Headline of the Day: “‘Imagine what I can do’: Joe Lhota makes a quasi-announcement for mayor.”
Have the stakes been raised in the wake of GOP mayoral candidate George McDonald‘s Klout score joke? In a press release announcing his fundraising totals last night, rival Tom Allon focused heavily on his Twitter following. “Citing a growing social media following, closing in on 2000 Twitter followers in a short period of time, Allon makes the case that his ideas are gaining traction,” it read. “Allon’s Twitter following is far ahead of potential GOP candidates John Catsimatidis, Adolfo Carrion and George McDonald and even rivals most of the Democratic field, many of whom have been on the social media platform for more than four years.” Mr. Allon reported raising “$285,000 to date.”
In a relatively unusual controversy, Earnest Flowers, a City Council candidate for the special election next month in Far Rockaway, is apologizing after allegedly duping church-goers into investing into a fictionalized film, Black Ice, about an “all-black hockey league of the late 1800s in Nova Scotia, Canada.”
Scandal-scarred Assemblyman Vito Lopez is back in Albany even though was stripped of his staff and perks of seniority. “I’ve never been with the thrills of it. I have an office,” Mr. Lopez told reporters from his new chair in the freshmen section of the chamber. “It’s smaller but it’s pretty nice. And my license plate number has gone from 20 to 137. I guess that’s a setback, but that was never my issue.” Of the investigations into sexual harassment allegations, Mr. Lopez simply said, “I’m not commenting on the investigations and I have not yet been questioned by either of them. They’re ongoing and seemingly you know more about it than I do.”
In the dark of night–often the time that controversial legislation passes in Albany–the State Senate wrangled up the votes to pass new legislation to expand the state’s assault weapon ban and restrict high-capacity magazines. According to Associated Press sources, the bill also limits FOIL requests for handgun permit owners in the aftermath of the Journal News controversy. Governor Andrew Cuomo offered praise to the legislative body’s 3 leaders in reaction to the “bold” package.
Meanwhile the Senate Democrats reminded the public they provided the bulk of the votes on the bill despite being in the minority. In a statement, Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, “We commend Governor Cuomo for this historic package of bills, consistent with legislation proposed by the Senate Democratic Conference for years but always blocked by the Senate Republicans. The Senate Democrats were proud to provide the votes to make this crucial package possible. The fact is, the bills passed today should have been enacted a long time ago.”
One gets the impression that GOP Senator Greg Ball was not a fan of the deal, however. “Tonight we preach about saving lives,” he said on the senate floor. “We haven’t saved any lives tonight, except for one. The political life of a governor who wants to be president….We’re now turning those law-abiding citizens into criminals, tomorrow hoping on the front pages that we will be seen as preventing tragedies….Good night, I voted no and I only wish I could have done it twice.”