Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Governor Spitzer's Budget


Jane Flasch, Albany, NY - Governor Eliot Spitzer is making a lot of promises in his first budget for the state. He's calling for a bigger rebate for homeowners, a significant jump in aid for the city of Rochester, and more aid for every school district in New York with the neediest districts getting a lot more. Governor Spitzer says he can pay for his programs by closing loopholes and cutting waste and fraud. In fact, if the Governor gets his way, most middle-class homeowners will get an even bigger rebate check this year.
Homeowners with household incomes up to $60,000 a year will see thier STAR rebate checks almost double from an average $672 to over $1200. Seniors with high incomes will get a little less. Govenor Spitzer promised more money to upstate cities, including Rochester. The city will receive $9.7. That is considerably less than the $35 million Mayor Bob Duffy had hoped for to bring Rochester up to the same funding levels per person as Buffalo and Syracuse receive. The Governor says he will expand health care coverage to all uninsured children in the state that's 400,000 children under the age of 19. The Governor has also promised relief to Monroe County. 80% of the county's budget is made up of expenses mandated by Albany. Under this budget, state debt will grow. But the Governor says he can raise $180 million by extending the five cent bottle deposit to non-carbonated beverages like water and requiring bottlers to return unclaimed deposits to the state... for more info...check out
Localities won't bear costs for state programs, Spitzer says and Governor's Budget Includes "Historic" Education Funding and Highlights from Gov. Spitzer's budget proposal and Spitzer's $120 billion budget calls for reforms, spending...andy

These boots were made for walking...and they are gonna walk all over you..."nancy sinatra"

(photo courtesy of who else?? but the NY Post/Fred Dicker)

Fred Dicker The New York Post

Keep in mind..this is all coming from the Republicans and the all too obliging cartoon desk of the NY Post.....thought everyone could use some comic relief..well here it is........andy

"January 31, 2007 -- ALBANY - Gov. Spitzer viciously berated a state lawmaker, saying, "I am a f - - - ing steamroller" who will crush the assemblyman and anyone else who stands in his way, The Post has learned.
Sources told The Post yesterday that an enraged Spitzer bitterly denounced Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco last week after the Schenectady-based Republican called to complain that he had been cut out of negotiations on a just-announced proposed new state ethics law.
"Listen, I'm a f - - - ing steamroller, and I'll roll over you and anybody else," Democrat Spitzer angrily yelled at Tedisco - who was driving in his car and speaking on a cellphone, sources familiar with the conversation said.
Spitzer then boasted about his political strength, saying, "I've done more in three weeks than any governor has done in the history of the state," the sources said.
Tedisco later said, "He [Spitzer] has a different side to him than a lot of people realize.
"I think at some point he is going to lose it," Tedisco added.
The sources said Tedisco almost responded with angry words of his own - then decided that caution in dealing with the popular governor was the better part of valor.
Spitzer spokesman Darren Dopp didn't deny that a blowup had occurred, saying only that he would have "no comment" on what he called a "private discussion" between the governor and Tedisco.
But Dopp did insist that the description of the events provided by the sources had been "embellished."
It's not the first time Spitzer has been accused of going too far.
Allegations that he engaged in threatening and heavy-handed verbal conduct surfaced during his second term as attorney general, with most of the attention focused on the claim that he sought to intimidate John Whitehead, then chairman of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp.
Whitehead, in a Wall Street Journal article published in 2005, said Spitzer ripped him in an angry telephone call after he criticized the then-attorney general's investigation of American International Group CEO Maurice "Hank" Greenberg.
Whitehead, who said he took notes during the conversation, said Spitzer had said, "Mr. Whitehead, it's now a war between us, and you've fired the first shot. I will be coming after you. You will pay the price."
An aide to Spitzer insisted at the time that no threats were made against Whitehead, although Spitzer himself conceded, "I disagree with people passionately."
A producer for the Sean Hannity radio talk show also contended that Spitzer had threatened the show in 2000 after he had hung up in anger during a guest appearance" Much to do.....about nothing.....andy


Larry Levy(Newsday) thinks Spitzer keeps making it harder for himself "But being right doesn't mean Spitzer can get his way. He may have a 75 percent approval rating, but legislators care what happens to their community hospital and whether their school district gets as much of an increase as another, even if the neighbor is poorer. He will need to sell his overall vision, a solid, balanced one, to a lot of individual lawmakers.And that's why it's nuts for him to waste political goodwill by continuing to get in the faces of his Democratic allies in the Assembly over their desire to select one of their own as the new state comptroller. And why he risks losing more than he will gain in aggressively trying to win a Republican state Senate seat on Long Island, breaking an unspoken tradition of governors staying out of legislative races." I can't remember when Eliot has ever played it safe.....I may not always agree with his game plan...but you can't argue with Eliot's success or his accomplishments....playing safe would not have gotten him this far....and Larry..stop kissing Mondello's Butt here..have some respect for yourself.........meanwhile Gov. Spitzer set to release executive budget "Gov. Eliot Spitzer is expected to release the executive budget this morning with an address at the Capitol at 11 a.m." and the democratic version of the "family feud" continues with A Threat to Defy Spitzer on Comptroller Selection “Breaking the agreement and ignoring the people’s call for reform will have consequences,” said Darren Dopp, the governor’s communications director. “Experience, not cronyism, should determine who manages a $145 billion pension fund.” vrs "Some lawmakers are grumbling that Mr. Silver ever ceded any of his power to the governor — and to the outside panel that screened the candidates — in the first place. The State Constitution and state law give the Legislature the right to pick a replacement." The Albany Times Union Comptroller selection feud deepens believes the only decision left to be made is "which Assembly member will be elected, when that may happen and what the fallout may be, especially between Spitzer and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver." and Newsday confirms this with Dems: We'll pick our own "Huddling for much of the day behind closed doors, Assembly Democrats reached consensus yesterday that they would back one of their members to replace Alan Hevesi as state comptroller and were wrestling over which assemblyman would get the support of the caucus last night, according to political sources here" and
Azi Paybarah Dispatch From the Inner Sanctum heard a rumor that " state Senator Marty Connor, who was once Eliot Spitzer's election lawyer, had offered himself up as a compromise candidate?
His spokesman called with a response: No comment." meanwhile Liz Benjamin
No Comptroller Conclusion has heard that " the Assembly Republicans say they’ve been told by members of the majority (although not leadership) that the favorite at the moment is Assemblyman Thomas DiNapoli, D-Great Neck." I have said it all along...Tommy D is the Final Answer to this mess....and Liz also found out Clancy Joins Spitzer Administration "Jim Clancy, a former aide to state Sen. Neil Breslin, D-Delmar, has been hired by Gov. Eliot Spitzer to serve as his director of legislative affairs, which means he will be the liaison between the executive and legislative branches (no mean feat these days)." What is this guy stepping into??? and I am off to see my new grandson......politics will have to take a back seat today..will be back later with any updates.......andy

Off Topic....I am a grandpa!!!!

As of 1:45am today,....a new little blogger has entered this world....Aiden Lawrence........7bs 11oz baby boy..what a little cutie he is...I tried to convince my son to name him Eliot..but alas...did not succeed :-) andy

