Columbus Day Parade

Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio were among the many elected officials and candidates marching in today’s Columbus Day Parade.  Marching separately, they each held a press gaggle, Cuomo just before marching and de Blasio as he concluded.


Accompanied by his daughter Michaela, Cuomo made an opening statement lauding Columbus Day, the parade and Italian-American contributions to New York.  Question topics included his contemplated trip to Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, his favorite italian food, his position on the three propositions appearing on the November ballot, whether he’s optimistic about his reelection, Italian-American contributions to New York and Mitt Romney’s recent fundraising email in support of Rob Astorino.

de Blasio:

Joined by OEM Commissioner Joe Esposito de Blasio answered questions on the City’s readiness to deal with ebola, whether his reaction to Rachel Noerdlinger’s issues represents a “double standard” and changes in the levying of fines by the Department of Consumer Affairs.

Cuomo and a Justice Agenda (Updated)

Governor Andrew Cuomo continued his recent spate of campaign appearances, speaking to the United Missionary Baptist Association this evening.  While he touted accomplishments and statistics that he uses in virtually all of his speeches, such as the state budget and finances and the number of new jobs created during his term and now existing in the state, he added many other topics revolving around the notion of “government as a vehicle for justice”, saying that “I want to develop the justice agenda” for his second term.  Such a justice agenda would operate on the principle that “government has an obligation to affirmatively attack the injustice” that exists.

Cuomo described New York’s education system as reflecting the reality that it’s “not a just society,” with a tale of “two education systems .. it’s a rich school system and a poor school system.”  Praising predecessor David Paterson’s efforts on expanding state contracting directed to M/WBE businesses, Cuomo touted his meeting and expanding on Paterson’s goals.  Proposals for a second term included a “minority job voucher program” and a “faith based office in the state government … to provide resources” to ” faith based organizations.”

Here is his full speech:

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:

Astorino on Ebola

Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino today called on the federal government to ban airplane flights from West Africa to the United States.  Speaking at a press conference outside the United Nations, he urged a “common sense” approach to the unfolding ebola saga.

Here is his full press conference:

Debating Debates

Republican gubernatorial challenger Rob Astorino’s hope of at least one statewide televised debate one-on-one with Governor Andrew Cuomo seemed to fade even further on Monday, as he declined an invitation to a radio debate which Cuomo had previously accepted.  Astorino announced that he has accepted five televised debate invitations from a variety of hosts and sponsors, but which Cuomo has not accepted, plus an additional multi-candidate debate on Buffalo’s public television station that Governor Cuomo has accepted.

Astorino characterized the invitation which he declined as “not even a debate, it’s a joint radio appearance, an interview.”  He’s been pressing for one-on-one televised debates with Cuomo (here, here and here for example), but the governor has largely ignored those demands. Here’s what Astorino had to say Monday:

N.B.  What would a one-on-one televised debate between Cuomo and Astorino look like? Here’s our version.

Tappan Zee Day

Governor Andrew Cuomo and gubernatorial rival Rob Astorino held dueling Hudson River press conferences today, Cuomo mid-river and Astorino on the east bank.  Governor Cuomo lauded the arrival of a giant crane, dubbed the “Left Coast Lifter” and redubbed the “I Lift NY”, which will be used for construction of the new Tappan Zee Bridge and demolition of the old.

Cuomo Gaggle:

After making remarks on the rear deck of the ferry with the crane and the bridge behind him, Governor Cuomo held a press gaggle inside the ferry.  Camera operators and reporters (well, me at least) periodically lurched about, rolling with motion of the ferry as the governor leaned on a pole, made an opening statement on the “design/build” process used for the bridge and on a proposed “infrastructure bank” and answered questions.  Question topics included the expected new bridge tolls, a toll and finance task force expected to have already been created, whether it’s “overtly political” to not announce new tolls before the November election, whether there continues to be a $3.9 billion cap on the bridge cost, two Hudson Valley state senate races, how the crane was named, ebola and whether he anticipates limiting travelers into New York and Amtrak’s announced plan to close four tunnels for lengthy repair work.  Here is his full gaggle:

Astorino Q&A:

Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino held a press conference shortly after Cuomo’s, just upriver from the Tappan Zee.  He was joined by Rockland County Executive Ed Day and three Republican legislative candidates.  After an opening statement Astorino answered press questions including use of bank settlement money to fund the construction and why not use tolls to finance the new bridge, how he would pay for other infrastructure projects, whether Astorino is certain that Cuomo will not use bank settlement money for the new bridge, what he expects the new bridge tolls to be, whether local residents should pay reduced tolls, whether Rep. Nita Lowey is working with the two county executives, what he would do differently on other infrastructure projects and why he declined a radio debate invitation.  Here is his full Q&A.


Republican gubernatorial candidate, and Westchester County Executive, Rob Astorino has accused Governor, and former HUD Secretary, Andrew Cuomo of “race-baiting” in comments related a long running lawsuit between the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Westchester County.

Here’s a look at what Astorino said and Cuomo’s reaction when we spoke with him in Syracuse on Saturday.

AIG – A Footnote

Six years later the tumult of the 2008 financial crisis remains in the news, with renewed consideration of the Lehman and AIG sagas and of the federal government’s reaction to each.  The financial panic generated by Lehman’s bankruptcy early on Monday September 15th, after being left to fend for itself by the federal government (including the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and the Treasury Department), led to an opposite tack with AIG just 36 hours later.  Their differing outcomes continue to fuel passionate arguments, both in public policy and in courtrooms, with larger narratives sometimes swallowing the actual facts.

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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).




Astorino v. HUD & Cuomo

For a second day Rob Astorino continued castigating Andrew Cuomo for his comments supporting the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in it’s continuing dispute with Westchester County, holding a press conference at New Castle’s Town Hall.  Cuomo lives in the Mt. Kisco section of New Castle.


I asked Astorino about the role of Astorino’s predecessor Andy Spano and Spano’s then-deputy Larry Schwartz in the HUD/Westechester County settlement that is now at issue.  Spano was Westchester County Executive from 1998 through 2009 and Schwartz was his deputy for most of his tenure.  Both now work in the Cuomo administration, Spano as a commissioner on the Board of Elections and Schwartz as secretary to the governor.

Astorino Statement:

Here is Astorino’s full statement, which begins with the statement that “Andrew Cuomo thinks Hillary Clinton’s town is racially discriminatory.”


I asked Astorino about his relationship, if any, with the Rev. Al Sharpton.  Sharpton, feted by Governor Cuomo and many other elected officials last night, is closely allied with the Obama administration.  He remains a polarizing figure to many, however, although some Republican candidates and officials readily engage with him.  In a March sermon in Mount Vernon Sharpton called for Astorino to comply with HUD’s demands.

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: