politics

Tom Magnarelli/WRVO

Rep. Dan Maffei (D-Syracuse) is still concerned over how the White House handled the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from captivity in Afghanistan, saying some things were done right, but others wrong.

Bergdahl was freed from five years of imprisonment under the Taliban in Afghanistan about two weeks ago. In exchange, five Taliban prisoners in American custody were released. 

Bergdahl returned to the United States early Friday morning to an Army medical center in San Antonio, Texas, after receiving treatment at a military medical facility in Germany. 

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Rep. Dan Maffei is taking a wait-and-see approach on his opinion over the release of U.S. Army soldier Bowe Bergdahl from captivity in Afghanistan.

Bergdahl's freedom was negotiated in exchange for five suspected terrorists in American custody. It's drawn sharp criticism from members of Congress, particularly over their lack of prior knowledge. There are also questions over the circumstances of Bergdahl's capture and nearly five year detainment.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Green Party politician Howie Hawkins says a third party candidate has a chance to win the governorship.

The left-leaning Working Families Party has endorsed Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the Democrat running for reelection, but some members of the party weren’t happy with the choice.

Hawkins, a perennial progressive candidate for office, sees that as an opportunity.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

One of the Democratic Party’s top women visited Syracuse to stump for Rep. Dan Maffei, who is running for re-election to Congress.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Florida Democrat, is chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee. She spoke a Laci’s Tapas Bar Monday, a women-owned restaurant in the city's Hawley Green neighborhood.

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, Common Councilor Helen Hudson, and former Palmyra Mayor Vicky Daly all showered their praise as well.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

New York Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy has informed Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a letter that he is not running for a second term, and Cuomo has accepted his resignation from the ticket. Duffy will serve out the rest of his term, which ends in December.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo will have to pick a new running mate now that Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy has announced he won't seek a second term.

Duffy notified Cuomo of his intentions in a letter first reported by the Democrat and Chronicle of Rochester. The 59-year-old former Rochester mayor cites the travel demands of his current job and a desire to spend more time with his family.

It’s about freedom of speech.

That’s what Greece Town Supervisor Bill Reilich told reporters Monday after the Supreme Court decided the town council was not violating the constitution by opening town meetings with prayer.

The town kept the tradition of offering prayers before each meeting, even after two residents brought the case to court in 2008.

Ryan Delaney/WRVO and Katko for Congress

Rep. Dan Maffei has called on his Republican challenger to sign a pledge vowing to run a "clean campaign." That challenger, John Katko, agrees with the notion, but has decided to raise Maffei's offer.

Maffei, D-Syracuse, sent the pledge to Katko this week, saying the two should reject campaign contributions from "shady" outside groups that hide their donors. They should run "an honest, straightforward campaign," Maffei wrote.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner says she's not involved in picking a replacement to help run the state Democratic Party. She stepped down from her role as co-chair of the party last week.

Miner had the job for two years, but left to, as she puts it, give someone else a chance.

Since taking the post, though, she publicly disagreed and had a falling out with the state's most powerful Democrat and person who appointed her to the post: Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

National Popular Vote

New York lawmakers have approved a bill that would enter the state in the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, an agreement to award electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the majority of the popular vote.

Proponents of the National Popular Vote initiative believe that the Electoral College, in place since the first days of the nation, is not the best way to elect a president.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Howie Hawkins, a longtime member of the Green Party, has kicked off another campaign for governor of New York, this time with a goal to win four times as many votes as he did four years ago.

Hawkins lives on Syracuse’s south side and works for UPS. Over the years, he’s run for everything from Common Council to Congress.

In 2010, he notched just shy of 60,000 votes and raised $45,000 in his bid for governor. That was more votes than any other third party candidate. He’s hoping to quadruple both those numbers in November.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy says there’s no truth to rumors he will not be campaigning with the governor this fall. 

Wait for the facts to come out about him and the governor’s (both Democrats) political plans, Duffy said Tuesday in Buffalo.

Last year Duffy interviewed to become leader of the Rochester Business Alliance – the city he was once mayor of. He withdrew about a week later.

He's not being asked to step aside, he said.

Gage Skidmore / via Flickr

  Real estate developer, television personality and possible gubernatorial candidate Donald Trump will be in Syracuse next month as part of a fundraiser hosted by the Onondaga County Republican Committee.

Committee Chairman Tom Dadey says he hopes Trump's visit will provide a boost to local candidates, while raising money for local candidates and party operations.

"This is not Donald Trump coming to raise money for Donald Trump," Dadey said. "This is Donald Trump coming to raise money for the local Onondaga County Republican Committee, and we appreciate him doing that."

Syracuse University

A few weeks ago, David Crane got a call. The Syracuse University law professor was asked to join a team who would be examining a collection of tens of thousands of gruesome photographs. They appeared to show widespread torture and killings at detention facilities run by Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s government.

Two days later, Crane was in the Middle East, with two other former war crimes prosecutors and forensics experts, poring over the images and interviewing the man who took them.

Joanna Richards / WRVO

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand says the nation’s workplace policies are out of date and don’t reflect increasing women’s employment – and their roles as family caregivers. Gillibrand was in Watertown yesterday to make the case for paid family and medical leave.

Students and reporters jostled in a student lounge as Jefferson Community College president Carole McCoy introduced the senator. Gillibrand told the crowd of several dozen that her legislation would provide financial security to people dealing with the birth of a child, or sick or dying family members.

Four years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that corporations could spend unlimited amounts of money on politics, a central New York group is calling on New York state to stand up to the ruling.