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Nite Time Tid Bits

It is very obvious Liz Benjamin has no clue what DiNapoli is all about Comptroller/SeventhDistrict Linkage? "Here’s where it gets a bit Byzantine. DiNapoli has already endorsed Johnson in the 7th District contest, but some are wondering how active he will be in that race, now that the Senate’s leading Democrat, Smith, has essentially said he wants someone other than DiNapoli to fill the Comptroller’s seat.
Some are speculating that DiNapoli could sit on the sidelines in that race, or play a lesser role than he would have, as payback against Smith" errrrrrrrr...not.....DiNapoli is a class act........sorry seems everybody is getting involved with this Comptroller Controversy.......
Koch: Spitzer “Dead Wrong” On Comptroller Contest “The state Legislature, under the law, has the right to select the next comptroller,” Koch said in an interview this afternoon. “It may not be the way I would do it, but they have the right, and to seek to take away or limit that right by the use of that committee to me makes no sense at all.” “I administered 18 people on my payroll, and then I became mayor and administered 300,000 people,” Koch said. “I think I did a good job. Your ability to be an executive has nothing to do with whether you were a legislator before. It’s based on your DNA. Either you’re a good executive, or you’re not.” Maybe next time there should be DNA testing of potential comptroller candidates??? in the meantime Assembly Democrats have returned to their closed-door, members-only conference at which they will continue their discussion about the state comptroller contest.......Conference Redux......."The general feeling is that by the end of this second conference a consensus will be reached in favor of going against the governor’s wishes and making an assemblyman the next comptroller.
“The belief is that this process was rigged, and as such it was a power grab by the executive,” one member said. “We have a responsibility to stand up for the Legislature or else we will be ceding too much authority.” Liz also reports...."sources say that one casulty of this whole fight might be judicial merit selection, with legislators loathe to place more power in the hands of the executive after seeing how he acts with the power he already has.".....I wonder if these are "republican" sources trying to stir up the pot a bit more....and speaking of stirring up the pot ....nothing is more feared among Nassau Republican Minions than
The Lash of Mondello "Political insiders are still talking about the lambasting State and Nassau Republican Chairman Joseph Mondello gave several Hempstead and Oyster Bay GOP leaders last weekend for "sitting on their hands" in the race between party candidate Maureen O’Connell and Democrat Craig Johnson for the vacant 7th S.D. seat." Funny..these republicans are starting to act like democrats...Mondello and company are not used to the Spitzer State Democratic Onslaught that is now taking place...they are literally fighting for their political lives now...“This is a very important special election, not just for me but for the entire party and it’s a tough one,” Mondello said. “This is a herculean effort that we’re trying to make here.” ...a reader comments "Translation: Maureen is behind in the polls and I'm gonna blame people if she doesn't win--cause its never my fault!" may have red ass ed reps...but you also now have a red faced working family party..Embarrassed WFP: Report's in the Mail "When the latest campaign finance reports for the 7th Senate district special election went online this weekend, one filing was conspicuously missing. The Working Families Party is heavily invested in the race, lending Craig Johnson his campaign spokesman, Alex Navarro, and received $110,000 from the Johnson campaign for its efforts.
"We forgot," said WFP Executive Director Dan Cantor. "We're not used to these special elections. We literally forgot. I'm embarrassed."
Cantor said his people are working on the report and will have it completed and filed tonight.
"I'm chagrined, but we're obviously going to fix it," he said." and finally The Times Empire Zone alerts us there is
No White Smoke "The Assembly Democrats just took a brief break from their closed-door conference, where they are trying to figure out what to do about picking a comptroller.
When Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was asked what the temperature of his conference was, he replied cryptically, “I don’t have a thermometer.’’
Other Assemblymen, though, said that the conference was steaming mad at the fact that no lawmakers made the list of qualified comptroller candidates." This is certainly not Camp Happy right now.........andy

Afternoon Delights

Hey you never know!!!!!!!! or maybe some state legislators really want to know Spitzer vows to review Lottery operations "Gov. Eliot Spitzer is pledging to review the New York Lottery's operations amid bipartisan calls for reform prompted by a report in The Journal News that revealed billions of dollars in bets were kept off the Lottery's books.
Several state legislators said yesterday that the Lottery Division needed to fully account for all the cash generated by its video lottery terminals, after the newspaper reported that only a portion of wagers was included in the Lottery's financial reports." Come on People..we are talking Yolanda Vega here.......... and has anyone ever heard of Pork being served on ice??? Assemblyman Republicans: Pork Funds Are 'Tip Of The Iceberg' "The State Assembly's Republican Caucus leader James Tedisco is calling attention to 50 "secret slush funds" his office has found in various state budgets dating back as far as the 2000-2001 legislative calendar. While most are focusing on the $200 million in member items, or "pork," lawmakers get to dole out each year, Tedisco noted that these 50 other funds amount to $3.4 billion in unwatched spending, and is calling on Governor Eliot Spitzer to remove them from this year's budget." just found out stuff going on from 2000??? why did they hold back this good news from Pataki??? and I'll bet you none of this "find" has any Republicans attached to it........there is an old neighborhood saying..that fits perfectly here..."whoever smelt it...dealt it"...........meanwhile Azi Paybarah(The Politicker) thinks maybe Maureen's phone lines have been somehow crossed..........after all...she is a Devoted Spitzer Fan....... A Message for O'Connell and, Maybe, Spitzer "Here's a robo call that was made and sponsored by 1199 SEIU and CSEA on behalf of Republican state senate candidate Maureen O'Connell in Nassau [updated].
The caller identifies herself as "Mary Duffy," a nurse and mother of four in Mineola. It's a short, pragmatic delivery whose message can be distilled as follows: She's a mom and a nurse. Vote for her.
But there is also this interesting line:
"As a health care worker, I know how important it is that our state senators understand the need to safeguard our local hospitals and stand up for quality health care. That's why I'm supporting Maureen O'Connell for state senate."
Safeguard our local hospitals?
Sounds like a reference to Eliot Spitzer's plan to squeeze billions of dollars out of the budget from Medicaid and health care costs. I wonder when those robo calls start going out." and Azi appears a little confused on exactly what Bruno was saying Say What? and Bill Hammond(The Daily News) is Punch Happy that Spitzer is picking fights with everyone Gov pulls no punches ..maybe we can get this on Pay For View for Bill..........and the Times Empire Zone alerts us........(Almost) 107 Men and Women in a Room "The Assembly Democrats just filed into their conference room to decide, behind closed doors, what to do about the comptroller situation.
They have two options. They can suck it up, and pick one of the three comptroller candidates whose names were forwarded by the expert panel that their leader agreed to. Or they can go their own way by picking an Assemblyman for the post – humiliating the Democratic governor who agreed on the process with them.
Several assemblymen who would be comptroller are in the room with them.
To be a fly on that wall…" Hey stop using my lines...........And Bruno is starting his traditional pre-budget talks "blues" Bruno’s Budget Worries are in a different place is called the twilight zone........and The Daily Politics thinks maybe Silver is being ignored by Spitzer Reading between Spitzer's lines ..........if you click can read Spitzer's entire Education Speech........Liz Benjamin's Spitzer’s Promises (Updated) "Much of the property tax relief plan Gov. Eliot Spitzer is discussing this morning should come as little surprise, since he outlined much of it during last year’s gubernatorial campaign.
The governor said today that his first executive budget will make good on his pledge to provide targeted relief to middle class property owners while also fulfilling his promise not to raise taxes or push costs down to the local level." Spitzer is definitely delivering the campaign goods....andy

Ethics Deal in Trouble???

Liz Benjamin Capitol Confidential

I wonder if this has anything to do with the current comptroller controversy??? the Assembly starting to play a bit of "hardball" here??? I hope not........we need reform.......andy

'The ethics deal announced with much fanfare last week by legislative leaders and Gov. Eliot Spitzer (he called it a “bold action” that “set New York on a path toward true integrity), and subsequently panned by the good government community, has hit a road block in the state Assembly.
The legislation was supposed to come up today in three separate Assembly committees - Government Operations, Codes and Ways & Means - but has been tabled in all of them.
Sources say negotiations are ongoing over some of the measure’s “techincal” points.
What that means exactly, I’m not sure. But one of the chief concerns of the goo-goos (and the lobbyists) was that control of the new state Commission on Public Integrity would be in the hands of the executive, which some have said amounts to bit of a fox in the henhouse situation.
The legislation hasn’t even been introduced yet in the Senate. "


Senator Bruno ET courtesy Liz Benjamin Capitol Confidential
Bruno's response to media questions about the Comptroller Selection Controversy is a classic example of "the Albany 2 step".........Fred Astaire would be proud of the moves Bruno made goes......"Asked today whose side he’s on when it comes to picking a new state comptroller, Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, R-Brunswick, was uncharacteristically circumspect.
“That’s a matter of discussion, and there’s public discussions, and we’re talking about that and going to continue talking about it,” Bruno said." Errrrrrrrrrrrrrrr so who is right here......Silver or Spitzer????

