Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Vote 2

Tammany Hall Still Runs NYC's Political Parties in 2017
Low Voting Caused by NY’s Undemocratic Voter Suppression Election Law Has Turned Modern Party Bosses into a New Tammany Hall, Cutting the Voters Out of Elections, While Enriching the Political Party’s Shadow Government . . . 
Our NY Democracy is Lost . . . 
In the last few weeks, news outlets have reported on Congressman Joseph Crowley using the Queens Surrogate Court as his own personal bank.  From reading the recent Crowley stories, you would never know that corruption of the Surrogate Court is not because of Boss Crowley, but is the result of the undemocratic Tammany Hall control of NY's voting caused by an election law that suppresses voter turnout.  The NYS election law does not allow early voting or election day registration good changes that will not fix NY election system. Today like never before, the political system is run by and for the political class, their lobbyists consultants and their clients developers, city contractors! For these folks it's a business or their livelihood. The Public has been cut out and they have stopped voting and running for office.  Tammany Hall Still Runs NYC's Political Parties in 2017 is the first in a series of True News investigative reports this municipal election year showing why voter suppression Tammany Hall election laws are responsible for falling voting rates and the lack of serious competition where 90% of the incumbents get reelected for city office.

Back to the Future: Modern Party Bosses Have Seen The Opportunity of Falling Voting Rates and Taken Advantage of It
The growing unchallenged power of the city’s party bosses is a dysfunction in our democracy caused by New Yorkers voting at record low numbers. In 1941 during the DeSapio’s Tammany Hall rule, Mayor O’Dwyer was elected with 60% of registered New Yorkers voted. Today, the bottom has fallen out for the City's voting. Only 20% of the City's registered voters cast their ballots in the last mayoral election in 2013.  New York's Falling Voter Participation Rate is A Canary in the Coal Mine Warning for Our Failing City and Democracy 2013 Was the Lowest Turnout Since Women Given Right to Vote in 1918.  The media controlled and owned by the developer class has not noticed that New York’s political parties have soviet style elections, making the press enablers to killing NYC’s democracy.   55 years ago, Tammany Hall’s Carmine DeSapio was defeated by the reformers led by Eleanor Roosevelt and former governor Herbert Lehman. Today’s NYC party bosses still have DeSapio like control of their party elections giving them the ability to make millions from government and courts, much like Tammany's Boss Tweed.  The modern party bosses may have even more power, because unlike their Tammany predecessors, they face little if any competition or media criticism or reformers like Roosevelt.  In the Tweed era hundreds of political clubs competed against each other, today there are only a few dozen political clubs that mostly function to reelect their local elected officials and district leaders
Falling NYC Voting Rates

The Modern Party Bosses Use Developers As the Fuel That Increases Their Bank Accounts and Runs Their Machines . . .  As Their Voters Flee Because of Gentrification Destroying Affordable Housing

The old Tammany machine got their power delivering jobs, housing and distributing turkeys during holidays in return for votes on election day.   Unlike the old Tammany bosses who served the voters while helping themselves honest and dishonest graft, the modern party leaders help themselves as the poor and middle class are driven from the city. The permanent government of NYC that used to include the media publishing, manufacturing, garment center is today mostly made of the developers and city contractors who do business with the city. The party leaders who have taken advantage of our low voting of this era, resembles more of an organized crime commission cutting up the city into gangs of lobbyists making government work for their clients and themselves against the public’s interests.  Pitta Bishop is strong on Staten Island, Parkside in Queens, MirRam in the Bronx and Berlin Rosen in Brooklyn, but in the last few years many of them are running campaigns outside their home boroughs
de Blasio's Developers Gentrification Express Street Car
More on Gentrification
More on Affordable Housing .

Their is A New Privatized Tammany Hall Made of of Lobbyists Campaign Consultants Who Both Compete and Cuts Deals With the Old Party Machines 
Tammany apparatchiks got their power based on how many votes they could bring out of their neighborhood.  Today’s party bosses get their power from the broken election system high incumbency and campaign contributions from developers, city contractors and unions to hire flacks, create PACS and hire lobbyists to run campaigns to mislead the voters. The lobbyists have become their own mini private bosses or machine that competes with and cuts deals with the party machines. The Manhattan Democratic boss Keith Wright is a lobbyist for a firm that makes millions from developers while pushing people out of their neighborhoods. With the low voters turn out in party elections there is little difference or public accountability between the so called elected party leader and the new private lobbyists bosses put in power by their clients.

Low Single Digit Voting Caused by NY’s Undemocratic Voter Suppression Election Law Has Turned Modern Party Bosses into a New Tammany Hall
The power of today’s Tammany party bosses is a result single digit voting for party offices. Just 3% of the registered Democrats participated in electing the party boss and district leaders in 2016.  2% in Queens, 4% in Brooklyn,0% in Staten Island, 4% in Manhattan and 5% in Queens.  Less than .005% of the county committee which selects county leaders in the major parties were challenged in 2016.  Most county and district leaders in both the major parties stay in their seats for decades unchallenged. The voting participation in the GOP and the other minor parties is even lower.  Low or no voting in party elections keep political bosses in power.   It’s the district leaders who pick the county committee members to run for office, who then elect party bosses in the Democratic and Republican parties in NYC.  Flatbush District Leader Jacob Gold has been in office for over 40 years.  Long time Queens district leader and campaign consultant Even Stavisky lives in Rockland with his wife who is the Democratic Rockland County Leader. His father was a long time Queens Assemblyman. 

