Presented by New Yorkers for Responsible Gaming

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is sorry, but he wont step down. Thats the takeaway from his first public remarks

since multiple women accused him of sexual harassment, drove him into hiding

, and made him the target of an investigation

from the state attorney generals office. I am not going to resign, he said in response to mounting demands that he do just that.

I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable. It was unintentional, and I truly and deeply apologize for it, Cuomo said

. I feel awful about it. And quite frankly, I am embarrassed by it.

Cuomo took a handful of questions, all from broadcast reporters, but weve got some more: Did he kiss Lindsey Boylan on the lips, as she alleged? What, exactly, did he say to Charlotte Bennett, and why did he consider it appropriate at the time to ask an aide in her 20s about whether shed ever slept with an older man? Are there more accusations coming? Will he still run for a fourth term?

The somewhat belated performance was a big step for Cuomo, who has had a difficult time saying sorry without qualifiers and admitted Wednesday that he cant think of another point in his decadeslong political career hes been ashamed of his own actions.

But it will not satisfy his many critics, least of all the women who have accused him of harassment. Debra Katz, an attorney for Bennett, released a scathing statement

saying the governors comments were “full of falsehoods and inaccurate information.

A number of lawmakersare also unimpressed

. Among the latest additions to the list of people calling for Cuomos resignation: Mayoral candidate Maya Wiley

, Sen. James Skoufis

, and Assemblymember Tom Abinanti

. Legislative leaders have continued to say they are waiting to see if the investigation reveals anything particularly devastating inappropriate touching and so forth would be cause for Cuomo to step down, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins told CNN Wednesday

.

Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who knows a bit about investigating the Cuomo administration

, also talked to CNN last night and noted that probing someone like Cuomo isnt easy if people around him fear retribution for speaking out.

Andrew Cuomohas led a political career in which he has made it clear, to adversaries or people who challenge him or question him including investigators in the past that there will be a price to pay if you cross him or you question him or you hurt him,” Bharara said. Thats a challenge in these kinds of investigations.

ITS THURSDAY. Got tips, suggestions or thoughts? Let us know … By email: [email protected]

and [email protected]

, or on Twitter: @erinmdurkin

and @annagronewold

WHERES ANDREW? In Albany with no announced public schedule.

WHERES BILL? Holding a media availability.

For fun: Comedienne Alexis Pereiraoffered his take on Wednesdays Cuomo briefing

.

A message from New Yorkers for Responsible Gaming:

With COVID crippling the economy and creating a $14.5 billion state budget deficit, accelerating growth of EXISTING gaming FACILITIES Downstate can be a win-win for all of New York. A recent NYS Gaming Commission study estimated it “could generate between $420 million and $630 million annually, creating thousands of Union jobs with industry-leading wages and benefits and billions for public education. Join the 70% of New Yorkers who support accelerated gaming options for downstate facilities. Learn more

WHAT ALBANY’S READING

A HIGH-RANKING Democrat in the New York Legislature and a lawyer representing one of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s accusers say the governors office flouted its own rules

on handling sexual harassment complaints. An executive order issued by Cuomo two years ago requires such allegations against state employees to be referred to the Governors Office of Employee Relations, which must conduct an investigation even if a victim declines to file a formal complaint with the office. State law also requires such an investigation. But Cuomos staff wont say if that happened when Charlotte Bennett, a 25-year-old executive assistant in the governors office, complained to Cuomos chief of staff, Jill DesRosiers, that the governor had questioned her about her sex life last spring. POLITICOs Marie J. French

The governors potential undoing stems from a series of personal actions in which he allegedly abused that power, leaving women feeling shaken, undermined, embarrassed and worse. The reports stand in contrast to how Cuomo has positioned himself

on policy matters, as a champion of women’s rights. He was the man behind the Womens Equality Party, who eventually signed the Reproductive Health Act and even pushed to extend the statute of limitations on allegations of rape, sitting flanked by leaders of Hollywoods Times Up movement. But critics say beneath the press releases and public appearances, Cuomo has actually appropriated feminism as a tool, positioning women as props in a political strategy that maintains his own power and control. Gothamist/WNYCs Brigid Bergin

POINT: Long-serving Chairman of the Assembly Health Committee Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan) discussed how budget negotiations may be affected by the crises facing Gov. Cuomo on multiple fronts. I think it does give the governor less leverage than he would ordinarily have if he was riding high in popularity, Gottfried told Capital Tonight

.” State of Politics Susan Arbetter

COUNTERPOINT: With less than a month to go before the April 1 start of New York States 2022 fiscal year, Governor Cuomo has been politically wounded by the allegations of bullying and sexual harassment now being investigated by the attorney generals office. Nonetheless, when it comes to shaping and steering the next budget to final adoption by the Legislature, the embattled governor is still behind the wheel