“The most important thing in life is to be able to communicate accurately and well,” Bruno said. “Shelly heard the governor say five to be reported to the Legislature, and the governor said up to five. If there’s up to five, then you’re going to pick from the three, right?
“I’m still trying to figure out what I heard because I know that sometimes what you think you’re hearing is not what you’re hearing.” So basically you are totally clueless on what you actually negotiated with Spitzer and Silver??? "That said, Bruno noted: “The Legislature picks the next comptroller, OK? That’s the law. That’s the Constitution. That’s the process. We’ll see how it plays out.” That clears things up huh??? and I love this quote from Sen Marcellino "One senator to whom Silver might consider turning if the comptroller candidate is Assemblyman Tom DiNapoli, D-Great Neck, is Carl Marcellino, R-Oyster Bay. Asked whether he would be willing to go around the screening panel to support his fellow Long Islander, Marcellino replied: “Knowing some of the members of the comptroller’s panel, yeah.” Tom DiNapoli is Silver's Ace in the hole..if he decides to buck the panel..Tom who is well liked and respected on both sides of the aisle..including the governor's mansion...will easily get the necessary votes..for the rest of Liz's article click here andy

Comptroller Roundup........AM Edition

The Times Herald-Record thinks Editorial: Spitzer will rue losing first fight "Silver's response was a classic: "They can give me whatever they want. We don't have to listen to them, either."
That's the truth. He does not have to listen to the panel he approved or anybody else. He can ram through his choice for comptroller and no one can do anything about it.
The man on the line in this case is not Speaker Silver, who is behaving as expected, but Gov. Spitzer. If he quietly gives in here, we will know that he, like the speaker, cannot be trusted to keep his promises. And we will have yet another example of the reality that is Albany. The only reason this behavior is not criminal is because the people doing it make the laws." Can someone please tell me what more can Spitzer do here??? Legally he is out of the game now..........meanwhile Newsday reveals
Silver mulls battle with Spitzer over next comptroller "It's highly unlikely that the Assembly will capitulate and do one of the three," said one Assembly member who asked not to be identified. "There's a very strong sense that the governor is trying to make a power grab." and Yancey Roy thinks Legislature may delay comptroller vote
Spitzer has yet to indicate favorite; "Assembly not likely to act quickly The Democratic-led Assembly, which because of its size advantage over the GOP-controlled Senate holds sway in the vote, won't return to the Capitol until today. With the chamber in flux, they aren't likely to call for a vote then, said Assembly Majority Leader Ron Canestrari, D-Cohoes, Albany County.
"I don't see that happening," Canestrari said. But he expects a lengthy closed-door Democratic meeting that could last into the night. Wednesday is the day Spitzer unveils his 2007-08 budget proposal, making it tough but not impossible to slate a vote.
"We have to meet to hash this out," Canestrari said. "There's lots of anger among members." Ya Think??????? and the Albany Times Union warns
Watch it, Mr. Silver "Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver wouldn't dare snub three very qualified people recommended for state comptroller just so the job could go to one of his colleagues. Or would he?" The million dollar question right now....a lot of poker metaphors with this editorial....let me add one myself...who is really bluffing here??? the problem is....legally...Silver is holding the winning hand............and the New York Post thinks every legislative member is UNFIT FOR THE(COMPTROLLER'S) JOB ......this is typical post nonsense..but they did reveal Spitzer and Silver met for dinner last night...I wonder who wound up ordering "crow" as an the main course??? and the outcome of this cordial dining experience??? according to Fred Dicker SPITZ STICKS TO HIS GUNS IN SILVER WAR "Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Gov. Spitzer, at war over the selection of a new state controller, met last night, but were unable to hammer out a deal. " is anybody really surprised over this??? andy

Labor Leader Is Parting, With a Shot


I will never forget this group.......Pataki played hardball with PEF and CSEA and claimed there was no money in the till to give decent raises..but just before the last governor's election......Pataki gave these guys 8 percent raises every he could lock up the election for himself.....while we are getting a big $500 bonus this year........Rivera is not going to find Spitzer so accommodating.....andy

Dennis Rivera, the president of New York’s largest health care union, announced yesterday that he would step down, but not without issuing a surprisingly pointed broadside against Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s planned cuts in health care spending.
In 17 years as president of 1199 S.E.I.U., the state’s most politically powerful union, Mr. Rivera has been perhaps the most formidable and visible labor leader in New York politics.
He announced that he was leaving his post to become chairman of a new one-million-member national health care union being established within his local’s parent, the
Service Employees International Union. Mr. Rivera said the new organization would help unionize more health care workers and make the service employees a more potent political force, especially in the push for universal health coverage.
Mr. Rivera, whose Manhattan-based local has nearly 300,000 members, said he would step down on June 15, when his term ends. He added that he was not leaving sooner because he wanted to protect his members and the state’s hospitals from the cuts that Mr. Spitzer was expected to propose tomorrow.
Mr. Rivera, 56, often tangled — most times successfully — with Govs.
Mario M. Cuomo and George E. Pataki to fight health care cuts. But now he sees a major fight looming with Mr. Spitzer after the new governor warned last Friday that health care spending must reflect the patients’ needs and not politics and entrenched interests — a statement that Mr. Rivera interpreted as an attack on 1199.
“I don’t think the patients in
New York State and our health care institutions are served by basically identifying us as villains because we are the ones who give health care to patients every day,” Mr. Rivera said. “We don’t want to have a war with Eliot Spitzer. We don’t believe in having a war with anybody. We believe in having a constructive dialogue. But on the other hand, we’re not going to be a punching bag for anybody.”
The remarks were particularly candid for a leader whose union has largely refrained from taking on Mr. Spitzer directly since his landslide election victory. But Mr. Rivera warned that his union might sponsor a campaign of newspaper ads and commercials against Mr. Spitzer and his proposed cuts. When 1199 undertook a campaign in 1996 against cutbacks proposed by Mr. Pataki, the governor’s popularity ratings plunged and he eventually relented. Later, Mr. Rivera and Mr. Pataki became allies, and in 2002, 1199 endorsed Mr. Pataki,
a Republican, for re-election.
In a speech last Friday, Mr. Spitzer said he would seek billions of dollars in Medicaid and other health care savings when he unveils his budget tomorrow. He specifically criticized a deal that Mr. Pataki struck with 1199 in 2002 that provided some $2 billion in additional health care spending, much of it for raises for the union’s members.
“The problem,” Mr. Spitzer said, “is a system — co-opted by entrenched interests — that resists making hard choices to change the status quo.”
Mr. Rivera said that it was “sad and unfortunate that while Democratic governors across the nation are expanding health care access and proposing universal health care, Mr. Spitzer has taken a different posture that is more consistent with right-wing Republicans.”
The new union, S.E.I.U. Healthcare, will combine more than 30 locals across the country and will seek to set nationwide standards for health care workers and do more lobbying in state capitals and in Washington on behalf of those workers.
Sounding exhilarated about his new job, Mr. Rivera said he saw opportunities to double the number of health care workers who are unionized. He outlined plans to have the service employees’ new union create a political action committee that would have a budget of $40 million every two years, making it one of the nation’s largest PAC’s.
“It is a time of enormous opportunity,” Mr. Rivera said. “I believe we can obtain in the next two years, certainly with a new Congress and president, universal health coverage in the United States.”
In his new position, Mr. Rivera will be one of the front-runners to succeed Andrew Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union. Mr. Rivera said that his strategy as head of S.E.I.U. Healthcare would be similar to his strategy in New York State: form alliances with hospitals and health executives to fight against cuts and fight for broader and better coverage.
In New York, 1199 often joined the Greater New York Hospital Association to push for major changes, like the creation of Family Health Plus to provide health insurance to more low-income children.
“The way we look at it, Dennis is not stepping down, he’s stepping up,” said Kenneth E. Raske, president of the hospital association. “He’s looking for a platform that can amplify the kind of significant work that he has done in New York.”
When Mr. Rivera, a former union organizer in his native Puerto Rico, became 1199’s president in 1989, it had 78,000 members and was bitterly divided. Sometimes the police intervened to prevent the factions from fighting. Now, 1199 is solidly united and nearly four times as large, having unionized tens of thousands of workers and merged with more than a dozen locals.
If the state budget is completed early, allowing him to step down before June 15, Mr. Rivera will be succeeded by George Gresham, 1199’s secretary-treasurer. Mr. Gresham, 51, who joined 1199 as a custodian at Presbyterian Hospital, plans to run for the presidency.
Mr. Rivera said 1199 had shown its willingness to compromise by agreeing to the hospital closings and other cuts that a special state panel, known as the Berger Commission, proposed in November. “The Berger Commission will impact more than 15,000 health care workers in New York State and more than 57 institutions,” he said. “For Eliot Spitzer to do more cuts on top of that is outrageous.”
Edmund J. McMahon, the director of the Empire Center for New York State Policy, an affiliate of the Manhattan Institute, a conservative policy group, said he was happy that Mr. Rivera was moving on.
“If you want to get an idea of how important Dennis Rivera is, much of what Governor Spitzer has to do this year is to undo what Rivera accomplished with Governor Pataki and the Legislature,” he said. “Depending on your perspective, he did a lot or he did too much. He’s casting a long shadow.”
Mr. Rivera has clashed with Mr. Spitzer by endorsing the Republican candidate in the race for an open State Senate seat on Long Island. Mr. Rivera is close to
Joseph L. Bruno, the Senate majority leader, who is a Republican and has often helped 1199 by blocking health care cuts.
Mr. Rivera, whose union normally gives more than 90 percent of its political money to Democrats, said it was important to back the Republicans, who narrowly control the Senate, “because we believe that checks and balances are important at this very difficult moment.”

