Elephants in the Room
While the City Council overwhelmingly voted to pass new, expanded paid sick leave legislation this afternoon, the council’s tiny Republican bloc loudly opposed the measure.
The three council Republicans–Minority Leader Vincent Ignizio, Steven Matteo and Eric Ulrich–joined two Democrats in voting against the bill, which will expand the number of businesses that need to provide paid sick days to their employees. Republicans argued that the bill, supported by Mayor Bill de Blasio, will slow hiring and even lead to an “underground” economy.
A Texas woman arrested by the FBI and charged for allegedly funneling more than $10,000 in illegal contributions to Congressman Michael Grimm’s 2010 campaign was arraigned in federal court this afternoon.
Diana Durand, a close friend of Mr. Grimm–a lawyer for Ms. Durand wouldn’t confirm they had a romantic relationship, though media reports have described her as an ex-girlfriend–appeared briefly in a downtown Brooklyn courtroom, where she did not enter a plea of guilty or not guilty.
king of queens
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.
Cats in the Bag
Running in the shadow of an indicted pol of his own party, Dennis Saffran is hoping voters in northeast Queens aren’t souring on the Republican brand in one of the few City Council races the GOP can conceivably win this year.
John Catsimatidis is not impressed with his ex-rival’s campaign for mayor.
The supermarket and oil magnate, who lost the Republican primary to Joe Lhota earlier this year, briefly discussed his former challenger this morning, telling Politcker he would have run a far stronger campaign against Democrat Bill de Blasio, who is dominating Mr. Lhota in the polls.
Although the mayor’s race has drawn most of the media coverage ahead of the upcoming November election, Republican comptroller hopeful John Burnett is also chugging along and trying to make the case for his uphill candidacy.
Republican Joe Lhota, fending off repeated attacks from his Democratic rival, Bill de Blasio, that he is too right-wing to become mayor of New York City, was forced to defend himself tonight after a video surfaced that showed him telling conservatives that gun permits should be easier to obtain in the city.
Though the Queens Republican Party declared incumbent chairman Phil Ragusa the victor in a tense leadership vote last week, insurgent candidate Bob Turner is not backing down yet.
The former congressman–like past challengers of Mr. Ragusa–is claiming he won the election and is hoping to invalidate his opponent’s victory in court.
Former MTA Chair Joe Lhota has led each and every poll surveying the mayoral race’s GOP primary. Yet late Friday night, rival John Catsimatidis called on Mr. Lhota to “end this charade [and] drop out of the race now.”
Needless to say, Mr. Lhota did not heed Mr. Catsimatidis’s call, which was prompted by a modest fund-raising filing. But Mr. Catsimatidis, a billionaire who is self-financing his campaign, still repeated his call today.
“The whole thing is, with $157,000 for the whole month of August, where the hell are you going? Where are you going?” Mr. Catsimatidis pressed when asked about the remarks while greeting voters at a kosher supermarket in Brooklyn, which was buzzing with shoppers preparing for Rosh Hashana.
Tell us how you really feel, Joe Lhota.
The former MTA chair joined his fellow Republican candidates at a mostly-genial mayoral forum tonight, where they lobbed bombs at common enemies like their Democratic rivals and agreed on virtually all policy fronts. But the good will ended when rival John Catsimatidis said he “liked” Mr. Lhota while declaring himself the most viable contender in the race.
“You don’t show it,” Mr. Lhota groused, pointing to the flood of negative advertising recently launched by the billionaire businessman’s campaign. “You sure spend a lot of money to piss me off.”