Presented by AARP NY
The Assembly is making the first move in the impeachment process of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a dramatic statement delivered on almost the precise anniversary
of the last time scandal forced a New York governor out of office.
The Assemblys Democratic conference emerged from a tense virtual discussion late Thursday afternoon with an announcement: The chambers Judiciary Committee will begin a probe
with subpoena power into allegations of misconduct by Cuomo.
There were initially some questions about whether the probe would be characterized as a formal first step toward impeaching Cuomo, but Speaker Carl Heastie didnt cloak it as anything but in his statement, calling it an impeachment investigation and saying he had utmost faith that the committee will conduct an expeditious, full and thorough investigation.
Attorney General Tish James, who is running her own investigation, basically signed off in a statement, saying that a legislative inquiry would have no bearing on her probe.
Speaking of that investigation,there seems to be a website
where anyone can contact the AG’s deputies with information relevant to the investigation. Well give it a C+ for design but A for clarity.
Normally this time of year in Albany is reserved for sleepless nights and news deluge related to the state budget. And we are expecting the chambers to release their individual spending proposals to counter Cuomos in the coming days. But for the second year in a row, its looking like New Yorks spending plan is not going to be the months most newsworthy item.
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QUOTE OF THE DAY: There was no directed effort this outreach happened organically when everyones phone started to blow up. Cuomo spox Rich Azzopardi to the Wall Street Journal, on the governors office calling to check in with former staffers after the first allegations were made
WHERES ANDREW? No public schedule available by press time.
WHERES BILL? Holding a media availability and appearing on WNYCs Brian Lehrer show.
ABOVE THE FOLD: In his first prime-time presidential address, President Joe Biden said on Thursday night that he would order states to make coronavirus vaccines available to all American adults by May 1, in an effort to accelerate the mass vaccination effort critical to ending the pandemic. Coming on the one-year anniversary of the coronavirus pandemic, Biden used the speech to pay tribute to those affected nearly 530,000 lives lost and countless more impacted while pointing to the United States success in ramped-up vaccinations and looking forward to whats next and life after the pandemic. POLITICO’s Adam Cancryn and Benjamin Din
A message from AARP NY:
Our seniors deserve better. State lawmakers must act now to demand safe and accountable nursing homes for those who need it, and provide more funding for services to help seniors remain independent at homewhere they want to be. Lets show New York seniors the respect and dignity theyve earned. Learn more.
WHAT ALBANY’S READING
IN THE DAYS after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was first accused of sexual harassment by a former aide, the governors office called at least six former employees either to find out if they had heard from the accuser or to glean information about her in conversations that some said they saw as attempts to intimidate them
. Some of the people who received the calls said they hadnt heard from the administration in months before getting the call about the accuser. One said a caller encouraged them to give reporters any information discrediting the accuser, Lindsey Boylan, who worked as an economic adviser for the Cuomo administration between 2015 and 2018. The calls were made by current administration officials and former aides who are still close to the governors office, according to several recipients. The outreach came at the behest of Melissa DeRosa, the governors top aide, according to people familiar with the effort. I felt intimidated, and I felt bewildered, said Ana Liss, a former aide to the governor who received one of the calls. Wall Street Journals Khadeeja Safdar, Deanna Paul and Jimmy Vielkind
ALBANY POLICE Department officials said on Thursday that they had been notified by the New York State Police and the governors office about an alleged incident at the Executive Mansion involving Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and a female aide that may have risen to the level of a crime. Steve Smith, a spokesman for the Albany police, said that the department had not received a formal complaint from the woman, who has not been identified, but that it had reached out to a lawyer for her. This does not mean, Mr. Smith said, that the department has opened a criminal investigation, but it has offered its services to the alleged victim, as we would do with any other report or incident. Albany police officials said they heard from the state police on Wednesday night after the publication of an article in The Times Union of Albany that detailed accusations leveled by an unidentified aide to the governor who accused Mr. Cuomo of groping her at the governors mansion, where he lives, late last year. The New York Times Jesse McKinley and Luis Ferré-Sadurní
POLITICO founding editor John Harris with a Cuomo take: Why So Many Politicians Are Such Aholes
… BUT THE BUDGET
LEADERSHIP in both of New Yorks legislative chambers are preparing one-house budgets their proposals for a state budget that each include around $7 billion in progressive tax increases
, sources with knowledge of current plans said. That figure would be significantly higher than the only tax increase targeting the wealthy in Governor Andrew Cuomos executive budget, a $1.5 billion temporary and reimbursable personal income tax increase on individuals with annual incomes above $5 million. But it would be far lower than the $50 billion raised by the Invest in Our New York Act, a proposed package of six bills
hiking taxes on the wealthy that a coalition of the states most prominent progressive groups has rallied around. $7 billion, if thats the number, isnt enough, Rebecca Bailin, campaign manager for the Invest in Our New York Coalition, told New York Focus. We need a budget that has tens of billions of dollars in annual revenue. NY Focuss Akash V. Mehta
NEW YORK lawmakers are ready to schedule initial action on legalizing and taxing recreational marijuana instead of waiting to include it in the budget,