.” Empire Centers E.J. McMahon

TWO ARMS OF STATE GOVERNMENT with drastically different views about the role Gov. Andrew Cuomo should play in managing the pandemic have arrived at similar conclusions

on a Democratic plan to curtail the governors emergency powers

: The plan isnt nearly as much a blow to Cuomo as advertised. One of these characterizations comes from Republicans in the Legislature. Theyre arguing that the bill actually increases Cuomos powers. The other? From Cuomo himself. The governor has spent months arguing that walking back the emergency powers he was granted last year, which let him issue mandates that carry the force of law, would hinder the response to the pandemic. Legislators are too political to act responsibly, he has said. POLITICOs Bill Mahoney

PLAYS, CONCERTS and other performances can resume in New York starting next month

but with sharply reduced capacity limits Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Wednesday. Mr. Cuomo, speaking at a news conference in Albany,

said that arts, entertainment and events venues can reopen April 2 at 33 percent capacity, with a limit of 100 people indoors or 200 people outdoors, and a requirement that all attendees wear masks and be socially distanced. Those limits would be increased to 150 people indoors or 500 people outdoors if all attendees test negative before entering. New York Times Michael Paulson

Gatherings of 100 people indoors, and 200 outdoors will also be allowed under new guidelines the Cuomo administration announced today

, with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on its way to New York.

New York, one of the first states in the U.S. to implement travel restrictions on domestic visitors last spring, took another step toward relaxing its COVID-19 policies Wednesday

by lifting the quarantine and COVID-19 testing restrictions on people who have been vaccinated within 90 days of their second inoculation. Domestic travelers are no longer required to quarantine or test out within 90 days of full vaccination, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a COVID-19 briefing. Beyond the 90 days, travelers would still have to quarantine and test out. International travelers must continue to quarantine for 10 days, he said. USA Todays Jayme Deerwester

The state’s chief judge has decided it’s safe to bring people back to courtrooms for jury trials, but theyre going to look quite different

.

#UpstateAmerica: Corning is making millions of vaccine vials

each week.

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WHAT CITY HALL’S READING

THE DEAL reached by the state Legislature to curtail Gov. Andrew Cuomos emergency pandemic powers does not go far enough, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday

. De Blasio, who has been pushing for a return to full local control as crises engulf Cuomo, said the agreement announced Tuesday by the Assembly and Senate is a move in the right direction. But we should ultimately go farther, he told reporters. Cuomo…is battling allegations of sexual harassment and a cover-up of Covid-19 nursing home deaths. The Legislature is poised to vote on a measure that will repeal his ability to issue unilateral orders that carry the force of law. But existing directives will remain in place for the time being, and Cuomo will still have the power to modify them with notice to legislative leaders and local officials leaving him in control of matters like restaurant capacity and which groups of New Yorkers are eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine. POLITICOs Erin Durkin

City Comptroller Scott Stringer wants de Blasio to give up his own emergency powers

, too.

CARL SADLER is 79 and lives near Lake George, in upstate New York. Nearly 20 years ago, Sadler worked in Manhattan in the South Tower of the World Trade Center as an executive director at the investment bank Morgan Stanley. On 9/11, he was on the 76th floor when the first plane struck the neighboring North Tower, and he narrowly escaped before the second plane hit his building. Sadler later developed thyroid cancer and asthma, among a host of other long-term illnesses. Sadler and thousands of other survivors of the terror attacks became eligible

for the COVID-19 vaccine in mid-February as part of the states move to expand vaccine access to people with serious health conditions, including 9/11-related cancers that make them more vulnerable to the coronavirus. But the World Trade Center Health Program, which provides health care for the more than 105,000 survivors and responders enrolled, doesnt have its own COVID-19 vaccine program and it does not help members determine whether, when or where they can get the vaccine. The Citys Scooty Nickerson

A DISPUTE OVER dueling signs at a community event spurred a call to the copsalong with dueling police reports pitting staffers of a City Council member running for Brooklyn borough president against a constituent. Councilmember Robert Cornegy wasnt present during the late November incident at the Winter Wonderland market at Restoration Plaza on Fulton Street. But local community board member Keith Forest said he wants Cornegy to discipline his staffers for calling the police and allegedly threatening to destroy him. Im an African-American male, 55 years of age, and I have never had any problems with the police, none, Forest told THE CITY. Cornegy, in a statement sent by a spokesperson, charged that Forest cursed at and threatened a member of my staff and said that his behavior was outrageous and inappropriate and his language was violent. The Citys Claudia Irizarry Aponte