Minor Parties Gained Their Power from A Left-Wing Congressman With An Election Law That Has Become A Tool for Today's Party Leader to Gain Power
Some of the city’s minor parties are controlled by inner circles that elect the same leader for decades.  The Conservative Party Leader Michael Long, who ownes a liquor store in Bay Ridge, has run his party which has had the third line on the ballot for over 30 years. The Working Families Party has also had the same leaders since it as founded by labor bosses 27 years also.  An addition to New York's election law written in the Tammany Hall era of 1947, prohibited members of one party from running in another party. It was called the Wilson-Pakula law, aimed squarely at left wing Congressman Vito Marcantonio. The law gave party bosses the power to cross-endorse, or choose not to endorse, a very useful tool for party leader to get favors from mayors and governors.  Without left wing Marcantonio the right wing conservative party would not have been able to deliver it 328,605 votes in 1995 to Pataki, the margin of victory in defeating Mario Cuomo.  Rudy Giuliani was elected mayor in 1993 with the help of the votes he received on a third-party line and Mike Bloomberg had to pay off the five GOP bosses to run as a Republican because he was not registered in the party. In the 2013 election Senator Malcolm Smith tired to buy the GOP line using the Wilson-Pakula law. Smith and GOP party leaders are now in jail for their plot to buy and sell the party. In 2009 After Bloomberg change the term limits law to allow him to run again, he still needed the Wilson-Pakula Law to add the Independence Party's 150,073 votes to win.  A campaign operative who used the million Bloomberg gave to an upstate county committee controlled by the independence party to run his campaign, to buy his home, when to jail. 
The WFP and Berlin Rosen Has Played Fast and Lose With the Election Law, Data and Field Arrests
More About WFP Data and Field 

The Only Way the Kings County Bosses Have Left Their Party Position for Generations: Corruption Conviction, Sexual Abuse or Jail
Today’s Party Bosses and district leaders have taken advantage of NY’s low voter broken election system to not only keep control of their party organizations, but also to control the election of most of NY’s judges and elected officials.  The number of insurgent candidates running in NYC is down over 75% from the heyday of the Viet Nam protests that created the modern reform movement. The 70's reform movement has aged out replaced by a new generation of social progressives, that that have no problem giving only lip service to political reforms, while working with the political bosses.  Most of the city council incumbents, all of the borough presidents and city controller are unopposed.  Low voting and weak competition always favors machine backed candidates, usually incumbents seeking re-election.  NY’s elected officials know that as they serve the party leaders with favors.   This inner circle mob not only does nothing to change the election law that suppresses voter turnout, they also protect each other by ignoring corruption even when their fellow politicians get convicted of a crime. Party leaders have gamed the election system so much that the only way they leave office is by: death, scandal or a corruption conviction.  The Kings County party leader before Frank Seddio was Assemblyman Vito Lopez was forced out of party leadership because of his sexual abuse scandal in Albany.  Judge Boss Seddio left the Surrogate Court after a Daily News editorials exposed his illegal campaign donations after Albany created for him a second Surrogate Court Judgeship, after a reformer beat the machine's surrogate judge candidate for the first time in 100 years.. The Brooklyn leader before Lopez, Clarence Norman was convicted of selling judgeships and when tio jail.  Two county leaders before Noman, Meade Esposito was convicted of paying off a Bronx congressman for favors.  In 2013 three of the five GOP county leaders were removed after trying to sell their party’s ballot line to former State Senator Malcolm Smith.  Smith, the GOP Bronx leader, and top leaders of the Queens GOP party all were sent to jail by the feds. During the Koch administration parking ticket scandal the Democratic leader from the Bronx Stanley Friedman and others went to jail for ripping off the city’s Parking Violations Agency.  

Today’s Bronx and Staten Island Shadow Bosses Figure Heads With the Power Hidden Among the Lobbyists and Elected Officials
Today’s Bronx Boss is more of a figure head with the power really in the hands of long time lawyer lobbyists Stanley Schlein, the MirRam lobbying group and Assembly Speaker Heastie, who worked out a great home owner discount for himself from the former Bronx DA and the Bronx court whose judges and clerks were elected and selected by the Bronx machine.  Schlein, a protege of Friedman, helped get a lot of Bronx judges and politicians elected.  In turn, the Bronx machine awards Stanley with lots of patronage gigs (like court-appointed legal guardianships) and his lobbying clients with city contracts.  The Staten Island Surrogate Court is the island’s former democratic leader.   The Surrogate Judge before Gigante, former Republican city council member John Fusco, works for Staten Island BP Jimmy Oddo who some view as the de Facto party Boss in Staten Island.  de Blasio gave Republican BP Oddo's wife a plum judgeship. Staten Island is the only borough in the city were the GOP are the bosses.  Oddo is the go to guy for lobbyists Pitta Bishop and developers seeking government deals. Former Republican- Conservative BP James Molinaro now works for Pitta, Bishop, who are representing builders of the Wheel and so called outlet stores on the Staten Island waterfront. Molinaro was the main force in getting local officials to support the development. The buzz is that Oddo will run for reelection in November and then get appointed to or run for Surrogate court judge. He has planted stories that he will take over for Gigante who will be aged out of the job in 2018.

