Monday, April 30, 2007


LET'S START OFF WITH New York Governor Signs Prayer Proclamation ......"Eliot Spitzer today joined the other 49 governors in issuing a proclamation supporting Thursday’s observance of the National Day of Prayer (NDP)"..............BELIEVE IT OR NOT...BUT SPITZER HAD OTHER THINGS ON HIS PLATE FOR THE LAST FEW MONTHS....HE IS NOT ANTI-FAMILY AND HE IS DEFINITELY NOT AGAINST PRAYER.......THE DOBSON FAMILY EARN A LIVING WITH THIS KIND OF STUFF.....I AM SURE THEY ARE ARE NOT WORRYING ABOUT THE STATE BUDGET....OR OTHER TRIVIAL THINGS LIKE THAT..........NO PRAYER BREAKFAST...OH NO!!!!!........MEANWHILE .New Crime Stats Low ........."While Gov. Eliot Spitzer said Monday that the latest statistics show a reduction of crime in targeted high-crime areas, state and local officials met to plot how to sustain that and expand the effort"...........AND WE LEARN State Lawmakers Hit Speed Bump As They Push For New Raise........."A proposal by state lawmakers to boost their own salary hit a bump Monday. A key legislator, Senate Minority Leader Malcolm Smith from Queens, pulled his support from a bill that would have set up a system to boost pay starting in 2009. Smith says that while he supports raises for legislators, they should only be considered after lawmakers have made progress on important legislation, such as campaign finance reform. That is also the opinion of Governor Eliot Spitzer, who said he would veto any pay hike until there is an agreement on the reforms."...........AND...... Bill to Protect Disabled Now Up to Spitzer "Albany, N.Y.) AP - Michael and Lisa Carey are waiting to see if the bill they pushed in memory of their autistic son, Jonathan, becomes law so that parents can better protect their disabled children.The bill passed in the Legislature with overwhelming support and is now before Governor Eliot Spitzer. Jonathan's Law is named after the Careys' 13-year-old son who died in February while under the care of a residential facility. The bill would require facilities to notify parents and guardians when their children are involved in incidents that could involve or lead to injury. The bill would also create a task force to review confidentiality provisions intended to protect the privacy of patients."..........THIS BILL MAKES PERFECT SENSE.......AND WILL BE SIGNED BY SPITZER...........A FEW TID BITS FROM LIZ OVER AT THE DAILY NEWS.........."With the pro-gay marriage forces poised to descend en masse on Albany tomorrow, the Coalition to Save Marriage in New York is starting its pushback.
Gov. Eliot Spitzer
doesn't think it's hypocritical for him to push for campaign finance reform while simultaneously asking donors to bundle large amounts of cash in exchange for exclusive access to him. " ............."After his Law Day speech, AG Andrew Cuomo lunched with the Democratic Assembly majority today at the state Capitol and was full of praise for the lawmakers, according to several who were in attendance.
Cuomo touted the Assembly for being a steadfast bastion of progressivism and even went so far as to call New York's Legislature "the best in the country," putting him at odds with NYU's Brennan Center, which dubbed the Legislature the nation's most dysfunctional back in 2004. (Unless, perhaps, he thinks they've improved enormously over the last three years).
Cuomo's compliments came as music to the ears of the legislators, who have been steadily slammed in recent years for their dysfunction and for a slew of scandals, both ethical and sexual.
And Gov. Eliot Spitzer has at times led the criticism parade this year, alternately praising the Legislature (when it goes along with his reform proposals) and slamming it (when they don't do what he wants, as with the state comptroller vote).
"People really appreciated it because they're so sick of getting the shit kicked out of them," one assemblyman said.
The contrast between Cuomo and Spitzer, who cancelled a "get-to-know-you"
lunch with the Assembly majority aand a DACC fundraiser in February after they defied him and made ex-Assemblyman Tom DiNapoli comptroller over the governor's wishes, did not go unnoticed by lawmakers who believe Cuomo still has designs on the governor's office. " .............NIGHT NIGHT..........ANDY


JUDGE JUDY WOULD NOT BE A HAPPY CAMPER WITH ALL THE CRAZINESS GOING ON FOR JUDICIAL PAY RAISES........About That Pay Raise......."The Senate Democrats gave Gov. Eliot Spitzer a little negotiating help on campaign finance reform today, saying they don’t think a legislative pay raise is warranted until “substantial progress in addressing priority bills, including the reform agenda.”
Consequently, Senate Minority Leader Malcolm Smith and his colleages withdrew what only last week was their unanimous support for Majority Leader Joseph Bruno’s proposal, which included judicial pay hikes and a commission to consider and recommend legislative and executive pay hikes."...................MEANWHILE........CAPITOL CONFIDENTIAL ASKS THE PROVERBIAL QUESTION
Marchers In Robes? Not Just Yet........"I just took a stroll around the Capitol parks and didn’t see any judges bearing picket signs or marching in circles.
There had been some buzz over the weekend that judges, frustrated with the way the push for judicial pay raises are going, had been talking about coming to Albany and staging some kind of a protest. But they decided not to.
Moreover, Jim Odato, who is at the Law Day talk with Gov. Eliot Spitzer, tells me all is quiet there as well, even though Spitzer is decrying what he said is the legislature’s holding a pay raise “hostage'’ to their own desires for a raise.
Judges, I’m told concluded that an outright protest would be impolitic. They reportedly got some persuasion from Chief Administrative Judge Jonathan Lippman, who is also said to be interested in a spot on the Appellate Division and may want to demonstrate his deftness in keeping judges under control.".............................HOW ABOUT RUBBING 2 NICKELS TOGETHER..........ERRRRRRRRR...MAYBE NOT...........
A $20 Million Fight Over a Nickel ........"In case anybody needed a reminder how lucrative Albany gridlock can be...
The question of whether to include 5 cent deposit charge on certain drinks in New York has been a $20 million fight, according to lobbying records analyzed by Common Cause. Supporters spent $6,888,265 to get the bill passed.Opponents spent $6,306,459 to stop it.
More quick numbers, from the group’s public statement:
$2,705,678.47 was given in campaign contributions by the bottling industry, beverage distributors, food retailers and others that oppose the new bill
$1,388,272.26 was given in campaign contributions by organizations supporting the expanded law, often called the “Bigger, Better Bottle Bill.” Over 94% of these contributions came from one entity—the Public Employees Federation.
The full report is
here [pdf]. " THERE YOU GO........WHAT THE HELL DOES A CIVIL SERVICE EMPLOYEES UNION GOT TO DO WITH SODA CAN DEPOSITS??? OUR UNION DUES HARD AT WORK :-) ..............................AND WE LEARN.........Malcolm Smith Agrees with Spitzer, Abruptly.............The AP has an official statement from Democratic Senate Leader Malcolm Smith explaining why he pulled his entire conference off a bill raising salaries for state lawmakers--something Governor Spitzer opposed. Smith said the conference changed position because Senate Republicans didn't agree to campaign finance reform.
As a result, the members of the minority conference will remove their names as sponsors of Sen. Bruno's pay raise bill," Smith said in a prepared statement. "Moreover, we will oppose this bill absent an agreement by the majority to embrace meaningful campaign finance reform.
Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno, needless to say, thinks that Smith got
Somewhere, political consultant Norman Adler -- who once called the Senate Democratic conference a "
wholly owned subsidiary" of Spitzer's operation -- is chuckling...........NO REFORM..NO PAY HIKES.......YIKES!!!! WHAT WILL BRUNO DO NOW??? .........MEANWHILE CLOSER TO HOME Replacing a Pataki Holdover ..............One of the last George Pataki holdovers to walk the halls of second floor in the Capitol has been replaced.
Karen Paikin, who was Pataki's -- and for a short time, Eliot Spitzer's -- Jewish liaison, was replaced today by Ross Wallenstein, an aide to Rep. Gary Ackerman of Queens and Nassau. ..................AND FINALLY WE ARE TOLD
Spitzer Still in Fighting Mood.........Appearing today at an Albany middle school, Gov. Eliot Spitzer seemed in high spirits, even somewhat defiant, in response to questions about his prodigious campaign fund-raising and whether or not it conflicts with his message of tighter campaign finance limits.
The governor said:
I have set limits far below the statutory limits and I am abiding by those limits, unilaterally putting myself at a disadvantage. I am traveling around the state calling on the Senate majority to pass campaign finance reform that will finally get money out of the system. Joe Bruno should agree to limit L.L.C. contributions. That appears to be the issue that is preventing the Senate from signing on to a bill that every good government group has supported. That is what New York needs.
He also responded to questions about a New York Post story,
in which the same good government groups that the governor is allied with on campaign reform expressed unhappiness with some of his fund-raising mailings.
“We are not offering access,” Mr. Spitzer said. “We are abiding by every law, in fact, going way beyond the laws of the state of New York. I’ve been doing that since I announced back in December and imposed ethics obligations on those in my administration and my own fund-raising that is far beyond what the state requires.”
He also rebuffed suggestions that lawmakers rush to pass legislation that would allow the dealth penalty for cop-killers. Republican leaders in the Senate began sounding the call for such a bill mere hours after the death last week of Trooper David C. Brinkerhoff, before it turned out that the fatal shot that killed Trooper Brinkerhoff came, accidentally, from a fellow trooper.
Gov. Spitzer said his position on the dealth penalty was clear — he supports it for cop killers — but that “the moment to discuss that, I’ve said, is not on the eve of a funeral.” He then went a little further, obliquely but harshly criticizing the Republican senators calling for a bill.
“There are a lot of politicians who I think, in almost a grotesque example of playing politics with a horrific event, seize an event like this to start putting out press releases,” he said. “That’s wrong.” COME ON BRUNO AND THE REPULBLICANS PLAYING POLITICS OVER A TRAGEDY????? UNHEARD OF........AFTER ALL 9/11 AND IT'S AFTERMATH WAS NEVER USED FOR POLITICAL GAIN BY THE REPUBLICAN PARTY........ERRRRRRR...NOT MUCH........HMMMMMMM....OK...SPITZER HAS A POINT..............ANDY