Members of Move to Amend are lobbying state officials to pass a resolution opposing the Citizens United case. Michael Messina-Yauchzy says a constitutional amendment is the ultimate solution.

"Corporations need to be limited," he said Tuesday. "It’s 'we the people,' the corporations need to be controlled by the people. We establish the legal framework."

Gov. Andrew Cuomo hosted Vice President Joe Biden to talk about new ways of rebuilding infrastructure after damaging storms. The two are potential presidential contenders in 2016, if Hillary Clinton doesn’t run. But they had nothing but praise for one another.  

New York state received $6 billion in federal aid after Superstorm Sandy, and Cuomo Biden to the State Capitol, to show him how he’s spending the money.

Joanna Richards

Governor Andrew Cuomo visited a newly expanded snowmobiler lounge in Lowville Monday to unveil a new ad campaign to promote winter tourism upstate. Cuomo says there’s new energy in the north country, thanks to increasing economic investment. He credits the efforts of both the region and his administration in making that happen.  

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli says he’ll need to see more details and end of the calendar year state revenue figures before deciding whether the state can afford $2 billion in new tax cuts that Gov. Andrew Cuomo is likely to propose.

Governor Cuomo says he thinks if state spending is held to a 2 percent growth rate next year, there will be enough money in the state budget to finance $2 billion worth of property and business tax cuts.

Comptroller DiNapoli says he’s not so sure it will all add up.

David Sommerstein/NCPR

An Inspector General's report finds that Clayton's town supervisor is among dozens of current and former state prison officials who misused their work-issued vehicles at taxpayer expense. 

The report says 80 members of the Corrections Department leadership used their state vehicles mostly to commute to and from work for years. They did so with the blessing of former department Commissioner Brian Fischer. He continued to approve the practice long after a 2009 state policy shift meant to rein in such excesses.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Absentee ballots still need to be counted, but Democrats appear to clawed back a seat on the Onondaga County Legislature. Republicans, though, are playing up the fact that they will maintain a 'super majority' in the body.

Republicans didn't have much else to celebrate Tuesday as they didn't put anyone up in the mayor's race and lost at least one of the two Common Council races they were contesting.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Syracuse Republicans are just a few dozen votes shy of winning back a city office as a race for Common Council will come down to absentee ballots, but the rest of city hall remained solidly Democratic after Tuesday's election.

The two new faces we know of for sure on the Common Council are Chad Ryan in the Second District and Pamela Hunter in an at-large spot. Ryan won Pat Hogan’s old seat, who was term-limited, by beating Republican Alex Walsh with 59 percent of the unofficial vote.

Joanna Richards

Watertown's City Council hopefuls got one final chance before tomorrow's election to make their case at a meet-the-candidates event last week. The four opponents advocate different roles for city government. 

The race pits two incumbents who see a limited role for city government against a pair of political newcomers with broader visions for what the council can do to improve residents' lives. 

Courtesy Andy Daddio / Colgate University

There were no veiled questions of her political aspirations, and thus Hillary Clinton made no mention of whether she'll run for office again in a lecture at Colgate University in Hamilton Friday evening.

It was the former secretary of state and U.S. senator's second speech in central New York in three weeks. She spoke at Hamilton College on Oct. 4. It's been part of a series of lectures Clinton has been giving, on college campuses and to private functions.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

A Siena College poll this week shows that most New Yorkers don't know about the Moreland Commission, a panel of district attorneys and law enforcement officials investigating public corruption in Albany.

Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick, co-chair of the Moreland Commission, says it doesn't bother him that many New Yorkers are unaware of the group's probes into public corruption. But he expects that'll change December 1, when the Moreland Commission releases it's report.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Syracuse’s Green Party office seekers want to see state aid return to historic levels and a new scaled local income tax on city residents and those that work in it.

Mayoral candidate Kevin Bott and Common Council hopeful Howie Hawkins say that will help solve the city’s fiscal problems.

Low wage earners would pay less than a percent on their income and it would work up to a few percentage points for higher earners, they propose.

Joanna Richards

Most people have heard of “navigators” for the new health insurance exchanges. They're the trained, impartial guides funded by the federal government to help people make more informed choices as they shop for policies. And then there are private insurance brokers...there's been less talk about it, but they, too, can help consumers sign up for plans.

On the exchanges' first days, both kinds of guides were busy on the front lines of this major policy shift.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Hillary Clinton seamlessly weaved local politics and foreign affairs in a speech to a packed house at Hamilton College Friday evening.

The former first lady, U.S. senator, presidential candidate and secretary of state had plenty of experience to dip into as she talked about current issues facing the nation like the government shutdown and U.S. foreign policy in Asia.

About 6,000 people packed into the field house at the small college, some sporting old campaign buttons and signs. Applause was boisterous anytime she mentioned youth or shared a local story.

Joanna Richards

Farmers and agricultural industry leaders in the North Country had the ears of state lawmakers yesterday in Watertown. The forum, hosted by State Senator Patty Ritchie, was one of 10 being held throughout the state on the topic of regulatory reform in a variety of industries.

Watertown meets primary candidates for City Council

Sep 6, 2013
Joanna Richards

Watertown is holding a primary election next Tuesday for two seats on the City Council. The election is non-partisan, so all six candidates are running for the chance to move on to the general election in November. A Meet-the-Candidates event was held Thursday at the city's Italian-American Civic Association.

 

The candidates weighed in on issues ranging from economic development, to fluoride in the water supply, to making Watertown a more welcoming place for dogs during the two-hour question-and-answer session. Several dozen people came to listen.

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