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Today in City Hall

By Jill Terreri

Good morning,

This blog is coming to you from the ninth floor of City Hall, where the Planning Board will begin its meeting any minute, one of many meetings today in 65 Niagara Square. The board will consider plans for a homeless women's shelter on Oberlin Street on the East Side, and expansion plans for the Acropolis restaurant on Elmwood Avenue.

The city's Ethics Board is meeting at 9 a.m. in Room 1317.

Continue reading "Today in City Hall" »

Dems still not ready to back Dunn for sheriff

By Robert J. McCarthy

   Erie County Democrats are biding their time before moving toward their expected endorsement of Bert Dunn as the candidate for sheriff this year.

   Chairman Jeremy J. Zellner said it will be at least May 4 before the party will again consider Dunn, who is seeking the party nod along with retired Sheriff's Lt. Richard Dobson and Transit Police Lt. Michael E. Garrity. Some Democrats have privately expressed doubts over the apparent front runner for the party endorsement after he inadvertently texted to unintended recipients his dislike for President Obama and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, as well as his admiration for President Ronald Reagan.

   Dunn also has had to explain to members of the Executive Committee his many party switches, since Board of Elections records indicate he is a Republican-turned-Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-Democrat.

   "Bert has got to talk to grassroots people and say to them why he is the best candidate," Zellner said Monday.

   The chairman said though he had planned an earlier endorsement meeting, he is now delaying until possibly May 4, when he plans to ceremonially open the party's new headquarters on Seneca Street.

   "We want all our ducks in a row," he said.

Video: Week in Washington - A local angle on the federal immigration debate

Washington Bureau Chief Jerry Zremski previews an upcoming story about the local aspects to the national immigration debate, as well as other news items expected later this week.


Groups calls on Cuomo to let the sun shine

By Tom Precious

ALBANY -- A conservative religious organization has a new video out today, poking a bit of fun at Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and his style of government transparency. The video, Light of Day, comes courtesy of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, which is fighting an abortion rights plan by Cuomo that the governor first floated in 2010 and again during his January State of the State; he has yet to produce a bill explaining exactly what his proposal would do.

"The governor's self-described greatest legislative accomplishments -- same-sex marriage and gun control -- were each brought about through corrupt, undemocratic processes and backroom deals done in the dark,'' said Rev. Jason McGuire, the group's executive director. Cuomo has been increasingly criticized for keeping secret his legislative ideas until the last minute. UPDATE: Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was asked today if Cuomo's practice of withholding actual legislation to accompany broad policy plans makes it difficult for negotiations. "Yes,'' he said smiling.

Voters say Albany corruption a "very serious'' problem; Cuomo dips again

By Tom Precious

ALBANY -- About a third of New Yorkers believe their own state senator or member of the Assembly could be arrested for corruption, and 81 percent overall believe the handcuffs will be coming out again for some legislator before too long, a new poll has found.

The Siena College poll released this morning, coming weeks after two downstate state lawmakers were busted in separate corruption cases, said voters believe federal prosecutors and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman -- not Gov. Andrew Cuomo or district attorneys -- would be best in trying to reduce corruption at the Capitol.

In all, 91 percent believe corruption in the Legislature is a serious problem. Still, voters are statistically split, given the poll's margin of error, with an ever-so-slight edge among voters who believe most lawmakers are "honest and law-abiding.''

Continue reading "Voters say Albany corruption a "very serious'' problem; Cuomo dips again" »

Monday's must-reads from Washington

By Jerry Zremski

With the nation still reeling from the amazing events in Boston last week, The New York Times takes us to Dagestan, the troubled Russian region where bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev reveled in his growing Muslim faith during a recent visit.

Turning our attention back to home, The Washington Post explores whether Wall Street is fueling another housing bubble.

And Politico, as always, keeps things political, taking a look at President Obama's new political organization -- and why Republicans fear it.


Video: McCarthy on new twists in potential bid to unseat Byron Brown

The former head of the Buffalo FBI office is raising money in what will likely be a bid to try to unseat Mayor Byron Brown. The News' Bob McCarthy tells Brian Meyer that Bernard Tolbert has some influential financial backers:

Friday's must-reads from Washington

By Jerry Zremski

Of course, all eyes are on Boston today, and so today's top read is The Boston Globe. The Globe's website is usually behind a paywall, but it has been opened for all to read ever since Monday's Boston Marathon bombings. And as it has been for many years on many issues, the Globe's local coverage has been impeccable.

Meanwhile in Washington, the Post offers up a fascinating profile of the Mississippi man who mailed deadly ricin to a U.S. senator and President Obama.

And The New York Times tells us that on immigration reform, senators are trying to steer clear of the pitfalls that doomed gun control legislatuon.

Thursday's must-reads from Washington

By Jerry Zremski

A Senate minority's defeat of gun control legislation has the nation's capital reflecting on its dysfunction yet again. But The New York Times tells us that gun control never really had a chance.

So you think the nation is tied up with too many regulations? Wait till you see immigration reform, the Hill says.

Yet the immigration debate has already produced one bit winner, according to conservative columnist Rich Lowry: Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y.

Cuomo's bill-drafting office not working overtime

By Tom Precious

ALBANY -- In the first four months of 2013, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has introduced just one program bill: the gun control legislation in the early days of January.

That, even by Albany standards, is a remarkably low number when compared to previous governors.

After Cuomo on Monday expressed a view that it makes more sense to introduce bills once he has deals with lawmakers, New York Public Interest Research Group's Bill Mahoney provided some quick numbers that would certainly show Cuomo to be a governor who wants to have a high batting average. An important note: Mahoney counts the total number of program bills. So that means the gun control bill, which had to be introduced in both houses, counts as two program bill introductions.

Looking at the numbers that way, here are the number of program bills introduced the past few administrations:

2013 (Cuomo): 2
2012 (Cuomo): 58
2011 (Cuomo): 45
2010 (Paterson): 237
2009 (Paterson): 464
2008 (Spitzer/Paterson): 101
2007 (Spitzer): 69
2006 (Pataki): 93
2005 (Pataki): 115
2004 (Pataki): 88
2003 (Pataki): 71
2002 (Pataki): 117


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About Politics Now

Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.

Tom Precious

Tom Precious

Tom Precious joined The Buffalo News in 1997 as bureau chief at the state Capitol, where he covers everything from statewide politics and state government fiscal affairs to health care, environmental and municipal government matters. Prior to The News, he worked for news outlets in Albany and Washington, DC.

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri is an Amherst native and has covered politics and government in upstate New York since 2003. She joined The Buffalo News in 2012 and covers City Hall.

@jillterreri |

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski, The Buffalo News Washington bureau chief, has reported from the nation's capital since 1989 after joining The News as a business reporter in 1984. A graduate of Syracuse University, Zremski is a former Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University. In 2007, he served as president of the National Press Club.

@JerryZremski |