Spitzer bill would ban junk food in schools


This bill should go along way in fighting little kids being so overweight....a nationwhide problem..............andy

The once-popular school lunch of greasy chips, snack cakes and soda, already on the run for years from school cafeterias, would go the way of lead pencils under a new plan by Gov. Eliot Spitzer.
With public concern growing by the day over childhood obesity, Spitzer wants to turn up nutritional standards for food and beverages served in public schools, inside and outside the cafeteria.
Spitzer's Healthy Food Act would eliminate soda and most junk food; set limits for fat, sugar and sodium; designate a minimum amount of time for students to eat lunch; require a daily recess period for students in eighth grade and under; and call for better nutrition education.
Assemblywoman Sandra Galef, D-Ossining, who has had a similar bill for several years, said she hoped Spitzer's support would help bring healthier food to New York's schools.
"I think we have a really good opportunity to get something done this year," she said. "We have to get healthier foods in schools. Certainly, we're looking at fresh fruits and vegetables, but also granola bars, yogurt, fat-free puddings and those kinds of things. And baked chips - in smaller packages."
Even though schools have been improving their main cafeteria offerings, Galef said, students who skip their salads can often turn to the a la carte section of the cafeteria, the vending machines outside or school stores where candy is sold.
"The big culprit with childhood obesity is those vending machines," she said.
Spitzer's plan, which he released Saturday, would restrict school-day snacks to fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat or nonfat dairy items. Additional snacks could be purchased after the school day, as long as they met fat, sugar and sodium limits. Sports drinks would survive for after-school sports.
Many schools have been moving in this direction for years, replacing fried foods with greens.
Every school that participates in the federal lunch program is now required to have a wellness policy.
Last year, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation - created by former President Clinton and the American Heart Association - made it easier for schools to work with beverage distributors to replace soda with healthier drinks.
Dr. Susan Rubin of Chappaqua, who has been on a longtime mission to improve the overall quality of school food, believes that Spitzer's plan tinkers with school offerings instead of addressing the real issue: the need to replace packaged food with fresh fruits and vegetables.
Rubin is director of A Better Way Holistic Health, a health counseling practice in Mount Kisco, and founded Better School Food, a regional group working toward her goals. She and a friend, Amy Kalafa, have produced a documentary called "Two Angry Moms" about their frustrating efforts to replace processed school food (even the low-fat, low-salt kind) with fresh food.
"This bill is a step, but not big enough; we need behavior change," Rubin said. "We just did 20 years of low-fat and fat-free foods and where did it get us? We have to go back to real food, not processed, packaged stuff. I don't need the fat content of an apple or carrot. I just need to get my kids to eat them."
Rubin said the film would be released in the fall and would feature how the Katonah-Lewisboro school district changed its approach to nutrition.
Carol Bumbolow, the school nurse at Walter Panas High School in Cortlandt, said Spitzer's bill sounded like an important piece of a larger solution to the problem of childhood obesity. Her school is working with Hudson Valley Hospital Center's Wellness Club to bring a group of about 20 students together for exercise and to learn about good eating, from calorie intake to portion size.
"A lot of districts like ours have been pulling out the soda machines and junk food," she said. "But I don't know that there is one solution. We need more younger child education, more parental education. We need more physical education, although physical education teachers have come so far, doing wellness training. More healthful foods are very expensive and the people more inclined to need healthful foods can least afford it, so that's something to consider.
"To remove the temptations of the junky stuff is one thing, a start," she said.
Spitzer's plan would require that students in eighth grade and under be given 30 minutes of recess on days when they don't have gym class. It would also prohibit schools from taking away recess as discipline.
What of the classic school bake sale? Or the classroom birthday party centered on cupcakes?
They would survive.
Spitzer's bill would not apply to snacks and drinks sold as part of fundraising activities or served as part of classroom celebrations. Still, the bill encourages schools to suggest ideas for healthy fundraisers and celebrations.

SPINCYCLE: Power struggle on state energy panel


Unfortunately another Pataki Legacy for Spitzer to deal with....all those Pataki Hacks that still remain in state government....shielded by long term appointments....funny...I don't recall any Pataki Commissioners protesting the pilferage going on over the last 12 you??? andy

April 30, 2007A charge of undue coercion, leveled by a state utility board member against a high-ranking state aide, threatens to short-circuit Gov. Eliot Spitzer's energy policy goals for weeks or months to come, insiders say.State Public Service Commission member Cheryl Buley, a patronage appointee of former Gov. George Pataki, publicly accused Spitzer's top energy adviser of improperly trying to influence her actions on a commission case.For reasons still unclear, the adviser, Steve Mitnick, allegedly prodded her in repeated calls to stop agitating for what's known as a "prudence investigation," a formal probe, of last summer's Con Edison blackouts.Mitnick even warned that her refusal "could result in me being removed from my commissioner position," Buley charged at a PSC meeting April 18.Commissioners are paid $109,800 annually.Spitzer's office called it a misunderstanding. But the governor also asked his inspector general, Kristine Hamann, to investigate. Well-placed sources now believe Mitnick - experienced in the energy business but new to government - might in fact have acted too high-handedly with Buley and that his future in the job may be in doubt.One big Spitzer goal is to extract investment in renewable energy from the utilities. But trying to drive the PSC's agenda means a foray outside his own power grid. All four current members were tapped by predecessor Pataki - for terms lasting into the Spitzer years and possibly beyond:Buley, with solid GOP connections, serves until February 2012. She once worked for Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno and headed the ad-hoc state Freedom Party - created to give Pataki an extra ballot line in 1994.Patricia Acampora of Mattituck, the current chairwoman, joined the panel after serving for 12 years as a Republican assemblywoman from Suffolk. She's appointed until 2009.Lawyer Maureen F. Harris, serving until 2012, is the sister of a longtime Pataki associate, appointee and friend, Michael Finnegan.Lawyer Robert E. Curry Jr., is a Democrat and corporate governance expert, serving until February 2012.Once the charges surfaced, Bruno's Senate majority put off confirming Spitzer's selection of a fifth PSC member who'd replace Acampora as chairwoman - Angela Sparks-Beddoe, vice president of a firm that owns upstate electric companies regulated by the PSC. The Senate plans its own hearings on Buley's charges, further delaying Spitzer's reach into PSC.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

