Governor Andrew Cuomo Is Still Ignoring Challenger Zephyr Teachout's Requests for a Debate

Photo by Caleb Ferguson
Zephyr Teachout
With 11 days to go until the Democratic primary election, it looks pretty unlikely that Governor Andrew Cuomo will ever debate Zephyr Teachout, his main challenger, despite many requests from her, and even an online petition circulated by her campaign. Cuomo missed New York 1's August 28 deadline to respond to an invitation for a debate on September 2.

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Democratic Challenger Zephyr Teachout Wants Cuomo to "Resign Immediately" After Allegations of Meddling In Corruption Panel

As far as Albany skulduggery goes, this one is almost too on-the-nose: a New York Times investigation out today alleges that Governor Andrew Cuomo's office interfered with an anti-corruption commission, making sure it was unable to investigate any alleged corruption emanating from people or groups with close ties to the governor.

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New York Senate Drops the Ball on Gender Identity Discrimination Bill

Amy Ning
How many times can New York state lawmakers kick the can down the road on important housing and employment discrimination laws before they get legislator's toe? Probably many, is a fair guess. And they had at least one big punt left in them this past weekend.

Just before the Senate adjourned until 2014, Democratic leadership failed to bring GENDA, a sweeping law designed to protect transgender people from employment and housing discrimination, to an up-or-down vote. The Assembly has passed it six years running, so maybe senators got do-the-right-thing fatigue?

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Why Is Albany So Corrupt? Harvard Study Blames Capital's Long-Distance Relationship With NYC

New York politics is corrupt for the same reason long distance relationships often don't work: The population is concentrated too far from the capital to keep an eye on it, so Albany cheats.

At least that's according to Filipe R. Campante of Harvard and Quoc-Anh Do of the school of economics at Singapore Management University, whose new research ties capital cities' isolation to corruption.

The research came out a few days ago, but we wanted to chat with Campante about the study. He has been on the road in Brazil, but was kind enough to answer some questions via e-mail.

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NYCLU Pushes Legislation To Curb Discrimination Against Transgender New Yorkers

GENDA report.jpg
New Yorkers are legally protected against discrimination based on race, sex, sexual orientation, or disability -- which means people who fall under any of those categories cannot lose access to homes, jobs, and other services because of their racial, sexual, or physical identities.

Currently, however, there are no protections for New Yorkers who are transgender or express their gender differently from societal expectations and stereotypes.

And according to the New York Civil Liberties Union, which is pushing to change the discrimination laws to include this group, New York state is falling behind.

This week, the NYCLU released a report documenting discrimination in the state for transgender and gender non-conforming New Yorkers.

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Andrew Cuomo Plays Non-Musical Chairs With Department of Environmental Conservation (UPDATE)

Andrew Cuomo really doesn't like unused office furniture -- or office furniture he thinks is unused, that is.

So, the Times Union reports, his administration instructed staffers to go into the Department of Environmental Conservation offices on the weekend and overnight to transfer furniture and set up offices for the Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation. The idea is that this department will share previously empty office space with the DEC.

One problem: Much of this furniture was still being used by DEC staffers for meetings or for visitors at their cubicles. And they were not told about the removal ahead of time.

The move has caused so much uproar that it prompted the publication of "a satirical memo, complete with official DEC letterhead."

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Assemblymember Amy Paulin On The Shelter Access Bill

Amy Paulin
In response to longtime concerns over how shelters and rescues treat animals, Assemblymember Amy Paulin (D-Westchester) has sponsored the Shelter Access Bill.

The proposed legislation has been in the works for several years. After intense debate -- including outcry from some "no-kill" animal rights and welfare groups -- a revamped version recently got the OK from the Assembly's agriculture committee, and will soon go before the codes committee. If it succeeds there, the bill will go before the entire Assembly.

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State Senate OKs Budget Resolution That Takes $770 Million from MTA Investment

The New York State Senate on Monday night passed a budget resolution that would bleed $770 million from the MTA's Capital Plan, part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposed budget, if made into law.

The Republican-led Senate also voted down a plan to up the MTA's bond cap by $7 billion.

While this sounds totally confusing -- as if these public finance facts were being voiced by the teacher's in Charlie Brown, or something -- it's actually quite important to understand.

That's because cap plan cash basically pays for 33 percent of downstate construction gigs. Upstate, it boosted the economy to the tune of 79,869 jobs between 2005 and 2009, according to Transportation Alternatives, a transit advocacy group.

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New Yorkers Think the State Is Doing OK, Worry the U.S. Is Going Downhill: Poll

New Yorkers really don't like the idea of giving politicians more money, but they do like Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Barack Obama a lot, according to a new Siena College poll.

What specifically does our fine state fancy?

Well, pollsters from the college's research institute say that 75 percent of voters see Cuomo favorably, saying that "he's providing the leadership New York has lacked for too long." Still, they don't think he should have more money: 66-75 percent don't think that electeds or appointed officials should get raises.

Meanwhile, Obama is beating his top Republican competition Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich by a wide margin. He has a 32 to 42-point lead over them.

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Cuomo Might Call for Cuts in Tuesday's Budget Proposal

Gov. Andrew Cuomo isn't releasing his 2012-2013 budget proposal until Tuesday, but early reports suggest more cuts are on their way, The Associated Press reports (via Wall Street Journal).

Because Cuomo has to address a $2 billion shortfall -- and has promised no additional taxes -- this means that he will probably push for additional belt-tightening, Reuters notes.

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