Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s new Web site (Spitzer2010) is live - just in time to post his healthcare TV ad............check it out...and sign up for email alerts and news from Camp Spitzer.........andy

Afternoon blog in the park

Look for the union label???? Azi Paybarah found this photo last night on the Flickr page set up by Eliot Spitzer's campaign. It's from 2005 and but it takes on a certain added poignance now that the governor is about to launch half-million dollars' worth of ads against 1199 SEIU and the Greater New York Hospitals Association over his plans to reduce health care spending.

Here’s Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, R-Brunswick, doing his best version of “la, la la; I’m not listening,” during today’s workers compensation reform press conference........Liz Benjamin Capitol Confidential

Ok.....who are the real Crybabies ???? very cute Spitzer TV commercial......."Gov. Eliot Spitzer has chosen to fight fire with fire, hitting back at the ad campaign against his Medicaid cuts started last week by SEIU/1199 and GNYHA with an ad of his own. " Yikes.......Bruno has actually appointed a democrat to chair a Senate Committee??? Bruno Names Democratic Committee Chair check out some of the reader responses to this story...."Who was the potential Republican who should have this position. Senate Republicans should be outraged, not warm and fuzzy. Imagine when the GOP held the Senate in Congress that they appointed a Ted Kennedy to chair the Judicial Committee? Or a Democrat, Harry Reid appointing someone like a Rick Santorum to chair a Democrat committee???
Perhaps Bruno should just switch to being a Democrat, then he could run for leader after the 2008 elections." and my favorite "Does this mean Carl Kruger will actually have go to Albany now?
The Senate Dems should kick Carl out of the conference and make him run on only the Republican line next election. Then the district can actually be represented by a Democrat instead of a Bruno lackey. " Ouch!!!! and the NY Times
DANNY HAKIM explains Why Spitzer Succeeded Where Pataki Fell Short is a short quote "Mr. Hughes of the A.F.L.-C.I.O. said the governor’s willingness to bend on a crucial issue — providing protections for workers whose benefits are capped — was a key concession that Mr. Pataki refused to make.
“The difference between previous years and this year was a willingness on the part of all parties to put everything the table,” he said.
Mr. Silver said that during Mr. Pataki’s tenure, his side had not been able to study the numbers. That changed under Mr. Spitzer, he said.
“The governor’s team and our negotiating team actually delved into where’s the money going,” Mr. Silver said." great article...a must read......and the Daily News chides
Albany's drunken sailors ......."But now lawmakers sense they may have another $1 billion to play with, and the health care industry says there's no need to rein in Medicaid. All are wrong. The surplus is a temporary phenomenon, powered by booming Wall Street profits. It should be treated as such - for example, by paying off state debt. Spitzer's budget spends plenty, even by Vampire State standards. Further running up the tab is out of the question" and finally Newsday's Spin Cycle shares with us a Poignant Moment......"Ernest Strada, the veteran Westbury mayor, gave his former state Senator, security secretary Mike Balboni, a unique and heartfelt introduction before a meeting of the New York State Conference of Mayors and Municipal Officials the other day.“Politics in Albany is very very strange, as we all know,” said Strada, the organization’s first vice-president. “But Mike Balboni comes from where we are and is who we are.”Balboni responded in kind, saying Strada and his family were “very much a part of this decision to leave politics” to try to improve public safety measures against terrorism and natural disasters. The room grew especially quiet when Balboni said he thinks “all the time” of Ernest’s late son, Thomas Strada, a broker for Cantor Fitzgerald who was killed in the World Trade Center attacks." andy

Look what a little love can do for Albany

Newsday Editorial Lawrence Levy

Maybe some people have to see the "dark side" before they are prepared to cooperate??? A "mistake" to Larry...could be a "strategy for Eliot" to soften up the opposition??? andy

"At least for one brief, shining moment, the inaugural week's love was back in New York's capital.Of course, the political cuddling may not last, especially with powerful parties fighting crucial budget cuts that now may be harder to sell with the state's temporary surplus growing by the moment. But yesterday Albany was a place less of cynicism than optimism. And it restored a bit of hope that Gov. Eliot Spitzer has regained the graceful stride of leadership he showed in his first successful weeks - leadership essential to separating Albany from the phrase "the nation's most dysfunctional" state government."This is functional Albany," Ken Adams, head of the state's largest business group, the Business Council, declared at a press conference with frequent adversary Denis Hughes, state leader of the AFL-CIO. "This is effective government."Beaming at this bedazzling endorsement were Spitzer, Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver (D-Manhattan) and Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno (R-Brunswick), combatants not only in negotiations over a 2007-08 budget but for supremacy in shaping state policy for years to come.

What possibly could have prompted such platitudes from a business leader who routinely and correctly criticizes Albany? What could have inspired Bruno and Silver - both targeted by Spitzer for at least irrelevancy - to wax on about the quality of his leadership?There's nothing like a good backroom deal to get politicians smiling at each other. This time it was a deal to bring long-sought reforms to the workers' compensation system.This time, instead of the usual "three men in a room" behind closed doors, it was five: Hughes and Adams, representing their sides, with Spitzer, Bruno and Silver. But unless there's something in the ever-fearful fine print - and despite the leaders' continued appetite for secrecy - they deserve their kudos. The deal would dramatically improve the nation's most expensive and least effective program for compensating injured employees and protecting their companies from lawsuits.

What's most significant here is that, wherever the talks are taking place, the leaders are communicating productively again after weeks of ill will that followed Spitzer's needless attacks on Silver, Bruno and their allies.If you remember, Spitzer decided that he didn't want to wait for 2008 to win the three seats needed for Democrats to take over the State Senate. He created an opening by hiring Republican incumbent Mike Balboni - he also tried to hire other GOP senators - and jumped into the campaign as if the future of the free world depended on his winning.Around the same time, Spitzer also inappropriately meddled in the selection of a state comptroller, an official whose job, in part, is to oversee the governor's agencies. The state constitution gave the power to fill the vacancy to the legislature. Albeit clumsily, that's what the legislature did in selecting one of its own, the upstanding Tom DiNapoli, prompting a weeklong tirade of personal attacks by Spitzer.The result: Spitzer's approval ratings went up and his chances of getting anything of significance done went down. So he backed off, shifted his famous "steamroller" to neutral, if not off, and suddenly Albany - and Spitzer - are accomplishing again.Add the landmark deals cut last month to reform ethics and budgeting, and you can make a case that Spitzer's earlier bragging - that he has done more in his first term than any other governor - already might be true.But the session could fall apart fast and soon over Medi-caid, school aid and property taxes - enormously controversial issues to which all sides, Republican and Democrat, executive and legislative, bring different ideas, needs and histories. I hope Spitzer has learned something this past month about how and when to pick a fight, at least against opponents who can fight back on almost equal footing. The state can't succeed unless he has."

Insight on Spitzer's New York Workers' Compensation Reform Agreement

The New York Disablity Law Blog

I came across this very interesting article on the new workman's comp reform agreement and I love the Teddy Roosevelt bit at the end........andy