WEEKEND ROUNDUP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here is some odds and ends.........Is It A Plot? The Politicker’s Azi Paybarah reports that Democratic Senate staffers, including those from New York City-area offices, are being summoned to Albany for a meeting on Tuesday.
Clearly, this could have something to do with the Dem’s ongoing efforts to take control of the Senate, although it’s not clear because, at least as of last week, they weren’t divulging details (although one staffer is quoted as calling the meeting “unprecedented.'’
Read more
here (Capitol Confidential)...............Say "Cheese"!!!!!!!......Judy Joins Spitzer.........She’s been a well-known figure in front of a TV camera for years in Albany’s Capital Region, now, Judy Sanders is on the other side of the lens.
Sanders, who until last June had been one of the WRGB Channel 6’s premier reporters for more than two decades, is now Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s official photographer.
Technically — and in one of those longstanding oddities of state government, Sanders is employed in $65,000 position by the Empire State Development Corp., said Spitzer spokesman Paul Larrabee. “She’s assigned to chronicle the activities of the governor,'’ said Larrabee. She replaces former gubernatorial photographer Lester Millman.
Photography is nothing new for Sanders, however, as she’s long had an avid interest in photography, with several exhibitions to her credit.......not a bad gig if you can get it.....meanwhile the NY Times EmpireZone reveals
Trooper’s Death Was ‘Friendly Fire’ ..............Preston L. Felton, the acting New York State Police Superintendent, said during a news conference this afternoon that Trooper David C. Brinkerhoff was apparently killed by friendly fire during a gunfight on Wednesday between state troopers and a suspect holed up in an unoccupied farmhouse.
“We do not know whether this was the result of a ricochet or direct line of fire incident. We are reconstructing the situation and will report after the analysis of what actually happened,” he said. is the ironic past of all of this...Bruno was yelling and screaming all week for a death penalty bill....this clearly shows the possibility of someone being put to death by the state over an "honest" mistake..........something to think about.......and the BuffaloNews gives us Foreclosure moratorium weighed by legislators "ALBANY — In response to the surge in subprime loan defaults, state legislators are considering a six-month moratorium on mortgage foreclosures and stiffer penalties on brokers who fraudulently complete borrowers’ applications.
State Sen. Jeffrey D. Klein, DBronx, said there could be 28,000 foreclosures in New York this year just from loans originated in 2005. That assumes 21 percent of subprime loans are foreclosed and is based on research by the Center for Responsible Lending, a Durham, N.C., group opposing what it sees as abusive lending practices.
“Loans that home buyers took a few years ago are now being reset with higher rates — 9.9 percent and 10 percent — and people who can’t afford the payments are losing their home,” Klein said.
Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers said they are looking at possible ways to deal with effects of the subprime defaults. Legislative hearings are planned, and Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s administration is considering ways to help affected homeowners find refinancing, Klein said. " Most people will do anything to get a house of their own..........literally get their foot in the door of their home.....unfortunately these "balloon" type mortgages are coming due now.........what a mess.........andy

Friday, April 27, 2007

Spitzer Pushing Bill to Shore Up Abortion Rights

Gov. Eliot Spitzer with Kelli Conlin, president of Naral Pro-Choice New York at the group’s luncheon on Wednesday. (James Estrin/The New York Times)


ALBANY, April 25 — Gov. Eliot Spitzer said Wednesday that he planned to introduce legislation to overhaul the state’s pioneering but antiquated abortion law, shoring up abortion rights in New York.
The proposal follows the
United States Supreme Court’s decision last week to uphold the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, at a time when several other states are moving to tighten restrictions on abortion.
New York took an early role in legalizing abortion, and the governor’s plan could take on much broader significance if the Supreme Court ever returns abortion law to the discretion of the states. Still, it is far from certain that the legislation will pass the Republican-led State Senate.
Mr. Spitzer’s bill, the Reproductive Health and Privacy Protection Act, would update current law, which, for example, does not include a provision allowing for abortions late in pregnancies to protect a woman’s health. New York state laws on the books also treat abortion as a homicide, but with broad exceptions that allow the procedure in many cases.
Mr. Spitzer’s proposal would remove abortion from criminal statutes and make it a matter of professional and medical discretion. It would also repeal an old statute “that criminalizes, among other things, providing nonprescription contraception to minors,” according to the governor’s office. For the rest of this article...........
click here..........andy

New York Democratic governor warms up to candidate Clinton


Hillary is still waiting for that elusive Spitzer never know!!!!!! andy

Friday April 27, 2007
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who has yet to endorse a presidential candidate, touted home state Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton for the job Friday.
Both Democrats spoke to a convention of New York State teachers at a Washington hotel, and when Spitzer followed Clinton to the podium, he gushed that she would be the next president.
``What an amazing president she will be for every person in this country,'' said Spitzer, who for months has avoided making an early endorsement in the Democrats' nomination contest, calling such a move premature.
Spitzer and Clinton did meet privately before their joint public appearance. Clinton flew to Washington after a debate Thursday night in South Carolina and planned to fly back to the state to campaign after the teachers convention.
At the podium, the governor joked the crowd shouldn't expect as good a speech from him.
``Having her go first reminded me of a luncheon I was at about a year or so ago and Jerry Seinfeld spoke before I did,'' he said. ``It's a tough act to follow.''
Clinton was almost as effusive, praising the reform-minded governor for trying to ``break some of the political pottery'' in the state capital.
The senator's voice grew raspy as she rapped President Bush over funding levels and testing requirements under the No Child Left Behind law.
Sounding like a stern mom, the former first lady said today's youth need some old-fashioned discipline.
``I believe it is time we get back to teaching discipline, self-control, patience, punctuality,'' she said, to applause from the crowd of educator activists

Gov. Spitzer Proposes Gay Marriage Equality Legislation


Another campaign promise Eliot is keeping................andy

NEW YORK -- New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer submitted legislation Friday to create civil marriage equality for all New Yorkers. This legislation would establish equal responsibilities, recognition, benefits and protections for all married couples. The bill would additionally stipulate that no clergy member or religious institution should be compelled to perform any same-sex marriage ceremony.
"This legislation would create equal legal protection and responsibilities for all individuals who seek to marry or have their marriage protected in the State of
New York," said Gov. Spitzer. "Strong, stable families are the cornerstones of our society. The responsibilities inherent in the institution of marriage benefit those individuals and society as a whole."
Under current law, partners unable to enter into a civil marriage, and their children, lack legal protections taken for granted by married couples.
In such areas as property ownership, inheritance, health care, hospital visitation, taxation, insurance coverage, child custody and pension benefits, married couples receive important safeguards against the loss or injury of a spouse, and crucial insurance against legal intrusion into marital privacy.
"This bill guarantees that the inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness will be protected equally for all individuals in the State of New York," said Lieutenant Governor David Paterson. "This is an important step in the fight for civil rights for all people."
The legislation will include the following provisions:
A marriage that is otherwise valid under the law will be valid regardless of the sex of the individuals.
Government treatment, legal status, and all rights, benefits, privileges, protections or responsibilities relating to marriage will be equal for all individual parties who enter into marriage regardless of the gender of their partner.
No application for a marriage license will be denied on the ground that the parties are of the same sex.
No clergy member or religious institution will be compelled to perform any marriage.

Homeland Security decision seen as costly

Buffalo Business First

Homeland Security has cornered the market on fiasco after another.....thank you President Bush...another "legacy" for this country to deal with..when you finally leave office.................andy

One day after federal officials killed a proposal to move all inspection booths on the Peace Bridge to the Canadian side of the international crossing, the local anger continues.
Department of Homeland Security, on Wednesday, withdrew a plan to build U.S.-bound inspection booths on the Fort Erie, Ont., plaza side of the bridge, citing logistical concerns and the inability to work out a formal agreement with the Canadian government. Placing the inspection booths in Fort Erie was a critical component to a shared-border management initiative being championed in both countries. It was also seens as a means to save development costs and potential legal battles.

The shared-border management pact was first announced in late 2004.
The plan had been endorsed by former Pennsylvania Gov. Thomas Ridge, who headed the Department of Homeland Security at the time. His successor, Michael Chertoff, rejected the plan.
"Secretary Chertoff's predecessor, Thomas Ridge, had committed to find a way to make shared border management work," said Andrew Rudnick, Buffalo Niagara Partnership president and CEO. "However, it has been clear that Mr. Chertoff's willingness to live up to that commitment has been sadly lacking. It seems that the DHS negotiators have looked for reasons not to fulfill their commitment instead of responding to the good faith efforts of the Canadian government and the hard work of Buffalo Niagara's representatives in the House and Senate."
Homeland Security's decision has been derided by a wide range of political leaders including Reps. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, and Louise Slaughter, D-Fairport along with Sens. Charles Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton, Gov. Eliot Spitzer, Assemblyman Sam Hoyt, D-Buffalo and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown.
With the booths now shifting back to the U.S., the cost of the Peace Bridge project, which is already pegged at $334 million, may rise as much as $46 million. At least 68 residential and commercial properties on Buffalo's lower West Side may have to be acquired through costly eminent domain proceedings to accommodate the new booths.
The plan to move the booths back the Buffalo would also cause further design and engineering delays to a project that has already dragged on for more than one decade.
"Ceasing negotiations on shared border management could prove detrimental to the overall economic and cultural relationship between the U.S. and Canada," Rudnick said.