a process that Gov. Andrew Cuomo controls. Final details are being worked out for a vote before the states budget is due on April 1, state Senate Finance Committee Chair Liz Krueger (D) said Thursday. The governor is part of ongoing talks, she said. We are working hard on a three-way agreed upon bill that could pass the Legislature before we get to the budget, Krueger said in a phone interview with Bloomberg Government. I feel like we are 95% there. We have taken some big steps towards getting this done….Divorcing cannabis questions from talks over the states approximately $193.3 billion spending plan for fiscal 2022 improves the measures likelihood of becoming law. Democrats, who hold a supermajority in both houses, have the numbers to override any veto if they stick together. Bloombergs Keshia Clukey
State lawmakers and advocates say that they are determined to pass an ambitious package of bills
aimed at overhauling the state’s parole system, banning solitary confinement, and directing half of all profits from legalized cannabis to communities that were harmed under prohibition. A report from the Columbia University Center for Justice released on Wednesday estimated that passing the bulk of this legislation, along with closing more upstate prisons, would save the state $1.52 billion annually. Bronx State Senator Gustavo Rivera, the main sponsor of a bill that would force the state parole board to grant parole to New Yorkers unless they pose a documented, unreasonable risk to society, told Gothamist that addressing Governor Andrew Cuomo’s sexual harassment and nursing home scandals would not interfere with criminal justice reforms. Gothamists Christopher Robbins
NEW YORK imprisons more people for technical parole violations than any other state
and at a rate almost three times higher than the national average. A new report from Columbia University and The Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform, shared with the Times Union, estimates there are about 35,000 under parole supervision at a given time. Two years ago, more than 7,200 people were re-incarcerated for rule violations. The re-incarceration of those individuals cost taxpayers at least $683 million, the report estimates. It would be one thing if we were just helpless to help these people, but we’re making a policy choice, and a policy choice has profound economic implications, said Vincent Schiraldi, an author of the report and co-director of Columbia’s Justice Lab. He said the researchers estimate that a person incarcerated for a year costs taxpayers about $78,000, based on staffing costs and overhead, but that is a conservative estimate as it doesn’t include pensions or benefits. Times Unions Edward McKinley
#UpstateAmerica: Binghamton has a lot of work to do
on the Rod Serling (yes, that Rod Serling) bandstand. Because “we do consider it to be an historic treasure.
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WHAT CITY HALL’S READING
GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO announced Thursday morning that domestic travelers will no longer be required to quarantine
after entering New York from another state starting April 1st. But Mayor Bill de Blasio says the city wasn’t consulted on this decision, and he and his health advisors disagree with removing that requirement. I believe in local control, and here’s another case where New York City wasn’t consulted even though we’re one of the biggest cities in the world, de Blasio said during his morning press conference on Thursday. Of course I have concerns about this. I think the introduction of the virus from outside has been one of the biggest and toughest X-factors in this whole crisis, and something we worry about going forward. Gothamists Ben Yakas
MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO on Thursday joined the call for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to step down in light of the most recent allegations against the embattled governor. A sixth woman emerged this week accusing Cuomo of sexual misconduct. According to a report in the Times Union, the woman, a staffer whose identity has not been made public, said Cuomo last year called her to the Executive Mansion, and once she was there he reached under her blouse and fondled her. “The specific allegation that the governor called an employee of his, someone who he had power over, called her to a private place and then sexually assaulted her is absolutely unacceptable. It is disgusting to me,” de Blasio told reporters Thursday during a press conference at City Hall. “He can no longer serve as governor. It’s as simple as that.” POLITICOs David Giambusso
FORMER NEW YORK City health department Chief Oxiris Barbot said she enlisted influential scientists and politicians in an attempt to sway Mayor Bill de Blasio to close schools and keep New Yorkers home during the week of March 9, 2020. But according to her account in a new documentary out today, the mayor did not heed her advice until at least a week later, potentially costing “thousands of lives.”… Barbot’s descriptions revealed in BBC Select’s new documentary, 54 Days: America and the Pandemic mark her most candid description yet of the chaos that beset City Hall in the early days of the crisis. The former commissioner was often at odds with de Blasio during the pandemic and ultimately departed last summer after being all but sidelined by the mayor. When a preview of the documentary aired earlier this week, City Hall said Barbot’s characterization was “simply false” and she was not nearly as aggressive in warning the mayor as she now claims. POLITICOs Amanda Eisenberg
SANITATION WORKER Paul Santoro Jr. begged his asthmatic dad, a department mechanic, tostay home. But after nearly a year in his Brooklyn brownstone, the elder Santoro got stir crazy and was eager to rejoin his friends at the Ozone Park garage. He also was reluctant to get the COVID-19 vaccination and wanted to see how others reacted first. Sanitation was pretty much his second family, his son, who also worked at the Queens garage, told THE CITY. He missed being around everybody. Days after the elder Santoro returned to work, he contracted the virus, apparently from a close coworker, and soon struggled to breathe. He died March 1 at Maimonides Medical Center at age 64. His son now wonders if the vaccine expansion announced Tuesday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to include all public-facing public employees could have encouraged the elder Santoro to sign up for the jab…On Thursday, the city passed a grim milestone of 30,000 deaths from COVID-19 as city and union officials scrambled to help get tens of thousands municipal employees inoculated
. The Citys Reuven Blau
Sunday will be a day of remembrance for the 30,000 New York City residents killed by Covid-19.
