Malcolm in the Middle
Inside The IDC
That was fast.
Independent Democratic Conference leader Jeffrey Klein effectively booted Senator Malcolm Smith from his breakaway Democratic caucus this afternoon, stripping him of his leadership position and all committee assignments in the wake of charges that he took part in an alleged bribery scheme.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has made it absolutely clear that the new Senate leadership coalition between the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference and and the Republicans will draw his ire if they do not support certain items on his agenda. Yesterday, we noted that it seemed the IDC and the governor might not be seeing eye-to-eye on one of the item on the governor’s “litmus test” for the coalition, campaign finance reform. Last night, we received a call from one of the five IDC members, State Senator Diane Savino, seeking to clarify the conference’s position on the issue. She also discussed the IDC’s goal, the racial controversies that have dogged the group and revealed the one person she’s not sure she’d allow to join the conference.
Governor Andrew Cuomo threw down the gauntlet on the new State Senate leadership coalition between the Republicans and the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference with a stern warning for them to support all of his agenda items that he has declared his “litmus test” for the group on Fred Dicker’s radio show this morning. Mr. Cuomo drew his line in the sand when the host asked about indications the new coalition might be hesitant to back all of the agenda items on the governor’s list. Mr. Cuomo, who has taken some heat from progressives for not doing more to oppose the coalition and back Democratic control of the Senate chamber, made it clear his tolerance for the group will cease if they don’t pass his test.
“If that’s true, then we’re going to have a problem Fred and we’re going to have a problem sooner rather than later,” said the governor.
Yesterday afternoon, the course of the New York State Senate was altered when a faction of the on-paper Democratic majority announced they would instead form a power-sharing agreement with the Republicans, equally splitting control of the chamber in an “unprecedented” fashion. Although labor has been wary of the situation thus far, seemingly preferring Democratic rule, Transport Workers Union Local 100 called the new coalition-style government “the best possible option” for the state.
What You Should Know
It’s a particularly wild week in Albany, and in a surprise announcement, five members of of the “Independent Democratic Conference” have joined their Republican counterparts to form a “historic bipartisan partnership,” even as the Democrats protest the situation by pointing to their on-paper majority in the chamber. The IDC, whose numbers expanded today with Democratic Senator Malcolm Smith joining their ranks, had hinted at a bipartisan coalition of some kind, but only now have the details of this arrangement emerged.
State Senator Ruben Diaz sent out another one of his “What You Should Know” releases this morning with his version of the origin of State Senator Jeff Klein’s breakaway Independent Democratic Conference.
Mr. Diaz described the IDC as having descended from the Senate’s infamous “four amigos,” which consisted of himself, and former State Senators Carl Kruger, Pedro Espada and Hiram Monserrate. Mr. Diaz is the last remaining amigo after Mr. Kruger was forced to resign from the Senate after pleading guilty to corruption charges, Mr. Espada lost his re-election bid amid his own corruption case and Mr. Monserrate was expelled from the Senate after pleading guilty to slashing his girlfriend. According to Mr. Diaz, Mr. Klein and the IDC have learned from the mistakes of the “four amigos” and “perfected” their ideas.
In 2005, State Senator Jeff Klein’s law office, Klein Calderoni & Santucci LLP, was issued a violation from the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) for operating a commercial business in a residential zone and ordered to discontinue its commercial use. However, the law firm still remains active at its current location.
“More than six years ago, The New York City Department of Buildings issued a violation that was contested by the law firm. After a hearing on the matter, an administrative law judge imposed a $480 fine, which was paid promptly,” Fred Santucci, a managing partner at the firm, said in a statement after Politicker reached out to Senator Klein. “The matter was believed to be closed and — in the ensuring years — there has been no communication to the contrary from the building department.”
Mr. Santucci’s statement is correct that the judge only imposed a $480 fine while making no mention of an order to discontinue commercial use, but a spokeswoman for the city’s Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings said the ruling only has the ability to issue fines, and other agencies can issue additional requirements.
Despite being under federal indictment for stealing member item funds, Larry Seabrook was still given $350,000 to dole out by Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
Life expectancy for city residents is 80.6 years, outpacing the rest of the nation. The Bloomberg administration is crediting their public health initiatives.
The Independent Democratic Caucus may be involved in primaries to help grow their number, leader Jeff Klein tells the T-U.
22,000 office cleaners are threatening to go on strike if a new contract isn’t reached by Jan 1.
From NYPIRG’s Bill Mahoney:
Most of the Senators enrolled as Democrats voted the same way as Senator Klein more often than they voted the same way as Senator Sampson.
Klein is the head of the Independent Democratic Caucus, a breakaway group of four rogue Democrats. Sampson, of course, is the head of the other (regular?) Democratic Caucus.
“I want to know how that product, a Mike’s Hard Lemonade, is different than a Four Loko.”
–State Senator Jeff Klein, an independent Democrat from the Bronx and Westchester, discussing new legislation in Albany.