Tag Archive: New York

Jun 24 2011

NYS Legislature Passes A Bill (Up Dated)

Yes, the New York State legislature passed a really important bill yesterday fixing a long neglected problem of importance for the all New Yorkers. No, it was not the Marriage Equality Bill that would allow same sex marriage in New York. It was naming Sweet Corn as the official state vegetable. Just what we need in NY, more starch in our diets. Meanwhile, we are still waiting for equality for our GLBT brothers and sisters.

Up Dated: We’re getting there. I’ll keep you posted.

NY pols begin to clear way for gay marriage vote

May 24 2011

NY-26: Election Day: Up Dated: Congratulations Congresswoman-elect Hochul

Voting has started in Western New York House District 26 to replace Craig’s list Republican Christopher Lee. The strongly Republican district is expected to flip to Democratic blue because of the Republican melt down over Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget bill which wold end Medicare and decimate Medicaid. So far the Democratic candidate, Kathy Hochul, has a comfortable lead in the polls over Republican choice Jane Corwin and the 78 year old perennial candidate, Jack Davis, who is running on the Tea Party line. All eyes are on this race since it is likely to be the template for coming elections in the national debate over the Ryan budget despite House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s protests that this is not a referendum on that bill.

Democrats should not get too comfortable and I’m sure they’re not, this can always go the other way. Politico will be watching five factors in this race tonight:

The Davis effect

There’s probably no more critical factor in the race than Jack Davis, the Democrat-turned-tea-party-candidate who’s spent nearly $3 million of his own funds casting himself as an independent-minded outsider who will save the Buffalo area’s blue-collar workers from losing their jobs to China.

Erie County Democrats

Simply put, Hochul needs to rack up a big margin in her home base of Erie County, the district’s population center and the portion of the district in which Democrats have performed most strongly in recent congressional races.

Rural Republicans

Corwin is looking to make up for her expected Erie County deficit with a large turnout in the district’s more GOP-friendly rural counties, such as Wyoming and Livingston, which in previous years provided sizable margins for former GOP Reps. Chris Lee and Tom Reynolds.

The senior set

There’s little question that Democrats have succeeded in focusing the race on the future of Medicare – an issue that’s critical in the minds of senior voters who heavily populate the district and are among those most likely to vote in a special election.

The expectations game

Just as important as any tactical factors will be who finishes ahead in what has emerged as a vigorous spin war. With the race emerging as a preview of the 2012 campaign and the first political litmus test for the Republican budget push, the stakes couldn’t be higher.

The polls close at 9 PM. I will be phone banking for Kathy Hochul for most of the day. I’ll up date later as the results come in. Best of luck to Kathy.

Special Election Streaming Video

Up Date 10:45 PM EDT:

Hochul: “We are all future seniors”

Up Date 10:26:

Corwin has conceded to election to Kathy Hochul.

Up Date 10:10 PM EDT: While AP has called the race for Hochul with a 4000+ vote lead, other are saying “not yet”. Two counties Eerie and Orleans results are lagging and there are 6000 absentee ballots that will need to be counted.

From David Weigel:

9:57: Genesse and Orleans counties are dragging, but look at where the outstanding precincts are. Of the 212 precincts out, 46 are in Erie, where Hochul is winning easy and racking up her margin. Thirty-eight are in Niagra: Also Hochul turf. Only 3 are in Monroe, where Corwin needed to cancel out the Hochul margin from Erie but the candidates are tied. The remaining precincts, 115 of them, are from the GLOW counties. Corwin needs to find a 4,000-vote margin with this map. It’s not happening.

Up Date 10:00 PM EDT: From AP Results:

With 66% precincts reporting: Hochul 48% – Corwin 43%

Up Date 9:50 PM EDT: From Bloomberg via Twitter:

Buffalo NBC reporting Hochul is winning Orleans Co 54%-38% with 84% in; county went for McCain 57-41% http://bit.ly/jEM75Y

Up Date 9:40 PM EDT:

From AP results: Hochul 48% – Corwin 42% with 45% of precincts reporting.

Up Date: 9:25 PM EDT: With just 3% of the precicts reporting Hochul leads by 4%.

From David Weigel At Slate:

9:21: Votes from Erie are trickling in, and Hochul is racking up an 18-point margin. Keep in mind, though, that Jack Davis won this county by 10 points in 2006.

Up Date: 7 PM EDT: From David Dayen  at FDL, the “fun” has already begun before the polls have closed and the first ballot counted which smacks of desperation by Republican Jane Corwin. Let’s hope that the margin is so big that she won’t be able to utilize this delaying tactic

Corwin granted court order barring certification of winner

   Jane L. Corwin this afternoon obtained a court order from State Supreme Court Justice Russell P. Buscaglia barring a certification of a winner in the special 26th Congressional District race pending a show-cause hearing before him later this week […]

   Chris Grant, a spokesman for the Corwin campaign, said the court action “is very typical” in such close elections.

   “We recognize the closeness of the race and we want to make sure that every legal vote is counted fairly and accurately,” Grant said.

   Paul B. Wojtaszek, Buscaglia’s law clerk, said such prospective court actions are permissible under the state’s Election Law when a close vote is borne out by pre-voting polling.