New York Post

In the real need money to run for office....any office..........fundraising is a part of life for all politicians.......probably the hardest part of the job....nobody likes doing it............Eliot has set his own personal reform standards which nobody else has done........but........he still needs to raise money........this is the real world.............andy

April 27, 2007 -- ALBANY - Government-reform leaders who stood with Gov. Spitzer in support of his campaign-finance overhaul proposals were stunned yesterday to learn he's offering access to those who can raise bundles of cash for his 2010 campaign.
The Post reported yesterday that Spitzer is asking prospective donors to join his re-election finance committee to raise up to $1 million each by Election Day 2010.
Those who raise big bucks are granted varying degrees of access to Spitzer - depending on how much they commit to raise - ranging from quarterly finance-committee meetings with Spitzer to lunches, private barbecues and holiday parties with the governor and his wife.
"Promising access for dollars never looks good," said Rachel Leon, of Common Cause/New York, which stood with Spitzer earlier this week when he ripped Senate Republicans for blocking a campaign-finance reform deal.
Leon said she credits Spitzer for voluntarily adhering to self-imposed stricter donation limits while pushing the Legislature to act on campaign-finance reform. But she said asking individuals to raise $1 million from friends and colleagues for the campaign - a practice known as bundling - is troubling.
At the very least, Spitzer should agree to publicly reveal who is helping raise the money, otherwise "how are we going to know who those 'special people' are?" she said.
Spitzer spokeswoman Christine Anderson defended the practice.
"If you want to convince friends to raise money, how is that any different than getting people to go door to door or attend a rally? That's how you fund-raise. You get people involved," Anderson said.
"The governor has imposed [donation] limits," she added. "To somehow suggest that fund-raising or bundling is off-limits is off the mark."
Russell Haven, of the New York Public Interest Research Group, said that while "the governor deserves credit for voluntarily setting lower limits for himself, the escalating access based on how much his supporters raise sends the wrong message."
Barbara Bartoletti, who heads the state chapter of the League of Women Voters, said encouraging bundling by providing special access "is almost like an end run around" the voluntary donation limits the governor agreed to adhere to.
"It's bundling and does allow people access that the ordinary citizens would not have," Bartoletti said. "I don't see how you cannot expect people are going to criticize it."
"Average citizens do not give $10,000 to any candidate certainly with an eye toward raising $1 million," she added.
"You'd need 100 friends to give $10,000 just so you can get to a barbecue. We know who the ones are that will be able to do that - lobbyists and special interests."

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Senate In Harmony on Pay Raises

Capitol Confidential press press conferences.....on pay hikes.......I wonder why???? ......yeah right..........andy

In the spirit of bipartisanship, all 62 senators have signed on to a new bill sponsored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman John DeFranciso that would provide for pay raises for judges and elected officials, including legislators.
Check out
S5313 to see a bill that both parties embrace. Every senator’s name is on it and it is expected to be voted on next week.
It arrived Wednesday without a press release or mention despite two press conferences by Senate Republicans and one by Senate Democrats on other topics.
It grants annual pay raises to judges retroactive to January, costing $48.2 million this year, and sets up a commission to plan for compensation upgrades for lawmakers and statewide elected officials. Those upgrades would be effective as soon as January 2008.
It would also establish a 13-member Commission on Executive and Legislative Compensation, appointed by the governor, legislative leaders, and chief judge. It would make binding recommendations on pay hikes for the officials effective next year, except for the Legislature, whose raise (if any) would be effective in 2009, after the next legislative election year. Oddly, the bill seems to leave out immediate raises for the governor and lieutenant governor.
The bill also calls for another, similar commission to be set up every four years, starting in 2011, to review executive, legislative and judicial compensation for the following four years.

Clinton, Spitzer to address NYSUT delegates

NYSUT Media Relations

WASHINGTON, D.C. April 26, 2007-- U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer will address nearly 3,000 delegates attending the New York State United Teachers union's annual Representative Assembly at the Washington Hilton on Friday, April 27. Clinton is scheduled to speak at 8 a.m. and Spitzer is scheduled to speak at 9 a.m. The NYSUT delegates are meeting in the International Ballroom, on the Concourse level of the Washington Hilton and Towers, at 1919 Connecticut Avenue N.W.
Media reporters and photographers must register (show photo ID and sign in) to cover the convention. Press registration will be available beginning at 6:15 a.m. at a table outside the International Ballroom. The Ballroom will open to delegates and the press at 7:30 a.m.
A satellite feed of the speeches will be available. For more information about the satellite feed, call Anthony Donahue at the Washington Hilton audio/visual office, at (202) 483-3000.

Spitzer proposal ends elections for state Supreme Court judges

The Business Review

More campaign promises Spitzer is keeping...................andy

New York Supreme Court judges would no longer be elected under a reform package proposed by Gov. Eliot Spitzer April 26.
Instead the governor wants to be able to appoint justices of the Supreme Court, the lowest level of New York state court, to be chosen by regional judicial nominating commissions. Supreme Court judges are elected for 14-year terms.
This change would require an amendment to the New York state constitution. An amendment approved by the Legislature elected in 2006 would have to be approved by the Legislature that will be elected in 2008 and then go to the voters in 2009.
The proposal does not effect county court judges who would continue to be elected.
Under Spitzer's plan local judicial commissions would vet candidates and forward a list of potential justices to the governor, who would make the final selection. The same system is used to pick judges for the four Appellate Division courts.
In the interim the governor is proposing legislation that would replace the current judicial nominating convention system, which has been judged unconstitutional by a U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, with a new system for selecting judicial candidates.
That change would simply require the Legislature to change the law.
Spitzer's reform package also calls for consolidating the state's trial courts into a two-tiered statewide system.
The governor would also allow the number of Supreme Court judges to increase. Currently that number is fixed in the constitution. This has resulted in judges in other courts, such as family court, to be named acting supreme court justice so they can handle excess cases.
Finally the governor's plan calls for increasing judicial salaries, a measure promoted by Chief Justice Judith Kaye. The increases would be retroactive to April 1.
Under Spitzer's plan, Supreme Court judges would receive an annual salary of $162,100, and effective April 1, 2006, Supreme Court judges would get $165,200. Salaries of all other judicial officers would be based on a percentage of the salary set for Supreme Court Justices.
The governor is also proposing constitutional amendments which would allow the creation of a fifth appellate court division to handle cases, and which would allow the appellate division districts to be redrawn every ten years instead of being fixed.


