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Cuomo launches PAC

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Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo has an announcement.

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No, it’s not a write-in campaign for Nov. 8 or anotherlegal issue for Tish James. It’s a political action committee to “to elect the right people to politics,” he announced in an 8-minute video yesterday. And a podcast, which is *definitely not* copying his little brother Chris Cuomo’s comeback effort.

Cuomo comes to us after spending the past several months “engaging in something called life,” after some 40 years in politics which culminated in his resignation last year amid several sexual harassment allegations. The video did not address any of the allegations or pending lawsuits against him.

“I spent a lot of time in nature, hiking, on the water,” Cuomo said of his recent free time. “I like to work with mechanical things so I’ve been working on restoring cars, a boat and an old Harley Davidson motorcycle that I will get to run even if it kills me.”

He says he has a fresh perspective on the state of U.S. politics: its progress is limited by partisan ideals and extreme Twitter discourse. If this sounds a lot like his old perspective on U.S. politics, it’s because he’s been saying this for years.

It’s unclear whether this PAC will work just to elect Democrats, or if Republicans will be the “right people” as well. It’s unclear which candidates might be interested in taking money from him, just a year after nearly the entire slate of top New York elected officials called for his resignation. It’s unclear if it will be fully funded by the millions of dollars he still has sitting in his campaign account or if there will be an additional funding mechanism.

These questions and more might be answered in a forthcoming podcast Cuomo also announced, the second in his family to launch a forum for his independent opinions following public dismissal. “My intention is to speak the full truth — unvarnished — from the inside out — frank and candid — as a person who has been in the room many times for many years and knows their games, and as a person who actually did the job,” he said.

The concept of candidness and revealing “their games” (who, exactly, is they and how are they different than Cuomo?) sounds a lot like Chris’s “FREE AGENT” theme. Maybe the boys are planning to get back together.

Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo is seen in front of a gray background.

IT’S THURSDAY. Got tips, suggestions or thoughts? Let us know … By email: [email protected] and [email protected], or on Twitter: @erinmdurkin and @annagronewold

WHERE’S KATHY? Making an electric vehicles announcement and speaking at Carnegie Hall Opening Night Gala.

WHERE’S ERIC? Speaking at the Founders Recognition and Inauguration of President Patricia Ramsey at Medgar Evers College and the unveiling of the Microsoft Garage Tech Innovation Center, meeting with Morgan Stanley Chair and CEO James Gorman, and hosting a National Senior Centers Month reception.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “There is malfeasance of some sort.” — spokesman for Queens state Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky, 83, whose Twitter account watched some porn this week

N.Y.C. Children Held Ground in Reading, but Lagged in Math, Tests Show,” by The New York Times’ Troy Closson: “In the first sign of how New York City public schoolchildren fared during the pandemic, new test score data released Wednesday showed sharp declines in math but steady performance in reading for students in the nation’s largest school system. The results of the state’s standardized exams highlighted the uneven effects of the past two and a half years on children’s learning. Fewer than 38 percent of third through eighth graders demonstrated proficiency in math, compared with about 46 percent of students before the pandemic, the last time the exams were given to most of the city’s schoolchildren.”

City Council, Adams administration clash over solitary confinement bill, by POLITICO’s Erin Durkin: The Department of Correction denounced legislation to ban solitary confinement as City Council members vowed to press forward with the bill at a contentious hearing Wednesday. It’s the first major legislative clash between Mayor Eric Adams and the City Council, as violence at the troubled Rikers Island jail complex escalates and a potential federal takeover looms. City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams threw her support behind the bill, which is sponsored by 36 Council members — enough to override a mayoral veto. DOC Commissioner Louis Molina said the measure “would have grave consequences” and complicate the job of running a safe and humane jail. “If this bill solely banned solitary confinement, it would have my total, unwavering support. But that is not what this bill is about. It does much, much more.”

— “Never-before-scene images show Rikers inmates locked in caged showers, left in soiled pants, more poor conditions,” by WNYC’s Matt Katz: “Officials in charge of enforcing safe operations at city jails recently shared never-before-seen photos and videos from Rikers Island with assistant district attorneys in Manhattan, providing the very prosecutors who file criminal charges and request bail an unprecedented look at the squalid and deadly conditions in which defendants are held. The shocking August presentation, obtained by Gothamist through a public information request, was prepared by the Board of Correction. … It shows: A man defecating in his shorts due to a lack of toilets in the intake area and then left in his soiled clothes for 11 hours until another incarcerated person — not jail staff — brought him new clothes; a detainee locked in a cage shower for nearly 24 hours before he injured himself; and incarcerated people dragging sick people to medical care, and even administering chest compressions themselves, because assigned officers weren’t present.”