Monday, January 29, 2007

Special Election--Nite Time Update

How could Newsday possibly combine the Comptroller Selection Chaos and the 17th SD Special Election Craziness into one story??? Well they have with O'Connell, Weitzman Feud Over Audit ...........Maureen has been stalling her response to this audit for months.....with all kind of nonsense excuses.....and of course now the audit is political.......because she is going to look bad........ya think she is sweating this one out??? andy

"With a week left before the special election, Republican candidate Maureen O’Connell is feuding with Nassau Comptroller Howard Weitzman over the possible release of an audit that allegedly shines a negative light on O’Connell’s leadership at the county clerk’s office.
After many stops and starts over the past year, Weitzman, a Democrat who is vying to become the state comptroller, completed the audit on Jan. 12th. Following the usual protocol, Weitzman went to O’Connell for a response, but the clerk said her office would be unable to comment because one of her employees is on family leave through next month.
During an interview Friday O’Connell said Weitzman, who is supporting her opponent, Nassau Legis. Craig Johnson (D-Port Washington), is motivated by partisanship. She also noted that he was lobbying state lawmakers to back his bid for state comptroller.
“He’ll say and do anything to advance his career,” O’Connell said. “The release of … any comment from Howard is extremely political.”
The contents of the audit are unclear but sources familiar with it say it criticizes some of O’Connell’s management abilities.
Weitzman is one of three candidates for state comptroller that a three-person panel of former comptrollers forwarded to the state Legislature last week. Given the spotlight on him, sources say Weitzman has been even more sensitive to the possibility that the audit’s release could be perceived as a partisan shot at O’Connell.
Sources familiar with the audit said O’Connell has delayed the report for months by claiming that staffers in the clerk’s office were not available. But O’Connell said Weitzman’s requests to question members of her team would have shut down the office for periods.
O’Connell also touted her accomplishments in the office since she took over in January 2006. “I’ve turned an office around in 12 months that had accumulated a 15 year backlog,” she said. “We’ve brought the office into the 21st century and my staff has done a superb job.”
Allen Morrison, Weitzman’s spokesman, would not say whether Weitzman would release the audit without a response from O’Connell. “We gave a copy of the report to the clerk’s office to give them an opportunity to review the findings in keeping with our standard practice,” Morrison said."

Spitzer’s Education Czar/Education Speech

Liz Benjamin Capitol Confidential

Yikes..the folks in Boston....are hopping mad they lost this guy.........and as I have said all is simply amazing how Eliot always seems to attract the best minds in the business to work for him......andy

Gov. Eliot Spitzer formally announced today that Rochester Schools Superintendent Manuel Rivera will serve in the newly-created position of senior education policy adviser, a post that pays $169,000-a-year.
Rivera will, according to a press release: “Oversee the implementation of Gov. Spitzer’s education reform policy, which will couple increased funding with necessary accountability and a more transparent school aid formula. He will also be responsible for implementing sweeping reforms designed to improve accountability.”
The selection of Rivera, who was named National Superintendent of the Year in 2006, was the result of a nationwide search, the release states.
The release makes no mention of the fact that Rivera was
recently tapped to lead Boston’s public school system by Mayor Thomas Menino. He was to be the city’s first Hispanic schools chief - a fact that was much touted by the Menino administration.
The selection process in Boston was, according to The Boston Globe, “top-secret,” and the closed-door nature of the deliberations is causing consderable consternation now that Rivera has slipped from Menino’s grasp.
Over the weekend, Rivera rejected reports that he rejected the Boston job due to the controlling leadership style of the woman who heads the Boston School Committee, and insisted he had decided to accept Spitzer’s offer “because of this unique, unexpected opportunity to impact the lives of 3 million children across the state of New York.” and things are a changing in school aid funding.........
Spitzer Wields Carrot, Stick On Education is about time...our schools are held accountable for poor performance....they sure seem to get enough of our hard earnied monies..........“The dynamic in education is about to change dramatically,” Spitzer said in his speech (as prepared for delivery). “With the reforms and accountability we will propose in our upcoming Executive Budget, and the resources we will commit to fully fund our schools over the next four years, there will be no more excuses for failure. The debate will no longer be about money, but about performance; the goal will no longer be adequacy but excellence; and the timetable will no longer be tomorrow but today" amen and amen....andy

A Tale Of Two Parties

Liz Benjamin Capitol Confidential

Hey Jay Jacobs forked over a $25,000 check for 7th SD special election Democratic Fundraiser....what Liz is not aware...Jay has been cutting checks for local Dem races for years..both as a businessman...and now county matter how you feel about Jay...nobody argues with the fact he is a wonderful fundraiser...he has raised oodles of money for the Dem's over the years..........andy

The state Democratic Party’s financial filing is up at the Board of Elections site now, too.
Starting balance: $85,431
Contributions: $266,000
Miscellaneous receipts: $85,771
Total receipts: $351,771
Spent: $111,578
Balance: $325,625
Gov. Eliot Spitzer transferred $84,400 from his campaign committee to the state party. He did the same for the Senate Democrats, who have $286,298 on hand after raising $109,948 and spending $176,350.
That much-heralded $25,000-a-head fundraiser Spitzer headlined for the party to help its efforts in the 7th SD special election generated at least one interesting contribution: $25,000 from Nassau County Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs, who, like his ally Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi, is now playing nice with the Democratic establishment.
Norman Hsu, the clothing magnate, gave $15,000. Joseph Belluck, who used to serve as counsel in Spitzer’s AG office and handled the tobacco lawsuit cases, gave $25,000. Developer and Democratic fund-raiser David Steiner contributed $20,000. Friedrike Merck, whose ancestors built the pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co., kicked in $10,000.
Meanwhile, the state GOP has yet to post its 11-day pre-special election filing. In January, it had a balance of $267,438 in its housekeeping account and $44,487 in its general reporting account.
The Senate Republicans, on the other hand, has $494,096 in its reporting account and, as of mid-January, had $2,347,410 in its housekeeping account.


Newsday thinks Spitzer will flunk out some school administrators Spitzer to seek removal of failing school officials "Gov. Eliot Spitzer is expected to call today for tough new laws authorizing state removal of local school boards and superintendents who fail to raise student academic performance within a reasonable time." .....or "some school administrators left behind" program.......and Eliot tells The Daily News Time for tough calls "New governors from California to New Jersey have cut spending and reordered priorities in recent years in an attempt to get their states on a path toward stability and prosperity. People were uncomfortable with these actions at first, but later saw that change was necessary and beneficial.
We must do the same thing in New York, but it will be harder than in other states because we've put off tough decisions for years. Our budgeting often has been driven by politics instead of common sense. We've made commitments that drive billions of dollars into ineffective programs that benefit the few at the expense of the many. " This sounds like the first "warning" shot fired..before the state budget wars money is on Spitzer........and Fred Dicker thinks there is mischief afoot in the legislature
'SECRET' DEM PLOT TO TAKE COMPTROL "Democrats may hold their own "secret" election this week in order to unite around a single candidate to be chosen as the new state comptroller, legislative insiders said yesterday.
The idea would be to choose between the two leading Assembly Democratic candidates - Thomas DiNapoli of Nassau County and Joseph Morelle of Rochester - and then make the winner the "official" Assembly choice.
"The members are talking about a secret election, unless the candidates can agree among themselves who should drop out," a Democratic official said. " how "secret" can this meeting be if Fred knows all about it??? and if in fact Silver decides to buck the panel and pick one of his own...this makes perfect sense...and there is no reason for anything to be secret...this is the law of the land.....the legislature picks the comptroller..........and The New York Sun thinks it's
Silver's Choice "We don't carry a brief here for any particular candidate for comptroller of New York. Maybe, if one wanted someone who could keep an eye on the governor and his administration, it should be Mr. Spitzer's archnemesis, Kenneth Langone. What we do have a strong view about is the notion that the process of choosing a comptroller should follow the law. The law is unambiguously with the Legislature. It doesn't place restrictions on what the Legislature can do, except restrict it from applying a religious test. Mr. Spitzer is said to be furiously lobbying the Legislature directly now in hopes of gaining a comptroller from among the three whose names have been offered up. It's hard to see, however, why the speaker should feel under pressure. The interests of New Yorkers are with the widest possible search for the best possible candidate." and yet the Post(they obviously are not reading Dicker's Columns) thinks Silver should keep his word SILVER'S CHOICE "But it remains that Silver holds the whip hand, because of the partisan make-up of the Albany Legislature and the constitutionally mandated process for replacing Hevesi.
He can thumb his nose at the agreement he made with Bruno and Spitzer - and, implicitly, with the people of New York - and push for a crony.
Or he can keep his word. Period. " I am sure glad I am not Shelly Silver this week....and finally...Liz Benjamin lets us know "First Lady Silda Wall Spitzer will be on Long Island, campaigning with Democratic 7th SD candidate Craig Johnson" ..........Craig is one lucky dude getting all this attention and support...this is a Nassau Dem's wildest dream come true.......andy

