  He instead focused on his accomplishments in office, presenting a lengthy list of programs and initiatives coupled with a broader claim to have “restored confidence to an organization that had been dragged into scandal.”

Antonacci:

Republican Bob Antonacci is the seven year incumbent Onondaga County Comptroller.  An attorney and certified public accountant, he has a base of professional expertise well-suited for the office.  He faces steep odds in his race against DiNapoli, however, with a recent Quinnipiac University poll putting him behind DiNapoli 56%-28%.  He has little money, struggling to meet the thresholds under the new public financing regime and thereby receive state matching funds.  He’s received minimal public attention, partly because the office itself receives little and partly because it’s widely viewed as a non-competitive race.  As noted above, DiNapoli is well-liked, particularly by labor, and voters need a good reason to consider drumming him out of office.  While Antonacci has argued that he’ll do a better job and discussed some specific things he would do differently, he hasn’t offered a clear argument to voters for drumming DiNapoli out of office.  Finally, there’s a general similarity between the two in personality and physical appearance that further muffles any strong sense of contrast.

In his speech Antonacci addresses items that he contends “we need to fix New York State”, but it’s aimed more broadly at Albany and state government than directly at DiNapoli.

Our coverage of the gubernatorial candidates at the Business Council includes Astorino’s speech and a Cuomo/Astorino encounter.

Bronx Love for DiNapoli



Bronx Democratic elected officials today endorsed New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli for reelection.  More than a dozen elected officials participated, including County Chair and Assembly Member Carl Heastie, Rep. Eliot Engel, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr, State Senators Ruth Hassell-Thompson, Gustavo Rivera and Jose Serrano, Assembly members Marcos Crespo, Carmen Arroyo, Victor Pichardo, Jeffrey Dinowitz, Mike Benedetto and Jose Rivera and Council Members Andy Cohen and Vanessa Gibson.

DiNapoli’s race against Republican candidate Bob Antonacci does not appear to be competitive, with DiNapoli favored by a 56% to 28% margin in a Quinnipiac University poll released today.  In 2010, however, DiNapoli’s race was by far the closest statewide race, with 115,000 of his 200,000 vote margin coming from the Bronx.

State Senate:

I asked DiNapoli about his own plans for campaigning for Democratic state senate candidates and whether he thinks Governor Cuomo’s actions, or lack thereof, in campaigning for Democratic state senate candidates are sufficient.

Ballot Propositions:

There are three ballot propositions on the November ballot: 1) Creation of 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.”

We asked DiNapoli for his position on each of the three propositions:

de Blasio Press Q&A: The DiNapoli Edition



Mayor Bill de Blasio joined New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli at an afternoon press conference highlighting the City’s tech sector.  The press conference was held at the SoHo offices of Bounce Exchange, a tech company that the New York State Common Retirement Fund, headed by DiNapoli, has invested in.  Ryan Urban, CEO of Bounce Exchange, also participated.

Full Press Q&A:

Questions included City pension fund investments in the tech sector, the process and goals for NYS pension fund investments in the tech sector, minority employees at Bounce Exchange, whether Bounce Exchange hires local college graduates, what steps can be taken to promote NYC’s tech identity, Mayor de Blasio’s personal tech savviness, whether any attempt is being made at rebranding “Silicon Allley”, Mayor de Blasio’s view of the proposed Comcast/Time Warner merger, Mayor de Blasio’s views on the Port Authority, whether Mayor de Blasio has communicated with Jillian Michaels on a carriage horse ban, the mayor’s views on Rep. Michael Grimm, labor negotiations with the UFT, proposed 50 story towers to be built on the site of Long Island College Hospital, why the mayor doesn’t end the use of police horses on city streets and the sentencing of three defendants in the CityTime case.

No Tie Required:

As the press conference concluded Mayor de Blasio modified his wardrobe.