Ed Cox, the chairman of New York State’s Republican party, has penned a scathing letter to members of his party, urging them to resist “strong-arm tactics” by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo to rack up endorsements for his re-election bid.
“When out of power, our job as a party is to provide loyal opposition, not for opposition’s sake but for the sake of the governing philosophy and principles that will advance our state,” Mr. Cox declared in the letter, which was released to reporters this morning.
The president of a local gun advocacy organization is fuming over a new Starbucks policy that asks patrons to leave their firearms behind when they enter its stores.
“I think that it’s a matter of entrapment,” Tom King, the head of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, told YNN’s Capital Tonight.
When Governor Andrew Cuomo quickly passed tough new gun control measures in January, he faced a raft of criticism for skipping the standard deliberative period and allegedly ignoring the more minute legislative details. The criticism recently found new substance with the bill’s apparently unworkable 7-bullet magazine requirement, which Albany is now working to reverse. And, on his weekly radio show with John Gambling, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that “one criticism” may indeed have merit.
“This is true of a lot of things,” Mr. Bloomberg said after accusing an unrelated City Council bill of having unintended side-effects. “You asked before about the magazines in Albany. We just got to start to thinking a little bit more about the implications of things before we rush to legislate and rush to legislate everything.”
Queens Councilman Eric Ulrich, currently a candidate for the State Senate against Joe Addabbo, announced he supports legislation to increase New York State’s minimum wage to $8.50 this evening. The move places him on the opposite side of the issue than Majority Leader Dean Skelos and the Republican conference, who steadfastly oppose the legislation.
“People are hurting in Queens and the current minimum wage simply isn’t enough to make ends meet for families here,” Mr. Ulrich said in a statement. “Single parent households are especially hit hard by the rising cost of living in New York. The bottom line is that there simply aren’t enough hours in the week at $7.25 per hour to pay the rent or mortgage and to buy the basic household items they need. I have listened to both sides of this argument, but one truth resonates more than any other: If we don’t take this action, too many families are going to go under.”
With the Green Party clearing the threshold of 50,000 votes in the 2010 gubernatorial election, they secured automatic ballot access through 2014, and judging from who’s filed petitions to be on the ballot in congressional races this year in New York City and the rest of the state, it seems they’re intending to take full advantage of the situation.
And, unlike the Conservative, Independence, and Working Families parties, which almost always endorse Democratic or Republican candidates, the Green Party is running their own slate of candidates, potentially impacting close races by siphoning liberal votes away from the Democrats.
Professor Gerry Benjamin, an expert on the mechanisms of government at State University of New York at New Paltz, was asked by Citizens’ Committee for an Effective Constitution to take a look at Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature’s much-touted redistricting amendment and grade it point-by-point against what a truly independent amendment would look like.
Unsurprisingly, he found it wanting. He gave the amendment a ‘C-’ overall on an ‘A’ through ‘F’ scale.
the big ugly
On The Capitol Pressroom this morning, the host, Susan Arbetter, pressed Governor Andrew Cuomo on whether he values the end product of legislation is more important than having a democratic and open process when passing it. Mr. Cuomo, who worked with the Legislature to pass a massive set of bills while you were probably asleep last night, said he wasn’t especially worried about the issue.
“The issue of transparency always comes up in Albany,” Mr. Cuomo admitted. ”It’s true, you can always have more transparency. On the other hand, I think you can become overly fixated with observing … process with no product.”
In the wee hours of the morning, Governor Andrew Cuomo blasted out a statement touting two of the three aspects of his redistricting compromise: a constitutional amendment providing a commission to draw districts the in the future and a statue to implement the amendment as ordinary law if the Legislature doesn’t follow through with its promise to pass the amendment in the subsequent legislative session.
(Left unsaid are the “less hyper-political” lines standard he previously presented as a condition of his support.)
“This agreement will permanently reform the redistricting process in New York to once and for all end self-interested and partisan gerrymandering,” Governor Cuomo said in the release.
Cries For Help
Governor Andrew Cuomo approvingly announced today that more and more New Yorkers are getting the book thrown at them for driving under the influence … the influence of Twitter and text messages, that is.
As a result of a new strict New York law banning the practice, since July, almost 119,000 motorists have been ticketed for using handheld devices while on the road.
“Texting while driving is illegal and endangers the lives of New Yorkers across the state,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement. “These tickets should send a resounding message to all drivers: keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel. I thank the State Police and local law enforcement for their dedication to ensuring the safety of the people of the state of New York.”
New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman asked top Senators to help defeat a bill that he said would compromise his ability to fight crime. Mr. Schneiderman wrote a letter to Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in which he urged them “to oppose the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act” because it would increase violence and make it easier for gun traffickers to do business in the Empire State.