Politics and Government

7:50am

Tue August 27, 2013
Politics and Government

Former councilwoman McCarty shows support for mayoral candidate Pat Hogan

Nancy McCarty stands with about 30 other women on the steps of Syracuse City Hall, showing their support for mayoral candidate Pat Hogan.
Tom Magnarelli/WRVO

About thirty women stood on the steps of city hall in Syracuse Monday with democratic leader Nancy McCarty, showing their support for Syracuse City Councilman Pat Hogan for mayor.

Led by McCarty, a former city councilwoman and school board commissioner, the women voiced their support for Hogan's educational platform which includes full-day pre-kindergarten. Joanne Batalia, a retired teacher's assistant with the Syracuse City Schools, said President Barack Obama came to Syracuse because the Say Yes to Education program has been somewhat successful.

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8:00pm

Sun August 25, 2013
Politics and Government

Syracuse democratic mayoral candidates on The Campbell Conversations: Part 1

The democratic candidates for Syracuse mayor on WRVO's The Campbell Conversations
Tom Fazzio

The three candidates vying for the Democratic Party line in the upcoming City of Syracuse mayoral election could only agree to two public forums.  What follows is one of them.  On this week’s edition of the Campbell Conversations, we present the first segment of a two-part series—the second part airing next Sunday, September 1.  The topic for this week, moderated by host Grant Reeher, is the political process and executive leadership.

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2:03pm

Fri August 23, 2013
Politics and Government

I-STOP law poses opportunities, concerns about implementation

The tragedies caused by prescription drug abuse, addictions, overdoses and ruined lives are not unique to New York state, but Assemblyman Michael Cusick realized a couple years ago that Staten Island, where his district is located, could be considered the epicenter of the problem.

“We have numbers that are staggering of people overdosing from prescription drugs and the theft of prescription drugs," Cusick said. "The misuse is rampant here on Staten Island."

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7:16am

Fri August 23, 2013
Politics and Government

Activists protest outside Obama speech in Syracuse

Protesters have their photo taken in front of Henninger High School before Obama's speech.
Tom Magnarelli/WRVO

Protesters against hydrofracking, the controversial gas drilling process, followed President Barack Obama to Syracuse from his first stop in Buffalo on Thursday.

"Ban fracking now! Obama! Ban fracking now! Obama!"

The voices of about one hundred protesters were united in their opposition to hydrofracking. Julianne Skinner came from Montrose, Pa., an area where fracking is allowed.

"They [gas companies] didn't exercise caution," Skinner said. "They were in there, do it quick, do it dirty, get our money and let's go."  

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5:01pm

Thu August 22, 2013
Politics and Government

Hydrofracking subject of rally at Obama's Buffalo speech

Bosc d'Anjou Flickr

More than a dozen people rallied in a controlled area across from Alumni Arena in Buffalo today. While some were there to ask President Obama to pull out of the Middle East and stop using drones, the majority of protesters were there to urge the president to ban the gas drilling technique known as hydrofracking. Rita Yelda is with Food and Water Watch. She says her group was hoping to get the chance to meet the president and let its voice be heard.

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4:23pm

Thu August 22, 2013
Politics and Government

Slideshow: President Obama in Syracuse

Many protestors gathered at Henninger High School to greet the president.
Tom Magnarelli WRVO News

President Obama visited Syracuse Thursday, giving a speech on making college more affordable for middle class students. Take a look at some of the photos in and around Henninger High School in Syracuse, where the president gave his speech.

6:53am

Thu August 22, 2013
Politics and Government

GOP leaders "welcome" Obama to upstate with criticism

Top state and national Republican leaders hammered President Barack Obama and questioned his motives for a planned bus tour of upstate New York to discuss access to higher education. The tour begins in Buffalo on Thursday.

Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus, called Mr. Obama’s planned trip a “lame duck bus tour," and predicted that the president would focus on the same old policies that he says haven't worked.

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4:24pm

Wed August 21, 2013
Politics and Government

Lawmakers look for ideas to help financially struggling cities

State lawmakers were looking for suggestions to prevent municipal bankruptcies in New York state at a hearing in Syracuse Tuesday on the first stop for the New York State Senate Standing Committee on Local Government.

The situation in Detroit hung over the hearing. Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner warned that cities like Syracuse continue to edge towards the brink of insolvency because revenues can't keep up with expenditures. And until the state helps with that, more cities in New York state will continue to spiral towards insolvency.

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7:41am

Tue August 20, 2013
Politics and Government

Syracuse tasing incident leads to policy discussion

Community members watch lawmakers discuss the Syracuse Police Department's use of Tasers.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

A recent case involving a disabled man tased by Syracuse Police on a CENTRO bus in May has Syracuse lawmakers looking into the police department's policy on using the electronic devices. In a meeting this week, common councilors heard from advocates who would like to see that policy updated.