Siena Poll: Spitzer Riding High, Legislature Not So Much

Liz Benjamin Capitol Confidential

No surprise here at all.......Spitzer is doing exactly what he has promised to do...reform may not be 100 percent of what some reform good governments want...but it is a welcome start..and the voters appreciate the effort....this poll just reflects this...andy

"Gov. Eliot Spitzer has a 75 percent favorable rating in a new Siena poll, with 49 percent of voters questioned saying he’s doing a good job and 19 percent rating his performance to date “fair” or “poor.”
“After nearly one month in office, voters’ honeymoon with the new Democratic governor remains strong,” said Steve Greenberg, spokesman for the Siena poll. “Even Republicans give him a better than three-to-one favorable rating and a better than two-to-one job performance rating. Not surprisingly, one-third of voters haven’t seen enough to have an opinion on how Sptizer is doing on the job, but they overwhelmingly have a favorable view of him.”
Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, R-Brunswick, has a favorable/unfavorable rating of 17-36 with 47 percent saying they don’t know enough to have an opinion. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, didn’t fare much better: 20-37 with 43 percent saying they don’t know enough.
The Legislature as a whole continues not to fare well in the court of public opinion. Only 22 percent of voters say they think the Democrat-dominated Assembly is doing a good job, while 64 percent rated its performance as fair/poor. As for the Senate, it’s 27 percent answering “excellent” or “good” and 62 percent fair/poor.
One warning for Spitzer, however, when it comes to the 7th SD race: 56 percent of the voters polled said they oppose one-party control of the Legislature.
There’s also an ‘08 component of the poll:
In the Democratic field, U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, gets the support of 58 percent of those polls; U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-IL, came in at 11 percent; former U.S. Sen. John Edwards, got 9 and no one else broke the 5 percent mark.
On the Republican side, former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani leads U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Az, 47-20. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich got 9 percent, while two former governors (George Pataki and Mitt Romney) tied for fourth place at 5 percent.
The poll was conducted Jan. 24-25 with calls to 625 registered New York voters. It has a 3.9 percent margin of error."

In the race for the 7th District State


The latest and greatest on this wacky special election race.....funny..I thought I spotted the "bat mobile" scooting down the LIE yesterday......if this was a page from "politics for dummies" ........the lesson would be "republicans are out"..never even mention you are a republican and voted with an arch conservative state senate" and whatever you do....allign yourself with agree with everything he has to say.....except maybe the 3rd rail scenario being played out at the MTA now.........andy

"Maureen O'Connell says she supports stem-cell research and abortion rights, but her voting record indicates otherwise. Craig Johnson calls himself an independent Democrat, but one of his campaign mailings calls him Robin to Gov. Eliot Spitzer's Batman. It's all part of the deluge of campaign propaganda - on television and radio, in the mail and during debates - coming from Johnson, a Democratic Nassau County legislator, and from O'Connell, the county clerk who for eight years served in the state Assembly. The two are fighting to succeed Republican Michael Balboni in the 7th State Senate district in a special election to be held Feb. 6. O'Connell, 55, said during a News 12 debate last Monday that she supports abortion rights and stem-cell research, despite an Albany voting record that was 100 percent in compliance with the New York State Right to Life political committee. In 2004, O'Connell introduced a bill that would have banned human cloning and, with it, most forms of stem-cell research. But as with scores of other Republican bills in the Democratic-dominated state Assembly, it died quietly without any chance of becoming law. In mailings, Johnson has attacked O'Connell for being anti-abortion and opposed to stem-cell research, grouping her photograph with those of Republicans such as President George W. Bush, State Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno and even syndicated columnist Ann Coulter. "For years she's had a perfect voting record with us," said Christina Fadden Fitch, legislative director for the New York State Right to Life political committee. "We're shocked with her seemingly sudden support for Roe vs. Wade. It's come out of the blue."O'Connell, while knocking on doors yesterday in Floral Park, refused to acknowledge any change in her position on abortion. "My voting record mirrors Mike Balboni's, that's it," she said. O'Connell said she's not concerned about the topic because voters are only asking her about property taxes. One doesn't have to look far in a Johnson mailing to see a photo of Spitzer. In one, with a photo of the governor on the front, the text reads: "The Lone Ranger had Tonto/Batman had Robin/Mickey Mantle had Roger Maris." Yet Johnson calls himself a fiscal conservative and an independent Democrat - descriptions one might find at odds with the image of being the governor's sidekick. "Tonto and Robin certainly disagreed with Batman and the Lone Ranger sometimes," Johnson said. "I agree with Governor Spitzer on issues of reform. There are going to be times when Governor Spitzer and I disagree."Johnson cited the proposal for the third track of the Long Island Rail Road from Hicksville to Queens Village as an example of disagreeing with Spitzer. "When the governor says 'Jump,' I'm not going to say, 'How high?" Johnson said. "I'm going to say, 'Why?'"Both candidates have made claims that, while technically true, push the limits of credibility. O'Connell's campaign Web site, in touting a program she designed for in-home care for cancer patients, calls the program both "the nation's first" and "one of the nation's first" in different places - a fact eagerly pointed out by the Johnson campaign. O'Connell also pins the 19 percent property tax increase Nassau County enacted in 2002 on Johnson, though he said the tax hike was enacted to save the county from a fiscal disaster he and other Democrats inherited from Republicans. A Johnson mailing, meanwhile, says Johnson "led the fight to defeat a proposed county income tax." In 2002 Johnson publicly broke with some Democrats who spoke of introducing such a tax, but the matter never made it to the Legislature for a vote.Of course, it's often important what the candidates don't say. Johnson never mentions the fact that, as a Democrat, he'd be in the Senate minority - for at least two years - and wouldn't have much immediate impact in Albany. But nowhere in O'Connell's literature does it say that she's a Republican. " and.......if you want to know who is cutting checks for who..then read......Donations race .......".Mayor Bloomberg on Friday cut a $75,000 check to the New York State Senate Republican Campaign Committee, the political action committee that is largely funding Maureen O'Connell's effort to keep the Nassau County seat in the GOP column."........everybody wants a piece of this race.......andy

Picking a comptroller

Newsday Editorial

Basically Newsday is saying.....The legislature should pick one of the 3 panel finalists...however if Silver decides to pick one of his own..then DiNapoli is fine with us...and you know what...he is fine with me as well.....he is the perfect compromise choice in this say the least......"sticky" situation.....andy

"The process of picking a new state comptroller was marred from the start by the political maneuvering of two Democrats, Gov. Eliot Spitzer and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver of Manhattan. Both powerhouses have reason to be annoyed with each other. But, on balance, Spitzer's position is preferable, and Silver should urge Democrats in the legislature to vote for one of the three candidates approved by a panel of former comptrollers. Wall Street executive William Mulrow, New York City finance director Martha Stark and Nassau Comptroller Howard Weitzman have fine credentials.If Silver decides to stick with his preference for an Assembly member, we remain confident in the credentials of Assemb. Thomas DiNapoli (D-Great Neck).Normally, the comptroller is elected every four years. When there is a vacancy in this influential office, from which Alan Hevesi resigned in disgrace last month, it is filled by a total vote of both legislative houses. The state constitution should be amended to scrap that requirement in favor of a special election.But that would take years. Currently, if they hang together, Assembly Democrats are numerous enough to control the outcome. And members say they want one of their own.But Spitzer, in a push to improve Albany's poor image, insisted on an outsider with big-time financial management experience, and he specifically opposed naming a legislator. Eventually, he and legislative leaders compromised: A panel of former comptrollers would select five, or up to five, finalists - the number is in dispute - from which the legislature could choose. On Thursday, surprisingly, the panel deemed only three qualified, none of them Assembly members.In a perfect political world, Spitzer shouldn't have gotten so involved in picking his own fiscal overseer. Silver shouldn't have said he preferred an Assembly member. Now public confidence will be best served by the legislature choosing one of three candidates vetted by the panel. "