Council Speaker Makes Her Choice: Car Storage over Diners and Restauranteurs,” by Streetsblog’s Gersh Kuntzman: “Check please! Council Speaker Adrienne Adams appeared to throw the entire open restaurant program under the bus on Wednesday morning, suggesting that the revolutionary de Blasio-era repurposing of roadway space from storage of privately owned cars to outdoor dining was a mistake, despite how few parking spaces it actually took and how many jobs the city estimated it saved. ‘Outdoor dining, in my perspective, should be sidewalk,’ the Speaker said at a Citizens Union breakfast. ‘The street extensions were designed to be temporary.’”

Council members say Adams’ return-to-office push is bad for city workers with disabilities, by POLITICO’s Julian Shen-Berro: Mayor Eric Adams’ insistence that municipal workers return to the office is counterproductive when it comes to city employees with disabilities, several City Council members said Wednesday. The comments from three members of the Committee on Mental Health, Disabilities and Addiction came during a hearing about a legislative proposal aimed at creating a more equitable workforce. They also come as the city struggles with significant workforce vacancies. “Coming off the pandemic, we know that work can be done effectively remotely,” said Council Member Shahana Hanif. “Why is the administration prohibiting work arrangements that New Yorkers with disabilities need?”

Scandal-Scarred Deputy Mayor Cuts Commissioner Out of Loop to Meet With Police Brass,” by The City’s Greg Smith, Yoav Gonen and Katie Honan: “When Philip Banks was named deputy mayor for public safety in January, Mayor Eric Adams dodged questions about his longtime pal being named an unindicted co-conspirator in a high profile police corruption case. … As deputy mayor for public safety, Banks is officially responsible for overseeing agencies that include the Fire Department and Department of Correction. The NYPD is not in his portfolio because the police commissioner is supposed to report directly to the mayor. But daily schedules obtained by THE CITY show his activities for the first five months of the Adams administration, from January through May, include six sit-downs with top NYPD chiefs — without Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell.”

NUMBERS, THEY SAY WHAT YOU WANT: Hochul touts drop in shootings but picture is more complicated,” by Times Union’s Joshua Solomon: “Gov. Kathy Hochul on Wednesday touted a decline in shootings in New York this year from the same period a year ago, one that is outpacing a marginal drop nationwide. But the complete picture of crime levels is more complicated, according to state data. … But this year, the governor notes, shootings are on pace to drop from the decade-high levels in 2021. That year-to-date drop off, 840-to-756 shootings involving injury through August, could bring the state more in line with 2020 numbers, but it would still be much higher than in 2019 — despite the coronavirus pandemic’s waning influence on day-to-day life in the state. The same data show people killed by gun violence is slightly up compared to last year, but it also includes the mass shooting in Buffalo earlier this year when 10 people were slain by a lone gunman.”

Hochul: Overtime boost could help farm labor,” by Spectrum’s Nick Reisman: “Expanding overtime for farmworkers to kick in at 40 hours a week could help broaden the labor pool of agriculture workers in New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul on Wednesday said. The pending decision to lower the overtime threshold from 60 hours a week to 40 is not expected to be made for several weeks by state Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon. But Hochul on Wednesday in a news conference said there would be benefits in doing so. ‘If someone is now going to be paid for their overtime hours, why would they not want to come to New York state to work and receive a much higher compensation than they would in these other states?’ Hochul said.”

Hochul campaign hired son of donor tied to $637M ‘pay-to-play’ COVID deal,” by New York Post’s Zach Williams, Bernadette Hogan and Bruce Golding: “The son of a major Kathy Hochul donor was hired by her campaign right around the time his father hosted a fundraiser for the Democratic governor — and just weeks before the dad’s company scored what’s being called a ‘pay-to-play’ deal to sell the state $637 million in overpriced COVID-19 tests. James Tebele, 21, has a resume that starts with a 2016 summer internship at his dad Charlie’s New Jersey-based Digital Gadgets consumer technology company, which pivoted to selling masks, gowns, sanitizer, thermometers and at-home rapid tests during the pandemic. Now a student at New York University’s Schack Institute of Real Estate, James Tebele began working for Hochul’s campaign as a finance intern in November — and appears to have risen up the ranks, or at least pay scale, of her campaign as his dad’s fundraising for the governor increased.”