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6:55am

Mon August 19, 2013
Politics and Government

Ask your question for the Syracuse mayoral candidates

Primary day is September 10 this year. In Syracuse, three Democrats will face off in a primary for mayor. Common Councilor Pat Hogan and Alfonso Davis are challenging incumbent Mayor Stephanie Miner. As of now, there is no Republican candidate on the ballot, so whoever wins the primary is likely to win the general election in November. 

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7:20am

Fri August 16, 2013
Politics and Government

Ethics commission faces abortion controversy

A political controversy involving the issue of abortion has erupted this summer at the state’s ethics commission. It stems from whether some not for profit groups should be granted exemptions from publicly disclosing their donors. The Joint Commission on Public Ethics, known as JCOPE, is charged with increasing financial transparency when it comes to politicians and the groups who lobby them.

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6:41am

Thu August 15, 2013
Obama visit to Syracuse

Maffei discusses upcoming presidential visit

file photo
Ryan Delaney WRVO file photo

President Obama will be in Buffalo, Syracuse and Binghamton next week to discuss his plan for reducing college costs, but Rep. Dan Maffei hopes the president makes a stop in Auburn, too.

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7:09am

Wed August 14, 2013
Politics and Government

Schumer calls for safer railcars to transport oil, ethanol

Senator Schumer was in Syracuse to discuss DOT-111 railcars. L to R: Commissioner of Emergency Management for Onondaga County, Kevin Wisely. Chairman of the Onondaga County legislature, Ryan McMahon. Senator Charles Schumer. Mayor Stephanie Miner.
Tom Magnarelli/WRVO

Sen. Charles Schumer is calling on the Department of Transportation to retrofit or phase out a specific type of railway car that carries crude oil and ethanol. The DOT-111 is the same kind of tank car as those that derailed and exploded in July in a small town in Quebec, killing 47 people and destroying 40 buildings.

Schumer spoke in front of a rail bridge near Armory Square in downtown Syracuse on Tuesday, where he says around 200 cars of oil and 100 cars of ethanol pass by everyday due to an increase in domestic energy production in the U.S.

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7:11am

Tue August 13, 2013
Politics and Government

Husband of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's aide fired, under investigation

William Rapfogel (left), was fired from the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty and is facing a criminal probe from the New York Attorney General's office.
Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty

There’s more bad news for people with ties to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. The husband of a top aide to the speaker has been fired from his job at a top New York City not for profit and is under criminal investigation by the state attorney general.  

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has confirmed that his office has launched a criminal probe of William Rapfogel, CEO of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, one of New York City’s largest human services agencies.

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10:15am

Mon August 12, 2013
Politics and Government

The Campbell Conversations: Syracuse Common Council Candidates

(Editor's note: Common Councilor Jean Kessner was invited to participate in the panel, but was unable to attend due to a scheduling conflict)

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7:26am

Mon August 12, 2013
Politics and Government

Cuomo spending his time upstate this summer

NYS Governor's Office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s name is frequently mentioned as a possible presidential contender in 2016 -- that is if Hillary Clinton doesn’t run. But first, the governor has to think about  his 2014 re-election race and how to shore up his support in upstate, where he’s been flagging in the polls.   

During the past several weeks, Cuomo has spent much of his time in upstate New York.

He paddled in a whitewater rafting contest he organized in the Adirondacks, to boost tourism.

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7:36am

Fri August 9, 2013
Politics and Government

Expansion of gambling could bring expansion of gambling addiction

Matthew Powell/flickr

New Yorkers have a chance to vote this November on whether there should be more gambling in the state.  Those who treat people with gambling addictions say it will likely result in more problem gamblers.

The New York Council on Problem Gambling is a not for profit, affiliated with the state agency on alcohol and drug abuse. It coordinates and publicizes treatments for New Yorkers with gambling addictions.

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2:45pm

Wed August 7, 2013
Politics and Government

Common Council votes to turn properties over to Land Bank

Syracuse Common Councilors started the process of turning over tax-delinquent properties to the new Land Bank of Syracuse and Onondaga County on Monday, beginning a new era as the city tries to get rid of many dilapidated or abandoned properties that have been a blight on some neighborhoods, and a burden for tax collectors.

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3:51pm

Tue August 6, 2013
Politics and Government

Subpoenas issued from Moreland Act

The co-chairwoman of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Moreland Act Commission on public corruption, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice, says subpoenas have been sent out and more public hearings are planned.

Rice was at the Capitol for the third private meeting of Cuomo’s Moreland Act Commission. She says several subpoenas have been issued, but they have to be kept secret for now so that the ongoing investigations won’t be jeopardized.