More Hidden Power of the Party Bosses Inside the Court House Dumping Judge Laura Jacobson Who According to Her Lawsuit Tried to Keep A Hospital Open Who the County Leader's Law Firm Was Hired to Close
The 5 county DA who count on the support of party leaders to get elected, almost always ignore political corruption.   U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara upset the deal between the political bosses and the city's county DAs by putting over 30 elected officials in jail before he was fired. The one time a DA went after a political boss was in 2007. When former Brooklyn DA convicted and sent to jail former Brooklyn boss Clarence Norman who tried and failed to beat Hynes with former Senator John Sampson. Sampson is headed to jail next month not for using court appointments to fund his campaign for DA, which he was indicted for before a statute of limitations motion dismissed that charge.  Sampson is going to jail for 5 years for lying to the FBI during the investigation. Democratic County leaders pick almost every one of the city’s Civil Court, Supreme and Surrogate Court Judges.  Last years the Brooklyn machine pulled a Stanley Friedman when they dumped Judge Laura Jacobson.  According to her lawsuit against the Brooklyn machine Judge Jacobson was fired because she voted to keep LICH Hospital open, which Boss Seddio law firm was hired  by SUNY to help close it.  The ongoing Judge Jacobson lawsuit says Brooklyn boss Frank Seddio uses the court and judges they help elect as their own personal piggy bank.  Has anyone ever heard of a Brooklyn big developer losing a case?  Just read the JudgDawn Jimenez-Salta decision on closing the Brooklyn Heights library.  It the Jacobson case is allowed to continue by the federal court, we will learn a lot more how the city modern political machines operate.  The Brooklyn machine is spending big money on high price lawyer to get the case dismissed. They have hired Gore;s recount lawyer Boies.
Who Watchers the Watchman, Lobbyists, Grand Jury, AG - DAs Conflict of Interests 
More on the Jacobson Lawsuit
Corruption and the Surrogate Court'   
Queens Party Boss Crowley's Surrogate Court Bank is A System of A Much Larger Dysfunctionalism of Both NY's Court and Election System
The County leader of Queens, Congressman Joe Crowley and his top aides have made millions from the Queens courts where they elected every judge for decades.  Former Congressman Thomas Manton who was Queens Boss before Crowley also made millions from the Surrogate Court, both belonged to the same law firm.    Crowley and his fellow city party bosses have elected almost 40% of the Assembly and Senate members in Albany because of the Tammany Hall election laws which allow them to pick the democratic nominee in special elections.  Special Elections are very low turnout elections, in heavily democratic NYC.  Anyone given the democratic ballot line by the party which is what the election law dictates is a guarantee win.  In what some have called the Soft Machine elect officials working with party bosses time their retirement or forced exits by way of the prosecutor to set up a special election, so they can pick their own successor.  The retiring elected officials are usually family member or loyal aides who have worked in their office to replace them.  

The Political Bosses Pick the Council Speakers and Get Paid Back in Millions in Member Items, Jobs and City Contracts
Most of the City Council speakers, the second more powerful position in city government, got their position because of deals between party leaders.  Speaker Quinn won after a deal between the Queens, Bronx, and Manhattan district leaders. The party bosses even have a hand in the control of the state senate.  Two of last IDC Senators converts were supported by the party machines Jesse Hamilton won his senate seat with the help of the Brooklyn machine.  Tony Avella was supported by the Parkside Group that helps run the Queens machine.   County leaders and their district leaders also help the governor and comptroller candidates avoid the petitioning process at State Conventions ever four years.

The Party Bosses Has Made the Board of Election and the Courts Gate Keepers to Protect Their Candidates for Generations
Tammany election laws still control who runs the Board of Elections.  Democratic and Republican party bosses, two from each borough, pick commissioners who frequently knock off challengers to party back candidates and judges.  Even if a party candidate running against a candidate back by the party gets past the BOE commissioner gatekeepers, that outsider candidate still face a challenge in the courts where every judge who sits in the court’s election part was elected by the party machine. When de Blasio was knocked off the ballot in 2009 for a petition problem he and his lawyer went to the county leaders who ordered their commissioners to put him back on the ballot for public advocate.  Every year dozens of challengers are knock off by the BOE who do not have de Blasio or his election lawyer Henry Berger’s connection to the city’s party machines. that control the BOE’s rulings on who runs.for public office or judge.

The Media Protects the Modern Party Boss by Covering Up the Power They Have to Control Who Gets Elected
The biggest opposition to Tammany Hall in its heyday came from the city’s elites and the media they owned or controlled.  Boss Tweed blasted Harper's Weekly not for the articles they wrote against him, but for the cartoon Thomas Nast drew for the magazine’s covers.  Tweed said he did not care what the papers wrote, but Nast's cartoons were killing him, because his people could not read.  Today’s media that covers-up the control the political parties have over NYC are mostly owned by the city’s elite which today consist of developers who use the party bosses shadow government to make money.  The Media no longer cares who runs elections, they just want weak elected officials who are more loyal to the lobbyists and party leaders than the voters who put them in office. Weak elected officials selected by the lobbyists and their permanent govt client makes it easy for media owners who are developers, or their developer advertises to make money. The lack of coverage on campaign lobbyists, PACs and lack of competition is intentional by the media. In NYC we have always had fake news that cover up our broken democracy.
The only real way to bust up the power of the parties is to build a reform movement in the parties by allowing online voting for party offices, to assure more candidates running and more voters participating.  The path to voting reforms in Albany remains a tall order.   Party boss and the new gangs made up of the lobbyist political consultants like Berlin Rosen and George Arzt both use those the assemblyman and senators they elected to block voting reforms.  Unlike the party bosses, the lobbyist’s gang are not elected, they exist because of the clients who hire them, a new growing private Tammany Hall.  Since modern party bosses have gamed their elections; there is really no difference between the private or elected Tammany bosses of today.  They both make their money from the permanent government who make their money from government working against the interests of people.   Another long shot at reform is finding a way to battle the political establishment to hold a State Charter Commission.  If we get a charter commission next year it would be the first time in 50 years.   A Commission could forced New York to overhaul its voting system, create ethic rules and term limits for Albany.  Albany has never passed voting reforms.  The only reforms to NY’s petitioning process offered was when George W. Bush threw John McCain off the ballot in 2000 and a federal judge reformed the petitioning process for ballot access as he restored McCain to the ballot.   Don’t count on a constitution convention being held in 2018. Unions, elected and party leaders are already telling voters to vote no this November against holding the convention. The permanent government which blocked the last two chances for a convention is much stronger today than when the late Journalist Jack Newfield wrote a book The Permanent Government.  Newfield spent his life trying to expose and defeat the shadow government. 