With a state trooper shot and killed.......Death penalty bill urged the hot topic this week in Albany....... "Citing the shootings of three state troopers within 24 hours in Delaware County, Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno urged Gov. Eliot Spitzer on Wednesday to focus on a new state death penalty law instead of pushing for campaign finance reform.
Spitzer spokesman Darren Dopp said he expects the governor will sit down with legislative leaders next week to discuss a death penalty law. Spitzer, a Democrat, has favored a death penalty since his two terms as attorney general, particularly for cop killers." guess it will get passed in the coming weeks............and Gov Spitzer had this to say "The state of New York suffered a tremendous loss; one of our best was fallen, another was seriously wounded.
I visited with the family of the wounded trooper a while ago at Albany Med. The anguish these family members feel is only surpassed by that of the slain trooper’s family.
These families knew that the obligations of being a state trooper created every day the risk of harm and potential tragedy. On this day, at this particular moment, I think it is best to simply reflect on the extraordinary service and sacrifice of our troopers and their families. Law enforcement is a difficult and dangerous job and our state troopers deserve our respect, gratitude and support.
I know here at the Capitol there is an ongoing debate over legislative initiatives and politics. Now is not the moment for that debate. There will be much time for that later.
Right now we should be respectful for what has happened. Our thoughts should be with the troopers, their families and personnel in the field.
Acting Superintendent Felton and other top state police officials are at the scene coordinating ongoing action. They and we will be releasing information when appropriate. Thank you very much.” Amen and Amen..........on another note..would you believe people are actually happy about school tax increases??? Newsday gives us
A moderate tax hike "Long Island school districts are calling for their smallest spending-and-tax-rate hikes in eight years, a phenomenon that is drawing smiles even from some of the region's toughest tax critics.School taxes would rise an average 4.72 percent next year, compared with 6.23 percent this year, assuming voters approve budgets on May 15. As always, rate hikes vary widely from one district to another, with a handful in double digits" jump for joy......with the largest increase in state school aid for question is...why are they going up at all??? and would you believe Support is growing for grandparents raising kids (Buffalo News) "At a time when grandparents should be enjoying their retirement, starting a second career or simply spending time with their grandchildren, many find themselves parents again.
Kinship care — the term for grandparents and other relatives raising the children of family members — may not yet be a household phrase, but it is a burgeoning public-policy issue demanding our collective attention. The statistics are overwhelming:
• Across the nation, according to the Census Bureau, grandparents and other relatives are raising more than 6 million children — or one in 12 children — outside the foster care system.
• In New York State, more than 400,000 children are growing up in households headed by grandparents or other family members, and more than 140,000 grandparents are solely responsible for raising a grandchild. " You need to pass a test and be licensed to drive a car...yet to be a parent...all you need is the opportunity to have sex............and the New York Post alerts us to another Pataki Mess......Spitzer is going to have to deal with
GROWTH & THE CITY PAYING FOR PATAKI "NOW that JP Morgan Chase is threatening to move to Stamford, Conn., over sup posedly insufficient subsidies to keep it in Manhattan, let's all remember what got us into this pickle.
It was former Gov. George E. Pataki's bone-headed insistence on building a $1 billion tunnel under West Street - a scheme finally abandoned in April 2005 after another Wall Street power, Goldman Sachs, threatened to abandon Downtown over it........Why did Pataki want a tunnel? Ridiculously, to protect the "sanctity" of the memorial, even though the memorial will have traffic whizzing by on three other sides.
And why, come to think of it, is JP Morgan Chase considering a new tower across the street from Ground Zero, rather than in Ground Zero itself? " if you get a chance read the whole article.....Pataki really dropped the ball all around on this whole ground zero redevelopment project.............and finally...Newsday reports on Spitzer's "reform road show" on the Island yesterday.....
Raising the stakes on finance reform....Spitzer comes to LI, vowing to fight Marcellino and others who block his campaign reform plans........."Gov. Eliot Spitzer promised an electoral fight yesterday for state Sen. Carl Marcellino and others who block his campaign finance proposals. At Sagamore Hill, Spitzer called on Marcellino (R-Syosset) and Senate Republicans to agree to his proposed package of campaign finance reforms. "Come November of 2008, you will be asked a simple question: Whose side were you on?" Spitzer said. "Were you on the side of Teddy Roosevelt and reform and the citizens of the state or were you on the side of those who want to perpetuate a system that values money over judgment?"Marcellino said he's ready for any challenge Spitzer and Democrats have coming, but said the time for that is next year, not now.".......I will be the house.....some kind of campaign reform legislation is passed before next year..........andy

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

New York House Catches Fire During Manhunt

Flames engulf the Marargetville, N.Y., farm house after a police assault during the hunt Wednesday for a man suspected of killing one trooper and wounding two others.

Here is the latest update................Fox 5 New York ............AP Story

-->By MICHAEL HILL Associated Press Writer MARGARETVILLE, N.Y. (AP) -- Massive flames engulfed a farmhouse after a police assault during the hunt Wednesday for a man suspected of killing one trooper and wounding two others. There is a "reasonable degree of certainty" that shooting suspect Travis D. Trim was hiding in the unoccupied house even though police had no communication with him after the fatal shooting, said New York State Police Acting Superintendent Preston L. Felton. "Once the fire is out, then we will go through and search the scene ... and try to locate the remains." The fire erupted soon after an armored vehicle rolled up close and police fired tear gas into the building. SWAT teams tried to enter the house at about 5:50 p.m., but were driven back by the flames. Half the house was burning by 6:15 p.m. The assault came roughly nine hours after two troopers were shot, one fatally, searching the rural home where police believe Trim, 23, took refuge while on the run after the shooting of another trooper Tuesday. Felton said police fired a "non-incendiary type" device containing tear gas into the home at about 6 p.m. as troopers stormed in to search room-by-room for Trim. A robot and cameras mounted on poles had been used to check every room but one where Trim was believed holed up during the day, he said. He said the cause of the fire that thwarted the search isn't known. It's possible Trim set the fire, Felton said, or a tear gas round could have ignited something. "We are looking closer at the type of round that was fired into the residence, the type of tear gas round," he said. Despite witnesses' accounts of gunfire directed at the house, Felton said police did not fire bullets into the structure, just the tear gas rounds. He said investigators won't be able to get into the burned building until Thursday. They will search for Trim and begin trying to determine what caused the fire. Earlier Wednesday, Felton identified the dead trooper as David C. Brinkerhoff, a member of the specially-trained Mobile Response Team and the second member of that unit to die during a manhunt since September. Brinkerhoff and Trooper Richard Mattson were shot at about 8:45 a.m. while searching the farm for Trim, who is suspected of shooting a trooper Tuesday afternoon during a traffic stop in nearby Margaretville, Felton said. Brinkerhoff was hit at least once in the head and Mattson was wounded in the left arm. He was in serious but stable condition after surgery at Albany Medical Center, where he was taken by helicopter. The wounded troopers were pulled from the house by two other officers who were helping search the farm as part of a massive police sweep through the area. Heavily armed officers positioned on hillsides and behind stone walls spent much of the day keeping watch over the farmhouse as the armored vehicle moved around the building and the cameras were used to search inside. The farm, which neighbors described as a weekend residence, is in Arkville, a rural hamlet near Margaretville. Trim's relatives expressed anxiety as the day unfolded. "I don't think there's anyway for this to turn out good now. Not after shooting a trooper. His goose is cooked," said Ruth Trim, the suspect's grandmother, in a telephone interview from her home in northern New York. Brinkerhoff, 29, was an 8-1/2 year state police veteran. He joined the MRT in early 2006. He is survived by his wife, Barbara, and 7-month-old daughter. Mattson, a 6-1/2 year veteran who joined the MRT in 2006, is married with 1-year-old son. "Today, the New York State Police and the State of New York suffered a tremendous loss," Gov. Eliot Spitzer said in a prepared statement. "One of our best has fallen and another has been seriously wounded in the line of duty." The manhunt was touched off by the shooting of Trooper Matthew Gombosi in this town on the edge of Catskill Park at about 3 p.m. Tuesday afternoon. Felton said Gombosi had pulled Trim over for a minor traffic infraction -- most likely the license plate missing from the stolen Dodge Caravan he was driving. When Trim failed to provide identification, Gombosi told him he was under arrest. At that point, Felton said, Trim pulled a handgun from his waistband and fired once at the trooper. Gombosi was hit in the lower left ribs and saved from serious injury by his body armor, police said. After the shooting, police searched for the Caravan, which was later found abandoned. The minivan had been stolen Monday in St. Lawrence County, police said. Trim, 23, is from North Lawrence, in St. Lawrence County about 10 miles south of the Canadian border. He spent 21/2 months at the State University of New York-Canton during the fall semester of 2006 before withdrawing in mid-November, said Randy Sieminski, the school's director of public relations. He was registered in the school's motorsports performance and repair program. Margaretville is about 65 miles southwest of Albany. Last summer, Ralph "Bucky" Phillips led police on a five-month manhunt throughout heavily wooded western New York after breaking out of a county jail. During his time on the run, he shot one trooper during a traffic stop and two others who were searching for him, both members of a special tactics unit that was called in to hunt for the fugitive. One of those troopers later died. Phillips was captured in September and is serving two life sentences. After the intensive manhunt, the largest in New York history, the union that represents state troopers sharply criticized the way state police officials managed the search. The latest shootings follow a hard year for state police. Besides the troopers Phillips shot before he was captured in September, another trooper was gunned down by a bank robber in March near Elmira. Also, one trooper died last April near Syracuse after crashing his vehicle while chasing a speeding motorcyclist and another, a Marine Corps captain, was killed in August while on foot patrol in Fallujah, Iraq.

The Daily Politics Liz Benjamin
I could not resist publishing this....andy

From the division of shameless media self-promotion...
My colleagues in the
Legislative Correspondents Association, the brave souls who cover the state Capitol up in the hinterlands of Albany, asked that I plug the upcoming 107th annual LCA show - the nation's longest-running political satire extravaganza.
For the uninitiated among you: Think the Inner Circle show, only with lower productions values and meaner jokes.
Tickets are still available for the black-tie dinner next Saturday night, which will feature post-show reubttals from Gov. Eliot Spitzer, Senate Minority Leader Malcolm Smith and former Republican state comptroller candidate Chris Callaghan, who is said to be planning a turn at the piano - something that hasn't happened sinceex-Rep. Alfonse D'Amato's response, I'm told.
This year's show features such gems as:
- Ramblin' Joe (about everyone's favorite 78-year-old Senate majority leader).
- He Hates Us (in which legislative leaders lament about how the new governor hates them).
- Stand By Your Gov (starring a certain Assembly speaker).
In the interest of full disclosure...I will be taking the stage during Act II (most likely sporting a blonde wig) as New York's junior senator in a duet with her rival for the Democratic nod, Barack Obama.
It's also AP veteran Marc Humbert's last show as a fully-employed reporter (he's retiring this summer after more than three decades in the business).
Tickets are $300 apiece, and all proceeds after show expenses are covered go to charity. Tables of 8, 9 and 10 are available. Call 518-455-2388 for more information.