Over the past few months, you may have noticed a precipitous drop in the number of posts to the New York Disability Lawyer Blog. However, as Co-Chair of the New York Workers' Compensation Alliance, I've been doing the Albany shuffle along with some of my dedicated colleagues in an attempt to protect injured workers from any disastrous workers' comp reform. Well - were in the ninth inning now given Governor Spitzer's press conference today announcing a workers' compensation reform agreement between all the major players at the bargaining table. It's been a long but hopefully worthwhile fight.
Give New York Governor Eliot Spitzer credit - he played his cards in the workers' compensation reform deal brilliantly and in the process has undone one of the pillars of the original law that was on the books for nearly 100 years - the permanent partial disability pension. That's not to say that this pillar was not crumbling of it's own weight and didn't need some reforming. After all, it had been around since the assassination of Prince Archduke Francis Ferdinand! But like a historic neighborhood that is indelibly disturbed by the need for a three lane highway, it was rather sad to watch, especially for those of us who are a bit nostalgic when it comes to labor history. The price of progress!
So, who are the winners and losers in the new reform deal? Aside from the obvious political winners -Governor Spitzer, Assembly Speaker Silver and Senate Majority Leader Bruno- who all seemed to be playing nicely in the rose garden, the winners are as follows:
Injured workers earning over $600 per week, who will now see an immediate potential benefit increase;
Injured workers who will have greater access to real job retraining and rehabilitation;
Injured workers whose authorization for appropriate medical care will be sped up;
Injured workers whose claims will be resolved quicker due to the implementation of the new "Rocket Docket" proposed by the Workers' Compensation Alliance;
Employers who should see a 10-15% decrease in workers' comp premiums;
Honest employers who will no longer subsidize cheating employers due to new criminal employer fraud penalties;
Doctors who often waited months for authorization for much needed surgeries for their patients.
Now, as in any hard fought compromise,the inevitable losers:
Injured workers with permanent partial disabilities who cannot be rehabilitated for other work (i.e. the 58 year old carpenter with no high school degree, among others);
Injured workers earning less than $600 per week;
Dishonest employers who will now face felony criminal charges;
The New York Compensation Rating Board, which will be abolished;
The "Second Injury Fund", which will be phased out of existence;
Any others that we discover once the actual written bill details are released.
Teddy Roosevelt - excuse me...Eliot Spitzer! - chocks up one more win on the scorched earth reform path.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


5 Spitzer Appointments Confirmed "Karen Carpenter-Palumbo, Commissioner, Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services
Patrick Hooker, Commissioner, Department of Agriculture and Markets
Robert Maccarone, Director, Probation and Correctional Alternatives
Michael Burgess, Director, Office of the Aging
Mindy Bockstein, Chair and Executive Director, Consumer Protection Board " and Liz B reports an early
Spring Thaw? "Legislative leaders and Gov. Eliot Spitzer were full of praise for each other at this afternoon’s Red Room press conference to announce reform of the workers compensation system - a priority of Spitzer’s on which he began working the day after he was elected.
The deal ends lifetime permanent partial disability benefits for injured workers, which accounts for nearly half the cost of the system but is generated by a very small percentage of claims. It also as much as doubles benefits to workers in some cases while reducing premiums for employers.
More details
here." and Azi Paybarah(The Politicker) thinks Spitzer may be thinking ahead when he decides to run for president...The Spitzer Primary"The Spitzer for President chatter, which I touched on here, gets a bit of new life at the tail end of this article in the Sun about why the governor is undecided about moving up New York's presidential primaries.
Mr. Spitzer could be waiting for other large states to make their move before he proceeds. By keeping his options open, he also preserves a bargaining chip that could come in handy in his dealings with the national Democratic Party.
Mr. Spitzer, who is widely believed to harbor presidential ambitions, also must be considering the impact an earlier date would have on his own chances in six or 10 years." and the Times Empire Zone gives us
The Workers’ Comp Deal "A plan to overhaul New York’s workers compensation system eluded Gov. George E. Pataki for years, but today, at the end of his second month in office, Gov. Eliot Spitzer announced he had reached an agreement with legislative, business and labor leaders.
The deal would impose a new limit on the number of years that some injured workers receive weekly benefits, and by creating a fee schedule for drugs, laboratory tests and prosthetic devices used in workers compensation cases. Mr. Spitzer said the cost savings from these and other changes would allow premiums to be reduced by 10 to 15 percent, saving businesses several hundred million dollars a year.
Read more … " Another Spitzer accomplishment...another campaign promise. kept...........and finally Eliot’s Domain Dispute .......I tell ya it was was a misunderstanding...ya gotta believe me...I won't see Eric Keller around here was business...nothing personal.........this sounds like a scene out of the Godfather movies......"A reader who says he is Eric Keller, the registered owner of the Web domains and, has posted some correspondence about a dispute he is having with the Spitzer administration over control of the two domains.
Mr. Keller says he is an old classmate of Mr. Spitzer’s who once lost to him in a student election. He says that he registered the domains as a favor and would be happy to turn them over. He does want some of his expenses “reimbursed,” and he has tangled with Spitzer intermediaries who are playing hardball. But he says the whole thing is a comedy of errors:
I have always considered Eliot to be a friend and colleague.
I registered the above domain names with Eliot’s interests in mind. I have had many offers over the last few years to sell them. My answer has been the same: Eliot is a friend, not for sale. I am certain that his political opponents or downright enemies covet these names and pay a premium for them. Not for sale.
(Matters unravel from there, but it ends on a hopeful note: “Eliot, call me for the log in information and get going with these new web addresses!!”)

The Car Question

Again..thanks Liz B from Capitol Confidential for this update as well........Tom will do the right thing...that is just the way he is......hypersensitivity or not.....and unfortunately he did receive a death threat..........andy

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, who is no doubt well aware of the hyper-sensitivity around state-owned vehicles and the rules governing their use, did not purposely ignore that issue when he announced new ethics regulations today.
DiNapoli plans to soon sign an executive order to specifically address OSC vehicles, according to his spokesman Dan Weiller.
The State Police are currently reviewing the comptroller’s security needs, Weiller said, and DiNapoli is waiting until that assessment is complete before issuing the order.
At the moment, OSC has two cars, both of which are assigned to DiNapoli - one upstate and on down - although he dosn’t use them all the time, Weiller said.
DiNapoli, who received a
death threat not long after he took office, has a driver who doubles as a security guard, Weiller said.

DiNapoli Signs Ethics Order

Thanks Liz B for the update....Tommy D is the real is another indication of where he is coming from..........andy

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, who came into office amid considerable controversy, has signed an executive order outlining new ethics rules for himself and his employees. Many of the new rules are similar to those signed on Day One by Gov. Eliot Spitzer:
Some highlights:
A ban on using OSC phones for personal phone calls, except in an emergency and “necessary” cases.
A ban on soliciting or accepting gifts unless they are of “nominal” value.
A ban on political contributions by OSC employees to DiNapoli’s campaign committee or any committee created to benefit him.
Employees involved in making decisions about state grants or contracts cannot ask about the political affiliation, voting habits or campaign contributions of those seeking to do business with, or receive money from, the state.
Employees are forbidden from taking part in hiring or making contract decisions about family members or entities in which family members are an officer, director or principal or own/control more than 10 percent.

Bruno and Butting Heads???


While Bruno is saying "patients first"...he is really thinking "unions first" that last special election...all the health unions backed Bruno and the Republicans...gee...I wonder why??? andy

Butting heads over budget

ALBANY - Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno yesterday warned Gov. Eliot Spitzer against pushing a confrontation with lawmakers in his first try at a budget - and signaled resistance to Spitzer's proposed health care cuts. "My concern is that we're going to get into a confrontation because this governor is feeling very strong-willed. He has 75 percent approval. He walks on water, according to some people," Bruno said before a meeting of the New York State Conference of Mayors and Municipal Officials here. "We usually get things done by consensus. "In his speech to the group, Bruno said, "We've got to make sure that people who need health care get it. We've got to be sure of that - patients first. "Proposed Medicaid cuts totaling $1.3 billion have provoked protests from hospitals and labor leaders. Last week, Spitzer reacted sharply to televised ads portraying his plan as a boon to HMOs and destructive to patients, and cited the fat salaries paid to some hospital executives. And last night, after addressing the same group, Spitzer resumed that criticism, saying: "There will no longer be the backroom deals that led to billions and billions of dollars being funneled to the institutions that did not show any cost controls. Game over. "Both the Senate and the Assembly are predicting revenue forecasts higher than those in Spitzer's plan. In its estimate, published yesterday, the Assembly Ways and Means Committee said additional revenues will total $834 million, in a spending plan of about $120 billion. Spitzer spokeswoman Christine Anderson said yesterday that fiscal officials will meet today to update the revenue estimates. "We will work with the legislature to reach consensus on a revenue forecast," she said. "We think the budget we've laid out is the right budget, and we clearly plan to work to pass that budget."