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5:26pm

Mon August 5, 2013
Politics and Government

Hanna hearing focuses on how universities impact job creation

Rep. Richard Hanna chaired a hearing Monday at Binghamton University on the role of universities in job creation. Hanna is chairman of the House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce and the focus of the hearing was on the importance of federal funding.

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6:31am

Mon August 5, 2013
Politics and Government

Cuomo quietly pursuing government consolidation

Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently announced that he would close several more state prisons, using provisions of a law that allows him to bypass the legislature. It’s part of a pattern of government consolidation that the governor has been quietly pursuing since he took office.

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6:42am

Fri August 2, 2013
Politics and Government

Assembly GOP Leader calls for special session

Office of Assembly Minority Leader Brain Kolb

The Republican leader of the state Assembly is calling for the legislature to return for a special session to wrap up some unfinished business.

The legislature adjourned at the end of June with no firm plans to meet again before next January, but Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb says there’s too much left to do to wait until next year.

“I definitely think we should go back,” Kolb said.  

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6:42am

Thu August 1, 2013
Politics and Government

Cuomo: Voters will decide whether gambling expands in New York

grilled cheese/flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says it’s now up to the voters to decide whether they want to expand gambling in New York. He’s signed into law a plan to build casinos upstate, but the public must approve a change in the state’s constitution in order for it to move forward.   

The new law permits up to four gambling casinos in upstate New York, as long as a referendum on November’s ballot is approved to amend the state’s constitution to allow the expanded gambling.

Cuomo says it will be up to the voters to decide.

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4:56pm

Wed July 31, 2013
Politics and Government

Cuomo brings gambling revenue to western New York

Daniel Robison/Innovation Trail

Gov. Andrew Cuomo spent Wednesday traveling to three western New York cities to deliver gambling revenue that was withheld by the Seneca Nation of Indians during a four-year dispute with the state. Cuomo and Seneca Nation President Barry Snyder, Sr. handed out a total of nearly $140 million to Niagara Falls, Buffalo and Salamanca.

While in Niagara Falls, Cuomo said these back payments will be very helpful to those local governments.

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6:56am

Wed July 31, 2013
Politics and Government

Beleaguered state ethics committee loses another commissioner

The Joint Commission on Public Ethics, or JCOPE, met Tuesday and spent most of its time in a private session, as Patrick Bulgaro, a key appointee of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, resigned from the board.

Silver was the subject of a recent ethics commission probe, which examined his role in the sexual harassment charges against former Assemblyman Vito Lopez. The report found Silver was not guilty of any wrongdoing, but did criticize his role in a secret $100,000 settlement to two of Lopez’s alleged victims.

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7:03am

Tue July 30, 2013
Politics and Government

Prison closures shock and dismay correction officers, lawmakers

JoshuaDavisPhotography/flickr

Correction officers say they are still in shock after Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s prison agency announced late on a July Friday - and with very little advance warning - their decision to close four prisons within the next year. Now, they're asking the legislature to rescind the closures.

Normally, when a governor wants to close a prison or any other state run facility, he proposes the change in his state budget plan in January. The legislature either agrees or disagrees, and a final decision to close or to keep the facility open is made in the completed state spending plan.

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4:45pm

Mon July 29, 2013
Politics and Government

Study finds New York analyzing tax dollar usage well

401(K) 2012 Flickr

New York has been labeled a "leading" state for effective use of cost-benefit analysis in a new study from the Pew-MacArthur Results First initiative. That means New York is doing a better job of making sure tax dollars are spent well, than other states.

Cost benefit analysis is determining the return on an investment. In this case  it's determining how much the taxpayer benefits from each public dollar spent.

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8:38am

Mon July 29, 2013
Politics and Government

Valesky says bipartisan coalition was successful

nysenate.gov

Syracuse-area state Senator Dave Valesky says the bipartisan coalition that governs the New York Senate was successful this year.

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1:38pm

Fri July 26, 2013
Politics and Government

Comptroller DiNapoli: We can't let NY cities go bankrupt like Detroit

The city of Detroit’s declaration of bankruptcy has left some in New York wondering whether any upstate cities will be next. State officials say they are trying to help with financial planning guidance, but local governments say more needs to be done.

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli has created a fiscal stress monitoring system that measures the financial health of New York’s local governments. A preliminary report found two dozen cities, counties and villages are moderately to severely fiscally stressed.

DiNapoli say he hopes they can avoid the fate of Detroit.

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8:01am

Thu July 25, 2013
Politics and Government

Deadline extended for public comments on proposed changes to Verizon landlines

The state's Public Service Commission is extending a public comment period on whether it’s a good idea for Verizon to stop providing land line service to some customers and supply a wireless telephone connection instead.

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