Friday, April 28, 2017

Ignoring the Press

Groundhog Day: Times Notices Again de Blasio Ignores the Press  “Don’t Ask, Don’t Answer”
A Mayor Raises Questions by Refusing to Take Any (NYT) Since walking out of a news conference last month, Mayor Bill de Blasio seems to be embracing a new approach of “don’t ask, don’t answer.”* De Blasio has restricted the times when he will take questions from reporters and has relied more on social media channels, town hall exchanges and one-on-one interviews with specific reporters, a model that has been largely untested in New York, the Times reports.No questions were allowed after a Police Academy graduation, by the statue known as “Fearless Girl” in Lower Manhattan, or even at the handful of events during the mayor’s weeklong road trip on Staten Island last week.“I’m here to talk about this,” he said at the March 23 event, held so he could talk about a so-called mansion tax proposal. “I’m here to talk about this. If you want to talk about this, I’m here to talk about this.” After three questions not about that, he walked off.

Times Admits to Scripted Controlled News by deB But It is Every Elected Officials Esp. in NY
Even before the March 23 news conference, Mr. de Blasio had increasingly relied on more scripted interactions with reporters when making a public announcement, insisting that reporters ask questions only about the topic that he had chosen to talk about that day, like police statistics, or affordable housing.  When Mr. de Blasio was public advocate, he gave the previous administration of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg poor marks for transparency and responsiveness to requests for information. But Mr. Bloomberg did take off-topic questions, once questions on the stated topic had been exhausted, said Bill Cunningham, a former spokesman for Mr. Bloomberg. Mr. Cunningham said the lack of a prominent opponent to the mayor in this year’s election has given him more space to do as he pleased. “As long as they’re able to get away with this, they will,” he said. City Hall and other city agencies have been active on social media and the mayor has conducted numerous live online video streams, including with a Staten Island couple during his time there last week and onboard the ferry on Monday. The videos provide a more intimate — if more controlled — view of mayoral activities than can be seen from a news conference.

NY1 in Their Weekly Interview (Campaign Commercial) With the Mayor Did Go Into Chiara and Dante's eating habits

Talking to New Yorkers Like They Are Children Using Tax Payer Dollars Our No Respect Mayor Makes A Dumb Song and Dance Video Daily News Epic Embarrassment

Taxpayers foot bill for glitzy ad touting de Blasio (NYP) Just hours before Mayor de Blasio sent out a plea for donations to his re-election campaign, City Hall posted a 3¹/₂-minute video on Twitter with Broadway actors touting Hizzoner and his accomplishments — all paid for by taxpayers.  The kitschy clip features former “Glee” actress Jenna Ushkowitz and former “Aladdin” actor James Iglehart test-running a song about pre-K, low crime rates and affordable housing for de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray.  Despite being described as a summary of accomplishments, the video cites a number of initiatives that have been pledged by the mayor but are years away from measurable progress. They include getting all second-graders to read on grade level by 2026, and providing computer-science education across all grades by 2025. The actors also trumpet a two-year rent freeze for rent-stabilized apartments, even though the Mayor’s Office has insisted it was imposed by the supposedly independent Rent Guidelines Board without City Hall interference.  * De Blasio hits awkward note withBroadway-style video promoting his 2016 achievements (NYDN) Mayor de Blasio released a cringe-inducing video on Tuesday to tout his accomplishments in 2016 that included awkward acting attempts from Hizzoner and City Hall staffers, while ignoring all of his missteps.  The video — financed with public money — stars Broadway actors Jenna Ushkowitz and James Iglehart and shows de Blasio on a flip phone requesting a song highlighting his administration’s work during 2016.  “Just hit it. Come on, hit it!” de Blasio barks into the phone to his wife First Lady Chirlane McCray and senior adviser Andrea Hagelgans, a nod to his reputation as a demanding boss.  The new video came on the same day the Daily News detailed his bad year with a front-page story, “Bill’s Sour ’16,” chronicling 16 troubling issues his administration faced during the past 12 months, including the law enforcement probes into de Blasio’s fund-raising and record homelessness, among other woes.  Not surprisingly, none of those problems made the cut for the puff video, which only shows the mayor in a positive light.  “No matter what will be, we got Billy D B,” Ushkowitz warbles.  And the video makes no mention of any of the problems the city faced this year.  That includes the controversy over his decision to take an NYPD helicopter to a Queens speech from Brooklyn during rush hour after making fund-raising calls in his favorite restaurant; the increase in cluster sites and hotel rooms to house the skyrocketing homeless population; and the city’s botched response to the Zymere Perkins child abuse case.John Kaehny, the executive director of the good government group Reinvent Albany, said the latest de Blasio video was too self-promotional for the public to foot the bill for. “It sounds like a campaign ad produced by taxpayer funds,” he said. Once 2017 starts — when the mayor will run for reelection — the Campaign Finance Board prohibits elected officials in New York from appearing in commercials for the city.* Mayor Bill de Blasio, who released a self-promoting video featuring Broadway talent that drew wide criticism, should concentrate more on delivering unimpeachable government if he wishes to drown out critics, the Daily News writes. Bill's Song and Dance Bright and early Tuesday morning, with the Daily News front page recounting “Tales of mayor’s roughest year yet,” the mayor’s Twitter and Facebook feeds unspooled a wacky mockumentary video in which two Broadway stars and First Lady Chirlane McCray purport to demo for the mayor, who’s listening in on a cellphone, his soaring accomplishments of 2016.  In song. With charts. Flashing the cryptic hashtag #alwaysnewyork and a satirical tone off-key to honest achievements touted, such as a million potholes filled, neighborhood policing taking root and affordable housing preserved. Then: Cut to McCray, who in all seriousness pleads with New Yorkers in mental distress to dial the city’s new NYC Well hotline for assistance. The spectacle’s punchline: de Blasio deems the effort “too elaborate. Maybe we should just do a couple of tweets.” Uh. Ha.  Such is the underwhelming stagecraft of Hizzoner’s new 15-head “creative communications” team, paid $75,000 each to broadcast the mayor’s message without the meddlesome fact-checking of news reporters.  The mayor’s new media adventures tread willfully close to the limit of the allowable. Had the spot emerged just five days hence, it would likely have been forbidden by a City Charter ban on taxpayer-funded self-promotion in an election year.  Had de Blasio been a state official and not a city one, the ad would likely have been forbidden by a state ethics law ban on public officials appearing in taxpayer-funded promotions .* A Song for Bill de Blasio Sounds a Sour Note for Watchdogs  (NYT)  Video on the mayor’s City Hall Twitter account uses two Broadway stars to promote his accomplishments. Some say it is too much like a campaign ad.* Mayor de Blasio tries to defend boastful video decried bywatchdogs (NYDN) "Great voices, catchy tune, and substantive content. What's controversial about that?" the tweet from the official New York City Mayor's Office read.* Fundraising Investigations, Homeless Crisis, and Failures at ACS Cloud Mayor's 2016  (NY1)Mayor de Blasio is struggling to put a positive spin on his exceptionally challenging 2016.