Spitzer calls for a "Do Over"

Albany TimesUnion.Com JAMES M. ODATO,

Did anyone seriously think that Spitzer would allow this flawed and suspect process of selecting a NYRA replacement to stick??? As a kid..we used to call something like this a "Do Over" ............and rightfully so..........andy

Spitzer plans new racing bid format
Governor wins support of Bruno, Silver for revamped review process of offers to run state franchise

ALBANY -- Gov. Eliot Spitzer plans to announce a new public review process to consider bids for the state horse racing franchise.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, and Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno, R-Brunswick, supported the additional analysis. Bruno said it may make sense to have all bids worked into one ideal proposal.
The remarks follow last week's report by the nine-member Ad Hoc Committee on the Future of Racing, which included three members each appointed by Bruno, Silver and Gov. George Pataki.
The committee recommended Excelsior Racing Associates as the preferred bidder. That group includes New York Yankees executive Steve Swindal, casino developer Richard Fields and former racing and wagering board chairman Jerry Bilinski.
"There will be a process that will be open, that will permit full public review of what has occurred, and we will get quickly to the right decision," said Spitzer. "It will be a process that will let the right questions be asked. It is a major industry that should be jump-started in this state.'
Bruno said the report will be subject to public hearings, but Spitzer said a hearing may be too formal a process. "There will be a public opportunity for everybody to be asked questions and to participate," the governor said.
Bruno said he is open to all the bidders -- a total of four, including current franchise holder New York Racing Association.
"I believe you can mix and match the best of what people have to offer to see if we can improve on whatever's there," he said. "Having the best racing in the world is really what's important."
Silver said Spitzer is expected to talk to all the bidders.
"He's going to have to live with the next franchisee," he said. "I support him making the determination."
Saratoga Springs Mayor Valerie Keehn, a member of the ad hoc committee, said the Legislature and Spitzer should take Excelsior's bid seriously.
"I'm hoping and expecting . . . not starting the whole process over again, to build on our foundation," she said

Monday, February 26, 2007


Liz Benjamin reports the "no return' crowd were a bit ticked off they weren't invited .....Bottle Bill Opponents Cry Foul "New Yorkers for Real Recycling Reform, a group that views the so-called bigger, better bottle bill as a “tax,” is slamming Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s deputy secretary for the environment, Judith Enck, for meeting privately today with representatives of a company that stands to profit if the nickle deposit is expanded to fruit juices and bottled water.
According to the group, a coalition of grocers, labor interests and businesses, Enck met behind closed doors with representatives from both
Tomra, a company that makes “reverse vending machines” (you put in a bottle, it gives you money), and Tomra’s lobbying firm, Greenberg Traurig.
“Governor Spitzer pledged to the people of New York state who elected him that everything would change on Day One with more open government yet, with the brunt of bottle law expansion falling on retailers, why were grocers excluded from this closed door meeting?” said James Rogers, president and CEO of the Food Industry Alliance of New York State, which represent grocers.
I am awaiting to a response from Spitzer’s press office." meanwhile
Spitzer Selling Casino Plan with U.S. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne in Washington today.......Dirk has some grave "reservations" about moving reservations for the sake of building casinos and calling them Indian Lands...and......"Polly want a cracker......errrrrrrrr award???" Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s ad man, Jimmy Siegel, won eight awards (four of them gold) at the 16th annual Pollie Awards in Miami Beach, Fla. last Friday.Siegel Sweeps At The Pollies .........hey Tom Suozzi's favorite commercial and hit song...”Let It Shine” won some gold as well........and how about Albany's new version of "Show me the money" Mo’ Money Blues (Updated) " A few lawmakers have noted with some amusement that the Senate majority is in unfamiliar territory here. Traditionally, it has been the Assembly Democrats who come in with a high estimate on avails and the Senate Republicans who come in somewhere in the middle, with the governor on the low end. " and the Times Empire Zone gives us The Full Spitzer "Earlier today, a reporter asked Sheldon H. Silver, the Assembly speaker, whether he expected a confrontation with Gov. Eliot Spitzer over the budget akin to the one over picking a new comptroller.
“What was the last confrontation? I have no idea,” said the speaker, with his usual understatement “I think we can do an amiable budget agreement. As I said when I supported this governor, I knew that he was an individual who was passionate, who believed strongly in what he believed in, and that’s part of the package you get when you get Eliot Spitzer.” Shelly is something else...maybe that is why he has lasted for so long as Assembly Leader..........andy


Cuomo's Deputy for Member Items .....(Azi Paybarah--The Politicker)

Andrew Cuomo just hired Ellen Nachtigall Biben as his new Special Deputy Attorney General for Public Integrity.
Get used to hearing the name: she's the one who's going to be in charge of reviewing some 6,000 legislative member items, and who will be responsible for determining the legality of proposed items in the future.

Career prosecutor from New York County District Attorney's office tooversee government corruption investigations
NEW YORK, NY (February 26, 2007) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomotoday announced the appointment of Ellen Nachtigall Biben as SpecialDeputy Attorney General for Public Integrity, where she will overseelandmark initiatives to fight government corruption.
The Public Integrity Bureau will handle civil and criminal cases,pursuing perpetrators of fraud and bad conduct statewide and seeking torecover misspent taxpayer funds.
Ms. Biben's distinguished 11-year career as a prosecutor for the NewYork County District Attorney's office has produced several long-term,comprehensive investigations into organized crime, money laundering,public corruption, tax evasion, and other forms of racketeering. Since2001, she has specialized in such prosecutions, serving as Deputy BureauChief of the Rackets Bureau.
"Ellen Biben's proven experience finding and eliminating corruptionin its various forms puts her at a great advantage to help restoreintegrity and trust in the state Capitol and beyond," said AttorneyGeneral Cuomo. "Her tireless work as a prosecutor has served thepeople of New York County well for over a decade. I am proud to welcomeher to our team, where she will lead this extraordinarily importanteffort. She will be an asset not only to the Department of Law, but tothe entire state."
For the Department of Law, Ms. Biben will manage Attorney GeneralCuomo's milestone public integrity initiatives, which include athorough review of approximately 6,000 legislative budget member items,a multi-layered legality review of any further proposed items, and"Project Sunlight," a statewide Internet database where NewYorkers can examine links between elected officials, campaign donations,lobbyists, special interests, and/or state contracts.
"Ellen Biben served the Manhattan District Attorney's office withdistinction for more than ten years," said New York County DistrictAttorney Robert M. Morgenthau. "Her excellent work on a wide range ofwhite-collar, corruption, and organized crime cases, and her experienceas a supervisor in the Rackets Bureau make her an outstanding choice tohead the Attorney General's Public Integrity Unit."
Prior to her tenure at the New York County District Attorney'soffice, Ms. Biben was a litigation associate with Sullivan & Cromwelland a law clerk to the Hon. Alan H. Nevas of the United States DistrictCourt for Connecticut. Ms. Biben received a B.A. from WesleyanUniversity, where she was captain of the varsity swim team and a J.D.from the University of Southern California Law Center, where she wasexecutive editor of the Law Review.


Mark Peters Returns

Eliot Spitzer's administration is bringing aboard Mark Peters, one of the unsuccessful Brooklyn District Attorney candidates who challenged incumbent Charles Hynes in a primary two years ago.
Peters will be the Special Deputy Superintendent in charge of the New York Liquidation Bureau. Previously, Peters worked in Spitzer's AG office as chief of the Public Integrity Unit.
The official statement on Mark Peters is here. ........