.

And on a comedic note from David:

(Ian) Murphy is the Green Party candidate for this Congressional seat, but in a stunt, he posed as a campaign worker for Corwin and actually made phone calls on her behalf yesterday. The response shouldn’t be encouraging to the Republican candidate:

   “Hi, sir, my name’s Steve and I’m a volunteer for the Jane Corwin campaign-”

   “Jesus!” a guy screams at me. “You know, I was thinking about voting for Corwin, but this is too much! You people have called me a dozen times in the last two days! I am sick of it!”

   “But Jane Corwin wants to rule over you with an iron fist,” I calmly relay. “Don’t you crave strong leadership?”

   “What?!” he balks. “An ‘iron fist’?”

   “Yes,” I assure him. “These phone calls are just the beginning. When Jane’s in Congress she will do everything in her power to crush you mentally and physically.”

   “Don’t call me again!” he says and slams down the receiver.

I needed a laugh. Everyone that I have called was friendly & cheerful with concerns about a lot of issues, others just hung up.

May 23 2011

NY AG Puts US AG to Shame on Corruption

If only the US Attorney General had this agenda.

Accord With Comptroller Will Help Attorney General Pursue Corruption Cases

By Nicholas Confessore

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and Thomas P. DiNapoli, the state comptroller, have entered into an agreement that will grant Mr. Schneiderman powers to criminally prosecute corruption involving taxpayer money, significantly expanding the attorney general’s authority to pursue public integrity cases.

Under the agreement, the comptroller and the attorney general will establish a joint task force on public integrity. Mr. Schneiderman’s prosecutors will work with Mr. DiNapoli’s investigators and auditors looking into legislative earmarks, state pensions and government contracts.

But in a twist, Mr. DiNapoli has also agreed to employ a little-known provision of state law to refer any findings from joint investigations to Mr. Schneiderman for criminal prosecution.

“We’ll coordinate our respective roles to uncover and prosecute government waste, fraud and abuse,” Mr. DiNapoli said in a statement. “This is a powerful message: New York’s two independently elected oversight officials are partnering together to ensure integrity and accountability to every level of government in New York State.

snip

“It could be a very effective approach,” said Eric R. Dinallo, who headed the securities bureau in the attorney general’s office under Eliot Spitzer and was later superintendent of the State Insurance Department. “If you can’t get legislative relief around ethics issues in government and you’re trying to get jurisdiction, sometimes the law has all the jurisdiction you need – if you look at it in a creative way.”

Good work, gentlemen, and much success.

May 19 2011

The Flipping of NY-26

Oh those family values Tea Partying Republicans. Last February newly elected US House Rep. Christopher Lee (R NY-26) posted bare chested photos of himself on Craig’s List and claimed to  be a 39 year old divorced lobbyist. A couple of problems emerged for him since he is in his 40’s and married with a child, so he tendered his immediate resignation from the House on Feb.9, leaving the seat open for a special election. Historically, the district in Western New York has been solidly Republican but, as fortune would have it, that may just that, history.

Since the vote in this House on straight party lines for the Ryan budget plan that would scrap Medicare and decimate Medicaid, the district may now flip to blue. There is a three way race that has pretty much become a two way with the Tea Party candidate, Jack Davis, siphoning votes from the Republican, Jane Corwin, which has given the edge to the Democrat, Kathy Hochul. Despite the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee flooding the district with money, advertising and big name supporters, Corwin can’t shake the spectrum of the “grandma off the bridge” image of killing Medicare. Hochul has been on the offensive hitting all the hot buttons, like foreign aid which many voters think is much higher than it is while Corwin is back pedaling making blatantly false claims about Hochul in her latest campaign ad.

And where, you ask, is Tea Party candidate, Jack Davis? “Spoiler” Davis, who is running on the Tea Party line, has caused a split in among the regional and national Tea Party groups with the national group backing Corwin. He wasn’t at last night’s final debate but has been lurking on the sidelines since gaining national attention last week after a video of a scuffle with Corwin’s youthful chief-of-staff, Mike Mallia. The confrontation between Davis, 78, and the much younger man started out as a verbal confrontation that ended when Davis shoved backed. A short clip of the video was released by the Republicans but Davis claimed that he only pushed the camera out of his face and charged he was being harassed. It has gotten even more amusing when Corwin was confronted and disclaimed any knowledge of her aide’s activities. The aid has since resigned, making claims on the internet that he is being “hunted by militiamen” and fears for his life since the incident with Davis who is a veteran. Needless to say this backfired badly for Corwin and pushed Hochul ahead in the polls.

David Weigel of Slate has been following this race closely reported today that independent spending on this campaign has past seven figures with $1.5 million being poured into TV ads from unions and PAC’s. The election is May 24, so expect things to get hot and heavy as the Republicans struggle to hold the district.

Nov 30 2010

Fracking A! New York

This has got to be the best political news I’ve read in a long time. A little before 1:00 a.m. last night, by a vote of 94-44, the New York State Assembly passed the moratorium on hydraulic fracture drilling.

