Governor Andrew Cuomo’s decision to restart the regulatory process reviewing whether to allow the controversial natural gas drilling procedure known as hydrofracking in New York State drew praise from environmental activists and the ire of energy industry officials. According to the New York Times, “The developments have created a sense in Albany that Mr. Cuomo is consigning fracking to oblivion.”
The New York State United Teachers is getting revenge on Governor Cuomo for his efforts to reform the pension system–by donating $500,000 to his fellow Democrats to help them regain the State Senate majority. Insiders told the Daily News the union is making the move because the Senate GOP backed the governor’s pension reform plan.
JCOPE’s investigation into the controversial confidential cash payments Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver made to women who accused former Brooklyn Democratic Party boss Vito Lopez of sexual harassment will likely be concluded before the November 6 elections. Lawmakers are reportedly eager to see the investigation end, because they believe their ability to hold a special session to vote on pay raises for themselves hinges on the probe wrapping up and the accompanying “cloud” over the Legislature being lifted.
President Barack Obama’s repeated trips to New York for fundraisers and official appearances have already cost city taxpayers over $2 million for extra security at Kennedy airport, according to the New York Post.
Queens Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer spent part of the weekend in Pennsylvania leading a group from his district to volunteer for the Obama campaign in the battleground state. Mr. Van Bramer boasted on his Facebook page that the “50 amazing volunteers from the 26th Council District and Western Queens reached over 3,000 voters securing commitments from several hundred that they will vote for President Obama.”
State Senator Adriano Espaillat, a member of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, praised the governor’s decision in a statement: “When my constituents and I traveled to the Marcellus Shale region, this past August, and observed the process of hydrofracking and its impact, we saw first-hand the devastation brought on by fracking. This is a dangerous process that harms our environment and poses a grave risk to the water we drink, the air we breathe, and the land we live on. I am grateful to Governor Andrew Cuomo for his leadership on this issue and for his commitment to our environment. I also thank the thousands of environmental activists and everyday citizens who have spoken out strongly and clearly against hydrofracking. While the fight against hydrofracking is far from over, our efforts to protect New York’s environment from fracking are making a real difference.”
Richard Bamberger, who has served as Governor Cuomo’s communications director since the latter’s days as Attorney General is leaving the State Capitol for “a yet-to-be-determined private sector gig.” The governor’s young Deputy Communications Director Josh Vlasto reportedly isn’t interested in replacing his soon-to-be former colleague.
One of Councilman Eric Ulrich’s supporters declared a massive billboard for his State Senate campaign in Ozone Park made him “winner of the biggest political ad.”
Sadye Vassil, the lead community organizer in the Office of the Public Advocate (and this reporter’s junior high school classmate), and Jesse Campoamor, the lead political organizer for 1199 S.E.I.U. United Healthcare Workers East, were married on Saturday night. Mazel tov you two!
Senator Chuck Schumer warned of a potential doubling in milk prices if a replacement to the expired farm bill doesn’t pass in the House of Representatives. The new farm bill has already passed in the Senate. “They say you shouldn’t cry over spilled milk, but it seems perfectly reasonable to cry over a 100% increase in the price,” Mr. Schumer said.