NEW YORK -- (02/26/2007; 1055)(EIS) -- Acting New York State Insurance Superintendent Eric Dinallo announced the appointment of Mark Peters as Special Deputy Superintendent in charge of the New York Liquidation Bureau (NYLB). Mr. Peters, the former Chief of the Public Integrity Unit in Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's office, is now a partner at Scarola Ellis and has served as lead counsel on complex bankruptcy and insurance matters as well as one of the largest predatory lending cases presently in the federal court system.
The NYLB acts for the Superintendent of Insurance as the court-appointed fiduciary and Receiver of impaired or insolvent insurance companies. Its mission is to maximize assets and resolve liabilities, return rehabilitated companies to the marketplace or distribute the proceeds of the company in a timely manner to creditors.
"Mark Peters is an excellent choice to head the Liquidation Bureau," said Governor Spitzer. "He has the experience and background necessary to uphold the bureau's integrity and ensure its success."
"We're thrilled to have Mark Peters, who is an outstanding attorney with a long record of standing for public integrity and has the perfect skills set to lead the Liquidation Bureau," Acting Superintendent Dinallo said. "Under his leadership, the Liquidation Bureau will be perfectly positioned to meet the challenges ahead."
Acting Superintendent Dinallo also recently announced that the Liquidation Bureau successfully rehabilitated a Long Island insurance company, Interboro Mutual Indemnity Insurance Company, the oldest insurance company on and serving Long Island. This was the first successful insurance company rehabilitation in six years and the first time the Bureau was able to successfully demutualize an insurance company in rehabilitation.
As Special Deputy Superintendent, Mr. Peters will head the Bureau, reporting to the Superintendent. The Bureau, which receives no taxpayer funding, by law carries out the responsibilities of the Superintendent of Insurance as Receiver during rehabilitation. The NYLB acts on his behalf in the discharging of his statutorily defined duties to protect the interests of the policyholders and creditors of insurance companies that have been declared impaired or insolvent.
Johanna Hall, the former head of the Bureau, was indicted by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office in December 2006 and charged with Grand Larceny, Defrauding the Government, Official Misconduct and other charges.
Mr. Peters brings to the office extensive experience as a prosecutor and public official. He joins the bureau from the law firm of Scarola Ellis, where he has been a partner since 2006. In 2005, he ran for Brooklyn District Attorney. Prior to joining Scarola Ellis, he was in charge, statewide, of all government corruption prosecutions for the Attorney General's office as Chief of the Public Integrity Unit in Attorney General Spitzer's office. From 1999 until 2001, Special Deputy Superintendent Peters served as Deputy Chief of Eliot Spitzer's Civil Rights Bureau.
At the Attorney General's Office, Mr. Peters handled some of New York State's most important and complex cases, covering issues ranging from the misuse of government funds by public officials to police misconduct to predatory lending. For example, in People v. Crowley Foods, he investigated fraud in school lunch programs statewide and obtained a settlement from a dairy wholesaler who had systematically overcharged school districts. In People v. Love, he exposed the systematic stealing of AIDS and WIC funds by members of a political organization that resulted in guilty pleas from all the defendants. Barron's described him as a "tough competitor" for his work with the Attorney General.
Earlier in his career, he served as Senior Staff Attorney at Children's Rights, Inc., a national watchdog organization advocating on behalf of abused and neglected children in the U.S. At Children's Rights, Mr. Peters helped reform various foster care systems across the country.
He received his JD from the University of Michigan Law School in 1990 and his BA from Brown University in 1987.
Rehabilitation involves the Superintendent taking possession of the property of an insurer, conducting its business, and taking steps toward the removal of the causes and conditions that have made the rehabilitation proceeding necessary. This usually occurs after a company is declared insolvent.
An insurance company is declared to be insolvent when it no longer meets the statutory definition of solvency. Even though the company may still have assets, the company is deemed to be "Unable to pay its outstanding lawful obligations as they mature in the regular course of business ..." and the existing assets of the company are then preserved to allow for the settlement of outstanding claims and debts to creditors.

The $145 Billion Question


It seems lately the Times is totally is another example of this......

"The new comptroller, former Assemblyman Thomas DiNapoli, was installed by his friends in the Legislature and has no investment experience.
That means New York’s workers and retirees are suddenly depending on a novice to manage an investment pool far larger than those supervised by Wall Street’s top money managers. And it means a former legislator with deep ties to the Democratic Party and its fund-raisers can now choose which managers and banks and lawyers get hundreds of millions of dollars in fees." Other than "honest" and "ethical "Hevesi...all the former comptrollers had no investment experience.....that's why they have a qualified and hardworking staff to advise...what's with this "suddenly"??? All the previous comptrollers had deep ties to the democratic party...hello...this is an elected position....what makes DiNapoli so special here??? his honesty and integrity???? lighten up Times....CSEA AND PEF.whose members rely on this pension have full confidence in Tom...they are putting their money where they mouth is....and here is one of the stupidest ideas ever proposed......."There is also one thing Gov. Eliot Spitzer and the Legislature should do: end the comptroller’s sole trusteeship over the pension fund. ".....HELL NO!!!!! LET ME REPEAT HELL NO!!!! Carl MCCall stopped 2 governors from raiding the pension fund to bail the state budget out...both Cuomo and Pataki tried that stunt...forget the board idea...and talk about being pun intended..."Hold on to the highly qualified professionals already in the comptroller’s office. If Mr. DiNapoli is going to do well, he needs smart, experienced people around him. The good staff in place now should not be pushed out to make room for patronage hires.".....duhhhhhhhh...most of this staff are democrat hires already....Hevesi was a democrat and.......Tom does have an IQ above 10....andy

The State Senate majority leader, Joseph L. Bruno, has said that he never used his power to enrich himself.
(photo courtesy Nathaniel Brooks for The New York Times)


Say it ain't so Joe.......alas...another myth destroyed........andy

"It is an oft-told tale that has become part of Albany lore. Long before he became the State Senate majority leader, Joseph L. Bruno borrowed $5,000 to start a telephone equipment company, built it into a profitable business and sold it for $23 million in 1990. Born into poverty, Mr. Bruno became a millionaire.
Or did he?
A review of records and interviews with his former partners showed that while Mr. Bruno indeed built his publicly traded firm, Coradian Corporation, from scratch, its sale did not make him a millionaire. In fact, the company had been steadily losing money, and Mr. Bruno made less than $400,000 from the transaction.
As a result, Mr. Bruno began to pursue other sources of money, and those pursuits are now the subject of a federal investigation. " for the rest of this article...
click here........andy

BELIEVE IT.....OR NOT!!!!!!!!

AP - Tue Feb 20, 6:18 PM ET
Betty Heath from Mississauga, Ontario stands next to Clyde Hymel from Laplace, La., on Bourbon Street on Mardi Gras in New Orleans Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2007.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)


NorthJersey.Com thinks the new Freedom Tower is Big, expensive and still mediocre .......the best quote of this article "The Twin Towers did not become beloved skyscrapers until after their destruction. And just because Pataki slapped a patriotic name on the tower or designers insisted on the symbolism of 1776 does not make the Freedom Tower dynamic or exciting. You can be bland and tall -- look at Pataki." Ouch!!!!! Newsday's Editorial gets a bit violent with Kill casino in Catskills meanwhile UticaOD.Com believes we should Get passenger rail service on track efficient rail service for upstate would encourage tourism and leaving the gas guzzling cars at home......a environmental win as well......and the AP asks the proverbial question...when is gambling not called gambling??? From MLB to VLTs? "The leading contender to run New York thoroughbred racing for the next 20 years may face a tough call when Major League Baseball decides whether the family that controls the Yankees can also run video slot machines at tracks" Does Steve Swindal, son-in-law of boss George Steinbrenner hit a home run or foul ball??? "Major League Baseball prohibits "any ownership interest" in gambling businesses, but also appears to allow interest in some "legalized gambling enterprise or permitted lottery," according to rules provided by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.That is where New York's highest court might help.In a 2005 decision, the Court of Appeals overturned a lower court and said video slot machines technically called "video lottery terminals" are constitutional as lottery products. The state constitution bans traditional, mechanical slot machines. The high court ruled VLTs are legal because they send a portion of revenues to horse racing breeding funds and enhanced track purses" and Fred Dicker of the NY Post thinks SPITZ MEDICAID CUTS IN TROUBLE "GOV. SPITZER'S battle with the Legislature will take a dramatic new turn this week as lawmakers unveil state revenue forecasts $1 billion larger than he outlined in his budget a month ago.
"Wall Street is still going gangbusters, the money is there, and that means Spitzer is much less likely to get his Medicaid cuts," a senior legislative aide told The Post." So basically keep throwing good money away because you have it to throw away??? and Fred reports "Spitzer, meanwhile, has decided to bill former Gov. George Pataki for the controversial, $10,712 charter flight on a luxury private jet trip Pataki took in December to Virginia." Bully for Spitzer and people are starting to wonder if Joe Mondello is over the political hill "A growing number of senior Republicans claim recently selected state GOP boss Joseph Mondello isn't up to the job.
"No one is particularly happy with Mondello. It's like he and the state [GOP] committee are non-existent," said a prominent Republican official. " come on guys.....maybe totally ineffective...but they are existent...........andy