WHEN THE PANDEMIC gripped New York City, it propelled an enormous surge in online shopping that has not waned, even in a metropolis where stores are rarely far away. People who regularly bought online are now buying more, while those who started ordering to avoid exposure to the virus have been won over by the advantages. The abrupt shift in shopping patterns has made New York a high-stakes testing ground

for urban deliveries, with its sheer density both a draw and a logistical nightmare. It has also highlighted the need for an unglamorous yet critical piece of the e-commerce infrastructure: warehouse space to store and sort packages and satisfy customer expectations for faster and faster delivery. Amazon has spent the pandemic embarking on a warehouse shopping spree in New York, significantly expanding its footprint in the biggest and most lucrative market in the country. It has snatched up at least nine new warehouses in the city, including a 1 million-plus square foot behemoth rising in Queens that will be its largest in New York, and today has at least 12 warehouses in the five boroughs. And it has added to its roster more than two dozen warehouses in suburbs surrounding the city. No other large competitor has a single warehouse in the city and Amazon has largely left most of its chief rivals, like Wal-Mart and Target, behind. New York Times Matthew Haag and Winnie Hu

FROM THE DELEGATION

THE #METOO movement that erupted into a nationwide confrontation of sexual harassment in 2017, fueled in part by Donald Trumps election, ended the careers of members of Congress in both parties. Perhaps no one became a bigger symbol of the Democratic Partys attempt to enact a political zero tolerance policy for sexual harassment than Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), who resigned after seven women accused him of touching them inappropriately. But senators view the allegations against Cuomo differently

than those against Franken, who was a colleague. While Cuomo is well-known and could run for higher office, senators are largely leaving it up to New York state officials to decide the governors political fate. Im glad theres going to be a very rigorous investigation by the attorney general. The most important thing is that the women be heard and taken seriously, said Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.). As to whether Cuomo should step down, she said: At this point I think people in New York need to decide that. POLITICOs Marianne LeVine and Burgess Everett

Most governors are silent on whether Cuomo should remain the head of the bipartisan National Governors Association.

Biden’s Beltway

THE HOUSE ON WEDNESDAY approved a sweeping package of election and government reforms, amplifying the issue of voting rights amid a contentious national debate in the wake of the November elections. Nearly every Democrat voted for the bill, which includes a slew of ballot access, campaign finance and ethics reforms that came under renewed scrutiny after four years of the Trump administration. It would also require states to provide same-day voter registration, to allow at least two weeks of early voting and to offer drop boxes for ballots some of the same measures that Republicans are trying to roll back in statehouses across the country… The measure passed 220-210. POLITICOs Sarah Ferris

Did you know that POLITICO Pro has coverage and tools at the state level? All the state legislative and regulatory tracking, budget documents, state agency contact information, and everything else you need to stay ahead of state policy movement integrate into our smart and customizable platform. Learn more and become a Pro today.

AROUND NEW YORK

The citys five district attorneys are urging legislators to toughen penalties

for spitting on transit workers.

Kathryn Garcia recently released her plan to restart the city economy

if shes elected mayor.

The city is seeking bids to establish affordable broadband access

.

Attorney General Tish James reached a settlement with gym owners who fraudulently charged fees during lockdown

.

A subway rideris accused of exposing both his nose and his genitals

.

An Asian American man was brutally assaulted on the Lower East Side

in another suspected hate crime.

SOCIAL DATA BY DANIEL LIPPMAN

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Lt. Gov. KathyHochul comms director Bryan Lesswing … Ken Lovett … Andrew Stein Spectrums Nick Reisman New Yorks Melvin Backman … Fentons Valerie Jean-Charles Deborah Turness, president of NBC News International Emily Bazelon NBCs Vaughn Hillyard CNNs Kate Bennett and Leigh Munsil … POLITICOs Mark McQuillan

MEDIAWATCH Hanna Trudo has left the Daily Beast

where she was a politics reporter.

A message from New Yorkers for Responsible Gaming:

With COVID crippling the economy and leaving us with a $14.5 billion state budget deficit, accelerating the growth of EXISTING gaming FACILITIES Downstate can be a win-win for all of New York. A recent NYS Gaming Commission study estimated it “could generate between $420 million and $630 million annually as well as help create thousands of Union jobs with industry-leading wages and benefits and billions in revenue for public education. Join the 70% of New Yorkers statewide that support accelerated gaming options for downstate facilities. Learn more

REAL ESTATE

THE PANDEMIC has upended Americas commercial property sector. In cities across the country, skyscrapers are dark, shopping centers are shuttered and restaurants have been relegated to takeout service. Social-distancing measures have redefined workplaces and accelerated the trend of telecommuting. The $16 trillion commercial property sector is being stressed in ways not seen

since the Great Recession of 2008. According to Moodys, the credit rating firm, commercial real estate values are projected to decline by 7.2 percent nationally from their pre-pandemic levels, bottoming out by the end of this year. The hardest-hit categories are the office and retail sectors, with values declining by 12.6 percent for offices and 16.5 percent for retailing Big cities are bearing the brunt of the office exodus. Figures provided by CoStar show that available office space in some of the largest markets swelled from the end of 2019 to the end of 2020. Unused space in San Francisco increased nearly 75 percent last year, while empty office space increased more than 25 percent in Los Angeles, Seattle and New York City. New York Times Alan Rappeport