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Special Election Sunday Edition

"Baby it's cold outside" ........maybe an outdoor press conference in not the best way to go??? Newsday's Spincycle thinks so with their Just In -- From the Cold "Nassau County Legislator Craig Johnson meant to turn up the heat on Albany. But this time he left a few people out in the cold.The Port Washington Democrat, vying to replace newly minted state homeland security chief Michael Balboni in the state Senate, held a news conference Friday to chide the legislature for failing to pass a bill cracking down on sex offenders. He selected a traditional location for the presser: the front steps of the county courthouse.An outdoor presser on the coldest day of the year: A great way to endear yourself to the news media." Ya think this reporter is a tad pissed off???
and.......talking about the weather and being pissed off.......who wants to guess how Maureen is feeling about this little news item NARAL's First Lit Piece Against O'Connell "NARAL Pro-Choice New York has produced its first lit piece against Republican state Senate candidate Maureen O'Connell, claiming that the Nassau County Clerk's stance on reproductive rights "changes with the weather." and Newsday thinks Maureen's Campaign Crew has hit a new all time low with Tracking the LIRR Track Plan Foes "Maureen O’Connell has sent a targeted mailing to residents of villages along the route of the LIRR’s proposed Third Track Program.Each envelope contained a postcard residents can return, expressing their opposition to the project. The postcard asks for their name, telephone number and e-mail address.The mailing did not say what would happen to the postcards. But wouldn’t they give the campaign the sort of data bank info that comes in handy for any last-minute get-out-the-vote effort among likely supporters?" is Newsday throwing Maureen under the bus....errr train??? Can anybody guess the last time Maureen put on a nurse's uniform??? however 1199/SEIU is giving us all a rectal with their latest O'Connell tv ad....portraying Maureen O'Connell as Healer "Maureen O'Connell is sounding the health-care theme with the help of 1199/SEIU -- a union that knows that when this special election is over, Joe Bruno will still be Senate majority leader. Meanwhile the Craig Johnson campaign is whacking her over her claims of credit regarding a health program." meanwhile The Times Endorses Johnson “Governor Spitzer will need the cooperation of the Republican-dominated State Senate if he is going to make progress on the ambitious reform agenda he has laid out,” the Times wrote. “Mr. Johnson has vowed to be his ally in the coming battles, while Ms. O’Connell is likely to give reinforcement to the Albany status quo.
“For voters who have hopes that Mr. Spitzer will succeed in fixing Albany, as we do, Mr. Johnson is the obvious choice. We enthusiastically endorse him.” I guess the Times Crew was not fooled by all the "Deep Down I am Spitzer Fan" O'connell Rhetoric........and finally........Money is pouring in.. close the is coming through the windows.....
More GOP $$ "The state Senate Republican Campaign Committee’s 11-day pre-special election filing is up at the state Board of Elections Web site.
Opening balance: $299,736
Contributions: $404,050
Miscellaneous receipts: $195,000
Total receipts: $599,050
Total expenditures: $404,689
Cash on hand: $494,096
The SRCC spent $54,689 on behalf of 7th SD candidate Maureen O’Connell - all but $10,637 of which went to mail. The $10,637 went to Bolton St. John’s, the consulting/lobbying firm run by Norman Adler, who is the man behind O’Connell’s campaign." To give you an idea of what these folks are spending.....last night.I heard a O'Connell political radio commercial on WCBS NEWS RADIO 88...this is a very popular news station which covers the entire downstate metro area....Conn, New york and New jersey....more than 99.9 percent of the listening audience will not be able to vote in this special election.....isn't this nuclear overkill for a tiny senatorial district???

Property tax relief in Spitzer budget

The Albany Times Union.Com James Odato

James gives us all a "sneak preview" of Spitzer's upcoming State Budget thing is for sure...New York can no longer afford to be doing business as are a few quotes............andy

"Gov. Eliot Spitzer is preparing a budget that calls for enhanced property tax relief, more than $1 billion in health care cuts and the biggest education spending increase ever by a governor -- in the neighborhood of $1.5 billion, according to people briefed in recent days. In his first budget, Spitzer will deliver on his campaign promises and his State of the State Message by investing more in key areas while getting tough on public education, requiring a restructuring of the health care system and providing hundreds of millions of dollars in tax cuts, people familiar with his spending plan said."
"His budget will include extra money for school districts that enter into performance contracts that require demonstrated progress. One such contract calls for a district to boot its superintendent if student achievement doesn't improve after a few years." for the rest of this detailed here........and the Times Union also gives us STAR stricken the Star program may not be the final answer to property tax relief in new york...a very good read..andy

Newsmaker of the month: Eliot Spitzer

(ap photo)

The Dunkirk Observer Editorial

This short and sweet..and right to the point........andy

1/28/2007 - New governor has aggressive agenda.....New York state Gov. Eliot Spitzer has a pretty big job ahead of him. He must try to revive the economy of the upstate region and get residents — and those involved in government — to start looking at the bigger picture.Spitzer, who took office on Jan. 1, made quite an impression during his State of the State speech earlier this month. He said — without question — there are too many layers of government and something needs to be done to reduce that.“We must consolidate New York’s multiple layers of local government — those 4,200 taxing jurisdictions that cost taxpayers millions each year in duplicative services and stand as yet another impediment to change, ’’ he said. ‘‘Together, we must summon the political will to face the reality that 4,200 taxing jurisdictions are simply too many, too expensive and too burdensome.’’Those many layers, we realize, are one of the reasons we pay such high taxes. Spitzer would like to reverse that trend — and turn around the fortunes of our region. To start, Spitzer has named Daniel Gunderson as the ‘‘economic development czar’’ for upstate with the office being located in Buffalo.We said often on this page former Gov. George Pataki was often missing in action on some big issues. For starters, Spitzer seems on the right track to fixing those things Pataki ignored.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

"Back Seat" Political Drivers Or I heard it thru the grapevine

Here we are....Saturday Evening.......I figured...I would share some "blog" dialogue from the "political" pundits discussing the current comptroller crisis....I do not necessarily agree with all of them...but thought you all would like to see what is being said in cyber land......this is going to be a long post...but worth the read if you are a political junky........andy

Capitol Condifential...reaction to The Times Endorses Weitzman........