Staten Island Advance

ALBANY --" The road for Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg's congestion pricing plan runs through the state Capitol, where it seems to be no more popular than the Edsel.
The controversial proposal to charge motorists for driving into the busiest part of Manhattan to alleviate traffic and encourage public transportation would require approval from the state Legislature -- whose members are loath to burden their constituents with extra fees. "............sure the rich can afford the extra fees.......but what about the working stiffs out there??? from Queens, Brooklyn, Nassau etc.........sounds like a tax to me........meanwhile Azi P......................(The Politicker) gives us a rundown on how local officials are reacting to Bloomberg's proposal..........
Local Officials on Congestion Pricing .................So Al Gore may be in favor of congestion pricing for Manhattan, but lots of local officials are still squarely on the fence.
Here is a quick look at some of them who have, and haven't, taken a position:

Eliot Spitzer
Studying the issue.

Sheldon Silver
Leaning against.
Bill Thompson
Has "concerns" about "its financial impact on small business" and the outer boroughs.

Christine Quinn
Studying the issue.

Betsy Gotbaum
Studying the issue.

Anthony Weiner
Opposes. Considers it a tax on the poor and middle class.

Bill Perkins, state Senator in Manhattan
Supports, with reservations. Says it can be done “without it being a tax on the middle class and the poor.”

Richard Brodsky, Assemblyman in Westchester
Opposes. “This is a bill that will keep all the BMWs and Mercedes in midtown. You just won't see any more Chevrolets.”

Diane Savino, state Senator in Staten Island/Brooklyn
Opposes. Considers it a tax.

Andrew Lanza, state Senator in Staten IslandUndecided.

Vincent Gentile, City Councilman in Brooklyn
Opposes, for now. “How about giving us ferry service first, before picking our pockets yet again.”

David Weprin, City Councilman in Queens and Chairman of Finance Committee

Lew Fidler, City Councilman in Brooklyn
Leroy Comrie, City Councilman in Queens
Wants more info about Queens traffic solutions.

Peter Vallone, Jr., City Councilman in Queens
Wants more info about Queens traffic solutions.

Miguel Martinez, City Councilman in Manhattan

Spitzer's office confirms one trooper killed; shooting suspect surrounded

Capital News 9

Here is the latest on the trooper killing............andy

A spokeswoman for Governor Eliot Spitzer says one trooper has died after being shot in the hunt for a man suspected of shooting at least two other troopers. Police said two state troopers were shot this morning in Delaware County during the hunt for a man suspected of shooting Trooper Matthew Gombosi on Tuesday. Gombosi was treated and released from the hospital. The other trooper shot this morning was taken to Albany Medical Center for treatment.
Police said they have surrounded the suspect who is identified as 23-year-old Travis Trim of North Lawrence. He is reportedly in a house in Arkville.

House surrounded in Arkville
State police said Trooper Gombosi was shot around 2:45 p.m. Tuesday in the Village of Margaretville in Delaware County during a traffic stop. The shooting happened at the Sunoco Country Store located at 515 Main Street. They said Trim was looking at a map and appeared to be lost.
Police said Gombosi's bulletproof vest stopped the bullet and he was not seriously injured.

Troopers later found a Dodge Caravan that Trim was driving at the time of the shooting. The vehicle was reported stolen on Monday in Saint Lawrence County.
Police have not released the names of the troopers shot this morning, but state police confirm they were not from Troop G in Loudonville

Spitzer’s returning to Albany

Gov. Eliot Spitzer dropped his schedule of stops downstate to return to Albany, given the shootings of troopers the past two days.
Spitzer had been scheduled to speak at a NARAL luncheon. He is heading back to his Capitol office, according to his office.Earlier today, he spoke out against Senate Republicans to promote his campaign finance reform package in Nassau County. (Capitol Confidential)

Troopers shot, Bruno calls for meeting on death penalty law...........Drawing from three trooper shootings in the past 24 hours in Delaware County, Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno urged Gov. Eliot Spitzer Wednesday stop beating the drum for a flawed campaign finance reform bill and return to the Capitol immediately and use his influence to force a death penalty law.
“Why isn’t he using his influence to push this?” Bruno said. “What is more important than protecting the lives of law enforcement officers? Is campaign finance reform more important than that? I don’t think so.”
Bruno said the governor’s priorities are out of whack and that he is misguided in “wandering'’ around the state blasting Senate Republicans for not signing on to his proposed campaign finance reforms. He suggested the governor’s time would be better spent urging Assembly Democrats to fix the death penalty law to make in constitutional while creating a death penalty law for those who murder law enforcement officers.
Spitzer, he said, should come to Albany today and start convincing his fellow Democrats in the Assembly to join him on a death penalty bill, just as he persuaded them to go along with civil confinement of sex offenders. He said he wants to sit down with the governor and AssemblySpeaker Sheldon Silver to discuss a death penalty package as soon as possible.
“It’s open season on law enforcement people,'’ Bruno complained after a press conference calling for Assembly passage of “Granny’s Law,'’ which passed unanimously in the Senate. That law calls for stiffer penalties to those who assault people 70 years old and up. ...............leave it to Bruno to try and dodge reform by using current tragedies to deflect criticism on his republican delegation.......this reminds so much of Bush.....using 9/ an excuse to take away our civil liberties and involve us in Iraq......and then blast his critics by being anti American soldiers........Spitzer is returning to Albany for the right reasons..not because Bruno thinks so...................andy

Spitzer set to criticize LI pol


The Spitzer "road show" is now hitting the Island.........and according to Newsday Carl is going to get smacked around a bit..he is my rep here.....very good for the environment and local issues...very popular...Suozzi tried to target him in his "fix albany" campaign and failed.........this is a very heavy rep district...........andy

- Gov. Eliot Spitzer is expected to be in Oyster Bay this morning to criticize another Republican state senator for opposing some of the new governor's proposals for overhauling campaign finance.After blasting two senators yesterday, Spitzer, a Democrat, was expected to be equally harsh on Sen. Carl Marcellino (R-Syosset) during a visit to President Theodore Roosevelt's Sagamore Hill home, which is in Marcellino's district.Spitzer began hectoring senators in their districts after negotiations broke down Monday over his plan to reduce the amounts individuals and political action committees can donate to campaigns, and to ban gifts from corporate subsidiaries and limited liability companies, among other changes.He said the Senate's GOP majority was more concerned about the interests of big money than those of citizens."Things will change only when citizens ... ask their elected representatives, whose side are you on?" Spitzer said here yesterday. "Are you on the side of big money ... or are you on the side of democracy and transparency?"Marcellino, who has been in the Senate since 1995, shot back that Spitzer was more interested in scoring political points than reform. The governor's plan would make it more difficult for candidates of modest means to compete against wealthy rivals, the senator said."If he wants to do real reform, we are there," Marcellino said last night. "But he doesn't want to compromise. He issues ultimatums ... That's a bully."Sen. Dean Skelos of Rockville Centre, deputy majority leader in the Senate, added, "Instead of these partisan political attacks, I hope that the governor plans to apologize to Long Island property taxpayers for attempting to slash our state school aid, eliminate our rebate checks and jeopardize our health care. Clearly, he doesn't understand the challenges that middle-class Long Island families face."Changing the campaign finance system was Spitzer's top priority for the legislative session ending June 21. He sought to reduce New York State's contribution limits, which are the highest in the country.Spitzer said Republicans balked at prohibiting gifts from corporate subsidiaries and LLCs. But Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno countered that the freshman governor's proposals were anti-democratic and favored rich candidates - a charge Spitzer denied.Bruno also accused the governor of being "temperamental" and seeking to doom the GOP by curbing its fundraising. Republicans have 33 seats in the Senate to the Democrats' 29.Referring to Spitzer's status as a millionaire, Bruno said, "It's kind of hard for him sometimes to relate to the average person. He, himself, has the ability to write checks by the millions of dollars."Spitzer responded by vowing to travel the state telling voters "we must do better ... That is what reform is all about

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A few photos.....................

