Andrew Cuomo at the New York Fights Back rally. Is he using it to lay the groundwork to run for President?

Cuomo Takes on Republicans (or at least some of them)

Tuesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo launched a campaign to go after Republicans. Standing beside House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Cuomo declared that New York would fight back to take back Congress district-by-district.

Yet this “New York Fights Back” is an interesting campaign.

Why now?

For one, Cuomo has not previously expressed much interest in Congress. In 2011, his first year as Governor, he promised to veto gerrymandered districts; instead he settled for a half-measure that won’t take effect until 2022. When the State Senate and Assembly deadlocked over how to gerrymander the districts, he allowed a court to draw the Congressional lines for New York without offering any input. In 2014, former Rep. Steve Israel (Long Island), then-chair of the national Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, panned Cuomo’s efforts in an interview with the New York Times: “We had conversations several months ago with the governor’s staff about helping to organize and coordinate a campaign and I didn’t see the fruition to those conversations.”

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Bill de Blasio and Melissa Mark-Viverito shake on the New York City budget deal.

What’s in New York City’s New Budget for 2017-2018?

Late Friday night, Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito shook on a deal setting out New York City’s budget. They accomplished this difficult negotiation weeks before the deadline (it’s the earliest budget since 1992), likely in part because the Mayor and Council Members need to go out and campaign for re-election.

The plan has New York City spending $85.2 billion, slightly more than de Blasio’s earlier budget proposal. This is the final budget of Mayor de Blasio’s four-year term, during which time the budget has increased nearly 20% from $72 billion.

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Andrew Cuomo and Bill de Blasio

Cuomo and de Blasio engaged in more one-upmanship?

Mayor Bill de Blasio is planning on signing new laws this week to help low-wage workers. So, of course, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration is trying to pull one over on them.

In this case, the issue is low-wage worker scheduling. The city’s rules would forbid stores and fast-food restaurants from cancelling workers’ shifts without notice. It would also require that companies increase workers’ hours before hiring new employees. The state rules are still being formulated and might apply to more workers. However, the regulations could be weaker on the city rules and prevent New York City and other localities from imposing stricter rules.

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Recently, countdown clocks have shown more and more delays for subway riders.

MTA Leaving Subway Riders High and Dry

  • After weeks of increasingly severe subway delays, the MTA voted on a new spending plan that does not include additional money for repairs and could lead to higher fares.
  • Advocates and unions say more money is needed to actually fix the MTA.
  • Cuomo’s promises of attention so far haven’t translated into significant action.

Just a day after Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a contest to quickly improve the subways following mounting delays, the MTA board voted for a spending plan that showed where its priorities really are: not with riders.

What’s in the new spending plan?

The MTA voted for $3 billion in new spending between now and 2019. That money will go toward these main expenses:

  • $1.5 billion for a new Long Island Rail Road track
  • $700 million to begin construction on the second phase of the Second Avenue Subway
  • $400 million to replace tollbooths with electronic systems

Replacing the subway’s outdated, Great Depression-era technology did not get any additional funding and the MTA actually pushed back work on the 8th Ave A/C/E lines until 2020. They also cut over $1 billion in funding for new trains.

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Mayor Bill de Blasio

Bill de Blasio Just Can’t Get Out of His Own Way

Memorial Day weekend brought a drumbeat of bad headlines for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio:

Break these down for me

The first two stories, both from the Post are fairly inconsequential but telling about Bill de Blasio’s troubles.

Supporters upset about his tardiness and disorganization:

The de Blasio administration attempted to keep de Blasio’s emails with five outside advisors under wraps. The administration argued that the five were “agents of the city”, even though there were no agreements of any sort to that effect, and so the Freedom of Information Law did not apply. NY1 sued for access to the emails under FOIL and won.

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The Brothers Crowley: Sean and Joe

Power Corrupts: Crowley Delivers

We’ve mentioned Rep. Joe Crowley, before. He’s one of New York’s most powerful representatives and leads the Queens Democratic Party.

What’s new?

Now comes the latest story from the New York Post: Hunts Point Terminal Produce Cooperative (in the Bronx) hired Sean Crowley, brother of the Queens representative. In 2013, Rep. Joe Crowley secured $10 million for the Hunts Point market. Making everything go full circle: Sean’s firm (Davidoff, Hutcher and Citron), their employees, and people connected to Hunts Point Terminal donated more than $70,000 to groups associated with Congressman Crowley.

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Does Adriano Espaillat still stand with Marisol Alcantara?

Congressional Democrats to IDC: Rejoin the Party

The ongoing feud about control of the state Senate took another turn last week.

Remind me: what’s going on?

Even though there are 32 Democrats and 31 Republicans in the Senate, Republicans control the body because nine of the Democrats support the Republican leadership. Eight of the nine are members of the Independent Democratic Conference and they’ve been under pressure recently because of the Senate lulu payroll scandal–three of them were paid for leadership positions they didn’t hold. Brooklyn Senator Simcha Felder, the ninth defector, said that he’d rejoin the Democratic Party if they did, too.

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Chris Collins under investigation

Conflict of Interests for Buffalo Republican?

Republican Chris Collins is already under investigation for insider trading after reporters overheard him bragging about “how many millionaires I’ve made.”

Now, the Daily Beast discovered that a medical device company Collins founded, Audubon Machinery, stands to gain millions if Trumpcare becomes law. He’s also the director of another company, ZeptoMetrix, which would benefit from lower taxes and fees thanks to the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. In total, Collins has $6.5 million in stock between the two companies.

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Pellegrino, a Bernie Sanders delegate, got support from his organization in winning an Assembly special election.

Context for a wave? Democrat wins Long Island Assembly seat.

Normally, we don’t pay too much attention to special elections for the State Assembly, since Democrats have a massive 2/3rds majority in the chamber.

However, progressive Democrat Christine Pellegrino won a resounding victory on Tuesday in this heavily-Republican district around Oyster Bay, a 40 point swing in the Democrats favor after Trump won the area with 60% of the vote in November.

If that trend continues in the 2018 midterm elections, a lot of New York Republicans will be forcibly retired.

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