1--In my humble opinion, the fact that Mr. Weitzman’s political base is Nassau County, and that he was a partner in a top four accounting firm, are two strikes against him. Nassau County has a very long history of political corruption. Ditto,the top four accounting firms. Enron would not have happened without the collusion of the big accounting firms.
Comment by gecannonphd — January 27, 2007 @
10:46 am
2--Since when does the sun rise and set by the New York Times? Those days are long gone. The NYT overestimates its own importance. Most voters upstate don’t even read the New York Times and it’s not the only significant paper downstate either (there’s the NY Post, Daily News, Newsday). For that matter, most people don’t even read newspapers these days!
Let’s look at what state law actually says, since “the law” is the final arbiter of what’s going to happen.
If you go here:
and click on the “PBO” link referring to Public Officers and then click on Article 3 (CREATION AND FILLING OF VACANCIES) and then click on section 41 (Vacancies filled by legislature), this is what you find:
§ 41. Vacancies filled by legislature. When a vacancy occurs or exists, other than by removal, in the office of comptroller or attorney-general, or a resignation of either such officer to take effect at any future day shall have been made while the legislature is in session, the two houses thereof, by joint ballot, shall appoint a person to fill such actual or prospective vacancy.
…that’s pretty straightforward, isn’t it? There’s nothing in there about comptroller panels or choosing from three candidates or any of the public spectacle that kept us entertained this week.
The hearings were an idle gesture to try to keep peace with Spitzer. It didn’t work. The 3 wise men wandered off the reservation, so to speak. I, for one, think that Spitzer inappropriately interfered with their decision-making process.
That being said, all that the law requires is a joint ballot — since Hevesi resigned (Hevesi wasn’t removed).
Silver will do what he must do to keep the members happy. That’s his job. And rants about this saga being Spitzer’s big opportunity to remove Silver are but a pipe dream.
In the last election (and in most elections) the incumbent gets reelected. Voters may rail against “Albany” but they still like “their guy” or “their gal” in Albany. The Assembly Democratic majority had a net gain in seats during the last election (the same one where Eliot was elected) and the Democrats are close to taking over control of the Senate. The likelihood of Shelly being tossed is zip, IMHO. Quit dreaming.
The next election for all legislative members isn’t for another two years. Two years is a lifetime in politics. I don’t know about Bruno, but I’d bet the farm that Silver will still be sitting there as Speaker and all this comptroller brouahaha will be a distant memory.
Anyway, that’s my 2 cents worth on the subject. :>
Comment by topo gigio — January 27, 2007 @
11:25 am
3--The legislature will decide and pick one of its own. Mr. Weitzman would make an excellent Number 2 at OSC. Any of the three would. The State Comptroller is an elective office. Whoever holds that office must be able to understand public policy, process, and politics. And the Assemblymember candidates have that advantage over the 3. If you want a Long Islander, DiNapoli is your man. If you want a regarded rabble rouser, Brodsky is your guy. If you want someone with the pulse on issues affecting the people and support diversity, Ortiz is the choice.
The constitution should be amended ASAP to allow for calling special elections for a vacancy like this in the future.
You cannot make a political process, like the selection of the State’s number three constitutional officer, non political. The Governor and the press should recognize this.
Comment by TomJefferson — January 27, 2007 @
11:48 am
4--The most critical thing to Silver survival is to keep his Democratic conference happy. Without the support of his conference he can’t remain as Speaker, so all other factors are secondary. A number of assemblymembers may want of their own chosen if only for the fact it could open a key committee chair (creating some musical chairs allowing a number of people to move up)
So, I think he will throw the choice to his Conference and let them decide if they want to pick one of the panel’s candidates or one of their own. If they decide to pursue on of their own, I assume (especially if they go with picking an assemblymember) that Silver will ask the members of the Conference to abide by the choice of the Conference. So if the Conference decides to support candidate A, all of them will at the joint session vote for candidate A, as that will demonstrate the strength of the Assembly’s Democratic Conference (and prevent the need to secure vote from the Assembly minority, Senate, majority, or Senate minority).
If it comes from the Assembly, I think it will be between DiNapoli and Brodsky. DiNapoli has the potential to pick up bipartisan support from some of Long Island’s GOP senate delegation (plus his support of Spitzer may ease Spitzer’s wrath for choosing an assemblymenber). Brodsky is hard working and could be counted to be a strong watchdog as Comptroller. He purses investigations with vigor and he would be a good indpendent choice (he would have been good as AG as well).
One out of the box approach that Silver could pursue would be to pick someone who did not even apply but would be an independent comptroller who would relentlessly pursue Spitzer. Perhpas pick someone like Chris Callaghan who demonstrated his ability to pursue and bring people to justice. The last thing Spitzer would want ia him as Comptroller relentlessly auditing his administration. I know he didn’t apply but if Silver offered it to him, would he turn it down? I think Silver would be spared the wrath of the editorial pages as he would have (1) not chosen a member of his conference and (2) chosen someone independent of both Spitzer and Silver. (and I think the NY Times had endorsed Callaghan). If he was chosen it would make for some ironic justice.
Comment by albany1998 — January 27, 2007 @
1:18 pm
5--Eliot Spitzer has been nothing short of a master tactician here. He has out-generaled Shel Silver every step of the way. Spitzer is outnumbered, the state Constitution is not on his side, and he is out there fighting other battles at the same time, yet he has boxed Shelly into a very uncomfortable corner.
The thing about Grannis’ appointment is that he doesn’t have to resign until after he is confirmed. That means the Governor not only took away the Speaker’s 107th (majority) vote, he lined one up in his own corner (who knows, Grannis might be able to take one or two other loyal friends with him - but they better not be Committee Chairs).
Before Thursday, Silver had the 107 votes he needed to name the replacement without talking to anyone else. Now he has to deal. Question is - who does he deal with? Bruno, most likely, especially if the nod goes to DiNapoli, who all the Long Island Senators genuinely like.
Spitzer has proven to be very agile in this whole process. Silver had better wrap this up quickly or it will get away from him. Time favors the Governor.
So what can stop Spitzer? Two things: Silver rallies his troops, decides on a replacement, cuts a deal with Bruno, and gets it done this week. And, Spitzer can stop Spitzer. He’s picked a whole bunch of battles, not all of which he needed to be fighting this week, especially when he is presenting a new budget next week. A special election, ethics reform, Medicare reform, and naming a new Comptroller - something the law gives him no right to do, is an awful lot to have on your plate all at once.
Comment by TKN — January 27, 2007 @
1:49 pm
6--It’s simple.
Eliot Spitzer is doing what many governors have done before him, going all the way back to the beginning of this state. He is seeking to expand the role and reach of his office. Unfortunately for him, this blind ambition took it too far, too soon. I predict that the Legislature will teach him a lesson in basic civics. Public relations can only go so far. Substance and the rule of law have to prevail at some point. This whole exercise seems to have accelerated that day.
Day Thirty, everything changes….. again.

The reaction to Times Comptroller Endorsement

If you accept the premise that only one of the anointed three should be selected, then the Times is right on the money. In addition, Weitzman, who, as far as I know, owes absolutely nothing to Spitzer and has a record of independence in precisely the issues that are pertinent to this office, may be the one who can assuage the wrath of Silver. If this can salvage the honeymoon a little longer, that would be a good thing.
By far the best part of the editorial was the put down of Spitzer hack Mulrow. Despite all the admitted corruption in the legislature, the fact is that the vast bulk of the items audited by the Comptroller are administered by Executive or quasi-Executive agencies. Thus, independence from the Executive is by far the more important consideration. This made Mulrow the worst possible choice, and I congratulate the Times for helping to sink his ship.
Posted by: jad
January 27, 2007 11:59 AM
Mulrow is unacceptable for the reasons already noted.
The others are weak politically and won't be able to successfully stand up to the Governor.
Brodsky, DiNapoli or Morrelle are considerably stronger candidates for the job.
Let's see how this plays out.
Posted by: Anonymous
January 27, 2007 2:33 PM
My comptroller pick is on the Martha Stark.
It's time that Albany had some real change.
I thinks folks are frankly tired big boys network - which now includes Spitzer, Paterson, Smith, Bruno and Silver of statewide officials.
It's a real shame that New York the most Bluest and liberal state in the United States has such a lack of diversity on the statewide front.
Posted by: anonymous
January 27, 2007 3:38 PM
If the decision is made to go beyond the 3 duds, DiNapoli is best positioned. He is widely respected on both sides of the aisle and may be able to attract Republican votes.
I'm amused by the Governor's insistence that the Comptroller not come from the legislature. Weren't his choices for Lt. Governor, Homeland Security czar and DEC commissioner (gasp)state legislators? Are they only OK if he picks them?
I'm also stunned by the choices of the 3 ex-comptrollers. Were they even awake during the interviews? None of them asked a single question and when it was all over, they pass over the strongest candidates. To try to explain the inexplicable, they cite as qualifications for the job experience they didn't have when they were elected/appointed to the post.
Fascinating stuff.
Posted by: watching and waiting
January 27, 2007 3:42 PM
Also, the issue of who can stand up to Spitzer is a non-issue in terms of selecting a Comptroller.
The issue that we have to look at is whether whomever is chosen for the comptroller can work with the Legislature and Governor to bring about positive change and prosperity in New York.
Posted by: anonymous
January 27, 2007 3:46 PM
3:46 I disagree. There needs to be someone that is willing to tell the public and the press that the governor's/Legislature's policies are flawed. To do so, we need someone that is willing to say it loudly and show why. It would be even better if this new person could provide alternatives.
Say what you will about Hevesi, but he was loud on a number of issues and brought positive change (Brodsky wasn't the only one reforming public authorities). It is important that the new person is a working part of the reform movement, but we've seen too many "reforms" that turned out to be a waste of time and press releases. Someone that is not directly in the policymaking role needs to be able to step up and say what's crap and what's not and why.
That being the case, I think any one of the three chosen by the panel should be avoided. A legislator should be chosen simply because Spitzer so badly does not want one there.
Posted by: anon
January 27, 2007 5:09 PM
I'm most put off by the Governor's actions. I was thirsting for change, but contrary to the current play by the Executive, I wanted a change in tone in Albany.
This move is no better than the heavy-handed play of the Pataki Administration and therefore, any change does not equal reform.
Also, I think the Speaker is moving forward with the nuclear option-not because he wants a fight with the Governor-but because his conference is telling him to do so. Instead of the Spitzer v. Silver thing, it is Spitzer v. 106 members of the Assembly.
Now the legislature has had their share of problems, but many, at least, on the Deomocratic side fought for the same proposals Governor Spitzer now wants. The Assembly passed a lot of reforms over the objection of Governor Pataki and the Republican Senate.
I think the Governor should view them as a partner, not an opponent. Maybe the Governor can think no other way as a career prosecutor.
Posted by: Edwin Stanton
January 27, 2007 5:17 PM
The Times endorsed Mark Green and a hand full of other losing candidates. So... so what... who cares.
Posted by: Fred Dicker III
January 27, 2007 5:21 PM
I agr there is no real reform without iversity. A minority woman as comptroller would not hurt. The times did not explain why the picked someone over Stark. New York is blue only in theory. They still pick out of the olds boys club for al big seats.
Posted by: The Masterpiece
January 27, 2007 8:42 PM
Stark is promising,but a newbie. Not ready for statewide elected office...yet.
Posted by: i'm almost with you...
January 27, 2007 9:57 PM