Friday, April 21, 2017

State Budget 2017 580

Albany Budget, Ethics, Pay Raise, Three Men in the Room, Pork, Campaign $$$ #580 

Free College As Long As You Stay In NY

Cuomo’s free tuition program comes with a major catch (NYP) Cuomo’s much-heralded new program for free tuition at state colleges comes with a huge catch — you have to sign years of your life away to get it.  Under a provision that was added to the tuition bill at the last moment, students who get a free ride at CUNY and SUNY schools must live and work in New York state for up to four years after graduation, or be forced to pay the money back.  The amendment — which was not part of Cuomo’s original offer of free college for middle- class students — was added at the insistence of Republicans in the state Senate.  The GOP members worried that taxpayer-educated students would take their valuable knowledge and flee to other parts of the US, particularly from remote upstate communities.
De Blasio: Mayoral control of schools in state budget 'being toyed with' (NYP) * Listof budget negatives include capital pork barrel, film credit extender@nygovcuomo mixed message on restraint. * Union workers dues will be fully tax-deductible thanks to Cuomo (NYP)

Cuomo Adopts a Middle-Class Mantra (NYT)Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York has been supplementing his liberal political portfolio with ideas that have broader appeal such as his so-called free-tuition plan.
How Cuomo’s ‘free tuition’ could deepen the student-debt crisis (NYP) It turns out Gov. Cuomo’s headline-grabbing “free tuition” turns retroactively into a loan for grads who take jobs out of state — and that’s not the only ugly surprise. The provision got tossed in at the last minute at the behest of Senate Republicans — whose upstate members worry about the “brain drain” of smart kids moving away.* A new scholarship that will let many New York students attend state colleges tuition-free has a caveat in the fine print: Recipients must live and work in the state for several years after graduation or pay back the money, The Wall Street Journal reports.  * The Post criticizes Cuomo’s free college tuition plan as enacted for turning tuition grants into loans if a graduate takes a job out of state, writing that details matter if you want to actually help people, but it seems Cuomo only cares about the headlines.* The program to provide free tuition at SUNY and CUNY campuses will primarily benefit traditional students, those who go to college straight from high school and earn their degrees on time, but increasingly many students attend part-time or take extra years, the Times reports.* Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined Gov. Andrew Cuomo to praise his free tuition Excelsior Scholarship program, saying, “We need to be building bridges. And the best bridge to the future is a good education, my friends,” the Daily News writes. * While Cuomo was taking a victory lap for the passage of his free tuition plan for public colleges in New York, Assemblyman James Skoufis introduced a bill that would repeal the plan’s postgraduate in-state work requirement, State of Politics reports.

Raise the Age 
At a Harlem rally to tout the new state budget, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said legislative leaders wanted to give up on the contentious Raise the Age proposal in order to ease the approval of a new spending plan, the Daily News reports. * After weeks of hard-fought negotiations, approval for the Raise the Age bill was not universal, with the final bill language leaving some who had sought the law disappointed in its many subsections and stipulations, The New York Times reports. *‘Raise the Age,’ Now Law in New York, Is Still a Subject of Debate (NYT)

Big Ugly 2017 Budget Passed 
Hidden in the Albany Budget is a Renewal of 421-a Which Will in Effect Nuke What is Left of Affordable Housing Mom & Pop Stores in NYC 

It took nearly two years, but Cuomo reached an agreement in the budget to put back together the affordable housing program, known as 421-a, that gives developers a tax break in return for building lower-price rental units, the Times reports.