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Sunday Buffet

How about this for all you political junkies out there......Hillary gets elected president.....and Spitzer appoints hubby Bill to replace her??? far fetched??? check out How about 'Senator' Bill? and A former president in the US Senate? ..........and the Utica Observer Dispatch thinks Gambling economy a bad bet but "It's probably naïve to think that the trend will reverse itself. There's too much money to be made at casinos, and the jobs they create is a tough point to argue"........the Catskill region is an economic disaster area...the glory days of summer resorts are dead.....Spitzer has to find new ways to inject some employment life back into this resort Rustbelt......and Assemblyman Tedisco tells the TimesUnion Spitzer missed chance to cut budget .......where was he during the Pataki years??? I know....I know..he is a "born again" reform legislator now...the ultimate pork finder and Spitzer ally.....get the bread comes the baloney.........and finally the AP lets us know Assemblyman Grannis may not get the job New DEC choice draws fire ........I understand Grannis is cancelling his subscription to the Village Voice :-) andy

Despite trials, GOP chief to stay

Newsday Rick Brand

Mondello already is conceding the upcoming special elections....and the only way Mondello is going to have Spitzer where he wants in the White House .............andy

February 25, 2007Joe Mondello may have suffered a bruising State Senate loss in his own backyard, but the new state GOP leader says he's given no thought to stepping down - and will stay on no matter what happens in two more uphill special elections next month."I'm a long way from quitting," Mondello said. "I'm a fighter."After 24 years as Nassau's powerful Republican chairman, Mondello, in his first 12 weeks in his state post, has faced an almost Job-like series of political traumas. These are unlike any he's faced since 1983, when he succeeded Joseph Margiotta, who was convicted on federal corruption charges.In short order: Mondello lost his most popular GOP State Senator, Michael Balboni, who defected to new Democratic Gov. Eliot Spitzer. Spitzer then waded in hip-deep and engineered an embarrassing 3,500-vote Senate loss Feb. 6, shrinking the Senate GOP majority to 33-28.Vacancies for Senate victor Craig Johnson's legislative seat, and for new Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli's Assembly seat, set up two more special elections March 27 for Mondello - in heavily Democratic districts. Mondello said the Senate loss had little to do with the strength of his own political army - which he claims still outnumbers the Democrats' - but rather, showed the clout of a newly-elected governor who won in the area with 72 percent only three months earlier. "I felt badly because we ... really worked the thing," Mondello said. "But the district has changed dramatically ... and we had an extraordinarily popular governor holding Craig Johnson's hand and Hillary Clinton holding the other. They even got DiNapoli and Tom Suozzi together, something I did not think would happen in my lifetime." While former Republican Rep. John LeBoutillier has called for Mondello to step down, the party leader dismissed him as "a disappointed toady ... who wants to see if he can make Joe Mondello's life a little miserable." Mondello said he sees no challenges to his leadership. The only criticism he says he's heard is that he "should attack Spitzer more vociferously." However, Mondello said he has held back on purpose. "I watched my predecessor and his predecessor attacking on every little thing and it got them nowhere," he said. "Spitzer's on the crest of his honeymoon. If you attack the guy, you're going to be anti-reform. ... I've decided not to make that mistake." Mondello added, "Honeymoons don't last forever, and when he stumbles, we'll be right there."Mondello acknowledges that the upcoming special elections will be tough for Republicans. He is conceding nothing, but says the party has to do a better job penetrating heavily Democratic areas in North Hempstead - if not to win them, then at least to reduce their margins. But Mondello also maintains North Hempstead Democrats may face problems of their own with a district attorney probe of the town's building department. He believes three county legislative seats will also be in play in the upcoming elections - enough to give Republicans a shot to regain the majority.Financially, the Nassau GOP has $1.4 million in the bank, with a $500-a-head fundraiser headlined by Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno (R-Brunswick) March 16, where the party expects to draw 2,000 people.It's the state GOP, with only $300,000 in his campaign and housekeeping accounts, that worries Mondello. "No matter how much I do or how hard I work, I mean no matter how many trips I make into the city," he said, "the money is not coming into the state committee like it should." However, Mondello hopes a $1,000-a-head event headlined by top presidential hopefuls Rudolph Giuliani and Sen. John McCain on May 11 will replenish the state coffers. "You can't run something if you have no money," Mondello said.Mondello also said either candidate will put the New York Republicans "back on the map" in 2008 presidential politics after years of focusing on battlegrounds in smaller states. "With either McCain or Giuliani, they are not going to forget New York," he said.

Saturday, February 24, 2007


Yancey Roy thinks a big Battle looms over bottle-bill expansion
"ALBANY — Gov. Eliot Spitzer's proposal to expand the state's bottle-deposit law to juices, water and other beverages could turn out to be one of his toughest fights this year.
About 50 groups are lined up to lobby for or against it, with opponents claiming the plan amounts to a $200 million tax hike. Not only does the Democratic governor want to change what containers carry the nickel deposit but also who gets the nickel when customers don't return them." meanwhile Spitzer names a
new interim superintendent of the New York State Police "Preston L. Felton, a former lieutenant with the Troop C Bureau of Criminal Investigation, was appointed Friday to serve as interim superintendent of the New York State Police." and some good news for hard hit upstate snow belt Bush Orders Federal Aid for Oswego, Oneida, Lewis Counties...and the NY Times reports Spitzer Backs Off Remarks on Listing of 9/11 Names "Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s administration has backed away from from remarks the governor made earlier this week that suggested there would be further discussions about how to arrange the names of the dead at the 9/11 memorial. "...Eliot did not have much choice here...this Pataki mess has been going on for years...time to move foward...flaws and all.....and the burning question of the day is Casino in Auburn within a year? everybody these days seem to have casino mania...a quick economic fix for what ails you??? and we learn that Spitzer calls special election for Staten Island Assembly seat "A special election will be held March 27 to fill the state Assembly seat left vacant by the election this week of Republican Vincent Ignizio to the New York City Council, Gov. Eliot Spitzer announced Friday." and Newsday's SpinCycle gives us Spitzer's Target o' the Week "Gov. Spitzer has, apparently, tired of yelling at Shelly Silver, Tom DiNapoli and whichever obscure Assemblyperson comes to mind on a given day, and moved on to a new target: Hospital Executives." As the TV show "A" Team used to say "I pity the poor fool" .........and Liz Benjamin lets us know a few elected officials are Following Spitzer’s Lead "Five Assembly Democrats will announce Sunday that they, like Gov. Eliot Spitzer, will henceforth adhere to self-imposed campaign finance restrictions.
The lawmakers -
Hakeem Jeffries and Karim Camara, of Brooklyn; Michele Titus, of Queens; Linda Rosenthal and Brian Kavanagh, of Manhattan - are all, with exception of Titus, who was elected in 2002, relatively new to Albany." ...Eliot is setting the reform pace in Albany.........and Azi Paybarah(The Politicker) thinks he has found some Missing Links "A reader draws my attention to the fact that on Eliot Spitzer's official gubernatorial website, there are no links (at least, none that I can find) to the sites of the other elected statewide officials, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.
It's a little different on the state's official site: there's no link there to
the comptroller's office, but you can get to the AG's office." having worked for state government for over 28 years...this is just plain incompetence...sorry conspiracy theories here...hopefully somebody will get this straightened out.............and finally The Times Empire Zone points us to a very useful link....".Gabe Pressman’s interview with the governor will be broadcast on Sunday, but there’s a transcript here. One highlight is the brewing battle over Medicaid. [The Daily Politics] " It totally amazes me how all the blogs quote each other constantly....andy

Friday, February 23, 2007

President Spitzer???.....Gabe Pressman thinks so...

Gabe Pressman's View: What Is Spitzer's Destiny?

A preview of an upcoming Spitzer presidential campaign??? Governor Spitzer sounds great........President Spitzer really sounds awesome........andy

Does New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer believe in speaking softly but carrying a big stick? Does he want to make deals to accomplish his goals?
As he answered questions Friday about various issues, including his plan to revamp New York's health care system and a growing dispute with the health care workers union, Gov. Spitzer talked, too, about Teddy Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson. And he confessed that both had long been role models for him.

