Chance For Cuomo To Run For AG Without Primary
Will Andrew Cuomo, the generally acknowledged frontrunner in the six-candidate race for the Democratic nomination for state attorney general, be able to win that nomination without having to undergo a primary election battle on September 12?
Considering that Cuomo's closest opponent is former New York City Public Advocate Mark Green, who doesn't seem to be a very realistic threat, a primary for the Democratic nomination for state attorney general seems unlikely.
Cuomo, the former secretary of Housing and Urban Development under former President Bill Clinton, leads Green and the field in money raised and endorsements. And Green hasn't been able to find any issues that could create the appearance of a race between him and Cuomo.
The other candidates, who all trail Cuomo at this point, are former Westchester Assemblymember Richard Brodsky; Charlie King, who was Cuomo's running mate in his abortive run for governor two years ago; Denise O'Donnell, a former federal prosecutor in Buffalo, and Patrick Maloney, a former aide to President Clinton.
While his five opponents have stumbled along, Cuomo, the son of former Governor, has built a respectable campaign war chest. He has also received endorsements from several of the largest county Democratic organizations in the state, including Queens, Brooklyn, The Bronx and several upstate. Besides this, he dwarfs all the others in name recognition.
Another impressive endorsement came from the powerful healthcare worker's 1199-SEIU organization run by Dennis Rivera, which would be a formidable ally should an actual election confrontation arise from one of Cuomo's five opponents.
With all his support, there's a possibility Cuomo can sweep the balloting at next month's party convention where the official slate for the November elections will be created.
There's not an inkling of trouble facing the party's top-of-the-ticket designees, Hillary Rodham Clinton for re-election as
U.S. Senator and Eliot Spitzer for governor on the ballot. I
Given the strong possibility that neither Clinton nor Spitzer will not have an inkling of opposition at the convention and that they will be the presumptive winners of their contests in November, we would say there's a strong possibility, even probability that the convention delegates will not want to create any disturbance when they have to choose their attorney general candidate, who will be Cuomo by acclimation.
Assemblymember Herman "Denny" Farrell, the Democratic Party leader, has hinted he will want it this way. Farrell will not allow a state committee member to award any of Cuomo's opponents the 25 percent of their votes that would qualify an opponent to run against Cuomo in a primary. Why would Farrell allow this to happen and disturb the unanimity created by Clinton and Spitzer?
If Cuomo can show this strength at the party convention, then Green and the others would be foolish to seek the petition route to get on the ballot so they could force a primary against Cuomo. They would be foolish to expend the cash and heavy effort to travel all over the state in a six-week period to get the petition signatures only to face being swamped in the primary.
The only possibility for opposition would arise if two of the anti-Cuomo candidates joined forces to scrape up 25 percent of the convention members' votes to put one of them on the ballot. But why shatter the good will and unity that Clinton and Spitzer will create, why ruin the perfect setup for the Democratic Party to sweep the state house for the first time in 12 years? It's unlikely Farrell would let it happen.
FREE TOLL COUPONS: State senate Republicans are sponsoring what the New York Daily News called "a $2 million helping of election year pork" that gives Police Department and other officers free coupons to pay MTA bridge and tunnel tolls.
The story was first disclosed by the Albany Times Union, the News said, and the MTA has agreed to print and honor the coupons, but the GOPd o m i n a t e d senate will have to distribute them to the police officers.
The booklets would go to every police agency in the MTA region and would be useable on all 10 MTA bridges and tunnels. Prices range from $2.25 to $4.50 for a one-way cash toll.
Severe criticism for the plan was issued by Citizens Union, a good-government organization. Director Dick Dadey stated: "These senators shouldn't be engaging in a crass electioneering effort aimed at self-promotion instead of the public interest."
The story said the senators' names would appear on the free coupon book, but a spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno said no decision to do this had been made.
The alleged deal comes amid reports that Bruno fears his thin majority may be in danger of becoming narrower or lost altogether in the November elections in view of forecasts that Democratic United States Senate and gubernatorial candidates Hillary Rodham Clinton and Eliot Spitzer, respectively, may lead the Democratic ticket to a victory of landslide proportions.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg could have used his private wealth and public popularity tow work against some GOP senators, but Bruno's backing the plan to give Bloomberg the school construction funding program he sought in the 2006-07 state budget, which was passed by both the senate and the Assembly averted this threat.
The plan was also included in the budget signed by Governor George Pataki, it was reported.
'STOP THE BLAME GAME': On the heels of an MTA report blaming the NYPD for the unsanitary conditions in the city's subway system, Councilmembers John Liu (D-Flushing) and Eric Gioia (D-Long Island City) renewed their call to the transportation agency to end the blame game on who's responsible for cleaning the subways.
Liu blames the dirty subways on the MTA deferred maintenance policy. The Transportation Committee chairman added, "It's the MTA that cut subway personnel in the past decade at a time of unprecedented growth in ridership."
Gioia, chair of the Oversight and Investigation Committee, added that the MTA should institute TransitStat, an online, interactive and publicly accessible accountability system that would track the MTA's performance in running trains on time, cleaning stations and responding to delays and disturbances, down to specific neighborhoods and subway stops.
MARK THE DATE: Next Monday, April 24, the Queens County Young Democrats will host Councilmember James Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows) at their general membership meeting from 8 to 10 p.m. at the LIC Bar, 45-58 Vernon Blvd. in Long Island City. The Young Dems organization represents the 18 to 36 age group. President Matthew Silverstein can be reached at 718644-0791 to answer any questions about the organization.
On Wednesday, April 26 the Queens Economic Development Corporation celebrates culinary diversity at Douglaston Manor, 62-20 Commonwealth Blvd. in Douglaston from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. More than 50 Queens restaurants will offer samples of their appetizers, entrees, and desserts and Borough President Helen Marshall will present the Queens Borough Eating Adventure Awards 2006 to those judged best in each category. Tickets are $60 per person. For more information, call Michelle Stoddart at 718-263-0546. Sponsors include Charmer Industries of Astoria, ConEd, the Port Authority and the Marriott La Guardia Hotel, among others.
On Thursday, May 11 state Senators Frank Padavan and Malcolm A. Smith and the Meadow Lake Team of the Forest Hills Community House will be the honorees as the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park Conservancy hosts a legislative reception and celebration of "the best park in Queens" at the Unisphere Gallery at the Queens Museum of Art from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The conservancy's mission is to maintain the historic and cultural integrity of the sprawling park to ensure its continued educational, environmental and recreational benefits for the people of Queens.