State Senate passes $153.1B budget (NYP)  “Forcing major issues through the budget process has got to stop,” said Deputy Majority Leader Sen. John DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse). “It should be debated separately.”  That would require a constitutional amendment, but DeFrancisco said it should be done.  “Then we can truly say that we’re working on a budget not on the policy of the state of New York as the prime focus and a budget that’s almost an add-on,” he said.  The bill not to prosecute 16- and 17-year-old criminal defendants as adults wound up splitting the GOP and “progressive” politicians who couldn’t agree on where to draw the line.They compromised by giving judges and district attorneys the power to make the decision on a case-by-case basis.  Extending mayoral control of New York City schools was not included in the budget on Sunday night, meaning that, barring further action, Mayor de Blasio’s authority could now end in June, as previously planned.  The budget also extends a higher tax rate on millionaires for two years, a measure Republicans fought, saying it will chase high earners out of the state.  Families earning up to $120,000 will now get free tuition at all SUNY and CUNY colleges.* In this year’s state budget negotiations, legislative factions on the right and left dug in their heels and handed Gov. Andrew Cuomo a budget that passed Sunday night, nine days after the deadline, The Wall Street Journal writes.  * Assembly Democrats plan to target the state Senate’s Independent Democratic Conference and the pressure is going to increase on the eight-member breakaway conference to create a new majority partnership with the mainline Democrats, the Daily News’ Ken Lovett reports. * Crown Heights Residents Turn Thumbs Down On RogersAvenue Homeless Shelter (Kings County Politics) * New city housing policy faces test amidst affordability debate  PoliticoNewYork Reports * Thousands of Working New Yorkers Are Living in HomelessShelters (WSJ) Soaring rents and stagnant wages increasingly have squeezed the city’s working poor

A Budget That Fits Into A 2020 Presidential Run Remember Any Chance Depends On Percoco and the Buffalo Billion Corruption Case Not NY Media or TV Ads 
Cuomo’s liberal budget moves hint at presidential bid (NYP) Cuomo used the state budget process to go shopping for the liberal credentials he’ll need to run for president, Albany insiders said. Appealing to key left-wing constituencies that could help him in a Democratic presidential primary, the governor poured $163 million into a college-scholarship program; gave a $35 million tax break to workers who pay union dues; created a $10 million immigrant legal defense fund; and renewed the millionaire tax. The moves add up to a “press release for his presidential ambitions,” scoffed Assemblyman Al Graf, a Long Island Republican.  “He’s trying to get his progressive bona fides up. He’s saying, ‘Look at how progressive I am,’ ’’ he said. Cuomo trumpeted his immigrant legal defense fund as a response to President Trump’s “dramatic plans” to restrict immigration and deport undocumented people.* Gov. Andrew Cuomo used the budget to burnish his liberal credentials to run for president, insiders told the New York Post, including a college-scholarship program, tax breaks to workers who pay union dues, an immigrant legal defense fund and a millionaires tax extension.* Cuomo: Congress has ‘declared war on New York’(NYP)

Budget Deal After Delays is Reached and Its Ugly 
'Big Ugly' state budget bill creates winners, losers (Buffalo News) There are items affecting farmers, gasoline distributors, teens who commit crimes, people who want to ride in an Uber or Lyft car,  property taxpayers, local governments, movie companies, racehorse owners, housing developers, “certain members” of the New York City police pension fund and cemeteries – or rather people who end up in a cemetery.  Linking so many items into one bill also makes it difficult for lawmakers to oppose the measure because it includes so many popular items, including $26 billion for public schools.* State's $153.1B budget won't include Cuomo's proposal torequire online stores with big N.Y. shopper base to collect sales tax (NYDN)  * The state Assembly finished action on the 2017-2018 state budget on Saturday evening, and the state Senate is scheduled to hold a session at 5 p.m. Sunday to consider the remaining bills,Politico New York reports.  * The revenue bill that includes the most contentious legislative language in the 2017 state budget negotiation was printed on Saturday morning, and the Times Union posted the 343-page bill with an index to some of its most interesting portions. * The state budget includes free tuition at public colleges and universities for New York students in families earning less than $125,000, as well as a boost for the state’s Tuition Assistance Program, while mayoral control dropped out, Chalkbeat New York reports. * In a win for online shoppers, the $153.1 billion state budget deal announced Friday night does not include Gov. Andrew Cuomo's push to require online marketplaces such as Etsy and Amazon to collect sales taxes, a decision hailed by tech groups, the Daily News writes.  * The Buffalo News praises much of the policy in the state budget, but writes that Albany should be demanding more – improved scores, higher graduation rates – in exchange for continued increases in state education spending.* The new budget manipulates future aid formulas in a way that one advocate says will cost New York City charter schools some $1.7 billion over the next several years and the state Legislature refuses to raise the charter school cap, Bob McManus writes in the Post.

Budget Deal Comes Together in Albany, After Delay and Frustration (NYT) The $153 billion includes tuition-free education at state colleges, along with changes to workers’ compensation and the juvenile justice system.  State legislators finally reach agreement on $153B budget (NYP) includes free public-college education and allows ride-sharing apps such as Uber and Lyft to expand throughout the state.  But the agreement doesn’t say a word about whether Mayor de Blasio will retain mayoral control of schools. The bills were not yet printed when the leaders made the announcement, but Cuomo gave an overview that he says gives a $50 million boost to charter schools.  There’s no change in per-pupil funding for this fiscal year. Next year, however, there’s a 4 percent increase in per-pupil funding from roughly $14,000 to $14,500.  Families with income of up to $125,000 a year — which Cuomo said is 80 percent, or 940,000 families in the state — will qualify for free college tuition under Excelsior Scholarships and it also will contain benefits for private colleges. The millionaire’s tax will be extended two years and 421-a tax breaks for developers in exchange for affordable housing will expire in five years.  In a nod to juvenile-justice reformers, 16- and 17-year-olds no longer will be treated as adults in the state’s courts.  Instead, the teens will be diverted to family court or youth court, depending on the severity of their crimes.* After a week of impasse and the worst budget crisis of his administration, Gov. Andrew Cuomo late Friday announced a $153 billion state budget deal, including free tuition, raising the age of criminal responsibility and workers’ comp changes, The New York Times reports.