It was Roosevelt who advised, "Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far." And it was Lyndon Johnson who, by his deft negotiating, managed to pass President Kennedy's civil rights legislation after his assassination. In Johnson's inaugural address in 1965, he said, "For every generation there is a destiny. For some, history decides. For this generation, the choice must be our own."
On Friday, in his first sit-down tv interview on WNBC, Governor Spitzer seemed to be taking inspiration from both men. Asked about his battle with the leaders of the Legislature, the Democratic Assembly Speaker, Sheldon Silver, and the Republican Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno, he said he expected to reach compromises with them on various issues "in the public interest."
Like Teddy Roosevelt, he was speaking softly but wielding a big stick - his continuing threat to run candidates against those who oppose the Spitzer agenda. Like Lyndon Johnson, he was promising heavy negotiating to fashion compromises out of issues that clearly divide him from the legislative leaders.
Eliot Spitzer seems comfortable in his new role as king of the hill; Albany's capital hill. He is philosophical about the future. Obviously, he believes in his personal destiny.
Does he have a rich fantasy life in which he may wonder whether he, like Teddy Roosevelt, can aspire to the Presidency one day? That question didn't come up. But what is clear about New York's new governor is that he has immense confidence in himself. He may succeed in passing a big reform agenda. He may not. But what's equally clear is that the years ahead will be most interesting.
In his inaugural address on New Year's day, he invoked the words of Teddy Roosevelt that you can't make progress without entering the arena.
Spitzer said, "We won't win every fight, we won't win every battle, but we will raise the right issues...."
Roosevelt said, "It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again... if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."

Spitzer Steamrolls In Cyberspace

Liz Benjamin Capitol Confidential

yikes..I wonder who else has a blog with Spitzer's name in it???? hmmmmmmm :-) andy

Gov. Eliot Spitzer has started legal proceedings to take the domain names and away from Eric Keller, a New Jersey resident who appears to have something of a spotty past.
Hat tip to
Workbench for having this first, as far as I can tell, and to Urban Elephants for picking up on it.

"New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer appears to have begun legal proceedings to take the domain names and away from Eric Keller, a New Jersey online candy retailer who registered them in 2001.
Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) arbitration began today regarding the domains at the National Arbitration Forum. Arbitrators will decide whether the domains were registered and used in bad faith, whether Keller has legitimate rights in the names, and whether Spitzer has used his name as a trademark in commerce. He must prevail on all three to take the domains."

"On Dec. 5, Keller was indicted by the Department of Justice on 10 counts of mail fraud for allegedly bilking UPS out of charges for candy shipments:
From September 22, 2001 through February 2005, Keller created a series of bogus UPS shipping accounts for the purpose of shipping candy to ebulkcandy customers, and failed to pay UPS for the shipping. The indictment alleges that at the time Keller opened the UPS accounts, he had no intention of paying UPS for shipping services. According to the charges, defendant Eric Keller defrauded UPS of approximately $154,581.
He faces up to 200 years imprisonment and a $2.5 million fine."

A reader comments "I wouldn't f**k with Elliot Spitzer if I were him '....I agree totally.....andy

Looking to the Liquor Board

Newsday's SpinCycle

I love this juicy political gossip stuff.......maybe a bit of self promotion for Newsday to report??? hey for $90,000 a year..I am available as would work wonders for my state pension :-) to put those figures below in perspective..the nys lottery generated over $7 Billion in Sales and close to 3 Billion in revenues for education.....alot less stress over at the SLA.......andy

Democrat James Gaughran, who was Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s Long Island campaign coordinator, is angling for a $90,800-a-year post on the three-member State Liquor Authority board.
Gaughran, 50, an attorney and a former Huntington town board member and county legislator, has the backing of Suffolk Democratic chairman Richard Schaffer, an early Spitzer supporter, for the job. The board oversees liquor licenses, bars and alcohol rules statewide.
The board seat that Gaughran is seeking now held by Lawrence Gedda, 76, a Lynbrook Republican, who has been a SLA board member since 1992 and an SLA employee for 43 years. His term is up April 12. The board is now 2-1 Republican.Rick Brand
Gedda declined to comment, as did Gaughran, though he did confirm he has submitted his resume for the state post.
The SLA regulates more than 70,000 licenses and permits statewide. It generated $53 million in fees in 2005 and $6.5 million in fines and penalties, and terminated 464 licenses.

Spitzer mood gentler, but mission isn't

The Buffalo News DONN ESMONDE

or....the many faces of Eliot :-) andy

The man who sat in Mary Kinney's living room Wednesday was not the fire-breathing scourge of Wall Street cheaters. He was not the got-mad, get-even public crusader hoisting the names of state lawmakers who had wronged him. He was not spitting-mad Spitzer, exacting retribution on disloyal Democrats who had nuked his choice for state comptroller.
No, the special guest in the Kinneys' home was Just Eliot, the bright but folksy man of the common folk, defender of the overtaxed and the underserved.
In recent weeks, we have seen two sides of the new, reform-preaching governor. In the next four years, expect to see a lot more of both. His good cop/bad cop extremes prompted one critic to dub him a Jekyll/Hyde character.
Public shaming - whether you are a Wall Street CEO or a follow-the-party-leader state legislator - is a big hammer. Spitzer pulled it out of his toolbox two weeks ago, naming names of turncoat Democratic lawmakers as he traveled the state.
The media salivated over the rare politician who violated the unwritten Albany code of self-protection. Democrat or Republican, they play the same Albany game, enjoy the same comforts and perks that come with going along. Had a snowstorm not postponed his visit here last week, local Democratic Assembly members Francine DelMonte, Sam Hoyt, Mark Schroeder, Dennis Gabryszak, Bill Parment, Robin Schimminger and Crystal Peoples might have felt the sting of his verbal lash.
Spitzer named about a dozen names before relenting. But scores of Spitzer-opposing lawmakers duck-and-covered. His message: Mess with me, and I will embarrass you in front of the people whose votes you need. Keep it up, and I may - by finding a reformer to challenge you and backing that candidate - try to have your job taken away. "If genuine reform candidates are out there," Spitzer said, "I'll be for genuine reform, rather than reform when it's easy."
Message received. State legislators usually flock to any ribbon-cutting, elbowing for position in front of TV cameras like hockey players battling for a puck. Yet when Spitzer on Wednesday announced a 650-job spike at Citigroup, no state legislator - there are 18 locally - showed up. Given recent animosities, they would have been distractions or targets. Not that they were missed. It was like a picnic without the ants.
Spitzer now is in helpful Dr. Jekyll mode. Talking about the "public good" is good, but it sounds like you are fighting for a nebulous blob instead of for millions of real people. Spitzer lately is visiting the homes of ordinary folks - 70 percent of whom voted for him - to drink coffee and talk tax cuts. It is a smart move that puts a human face and voice to the tax-crushing, business-discouraging burden that Albany's laws and giveaways put on people.
Spitzer, sitting on the Kinneys' living room couch, said New York's multiple governments take about $1,300 in taxes of every $10,000 we make. Added Mrs. Kinney, the voice of the people: "That's a lot, if you're only making $20,000."
Expect the close-to-folks approach from a Teddy Roosevelt-style progressive. Spitzer doesn't want to injure Albany; he wants to heal it. He believes in government - in its power to protect people from the abuses of capitalism, or from the out-of-touch, people-last subculture of Albany. The guy who, as attorney general, took on Wall Street behemoth Merrill Lynch will not cower in front of Joe Bruno or Shelly Silver. And, as he did with Wall Street, any deals will be made on his terms.
That's how it will go for those who talk reform but throttle change. Spitzer can be friend or foe, Jekyll or Hyde. State lawmakers have a choice: Change their ways or unleash Spitzer's inner Hyde.

