Former Governor David Paterson, who took the state’s top executive post after Eliot Spitzer suddenly resigned amid a prostitution scandal, says he might not be done with politics just yet.
“I love public service. I love the people who do it,” Mr. Paterson answered this morning when asked whether he’d run for veteran Congressman Charlie Rangel’s seat if the incumbent retired. “I would listen to people.”
Former Governor Eliot Spitzer, never a fan of the current governor, yesterday blasted his hiring and spending practices at the Empire State Development Corporation. A recent front-page New York Times story suggested Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration prefers politically connected hires, an implication Mr. Spitzer wholly agreed with.
“There has been a problem at ESDC,” Mr. Spitzer told Road to City Hall host Errol Louis during last night’s program. “I think that The New York Times article was very clear in that is merely the top layer of the onion in terms of politics being pervasive in hiring, leaving and pushing substance to the side.”
What White House?
Gov. Andrew Cuomo shot down a report Monday that he’s been telling confidantes he knows he can’t run for president in 2016 if Hillary Clinton enters the race.
“There is no truth to the assertion that I’m talking presidential politics and strategy and what Hillary Clinton should do or shouldn’t do or what I’m doing presidentially,” Mr. Cuomo told WCNY’s Susan Arbetter this morning.
“The only discussions I’m having are about how to help the state, how to get the state running, how to make the government a better government,” he added. “And to the extend I’m focusing on politics, it’s my race next year.”
Mayor Michael Bloomberg may have canceled his morning radio appearance today in response to the ongoing manhunt for a suspect involved in Monday’s deadly bombing attack on the Boston Marathon, but another top New York official, Governor Andrew Cuomo, scheduled his own radio interview on The Capitol Pressroom soon after. Mr. Cuomo directly addressed the high-profile situation in the Bay State by employing a phrase he previously used to describe climate change in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy: “the new normal.”
“It’s a terrible situation in Boston. And, unfortunately, … one gets the sense that this is more reflective of the ‘new normal,’ if you will,” he explained. “So much of society is changing so rapidly. We talk about a ‘new normal’ when it comes t0 climate change and adjusting to a change in the weather patterns. ‘New normal’ when it comes to public security in a post-9/11 world. Where these random acts of violence, which at one time were implausible, now seem all-too-frequent.”
Two weeks ago, Democratic State Sen. Malcolm Smith was arrested and charged with trying to bribe his way into the Republican mayoral primary, prompting cries for reform from both ends of the political spectrum. Today, Governor Andrew Cuomo rolled out a series of proposals that he hopes will address many of these concerns.
“You’ve heard the expression pay to play, this is pay to run,” Mr. Cuomo said at a press conference announcing the measures. “The allegations that the minor parties basically, on occasion, have used campaign contributions to determine who gets the line and it’s almost that the line goes to the highest bidder.”
What You Should Know
The State Legislature is set to look at tightening New York’s infamously loose campaign finance rules in the wake of a recent slate of corruption scandals, but State Sen. Rubén Díaz believes legislative attention should instead be focused on Governor Andrew Cuomo.
“I would like to recommend that ethics reform in New York State begin in the Governor’s mansion,” Mr. Díaz declared today in one of his regular “What You Should Know” statements. “While we consider how to restrict Senate campaign donations that are used to pay for meals, I would like my readers to know that many of my colleagues are routinely invited to the Governor’s mansion to eat his food and drink his wine with no oversight to who pays those bills.”
Planes Trains & Automobiles
This afternoon, Governor Andrew Cuomo officially announced his pick to head the Metropolitan Transit Authority, left vacant over 100 days ago when then-Chairman Joe Lhota resigned to pursue a mayoral campaign: M.T.A. Interim Executive Director Tom Prendergast. And Mr. Lhota told Politicker he couldn’t be more pleased with the selection.
“Tom Prendergast is a superb choice and he has a unique understanding of the system,” Mr. Lhota proclaimed. “And I know of no one who cares more for the customers and the riders than Tom Prendergast. As chairman, I relied on him more than anyone and I think it’s a great choice.”
Mr. Cuomo, in a statement, was similarly effusive.
Law & Order
After a series of New York officials were arrested and charged with corruption last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo says he has the solution–or at least the first step. Accordingly, at press conference earlier this afternoon, Mr. Cuomo unveiled a legislative package aimed at curbing the problem.
“Over the past few days, there have been several charges brought against public officials; they span city and state government,” he began. “And they paint a truly ugly picture of our political landscape. I’d like to say that this is an unprecedented situation, that public corruption is a new problem. But it isn’t and, in many ways, that’s what makes it worse.”
Although the New York Post ran a front-page story today reporting that Governor Andrew Cuomo is seriously considering a coup d’etat against influential Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver, the governor himself is denying any such scheme exists.
“It is wholly up to the legislative bodies to select a leader,” Mr. Cuomo said on The Capitol Pressroom this morning. “I would never, even for a moment, try to influence that decision.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo is not happy about the barrage of corruption charges hitting various New York lawmakers throughout the week, including State Senator Malcolm Smith, City Councilman Dan Halloran and Assemblyman Eric Stevenson. Accordingly, Mr. Cuomo released a statement this afternoon detailing his disgust.
“The allegations of public corruption by City and State officials revealed this week are appalling,” the governor declared.