Sanjaya Malakar, the shy, slender, 17-year-old "American Idol" reject, was at his table when a tall, middle-aged man stopped by to ask for an autograph. The boy's hosts, from People magazine, tried to shoo him away."We are trying to let him eat," they explained. The man protested: "But I'm the governor of New York."And so Eliot Spitzer got his and questionable story courtesty of the Gawker...someone on their staff is one jealous dude.....get a life andy

The New Improved Liz Benjamin........she looks so sophisticated here.......andy

Nite Caps

Capitol News 9 starts us off with Battle continues over campaign finance laws "Governor Eliot Spitzer has been pushing for an overhaul of the state's laws on campaign contributions, but Senate Republicans don't like the governor's plan to limit donations" ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,no surprise here.....meanwhile the Troy Record declares Spitzer brings battle to Bruno turf "Gov. Eliot Spitzer took his campaign finance reform battle on the road Tuesday and his first stop was in the backyard of state Senate Majority Joseph Bruno, who he said is more worried about holding onto his slim majority than fixing Albany."Does Joe live near by? I didn't know that," Spitzer told The Record's editorial board.".....I come on...Eliot knew that :-) ....................and Newsday reports.......School districts to sign money for performance contracts "High needs school districts across the state, including three on Long Island, will sign contracts promising to boost student achievement in return for more financial aid, under regulations approved Tuesday by the state Board of Regents.Brentwood, Copiague and Westbury are among 55 districts statewide that must sign the contracts by July to qualify for the extra money."...imagine that...actually requiring some kind of performance for the extra taxpayer bucks......what will they think of next???.........speaking of taxpayer bucks...The Buffalo Business First reveals Lundine tapped to head state commission "Former lieutenant governor and congressman Stan Lundine has been named to oversee the newly created Commission on Local Government Efficiency and Competitiveness.
The 15-member panel, announced by Gov. Eliot Spitzer, will review ways that the state's more than 4,200 local governments can save taxpayer dollars and become more efficient by sharing services and undertaking regional collaboration.
"The sheer number of taxing jurisdictions has led to a significant degree of overlap in public services, which has had a devastating affect on local tax burdens" said Spitzer. "Under Stan Lundine's leadership this Commission will help local governments administer services more efficiently and cost effectively."
Spitzer cited Lundine's experience at three levels of government -- he also served as mayor of Jamestown -- in placing at the top of the commission.
"There is much that can be done to drive efficiency at the local level without reducing the public's access to important services," said Lundine, who served under Mario Cuomo in Albany. A Website -- -- has been set up allowing for public involvement in the process. " ........Newsday actually breaks it down by county and percent of property taxes ...Taxing Task for Former Lt's ...meanwhile the New York Press sadly tells us Spitzer Loves The Gays, But Can't Necessarily Help 'Em With Marriage "And after much speculation regarding the strong, non-Gucci-clad resistance to any such legislation, Gov. Spitzer said yesterday that while he stands by his promise, there is no chance the state will enact a law to legalize gay marriage this year. “I do not think there is a realistic shot that it gets passed, but I will submit it because it's a statement of principle that I believe in, and I want to begin that dynamic,” he said. This is why the whole 'it’s the thought that counts' logic is so faulty"...........reality is reality.....Spitzer promised he would present a bill.....with Bruno still in control of the State Senate...there is no chance at all for it's passage....period..........and check out Elizabeth Benjamin's new digs at The Daily News "The Daily Politics" ....good luck Liz...miss you at Capitol Confidential...................andy

Things to Know About Eliot Spitzer

The Gothamist

I found this...and thought I'd share it with you all...................andy

He wants to reform campaign finance laws. Spitzer told a group of government reform activists (aka Goo Goos - the good government types) he was negotiating with the Senate and Assembly, but State Senate Majority leader Joe Bruno said, "We've been close for a month, but close, you know, you don't get a cigar," and pointed out that it's easier for Spitzer to introduce campaign finance reform because he's rich (like almost $2 million reported on tax return rich).
His public opinion numbers
have gone up a little.
He will
submit legislation to legalize gay marriage, but also said, "I do not think there is a realistic shot that it gets passed." (He's introducing the as a "statement of principle.")
He's getting
good grades on green issues so far, though he needs improvement on "Making a Stronger Commitment For Environmental Justice" and "Promoting a Smart Growth Development Strategy"
got Sanjaya's autograph at the White House Correspondents' Dinner on Saturday. Even though People magazine reps just thought he was any ol' Sanjaya fan.

College poll: Spitzer’s ratings head back up

Governor Eliot Spitzer’s favorability and job performance ratings have begun to rebound since the enactment of the state budget, while Senator Hillary Clinton’s favorability rating and presidential electoral support continue to erode, according to a new Siena (College) Research Institute poll of registered New York voters released Monday.
The new Siena poll also shows that New Yorkers are divided over whether the enacted budget was good or bad for the people of the state, while they overwhelmingly believe that the budget demonstrates that things in Albany have pretty much stayed the same, despite the Governor’s vow that ‘everything changes on Day 1.’
Clinton was viewed favorably by 50 percent of voters and unfavorably by 42 percent. Last month her favorability rating was 56-37 percent. Senator Barack Obama’s favorability rating is 55-23 percent. And Senator John Edwards has a 52-29 percent favorability rating.
In the Democratic primary Clinton gets 39 percent to 17 percent for Obama, 12 percent for Al Gore, 11 percent for Edwards, and single digits for the other candidates. In the Republican primary, Giuliani gets 47 percent to 16 percent for Sen. John McCain and single digits for the other candidates.
Three in 10 voters said that the recently passed state budget was good for the people and 27 percent said it was bad, while 14 percent volunteered it was mixed. When asked who the biggest winner was in the budget battle, 26 percent said special interest groups, 23 percent said the Governor, eight percent said the Senate and six percent said the Assembly. While only 23 percent said that the budget demonstrates that things in Albany ‘have dramatically changed,’ 62 percent said that it demonstrates that things in Albany have ‘pretty much stayed the same.’
( and......

Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s favorability ratings have rebounded a bit since the state budget was completed, according to a Siena Research Institute poll out this morning.
Sixty seven percent of respondents this month said they have a favorable rating of the governor, while 20 percent were unfavorable and 13 percent didn’t know. That’s up from the 62-20-18 percent breakdown last month but not quite as high as January, when 75 percent offered a favorable view, with 10 percent unfavorable and 16 percent not knowing.
Moreover, the Democratic governor still does well with Republicans, with 60 percent offering a favorable rating, said poll spokesman Steve Greenberg.
“His favorability rating is at least 65 percent in every region of the state,'’ said Greenberg who added that 55 percent of those polled said Spitzer is doing a “good'’ or ‘’excellent'’ job.
Meanwhile Hillary Clinton has slipped, with her favorability rating going to 50 percent, with 42 percent unfavorable, compared to last month when it was 57-37 percent.That’s the lowest level in more than two years of Siena’s New York Poll, Greenberg noted, adding “the fall in her rating has been dramatic since January when she had a 60-33 favorability rating.
(Capitol Confidential) .

So when the dust finally settled......Eliot is still getting the respect he deserves for taking on the special interests and starting New York back on the path to prosperity.............andy

WE ARE BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have been on vacation the last few weeks.......a belated one...due to special elections this year...we had to delay our "winter" vacation to spring.....good to be back..and will start posting articles again.............andy

Saturday, April 07, 2007

More Spitzer Nominations and Appointments

Gov. Spitzer has nominated Melvina Lathan as head of the state Athletic Commission.
It’s an unpaid job but there are some big shoes to fill, literally and figuratively. The late boxing great Floyd Patterson once served in the same position and the commission does have a fair bit of clout when it comes to regulating boxing and other sports.
Lathan was the first female African American licensed as a boxing judge in New York and she’s worked on more than 235 fights including 82 World Title contests. Lathan is also an artist, with works having been displayed at the Smithsonian among other places.
The governor also appointed Stanley Gee as the $140,000 executive deputy commissioner for the state Department of Transportation. Prior to that, he spent 36 years with the Federal Highway (CAPITOL CONFIDENTIAL)

HAPPY EASTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Spitzer: How am I doing?