GOP Declares Victory (Updated)

Liz Benjamin Capitol Confidential

Mondello must be smoking some of that "funny stuff"...senator al keeps talking about............andy

The state GOP is casting ex-Assemblyman Vincent Ignizio’s victory in a special election for a NYC Council seat in Staten Island earlier this week as its “first step back” following a string of embarrassing defeats by the Democrats.
Ignizio, whose win creates the need for yet-another special election in the Assembly, won with over 70 percent of the vote, keeping the Council seat in Republican hands.
State GOP Chairman Joe Mondello called this an “important first step for the Republican Party down the road back to victory in New York,” and hailed the “grassroots” campaign run by Ignizio and Staten Island Republican Chairman Joe Friscia.
“Politics is a cyclical business,” Mondello said in a press release.
“And while New York’s Democrats are currently enjoying the sweetest of honeymoons, the results from Staten Island last Tuesday make it clear that a Republican Party that is rebuilding, retooling, and returning to grassroots fundamentals stands ready to compete for every office in every corner of this state, providing residents with the critically important checks and balances necessary to truly reform state government and provide residents with the significant tax relief that is vital to the future of New York.”

Here is a reader's comments that just about sums this whole article up.......

“Mission Accomplished!”
Comment by danielmorgan — February 22, 2007 @
4:51 pm

Give ‘em hell, Eliot!

Olean Times Record Editorial

This about...says it all........andy

"It is utterly amazing to read article after article of politicians and “political analysts” dressing down Eliot Spitzer for his brash style. Have they forgotten his campaign?
Isn’t that how he does things? Isn’t that what he promised to do? What we expect of him?
In dealing with the failure and corruption of entrenched career politicians in New York, things are bound to get ugly. This is just the sort of whining you would expect from nervous paper tigers when the new guy comes to town.
Simply looking at recent history is enough to make this story thick with irony. Eliot Spitzer had a long, righteous run knocking the ego and the greed off much of Wall Street, going after people who think they are above the law, above reproach.
He went at them like a steamroller. That is is style. He didn’t need to fudge the rules to do it. It was the right thing to do and everyone knew it.
On the other hand, we have House Speake Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno and their countless lap dogs sneaking around agreements and rules. Bruno and Silver are still smudged from the dirt of Gov. George Pataki, with whom they shared access to a billion dollar slush fund, hidden from the books to “do the people’s business.” They did this while presiding over the most massive increase in property taxes in New York’s history, not to mention the largest exodus of businesses ever.
They have passed the buck to local governments ever since they were elected. And they have the gall to bully the new governor?
Entrenched politicians only win at dirty politics. They have been failures at everything else in Albany. For them to lecture the “new kid” on how things are done around here is a gut-busting laugh riot.
Gov. Spitzer’s life has been spent upholding laws while his detractors seem to be bent on breaking them. At present, Bruno is being investigated by the FBI for his business dealings. I say, where there is smoke, there is fire.
Don’t like Gov. Spitzer’s style Albany? Good. Get used to it. That is why he was elected in overwhelming numbers."

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Spitzer Calls Healthcare Ads “Scare Tactics”

Liz Benjamin gives us her take on the Spitzer return fire........

Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s press office released a very lengthy statement from him in response to the Greater New York Hospital Association and SEIU/1199 ad campaign that began today - to the tune of what one insider said is roughly $1 million a week.
Spitzer called this effort “predictable” and accused the union and hospital association of wanting to maintain a “status quo that does not work for anyone but them.”
He also insisted that such “scare tactics” won’t change the fact that New York’s healthcare system is in need of reform - a point SEIU/1199 and the GNYHA actually don’t dispute.
Both Spitzer and the union/hospital alliance are laying claim to the mantle of putting “paitents first” - a phrase the governor employed when he laid out his Medicaid spending reduction plan that has since been adopted by the other side.
The governor made it clear he feels lawmakers, who have been asked by SEIU/1199 and the GNYHA for a pledge of support in this fight, ought to instead “keep the pledge they made to their constituents and pass a budget that provides high quality health care to New Yorkers at a price we can all afford.”
Spitzer invested his own money in palm cards that outline what he sees as the benefits of his budget proposal and has been traveling the state in hopes of generating public support (when he’s not bashing legislators for making ex-Assemblyman Tom DiNapoli the new state comptroller).
It’s unclear whether the governor will invest in his own ads to fight fire with fire in this case.

Spitzer Fires Back..........

Newsday SpinCycle Partisan Twist II: Spitzer Condemns Critical Ads

Eliot has just fired up his steamroller....never knew that engine could be so loud.....the best advice here would be to...."get out of the way" while you still can............andy

In one of his broadest rhetorical blasts to date, Gov. Eliot Spitzer scorches the new ad campaign against his proposed health-care cuts as "a predictable response from groups dedicated to maintaining a status quo that does not work for anyone but them."
He calls the hospitals and health-care workers' union anti-reform -- and even goes so far to accuse them of engaging in "demagoguery" in the commercial. The ad dramatizes greedy, comfortable businessmen gaining, and victimized patients losing, under the Spitzer proposal.
For the full, fire-breathing text, click just below.
This is a predictable response from groups dedicated to maintaining a status quo that does not work for anyone but them.
These groups – 1199SEIU and Greater New York Hospital Association – receive billions of dollars in state subsidies without proper measures of accountability for how they spend taxpayers’ hard-earned money. Their goal is to block any attempt to reform the system.
No amount of distortion, scare tactics and mischaracterization will change the underlying fact that New York’s health care system is broken. We must not allow health care decision-making to continue to be co-opted by every interest other than the patient’s interest.
We believe health care reform that puts patients first must be comprehensive, not limited to an “everybody-but-me” mentality. That’s why our Executive Budget seeks fundamental reforms in every corner of the health care system so we can lower the cost of health insurance while increasing health care quality.
That is the simple choice lawmakers face: Will you side with the same old demagoguery of “everyone but me,” which has given us the broken system we have now and has prevented us from implementing a system that provides high quality, affordable health care to all New Yorkers? Or will you push for real reform that fundamentally restructures the health care delivery system to finally put patients first and control exploding costs that have led to our unsustainable tax burden and the highest health care spending in the nation?
Instead of taking a pledge to special interests and the status quo, lawmakers should keep the pledge they made to their constituents and pass a budget that provides high quality health care to New Yorkers at a price we can all afford.
We agree that reform includes doing more to lower prescription drug costs.
That is exactly why our budget strengthens the State’s preferred drug program, lowers the price the State pays pharmacies for prescription drugs and institutes a preferred drug list in the State’s EPIC program. That is also why we are actively pursuing the use of the federal 340B drug discount program and why we are working with other states to explore bulk-purchasing opportunities.
And we agree that reform includes stronger regulation of disproportionately high insurance rates and ending the gamesmanship of HMOs who deny or delay payment for care. That is why our budget proposes to freeze the trend rate increase to HMOs, increases the covered lives assessment paid by HMOs and why the State’s Insurance Department will propose legislation to reinstate prior approval of HMO’s insurance rates as well as other legislation that will ensure that HMOs can’t unfairly deny coverage for services.
However, we will not agree to protect special subsidies that have produced the highest health care costs in the nation without producing better care.
New Yorkers would be far better off if we reinvested these misallocated funds to provide access to health insurance coverage for all children and to make the other strategic investments that will lead to better care at a lower cost. That’s exactly what this Executive Budget calls for.
We must not be deterred in our attempt to provide better care and lower costs. The future of New York depends on it."

The Health Care Battle has Begun..........

We have SEIU/1199 and the GNYHA Staffing Up For Battle and the first state wide ads are being run The First Salvo (Updated) SEIU/1199 and the Greater New York Hospital Association have started running a statewide campaign in an effort to win public support for their opposition to Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s proposed Medicaid cuts.
The push includes two 30-second TV spots (the other one appears after the jump) and
a mailer. and The Greater New York Hospital Association and SEIU/1199 are done playing nice and are poised to unleash a TV campaign against Spitzer’s Medicaid cuts (similar to the tact they successfully employed against former Gov. George Pataki).
GNYHA and the healthcare workers union are also writing to state legislators, asking for them to
pledge to fight Spitzer’s cuts.........they will soon discover Spitzer is no Pataki....Eliot will not be rolling over and playing dead for anyone........thank you Liz Benjamin for above updates.......andy

Another Special Election??? UPDATED!!!!!!!!!