IDC Push Senate GOP Towards Lower Age Budget Hangup 
As budget talks stalled, pols pointed fingers(CrainsNY)  Policy reform prioritized over spending plan The primary hang-up was a push by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Assembly Democrats to move 16- and 17-year-olds accused of nonviolent crimes out of the adult criminal-justice system. When the various factions got stuck on details, state Sen. Fred Akshar, Republican from Binghamton, blamed New York City Democrats for being "willing to compromise public safety by not holding violent 16- and 17-year-olds accountable for rape and murder."  That characterization infuriated Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. "Unfortunately, some senators have chosen to engage in a fear campaign that falsely accuses Assembly Democrats of coddling murderers and rapists," Heastie fumed in a statement. He had refused to put off "Raise the Age"—a proposal that has been around for years—until after the budget, as Albany normally does with disagreements that threaten on-time passage. With Donald Trump in the White House, Democrats are especially driven to deliver victories to their base.  No one is feeling more pressure to show progressive bona fides than state Sen. Jeffrey Klein's breakaway Independent Democratic Conference, which has been accused by the left of empowering "Trump Republicans" by allying with GOP senators who control the upper chamber. The breakaway caucus threw its full weight behind Raise the Age; legal-services funding and the Dream Act for immigrants; and extending the "millionaires tax."

State Budget doesn’t say a word about whether Mayor de Blasio will retain mayoral control of schools
Their post-release supervision will be decided on a case-by-case basis by a panel of parole and social-services experts.  The Assembly remained in ­Albany to vote on the last budget bills and the budget won’t be passed until the Senate returns to vote on it. Sources say that could happen as early as Sunday.* Cuomo, lawmakers reveal $153.1B state budget deal (NYDN)  * The deal, which includes higher-than-inflation school aid hikes and hundreds of millions of dollars in pork barrel spending, has yet to be approved, with the Assembly hoping to vote early Saturday and the state Senate possibly returning Sunday, The Buffalo News reports.  * The state budget agreements reached so far include no new controls or oversight on how the Cuomo administration spends money on economic development projects, despite allegations of bid-rigging in earlier development projects, The Buffalo News reports.  * Cuomo also said he won a “federal funding response plan” that will give him extraordinary power to cut the budget unilaterally in the face of expected federal aid cuts, though the Senate and Assembly will have 90 days to agree on cuts first, Newsday reports* Assembly Democrats are watching what they say behind closed doors after discovering a mole in their ranks when the governor spilled the secret by sending a text to Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie during a private conference meeting, the New York Post reports.

Come on NY Post These Are Not People Who Can Be Trusted There Liars Gov Does Not Have A Spy in the Assembly He Has Dozens 
Cuomo has spy watching Democrats in the state Assembly (NYP)  Gov. Cuomo has a Democratic spy in the state Assembly monitoring what Speaker Carl Heastie says about him and is reporting back — in real time.  Heastie got a jolt in the middle of a closed door Democratic Assembly conference Wednesday when he got a text message from Cuomo saying, “Why are you bad mouthing me?”  The governor’s office had just gotten a text message from a mole about Heastie’s comments during a closed-door of his members on budget negotiations.  Assemblyman Peter Abbate confirmed the incident and called the secret surveillance “despicable.”  “I was there. While he was speaking to us Carl looked down at his phone and then said,`The governor just texted me and said I said bad things about him,’” Abbate recalled. “People laughed.”  But Abbatte said it wrong for a Democratic Assembly member to undermine the leader.  “It’s a disservice to the whole Democratic conference. The person doesn’t belong in the Legislature. A person like that is a creep,” Abbate fumed.  It’s not unusual that some of what is said during private Democratic caucus meeting eventually filters out to the governor and, sometimes, the media.  There are 107 Democrats in the Assembly. Democrat Cuomo is friendly with many of them.  What is rare is that — thanks to smart phones — the word gets back to Cuomo immediately.  “I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Abbate, an Assembly member since 1987.  Heastie’s office brushed off spy gate.  “We’re working on the budget. Couldn’t care less about this,” said Heastie spokesman Michael Wyland.  Cuomo’s office had no immediate comment.* With the state Senate gone and the Assembly miserable, Gov. Andrew Cuomo proffered a possible deal to try to break the deadlock over the state’s late budget, but the outlook for an end to the budget season was far from certain, The New York Times writes.  * Messy as this year’s state budget talks have been, nothing is uglier than Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie’s disgraceful effort to starve charter schools, blowing up tentative deals with insistence that per-pupil charter funding remain frozen at 2009 levels, the Post writes.

Cuomo Spends As Trump and GOP Congress Cut the State's Dollars
Cuomo's sure not budgeting like he's worried about Trump (NYP) Amid the smoke and confusion surrounding this week’s on-again, off-again budget dance in Albany, Gov. Cuomo made a point well worth repeating.  Noting big federal-policy changes afoot in Washington, Cuomo said Wednesday evening that his top priority was “to make sure we do not overcommit ourselves financially.”  That’s an eminently responsible position. Too bad the governor hasn’t followed his own advice.   Instead, he’s pushed big-bucks commitments to “free” college tuition, a range of porky “economic development” programs and — of all things — another cycle of generous state subsidies for wealthy Hollywood film and TV producers.   Over the next few years, Cuomo’s favored programs will further sap New York’s fiscal resources even as the state confronts the potentially severe budgetary impact of efforts by the Trump administration and a Republican Congress to repeal ObamaCare, rein in Medicaid and reform the tax code.

