Not Movin' On Up On The East Side
Riding high on optimism, State Senator Liz Krueger and a bevy of Democratic pols began a public push today to legalize and tax marijuana in New York State.
Ms. Krueger will soon introduce legislation to legalize pot in the State Senate, beginning an uphill battle that could pit her against Republicans, who partially control the Senate chamber, and possibly Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
State Senator Liz Krueger says she is staying in Albany, despite speculation that she is in line for a plum job in the incoming de Blasio administration.
Asked about the chatter at a press conference today, the Upper East Side pol said she’s not interested and denied that she’d been approached by the mayor-elect’s team.
Movin' On Up On The East Side
State Senator Diane Savino is not pleased with yesterday’s New York Times column about one of her colleagues in the breakaway Democratic conference–especially a quote in the story from a senator in the rival Democratic group.
Mo' Money Mo' Problems
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio’s mayoral campaign received a boost this morning in the form of State Senator Liz Krueger’s official support.
“I know all of the candidates and I’ve been … listening to their vision for where they want to take the City of New York if they were to win,” she told Politicker, citing affordable housing and education. “I find myself–on topic after topic–being most consistently in agreement with Bill de Blasio.”
“That’s politics in New York,” the New York Post‘s cover blared in stark black-and-white ink this morning. “It’s all about the f–king money.”
The quote, allegedly made from Councilman Dan Halloran to a cooperating witness, was revealed yesterday as U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara unsealed charges not only against Mr. Halloran, but State Sen. Malcolm Smith and a small slew of other political figures in what Mr. Bharara called “a corridor of corruption stretching from Queens and the Bronx to Rockland County and all the way up to Albany itself.”
Specifically, Mr. Halloran is accused of “essentially quarterbacking” a scheme to secure Republican establishment support for Mr. Smith’s mayoral bid. Mr. Smith, a Democrat, would need the blessing of three of the five county Republican organizations to run on the GOP line, and he allegedly arranged for cash bribes in his attempt to do so. But, looking more broadly, the strange scandal also shines light on these county organizations and their few remaining powers in city politics.
Earlier this week, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the city’s Human Resources Administration unveiled a new, rather direct ad campaign to discourage teen pregnancy featuring children citing blunt statistics about teen parents. “Honestly mom, chances are he won’t stay with you,” a baby in one ad declares, while another reads, “I’m twice as likely not to graduate high school because you had me as a teen.” The campaign, which is paired with an shame-themed choose-your-own-adventure text experience, understandably gained attention and sparked controversy.
Though City Hall seemed eager to make a splash with the in-your-face ads, other local politicians have condemned the campaign.
In his State of the City address today, Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled a plan to ban styrofoam in stores and restaurants citing a lack of biodegradability and high recycling costs that he called “terrible for the environment” and “terrible for taxpayers.” State Senator Liz Krueger responded to the mayor’s speech by jumping on his ban-wagon and taking it one step further–calling on the Legislature to ban styrofoam statewide.
“In his State of the City address, Mayor Bloomberg announced that he will prioritize banning styrofoam food containers in New York City,” Ms. Krueger said. “This would be a great step forward for our city, both for the environment and public health – but we shouldn’t just stop at the city limits.”
The State Senate passed a bill yesterday banning “yield spread premiums,” which are payments given to mortgage brokers or lenders for directing borrowers to more expensive loans. The bill was sponsored by Senator Liz Krueger, who described yield spread premiums as a “predatory practice” that contributed to the foreclosure crisis.
“Yield spread premiums have created perverse incentives, driving irresponsible, dangerous activity in the mortgage market,” Ms. Krueger said. “It’s a predatory practice, and it’s passed time we banned it–permanently.”
The Politicker recently noticed some amusing campaign committee spending, including former Rep. Eric Massa, who resigned under male-groping allegations, using his non-existent campaign to pay his wife, and a former state senator who’s spending campaign money despite the tiny fact he’s been deceased since 2005.
Now at least one State Senator is renewing her call for Albany to end spending by so-called “ghost campaigns” belonging to retired or deceased elected officials by passing a bill requiring inactive campaign committees to give their cash to charity, the state’s general fund, the State University of New York, another committee, or back to the original contributors.
“Everyone knows our campaign finance laws need an overhaul, but this issue is particularly obvious and the solution should be a matter of bipartisan agreement,” Senator Liz Krueger said in a statement.
Back in December, New York Post columnist Cindy Adams said State Senator Liz Krueger was “raising funds for a mayoral run,” but Ms. Krueger says she’s not prepping a City Hall bid.
“I have no idea where that came from,” Ms. Krueger told Politicker. “I know Cindy Adams mentioned in her column that she had heard a rumor I was running for mayor. I have had no fundraiser for running for mayor. I have not announced im running for mayor.”