Spitzer urges health reform


With all the comptroller commotion going on...unfortunately this story sort of got buried......andy

Moving to soften the impact of the budget he will present next week, Gov. Eliot Spitzer on Friday proposed an exhaustive overhaul of the state's health care system that set up a confrontation between his administration, hospitals and labor unions.Spitzer said state lawmakers were pouring billions into a dysfunctional health care network driven by institutional pressures instead of patient needs.During a speech in the capital, Spitzer unveiled an agenda that recommends widespread cuts to providers - mainly hospitals and nursing homes - to free up dollars to expand health coverage to 2.6 million uninsured New Yorkers, including 400,000 children.

"For too long we have financed the health care system we have, not the health care system we need," Spitzer said.One of the prescriptions that met opposition Friday was his proposal to strategically freeze hospital and nursing home reimbursements, cutting off money providers rely on.Arthur Gianelli, president and chief executive of Nassau Healthcare Association, which runs Nassau University Medical Center, said close to 50 percent of the hospital's budget comes from Medicaid reimbursements. "Everyone recognizes Medicaid needs to be reformed, but it's important that any reform recognize the importance of the safety net to health coverage," he said.Spitzer's plan comes as state lawmakers are contemplating hospital closures because of empty beds. Along with his cuts, Spitzer believes a combination of fraud monitoring, improved technology, and expansion of clinic-based rather than institutional care can save enough money to help New York move toward universal health care.

On Friday, Local 1199 of the Service Employees International Union and the Greater New York Hospital Association released a statement saying it was foolish to steer money away from hospitals and nursing homes when work force shortages and the possibility of less federal aid exist."It is extremely unwise and dangerous for the state to enact the same old type of funding cuts to hospitals and nursing homes that have been proposed by governors in the past," the statement said.State Sen. Kemp Hannon (R-Garden City), Senate health committee chairman, suggested the governor was painting providers with too broad a brush."He sets up an amazing array of villains," Hannon said. "It can't be that nursing homes and hospitals and long-term-care facilities and health insurers are all doing everything wrong. It makes for good theater but it doesn't make for good medical care."

Doubting Dems Demand Do-Over???

Cara Matthews and Yancey Roy (Press Connects) shout Panel may have rigged picks for comptroller, Democrats say here are a few quotes... "ALBANY -- The competition over who will replace disgraced former state comptroller Alan Hevesi might have been rigged, stunned Democrats asserted Friday." "Top Democrats said it appears legislators who applied were blacklisted and voiced concerns that Gov. Eliot Spitzer -- who wanted someone outside of the Capitol to take the job, as the state's fiscal watchdog -- weighed in on the selection process. One candidate who didn't make the cut declared he was still in the race.
And others hinted that a Spitzer ally that made the finalist list, Westchester County businessman Bill Mulrow, was "finished" as a candidate because of the perception that the deck was stacked." "Canestrari said the Democratic conference would meet next week, probably Tuesday, to talk about the next steps. Most lawmakers will be at a funeral Monday for a Staten Island assemblyman who died this week.
"I'm in a state of shock. I never expected this, and it's out of the blue," he said. The shock was because the panel could have chosen two more people, "and it seems to me at least one could have been one of us," Canestrari said.
Choosing someone outside the three finalists is an option, he said. "It's just so surprising and I believe our colleagues did a good job, they did a very good job," he said. "It's different if they were blown out of the water. They weren't, and no one else was head and shoulders above them.".........I would love to be a fly on the wall during their first get together on tuesday.......Fred Dicker of the Post explains to us
HOW ELIOT GAVE SHEL A 'KICK IN THE GROIN' .....yikes...that's gotta hurt ....."Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, whose vaunted negotiating and strategic skills often upended the best laid plans of Republican former Gov. George Pataki, may finally have met his match - and wound up upended himself - at the hands of Gov. Spitzer, a fellow Democrat.
Assembly insiders yesterday used words like "humiliated" and "dissed" and phrases like "kicked in the groin" to describe the situation faced by Silver. A three-member panel unexpectedly refused to include even a single Assembly member on the list of those to be considered by the Legislature as the new comptroller. " Fred thinks Shelly's Speaker's job is on the line..if he doesn't fight back and suggests "Spitzer should get Pataki's home number, and get ready to dial him up for advice on coping with life after losing at Silver's hands."
MICHAEL COOPER of the NY Times reveals An Open Job Opens a Rift in Albany "It took less than a month for Gov. Eliot Spitzer to find himself on the precipice of an all-out political war with the man he replaced as the top Democrat in New York State government, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver."
My question is....was all of this worth it? With so much do do in Albany...was it worth all this anger and upsetment and potential rift among dem leadership? did Spitzer miscalculate Silver??? here are few more quotes.....“I think we’re at war, but I’m not sure,” said one Assembly Democrat, who was granted anonymity to describe the private machinations in the Assembly. “This is a clash of the titans, and I don’t know how this plays out.” “As of this moment, the members are freaking out, and Shelly is in a very tight spot,” said another Assembly Democrat who was granted anonymity to describe the private conversations of lawmakers. “They are saying, ‘If we’re not going to stand up for something that is clearly the province of the Legislature, when will we stand up?’ ” and finally The Wonkster has an interesting little piece on this Silver vs. Spitzer ........quoting from various political thing is for week ought to be very very interesting..........andy

Friday, January 26, 2007

DiNapoli: Still In, No Remorse Over DEC

Liz Benjamin Capitol Confidential

I feel very bad over is a guy that has paid his dues to the Democratic Party....for many many years........took on an impossible situation in Nassau County and brought a divided party back to life as party chair and was the catalyst for leading Nassau county back to the Dem column.....who has reinvented what the word bipartisan really means...always looking out for the greatest good of his well respected and admired by just about anyone that knows him...both Dem's and reps...and yet is passed over.......Tom deserves this opportunity to serve all of new yorkers as comptroller.........I hope and pray that when the dust settles....Tom DiNapoli...will be every one's choice .......including Spitzer' is the right and just thing to do.......andy

"Assemblyman Thomas DiNapoli, D-Great Neck, is the third of the four legislative candidates for state comptroller to personally confirm that he considers himself still in the running for that post.
“Until somebody’s selected, I think the answer is ‘yes,’” DiNapoli said when I asked if he was still in the mix. “It’s not over. Tuesday is going to be a real soul-searching day for the conference, and it’s hard to predict where it ends up. But I don’t think it’s by any means a settled question as to who’s going to emerge.”
So, DiNapoli, Richard Brodsky (D-Westchester) and Joe Morelle (D-Rochester) are all still in. I haven’t heard back from Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, D-Brooklyn. If anyone has spoken to him, please let me know.
A lot of DiNapoli’s fellow Assembly Democrats have told me today how angry they are at Gov. Eliot Spitzer because of their perception that he bigfooted the independent screening panel. (Members said Spitzer aides made calls today to assure them the governor had nothing to do with the three-not-five decision, but the legislators are understandably skeptical).
DiNapoli, however, said he is “more mystified than upset,” adding: “I’ve been in politics too long to be upset by anything.”
“I do think that the two missing names from the list of five were probably legislators who, for some reason, the panel decided they couldn’t keep on the list,” DiNapoli said. “The intent of the process was a good one, and it’s just disappointing that the Legislature having a menu of five names to choose from wasn’t fulfilled.”
One thing about which DiNapoli insisted he is not upset is seeing the job of DEC commissioner go to his fellow assemblyman, Alexander “Pete” Grannis. DiNapoli, chair of the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee, has ben widely viewed as a frontrunner for that post, but he made it clear he wasn’t interested.
“I love being in elected service and having the independence that comes with that,” DiNapoli said. “Being a regulator is just not what I had in mind. I think Pete Grannis is going to do a great job. He’s an absolutely fabulous pick.”

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