Groundhog Albany: No Ethics, Voting, Campaign Finance Reform
It appears that Cuomo’s government ethics, campaign finance and voting reform platform he unveiled as part of his State of the State addresses is the only entire category of proposals completely off the table as budget negotiations continue, Gotham Gazette reports.

Budget Gives Cuomo More Power Over PA and Budget 
When Cuomo says 'reform,' he's planning a power grab (NYP) Cuomo scored two significant extensions of his arbitrary power — one of them despite heated warnings that he was overreaching and threats of a court challenge. Cuomo won the Legislature’s backing for a new inspector general with prosecutorial oversight on all downstate transportation projects.  Though pitched as a reform measure, it’s anything but. In reality, it gives Cuomo a special prosecutor — appointed by and answerable only to him — with jurisdiction over the Port Authority (as well as the MTA, which the gov already controls). No, what Cuomo wants isn’t yet another investigator — he wants a cudgel with which to browbeat and threaten Port Authority officials who refuse to comply with his demands.  And now the Legislature’s handed him one.  A new law allows Cuomo’s budget director to submit a revised spending plan if Washington cuts the state’s federal aid. If the Assembly and state Senate don’t unite to pass a counter-proposal within 90 days, Cuomo’s plan wins.  And given how divided the Legislature was during the just-concluded budget fight, that’s essentially giving Cuomo unilateral power to cut spending.  One thing you can be sure of with Cuomo: Whenever he talks reform, it usually winds up as a gubernatorial power grab. MTA Transitadvocates slam Gov. Cuomo for $65 million cut to MTA funding (NYDN) * With President Donald Trump proposing dramatic cuts to transportation funding, the officials charged with building a multibillion-dollar, nationally important rail tunnel beneath the Hudson River have begun to explore private funding mechanisms, Politico New York writes. * Cuomo secured a $65 million cut for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in the state budget, which shifted money from the agency’s operations budget to its repair needs, the Daily News writes.  CHARTER SCHOOLS  The new budget manipulates future aid formulas in a way that one advocate says will cost New York City charter schools some $1.7 billion over the next several years and the state Legislature refuses to raise the charter school cap, Bob McManus writes in the Post.

NYT After the Budget Passes Notices There is No Ethics Reforms 
Despite the recent convictions of the leaders of both the Assembly and the state Senate and indictments against some of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s own associates, lawmakers failed to take up a raft of ethics proposals included in the governor’s executive budget, The New York Times reports.

"This year, it was all rhetoric and no action." On Ethics, Cuomo Budget Entered Like a Lion and Emerged Like a Lamb

The Member Items Pork is Flying in This New 2017 State Budget
Oink yet again (NY Torch)  New York’s tentative state budget deal would pour another $385 million into the biggest, murkiest pork-barrel slush fund Albany has ever seen.  The latest version of the fiscal 2018 Capital Projects bill (A.3004D) would further fatten the State and Municipal Facilities Program (SMFP), bringing its total available funding to $1.64 billion, based on $1.925 billion in total appropriations over the last five fiscal years.  That’s a whole lot of bacon, even by New York standards—at a time when Governor Andrew Cuomo says his top priority is “to make sure we don’t overcommit ourselves financially.”  But wait—there’s more. The (apparently) final version of the Capital Projects bill —just passed by the Assembly—also does not include Cuomo’s proposed Executive Budget language boosting the transparency of legislatively sponsored capital expenditures from pork pots other than SMFP.

Cuomo Longs For Corrupt Silver's On Time Passing Of Pork Filled Budget That Does Not Change NY's Anti-Business Climate 
Cuomo's 'Shelly nostalgia' betrays perverse priorities (NYP ED)  Cuomo’s nostalgia for the speakership of Sheldon Silver is painfully telling about the state of New York state.  On the surface, Cuomo was merely admiring Silver’s iron control of the Assembly when he remarked on John Catsimatidis’ show, “They did what he said, period.”  Which no doubt made it easier to reach an on-time budget deal in years past. But Silver’s power also enabled the corruption for which he now faces long years in federal prison — and the same goes for ex-Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos.  Hmm: Of all that Cuomo sought in this year’s budget deal, the only areas where he got nothing were ethics and transparency reform. (In fact, the Legislature managed more of that in the Silver era.)  Yes, the gov on Monday insisted his talk of Silver was meant as “fact, not praise,” since the Assembly majority is now “more participatory,” but “not as functional.”  Yet Cuomo’s main gripe is the greater difficulty of swinging the same old deals — when the state desperately needs change.
New York remains 49th or 50th on all the state rankings of taxes, business climate and so on — with no serious relief in sight.  For the most part, this year’s budget was $153 billion of “more of the same” — more taxes extended, more cash for pork-barrel slush funds and more of Cuomo’s economic-development spending that consistently fails to truly develop the economy, even in the beleaguered Upstate areas where so much of it is targeted.  And last year the exodus of New Yorkers from upstate exceeded — by over 23,000 people — the population growth in the economically healthier areas around the city.  Even the metro area (including parts of Jersey and Connecticut) has seen more than 1 million people move away since 2010, for a rate of 4.4 percent — the highest outmigration of all the top US population centers.  Yes, foreign arrivals and births have kept the greater NYC area growing — but the rate of growth is slowing.  And the main thing the governor is wistful about is the leadership of Shelly Silver.

State Budget A Legal Contradiction: More Justice No Ethics or Campaign Reforms 
Call it a legal contradiction in the new state budget, the Times Union writes, Cuomo and the Legislature did much to improve justice, but not a thing about the corruption that has plagued state government.*  The Buffalo News: “It took far too long, given the undisputed, crying need, but tucked away in the New York State budget are some powerful criminal justice reforms aimed at preventing the compound tragedies of wrongful conviction. That makes this an especially significant budget.”