FOR EX-TRANSIT chief Andy Byford, moving to head Londons transportation system after his two-year stint running New Yorks buses and subways marked his own declaration of independence. Im now given the space and leeway as a transit professional to do my job, Byford told THE CITY from London Thursday. I can do my job for the people of London without interference. The former head of New York City Transit who pinned his January 2020 resignation, in part, on being undermined by Gov. Andrew Cuomo is far from alone
. Cuomos power over the MTA is unmistakable, insiders say, with bruising calls and commands to officials at the transit agency constantly coming from his top aides in Albany. The Citys Jose Martinez
A message from AARP NY:
FROM THE DELEGATION
MORE THAN 100 new federally supported coronavirus vaccine sites will open in New York state, Sen. Chuck Schumer announced Thursday. Schumer, at a joint press conference with Mayor Bill de Blasio, said the new sites at existing community health centers will be paid for as part of $32 billion in federal vaccine funding included in the pandemic relief bill passed in December. The vaccine doses sent to the health centers will be provided directly by the federal government, in addition to the regular weekly allotment sent to New York state. There are going to be many more vaccines available much more quickly, Schumer said Thursday. POLITICOs Erin Durkin
Climate Works for All and its allies called for de Blasio to put $200 million of federal stimulus money into projects that will protect communities from climate change and create “green” jobs
. The plan includes $180 million in school energy retrofits and solar, $17 million to expand organic waste recycling and implement the citys commercial waste zones, and $3 million for electric school buses.
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AROUND NEW YORK
The first Broadway usher to test positive for Covid-19 recounts his experience
GOP mayoral hopeful Curtis Sliwa was part of a maskless indoor Queens Republican club rally
by the same organization that hosted an infamous holiday party with a conga line.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren is endorsing City Council Member Brad Lander
The Freelancers Unionjointly endorsed Andrew Yang and Maya Wiley
Four jail stafferswere suspended over the accidental release
of a murder suspect from Rikers Island.
An elderly Asian American woman says she was spit and punched
in an attack in Westchester, continuing the disturbing trend of anti-Asian violence.
SOCIAL DATA BY DANIEL LIPPMAN
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Jake Tapper is 52 Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.) Eric Shawn Peter Spiegel Andres PenfoldTara (Jeffries) Payne is 28 James Ball Emily Stephenson
MEDIAWATCH Elizabeth Kennedy will be White House editor at the NYT. She most recently has been deputy Washington bureau chief at the AP. AnnouncementMaya Kaufman is joining
Crains New York to cover health care. She has been a Queens reporter for Patch.
A message form AARP NY:
Whats happened in New Yorks nursing homes during the past eleven months is a tragedy. More than 13,625 seniors have died of COVID-19, and still chronic problems persistlike understaffing, especially when it comes to direct care for residents. Our seniors deserve better. State lawmakers must act now to demand safe and accountable nursing homes for those who need it, and provide more funding for services to help seniors remain independent at homewhere they want to be. Lets show New York seniors the respect and dignity theyve earned. Learn more.
IN THEIR FIRST televised forum in the race for mayor, eight Democratic candidates appeared together on NY1 where they disagreed on the best path forward for NYCHA
the citys sprawling public-housing authority that is home for more than 400,000 New Yorkers…The housing authority needs about $40 billion for repairs and major overhauls of buildings as tenants contend with mold, lead paint, and overall dilapidated housing…At issue is NYCHA Chair Greg Russ proposal to completely restructure the authority by converting 110,000 units into Federal Section 8 housing and transferring them to a new public entity, the public housing preservation trust. …In the forum, [Kathryn] Garcia and [Shaun] Donovan backed the plan, dubbed the NYCHA Blueprint, as the only viable way to raise the massive amounts of money needed to repair public housing units… But most of Garcias opponents, while not explicitly rejecting the NYCHA Blueprint, focused on skepticism from public housing residents who are wary the blueprint will result in them losing their rights. NY1s Fazar Toor