— “‘Would do that all again’: Hochul doubles down on $637M ‘pay-to-play’ deal,” by New York Post’s Zach Williams: “Gov. Kathy Hochul says she has no regrets about her administration giving $637 million to a COVID rapid testing company tied to $300,000 in campaign cash despite growing outrage over the alleged pay-to-play scheme. ‘I would do that all again,’ Hochul told reporters in Albany on Wednesday. ‘I’m always looking to improve because perception is important to me as well. But the reality is no contribution has ever had an effect on any decision we make. We follow the rules — always have always will,’ she added.”

After fallout, Port of Albany drops application for $29.5M federal offshore wind award,” by Spectrum’s Kate Lisa: “A historic $29.5 million federal grant will not be awarded to the Port of Albany for a offshore wind tower manufacturing project as expected. Officials with the port announced Wednesday it had withdrawn its application for the U.S. Maritime Administration funding to assist constructing the $357 million project on Beacon Island. Delaying the application process will allow more time for a state and federal review of various pending permits and environmental assessments needed to begin the work. Construction on the project, to include four new buildings, a wharf, bridge and internal roadways, was ordered to stop this spring after contractors improperly cleared trees on the port’s 80-acre site this spring without securing all the required permits — coming under fire from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for clearing the vegetation while neglecting a review process mandated under the National Environmental Policy Act.”

#UpstateAmerica: Moliendo Cafe, Ted’s Fish Fry, Jumping Jacks, Druthers, Delmonico’s and 677 Prime: These are recommended dining spots for Amazon consultants dropping in to chat at the Albany warehouse that recently filed for a union election.

‘It’s a numbers game’ in NY-21 as voters weigh Stefanik, Castelli,” by Spectrum’s Kate Lisa: “New Yorkers in the 21st Congressional District, represented by Republican Elise Stefanik, have continued to support the congresswoman as she’s moved politically farther to the right since taking office in 2015. It’s uncertain how they’ll respond to her opponent, Matt Castelli, campaigning as a moderate Democrat to appeal to voters on both sides of the aisle. The former CIA intelligence officer supports access to legal abortion, protecting the Second Amendment and wants an independent commission to address crises at the southern border. Moderate candidates are appealing across the political spectrum in the current tense climate, but Luke Perry, a political science professor at Utica University, said the party that turns out the highest number of voters will see victory.”

— Advocates worry migrants housed at the city’s tents at Orchard Beach in the Bronx could face difficulties in the flood-prone area.

— NYPD police radios may go dark by 2024, cutting off the public and media from radio communications.

— Two men were arrested in the livestreamed robbery of a Brooklyn bishop.

— A city pension fund will continue to hold virtual meetings.

— Columbia University will drop its mask mandate at the beginning of October.

— The Queens district attorney is probing alleged voter fraud targeting Assemblymember Ron Kim in the June Democratic primary.

— Mayor Eric Adamsstill hasn’t hired a fire commissioner.

— The union representing 7,000 current and retired New York state troopers has endorsed Republican Michael Henry over incumbent Attorney General Tish James.

— Aaaron Judge hit his 61st home run of the season, tying Roger Maris’s American League record.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Liz Sidoti of Abernathy MacGregor … CBS’ Tory CoughlanSalena Zito of the Washington Examiner and NY Post … POLITICO’s Ryan Hutchins … Business Insider’s Oma SeddiqMelissa DeRosa … Edelman’s Lisa Osborne Ross … NBC’s Emma BarnettAlex Goldstick

Innovation QNS developers commit to making 40 percent of units affordable,” by Queens Daily Eagle’s Jacob Kaye: “The developers behind Innovation QNS, a massive, five-block development proposed for Astoria, have committed to making 40 percent of the project’s approximately 2,800 housing units permanently affordable, the Eagle has learned. The commitment, which comes as the City Council considers the controversial project, nearly doubles the amount of affordable units previously proposed by developers Silverstein Properties, BedRock and Kaufman Astoria Studios.”

NYC Economic Development Corporation Abruptly Evicts Beloved Red Hook Playground,” by The City’s George Joseph: “Xius Pimentel, 12, loved going to PortSide Park, a waterfront playground on a parking lot just a few blocks from his family’s apartment in Red Hook, Brooklyn. He and his little sister would go there all the time to practice gardening, hang up holiday lights or catch the ocean breeze when it got too hot outside. It wasn’t an official city park, just a community space that Brooklynites like his family had helped build together during the pandemic. So the seventh grader was upset this week when his mom informed him that the park had been torn down over the weekend. … The beginning of the end came on Friday afternoon when Billybey Marina Services, a company that operates waterfront space for the New York City Economic Development Corporation, demanded that PortSide, a Red Hook nonprofit, immediately get rid of the park it had worked with locals to help build.”

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