Newsday Spincycle

Lisanne did come out early for Spitzer...going against the local political grain and not endorsing Suozzi in the Dem Primary...but will that be enough to get her a job with Lipa??? And will Kevin want to start off his new administration hiring a politico??? a controversial one at that??? me thinks not.......stay tuned...andy

Long Island politicians are watching and waiting to see if Legis. Lisanne Altmann gets a new, high-paid job at the Long Island Power Authority by Friday and gives up her elected job.That’s the last day Altmann, who works part-time for LIPA, can resign from her 10th District legislative seat and still allow enough time for a successor to be chosen during the special elections already set for March 27, election officials say.The county charter requires a special election to be called no less than 30 days and no more than 60 days after a vacancy occurs in the legislature.Celeste Hadrick
Special elections are already scheduled March 27 to fill the legislative seat that opened up when Craig Johnson was elected to the state Senate, and the state Assembly vacancy created when Thomas DiNapoli was appointed state comptroller.Democratic Party leaders have been telling Altmann (D-Great Neck), who joined with Republicans last year to make an unsuccessful attempt to depose Presiding Officer Judy Jacobs, that she will face a bruising primary if she decides to run again.But sources say new LIPA chairman Kevin Law is hesitant to make Altmann his first high-level appointment in his new job.

Suspense Ends -- Lisanne Stays Put
Looks like Nassau Legis. Lisanne Altmann (D-Great Neck) will be staying in the legislature for a while after all.
Nassau Democratic leaders had lobbied hard for her to get a high-level, full-time job at the Long Island Power Authority, where she has been working part-time as the agency’s clean energy manager, in return for which she would give up her legislative seat. An outspoken Democrat, who joined with Republicans last year in an unsuccessful coup against Judy Jacobs, Altmann has been an irritant for years to party leaders and County Executive Thomas Suozzi.
“I had a wonderful discussion with Kevin Law and we’re going to work together over the coming months and develop some comfort with each other. Lucky for me I get to keep my legislative job at the same time,” Altmann said Thursday afternoon. “I love both jobs and have been doing both well for a long time.”

Spitzer’s off to the races Governor to review offers from applicants who want to operate Belmont, Aqueduct and Saratoga tracks

Newsday AP Story

Another Pataki Legacy for Spitzer to clean up.....what a mess......the process was flawed from the get the old computer saying goes......"garbage in...garbage out".............andy

ALBANY - Gov. Eliot Spitzer will soon start a new process to award the state's thoroughbred racing franchise, with a spokesman saying he's not "bound" by a Pataki administration committee's recommendation released yesterday. "Gov. Spitzer has not yet received the report," said his spokesman, Paul Larrabee. "However, upon receipt, it will be reviewed and will be part of the governor's consideration and evaluation. He does not feel bound by it and in the next days we will be announcing a process for that evaluation." Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver also wants to give Spitzer a close review of the bids, Silver spokesman Charles Carrier said. Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno has said he wants to look at a fourth bid not considered by the committee and is open to combining some proposals. In November, after nearly a year of work, the state racing committee recommended Excelsior Racing Associates, a group headed by New York Yankees partner Steve Swindal and casino developer Richard Fields.Coming in last was the New York Racing Association, which has held the franchise since 1955. Its tenure was recently marked by multimillion-dollar losses and several state and federal investigations into mismanagement. Yesterday, the committee formally adopted the November recommendation. Spitzer's announcement is further evidence that the recommendation by the state's ad hoc racing committee, established by former Gov. George Pataki, carries little weight in Albany. Legislative leaders have also said they will make a full review of all the bidders for the 20-year franchise to operate Belmont, Aqueduct and Saratoga race courses and take over the growing use of video slot machines at Aqueduct. Also in contention for the franchise are Empire Racing, a Saratoga Springs group that includes Churchill Downs and Magna Entertainment along with horse owners and breeders; and NYRA, which argues it is the only competitor with the experience to run New York racing. The Pataki committee didn't consider a proposal by Capital Play, an Australian consortium that is now making its case directly to the State Legislature. The committee said Capital Play missed a deadline. Each proposal promises hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue to state government and the horse racing and breeding industries while upgrading race tracks and their facilities and installing thousands of video slot machines at Aqueduct and potentially at Belmont.

Letters to the Editor

Albany Times Union

Here is a compilation of various letters to the editors.....I don't agree with some of it..but thought you might like to see what people are thinking.......andy

Spitzer exposed Legislature for exactly what it is and Voter will remember poor legislator decision and Spitzer responds to opposition like a spoiled kid and Assemblyman reneged on promises to voters and Did voters really expect change from members of the state Legislature? .............voters are a funny breed..elections are 2 years away...I wonder how these same people will feel then??? andy

Spitzer pushing legislators to reform JEREMY M. CREELAN

Another view on what Spitzer is trying to accomplish......andy

"Gov. Eliot Spitzer has stunned the Legislature by attacking individual members from his own party for choosing to scrap an expert-based comptroller selection process and instead select one of their own. Observers wonder: How could he let his own temper and thirst for power so jeopardize the legislative process and his own policy agenda? Will Spitzer's attacks culminate in a coup to oust the speaker of the Assembly?
The truth is that this is not about Spitzer's personality; this is a fundamental shift in the way Albany works. Even as he is attacking members individually for their votes, he is also demanding that they play a far more important role in the legislative process.
For the first time in recent history, a New York governor is consulting with individual legislators -- rather than just with the Assembly speaker and Senate majority leader -- to discuss the budget and other legislation"

for the rest of this interesting here...........andy

Spitzer, Schumer Vists Snow Belt


There will be a lot of firsts before Spitzer is is good to see the little guys that work their hearts out get some recognition.......andy

New York Governor Eliot Spitzer and US Senator Chuck Schumer visited Parish, New York Wednesday. They went to say thank you for weathering a rough storm so well this month.
"It shows our little community, somebody stepping up and, you know, noticing us," says Parish Highway Superintendent Carl Dayger. Dayger says his workers plowed about 50 miles of roadway when eleven feet of snow blanketed the area-- sometimes working 20 hours a day. "Get a 3 or 4 hour nap, back at it again. Whatever it takes to get it done," he says.
The workers dedication that wasn't lost on Governor Spitzer. He went to parish to say thank you, not only to the plow crews, but also to emergency workers who helped keep this town safe through the storm. "Everyone in this room, you are the real heroes. You really stood up and did a remarkable job," Spitzer said. Between posting for pictures Spitzer spoke to the positive attitude of this community, saying their spirit was never buried.
"We're going to do it, it said to the entire nation, we New Yorker's know how to deal with a crisis," said Spitzer.
U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer assured the crowd help from FEMA is on the way soon. "The first money that flows is reimbursement to all localities for costs of cleaning up the disaster."
And even though the snow isn't falling now, Carl Dayger says they're work isn't finished just yet. "We're pushing banks bank, cleaning up yet."
This was the first time ever that a Senator or Governor visited the small town of Parish. Senator Schumer said he'd driven through, but never stopped until Wednesday.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Spitzer Appointments

Liz Benjamin Capitol Confidential

Some more your name on this list??? andy

Gov. Eliot Spitzer announced two new appointments today: deputy secretary for Government Operations and Superintendent of Banking. Information after the jump:
Sylvia B. Hamer, deputy secretary for Government Operations and Labor Relations (appointment/$150,000). Hamer is currently executive director for administration in the AG’s office, a position she has held since April 2003. From 1999-2003 she served as assistant deputy for Administration. While working at the AG’s office, Hamer also chaired the Labor Management Committee. She worked as a budget analyst for the Senate Finance Committee from September 1995 until May 1999. She also served as coordinator for the Operation Talent Bank Program; managed an outplacement program for dislocated workers and served as a sexual harassment prevention trainer for employees of Westchester County.
Richard H. Neiman, superintendent of the Banking Department (nominated/$127,000). Neiman currently serves as chairman, president and CEO of TD Bank USA, N.A. Prior to this, Neiman served from 1994 to 2006 as executive vice president and general counsel of TD Waterhouse Group, a U.S. bank holding company. From 1990 to 1994 heserved as the director of Regulatory Advisory Services at Price Waterhouse LLP. He served as vice president and counsel at Citicorp, including general counsel of its Global Equities Group from 1979 to 1989. Neiman beganhis legal career at the Comptroller of the Currency where he served as special assistant to the chief counsel.

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