ALBANY - Like an eager junior executive, Eliot Spitzer spent much of February pressing a card in the hands of anyone he met, pitching his spiel in a quick patter on how he'd transform Albany.Politicians don't usually commit their promises in black and white like that, let alone laminate them in full color. But Spitzer did under the categories "fiscal restraint," "health care reform," "fully funded schools," "property tax cut" and "New York's turning point."Spitzer had swept to the governor's office last November after a campaign that confidently promised to change everything "on Day One."Nearly 100 days on, how's he doing?For some close to and within Albany's machinations, the view is as clear as the New York Post's state budget editorial, "Eliot's Education." It said: "Gov. Spitzer got taken to school last week, that's what happened - and New Yorkers will be paying for his crash-course in Albany realpolitik for years to come."That's a view shared by some political commentators who heard candidate Spitzer's bold promises but were disappointed that the budget isn't smaller, powerful lobbyists survived, and the budget process spiraled back into the covert, three-men-in-a-room negotiations that gave Albany much of its bad name in the first place.Barbara Bartoletti of the League of Women Voters is among the critics. She said the back-room budget talks were part of a process that hit "rock bottom," even by Albany standards.Beyond the budget, Spitzer's first 100 days did include successes. He secured his workers' compensation reform and doubled last year's property tax relief. Add to that his agreement with the Legislature on ethics reform and "breaking shares" so that school aid will now be based on need, rather than politics, and you have a policy record that hit many of his campaign promises, if sometimes only glancing blows."When all the surrounding dust settles and the public looks at what we accomplished, you will see this budget hit every one of the objectives I have laid out," Spitzer said.Tom Laudico, a 52-year-old electrician in Buffalo, remains optimistic."It's like anything else, you start a new job, you've got to get out all the kinks and dings," Laudico said. "It seems like he's going in the right direction. At least I hope he is. Hopefully something comes of it."The first 100 days were sometimes rocky for the governor who whipped reform into Wall Street as attorney general before he took on Albany. Political critics and a biting, multimillion dollar television campaign against Spitzer by a labor union targeted for his Medicaid cuts also appears to have helped erode Spitzer's popularity a bit. A Quinnipiac University poll on Wednesday showed Spitzer's approval rating had slipped to 48 percent, down from 61 percent in February



April 6, 2007 -- Gov. Spitzer has tapped a nationally recognized Philadelphia federal prosecutor to be his pit bull against Medicaid and health-care fraud, The Post has learned.
James Sheehan - who handled more than 500 health-care fraud cases as associate U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania - will be the state's new Medicaid inspector general.
The watchdog position was created last year.
Sheehan, 54, is considered a national expert on using whistleblower laws to root out massive fraud - helping collect more than $600 million from alleged wrongdoers.
He led the federal government's recovery of $332 million from SmithKline Beecham Clinical Labs in a settlement over fraudulent Medicare billing.
Sheehan also spearheaded the case against Medco Health Solutions, which resulted in a $155 million settlement. The pharmaceutical management firm was accused of canceling and destroying prescriptions and offering kickbacks to firms to promote its medications and obtain business.
Sheehan won national honors for his vigorous prosecutions.
Spitzer - the former state attorney general - said Sheehan is the right guy to be the watchdog for New York's $50 billion Medicaid program.
"As a career prosecutor specializing in complex health-care enforcement and recovery matters, Mr. Sheehan has experience rooting out fraud that dramatically drives up costs and severely threatens the efficiency and delivery of health-care services," Spitzer said.
"New York state's health-care spending is the highest in the nation, and our system requires dramatic reform. Mr. Sheehan will bring his experience and energy to that effort."
Sheehan said he's eager to monitor the Medicaid program. His appointment requires confirmation from the state Senate.

Spitzer no steamroller, but an engine of change

Newsday Editorial

Another interesting look at the recent state budget process......isn't it a shame that this editorial is encouraging game playing with the order for Eliot to look better......geeeeeeez...........andy

Maybe next time Gov. Eliot Spitzer would be well advised to compare himself to The Little Engine That Could instead of a steamroller.Let me explain. The talk of Albany these days isn't so much that Spitzer, on his first try, got a state budget passed on time or that he made real progress in taming two Albany monsters - the wasteful state Medicaid system and the wholly irrational school aid formula.Rather, he's being criticized for not being the steamroller he predicted he would be because he compromised with Senate Republicans over his proposals. He also has been lambasted for succumbing to the same "three men in a room" secret negotiations that have characterized dysfunction in Albany over the years. Spitzer had promised, "Day one, everything changes." But in the end it didn't seem to change all that much. At least not compared with the expectations Spitzer created with his lofty and sometimes spicy rhetoric. That highlights what may be the Democratic governor's most fundamental mistake in his first few months in office: He didn't play the expectations game well. Like it or not, politics is often as much a game of perceptions as a matter of reality. Spitzer set an impossibly high bar for himself, and that's what he is being measured against. You can admire his ambition and his determination, but he's got a way to go in political savvy. He would do well to take a page out of the James Baker playbook. The former chief of staff and Treasury secretary for Ronald Reagan and secretary of State for the first President Bush, was a master of the expectations game. In both his public statements and in background briefings for reporters, he would always dampen down expectations on whatever project he was working on - whether it was a tax reform bill or Mideast peace negotiations - and then, when he did better than expected, he'd look like a hero.The reality is that Spitzer has made more progress in reforming Medicaid and aid to education than any governor in decades. And he did it with a State Senate controlled by Republicans. Split legislatures (the Democrats control the Assembly) almost guarantee stalemate. And they also force backroom negotiations so that fundamentally different positions and interests can be negotiated in a face-saving way. The alternative is that nothing gets accomplished. I'm not suggesting that Spitzer shouldn't have proposed a bold agenda or that as a candidate he should not have promised how he would change things once he was in power. He asked for a mandate from the voters, and he received a big one, with almost 70 percent of the vote. Too many politicians avoid bold positions in campaigns, hoping not to alienate any voting bloc, and then have no mandate to govern. But once in office the newly elected official must understand the difference between campaigning and governing. As my colleague Lawrence Levy repeatedly pointed out to me, Spitzer might believe he has a mandate for his agenda, but almost every one of the Republican state senators who objected to many of his proposals was elected with a 60- to 70-percent majority. New York is a very big, very diverse state, and the different interests of upstate, downstate and city are reflected in the Legislature's composition. Should Spitzer have dug in his heels and used the pressure of a late budget to drive a better deal? In the past, nothing symbolized the dysfunction of state government more than its inability to pass a budget on time. And, besides, the budget that would have been passed weeks or months later would not have been that much different from the one passed this week. No doubt Spitzer has learned something about the limits of his power. Hence my suggestion that he trade the steamroller analogy for The Little Engine That Could. Then we all might have a greater appreciation of how hard it is to chug up the mountain.
Copyright 2007 Newsday Inc.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Spitzer Road Show

Spitzer hits road as budget-time polls slump..........and we have an Interview with Governor Spitzer..........meanwhile Spitzer takes 'victory' lap and Spitzer answers tough questions in Chili...............and • No Tobacco Sales at Fair...........more stories........later.........andy

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Is The Honeymoon Over?

Capitol Confidential

It appears to me anybody and everybody associated with this latest State Budget took a pr hit.....expectations were set very high.......and everybody loves reform as long as it doesn't affect them or their pocketbooks.......unfortunately New York State is past it's prime and alot of people haven't figured that out yet.......those future budget deficits are looming and lurking...and if the economy does a downturn.....there is going to be alot of grinding and gnashing of teeth for the next budget........people don't like Spitzer bullying people to do their job...and then they don't like Spitzer allowing them to spend too much can't have it both ways......without taxpayer support of Spitzer's Budget Reforms.......this state is headed to hell in a hand basket...that is why so many people that I know have or are in the process of moving out of state...........instead of having school districts in wealthy areas..figure out a way to keep costs down and maybe consolidating way...throw them more money.....throw the hospitals more money too.....keep dysfunction in question is...what happens when the money runs out??? andy

Gov. Eliot Spitzer took a big drop in yet another poll today, this one by Quinnipiac.
The poll found his approval rating down to 48 percent from 61 percent in February. His disapproval rose from 11 to 27 percent in that same period.
Spitzer’s colleagues/adversaries in the Legislature fared even worse: Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver had an approval/disapproval rating of 30/30, while Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno shook out at 27/34. As a whole, the Legislature got 34/43.
Interestingly, or perhaps fickly, voters didn’t like Spitzer’s “steamroller” approach, but on the flip side they said he gave away too much. The dichotomy continued deeper into the poll, with more people supporting health care restructuring than not, but most saying it would hurt health care.
Whether this downturn lasts for a governor who came in with historic support is another matter. As Quinnipiac University Polling Institute’s director Mickey Carroll noted, this is something of a season thing.
“There’s nothing like a knock-down, drag-out New York State budget battle to take the steam out of even the most vigorous steamroller. Budget stories dominated the media and Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s job approval numbers sagged.”
Among other politicians, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer and Attorney General Andrew Cuomo did well. Most people don’t know enough about Lt. Gov. David Paterson to have an opinion. Same for Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.

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