Well it may only be state legislature and the governor still need to sign but apparently this moratorium to protect our drinking water is a first. It’s not top down and the Working Families Party humbly takes some of the credit for more than 52,000 New Yorkers signing the petition urging the Assembly to act.

Go ahead: get up from your chair. Do a little dance, pump your fist, or do whatever you do to celebrate a victory of grassroots action over corporate power.

I just received a letter form the WFP and I was doing just that.  

Nov 28 2010

Well what do you make of this?

Union Drops Health Coverage for Workers’ Children

One of the largest union-administered health-insurance funds in New York is dropping coverage for the children of more than 30,000 low-wage home attendants, union officials said. The union blamed financial problems it said were caused by the state’s health department and new national health-insurance requirements.

Just squeezed out.

The union fund faced a “dramatic shortfall” between what employers contributed to the fund and the premiums charged by its insurance provider, Fidelis Care, according to Mitra Behroozi, executive director of benefit and pension funds for 1199SEIU. The union fund pools contributions from several home-care agencies and then buys insurance from Fidelis.

“In addition, new federal health-care reform legislation requires plans with dependent coverage to expand that coverage up to age 26,” Behroozi wrote in a letter to members Oct. 22. “Our limited resources are already stretched as far as possible, and meeting this new requirement would be financially impossible.”

And the hits just keep on coming.  

Oct 26 2010

How to Murder a Third Party

Cross-posted at Progressive Blue and several other places.

Actually the list of ways to kill off competition from Parties that represent the people is endless. When it comes to getting things done, taking out Third Parties has been one place where the two power parties has always preformed to the utmost of their ability and this is just one New York story.

Some states have evolved Fusion Parties in an attempt to get out from under the scrutiny of these power happy keepers of the plutocracy. One of these upstanding parties is The Working Families Party that has some presence in New York State. They stand for progressive values and labor union rights but this party has endorsed Andrew Cuomo. Reading Cuomo Vows Offensive Against Labor Unions it seems mysterious that the Working Families Party would place Cuomo on the ticket.

Andrew M. Cuomo  will mount a presidential-style permanent political campaign to counter the well-financed labor unions he believes have bullied previous governors and lawmakers into making bad decisions. He will seek to transform the state’s weak business lobby into a more formidable ally, believing that corporate leaders in New York have virtually surrendered the field to big labor.

By following the explanation of Celeste Katz who writes The Daily Politic at the New York Daily News the mystery is solved. Did you know that the Working Families Party has to receive 50,000 votes in the governors race this year to be on the ticket in 2010? Not getting those 50,000 (and it was because of Andrew Cuomo) was how the Liberal Party lost a column in New York State and later withered and died.  

The short version is that Andrew Cuomo used that 50,000 hurdle to blackmail the Working Families Party but below the fold I’ll follow the full explanation by Celeste Katz to understand how a union hating gubernatorial candidate got the endorsement of a party that is suppose to represent labor.

Sep 27 2010

Want Progress? Try Eric Schneiderman

Note: from Progressive Blue and cross-posted at DailyKos.

In the quest to maintain a Democrat majority it seems easy to overlook the race for New York State Attorney General. Considering a powerful social and economic justice policy position where the jurisdiction includes Wall Street and the traditional influence this office has had over media and talk shows it’s not about majority but justice vs. injustice.

Now Eric Schneiderman who is committed to “protecting homeowners and consumers from bad actors on Wall Street” faces a Republican who has suggested that he would “de-emphasize the high-profile securities fraud cases that defined the tenures of Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo and Eliot Spitzer.” In a nation where the banking lobbyist induced false claim that “sound economics means hands off Wall St.” is too often heard, think back the early 1990’s when nobody seemed interested in the big money crimes and Eliot Spitzer did much to change the national focus.

But Senator Schneiderman represents so much more that that. Not just a politician but a public servant with the energy and willpower to fight for the people. Looking at what this man has to offer in this high profile office with the power to steer the national debate, it seems obvious that a NY loss would be a setback for all Americans.

Jul 31 2010

ADL Jumps In On The Wrong Side Of The Mosque Debate

Every once in a while, something happens that is so completely wrong, so inexplicably confused, that it makes you shake your head in utter  disbelief.  Today was one of those days.  The Anti Defamation League  (ADL), an organization that has been in the forefront of the battle for religious tolerance for decades, announced that it opposed the building of a mosque near the former World Trade Center site.  I find this almost impossible to believe.

The New York Times reports:

The nation’s leading Jewish civil rights group has come out against the planned mosque and Islamic community center near ground zero, saying more information is needed about funding for the project and the location is ”counterproductive to the healing process.”

The Anti-Defamation League said it rejects any opposition to the center based on bigotry and acknowledged that the group behind the plan, the Cordoba Initiative, has the legal right to build at the site. But the ADL said ”some legitimate questions have been raised” about funding and possible ties with ”groups whose ideologies stand in contradiction to our shared values.”

”Ultimately this is not a question of rights, but a question of what is right,” the ADL said in a statement. ”In our judgment, building an Islamic center in the shadow of the World Trade Center will cause some victims more pain — unnecessarily — and that is not right.”

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