Politics and Government

6:48am

Fri September 27, 2013
Politics and Government

State's Capital Plan needs more detail, says watchdog group

A budget watchdog group says New York’s new 10 year plan of how it will spend more than $174 billion in road, bridge and numerous other projects lacks transparency and needs more details on how it will all be paid for.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration, for the first time, has compiled a list of all the state improvement projects anticipated for the next 10 years, for a total estimated cost of $174.4 billion.

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7:19am

Thu September 26, 2013
Politics and Government

GOP searching for candidate to run for 24th congressional district

Ellen Abbott WRVO

With former Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle out of the picture, Syracuse-area Republicans can concentrate on the search for a candidate to challenge Democratic incumbent Dan Maffei, who's expected to run for reelection in the 24th Congressional District. Buerkle announced on Wednesday that she wasn't interested in another race against Maffei, preferring to focus on her position on the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

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7:53am

Wed September 25, 2013
Politics and Government

Moreland hearing focuses on more alleged corruption

The second public hearing held by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s commission to probe public corruption featured testimony from long time government reform groups. Many brought more evidence that they say shows potential corruption involving money and politics.

Protesters outside the hearing were advocating for public campaign finance reform, chanting “money out, voters in,” and displaying a wall of shame, featuring pictures and likenesses of dozens of politicians who’ve been indicted, arrested, convicted or jailed in recent years.

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7:49am

Tue September 24, 2013
Politics and Government

Thruway will offer more places to pull over and text

Zack Seward WXXI

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the state Thruway will offer more places to pull over and answer text messages or make cell phone calls, in an effort to prevent texting while driving incidents.

The New York state Thruway will now have 91 official sites designated as texting and calling areas, to reduce texting while driving. The governor, speaking at the New Baltimore rest stop on the Thruway just south of Albany, says statistics show distracted driving has now become more deadly than drunk driving. He says one out of five accidents today are attributed to distracted driving.

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7:38am

Tue September 24, 2013
Politics and Government

Syracuse mayoral candidate Kevin Bott challenges incumbent Stephanie Miner to debate

Syracuse's Green Party mayoral candidate Kevin Bott shakes hands with incumbent Democratic Mayor Stephanie Miner.
Tom Magnarelli WRVO

Syracuse's Green Party mayoral candidate, Kevin Bott, met his opponent, current Mayor Stephanie Miner, for the first time Monday night and challenged her to a debate.

Miner said she was willing to listen to what he had to say and that her campaign manager would get back to him.

Bott says the people of Syracuse deserve to hear different viewpoints debate each other in a general election.

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7:19am

Mon September 23, 2013
Politics and Government

Second hearing Tuesday for Moreland corruption commission

The second hearing of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Moreland Act Commission, which is targeting corruption in the legislature, will be held Tuesday evening in Albany. Government reform groups are scheduled to testify, and some say the commission should be looking at some of the campaign contributions to the governor himself.

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6:30am

Fri September 20, 2013
Politics and Government

Casino referendum wording increases odds that amendment will pass, say critics

This November, voters in New York will decide whether the state will allow up to seven new resort-style gambling casinos, when they vote on a constitutional amendment. But the wording of the actual referendum on the ballot may increase the odds of the new casinos being approved.

Most ballot referendums proposing constitutional changes are written in very drab, and even confusing language. But the proposal to change the state’s constitution to allow up to seven new gambling casinos is different.

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4:31pm

Thu September 19, 2013
Politics and Government

Cuomo says Washington gridlock won't affect Obamacare in NY

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said threats in Congress to defund Obamacare won’t have any effect on the federal Affordable Health Care Act going forward in New York.

Cuomo said even if Congress is gridlocked over funding for the federal health care act, New York will still be going ahead on Oct. 1 with the required health care exchanges.

 “The health exchange is up and running,” Cuomo said on a trip to Niagara Falls. “I don’t believe there’s going to be any effect on the state.”

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6:47am

Thu September 19, 2013
Politics and Government

Corruption hearings continue in Moreland Act Commission meeting

A commission appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to investigate public corruption is holding its first series of hearings. At the kick-off event in New York City, a prominent figure in busting corruption in the legislature announced he’s found a back door way to confiscate the pensions of convicted state politicians.

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4:07pm

Wed September 18, 2013
Politics and Government

NY state considers easing fire suppression requirement for gas stations

Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica) discusses gas station regulations
Office of Assemblyman Brindisi

Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica) is urging New York state to keep the requirement that all gas stations have fire suppressant systems above their gas pumps. The New York State Code Council has proposed abolishing that regulation, but Brinidisi says that could put drivers at risk.

"These fire suppression systems act like having a firefighter already at the gas station. So if an incident does occur, the suppression system kicks in right away, and minimizes the risk of injury or even worse, potential death," he said.

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4:19pm

Tue September 17, 2013
Politics and Government

Maffei discusses range of topics at town hall

Rep. Dan Maffei (D-NY) at the OCC town hall meeting Monday night
Tom Magnarelli/WRVO

About sixty people came to Onondaga Community College Monday night for Rep. Dan Maffei's town hall meeting. Constituents asked about the Democrat from Syracuse Democrat everything from the economy to health care.  

Federal spending on infrastructure was one of the economic topics discussed. While Maffei says there is no partisan divide in central New York when it comes to investing in infrastructure, but he said he doesn't expect any bill on it to pass the Republican-controlled House of Representatives in the near future.  

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7:40am

Tue September 17, 2013
Politics and Government

Republican Party drops out of Syracuse mayoral race

Onondaga County Republican Party Chairman Tom Dadey announces that the GOP will not field a candidate for mayor of Syracuse in the November elections.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

For the first time in a century, there won't be a candidate on the Republican line in the race for Syracuse mayor this November. The GOP held off as long as it could to try to find a candidate, before calling off the the search.

"We gave it a yeoman's effort to try and find a candidate," Onondaga County Republican Party Chair Tom Dadey said. "That's why we went to the extraordinary lengths we went to, to preserve our ballot line for as long as we could, in hopes that that candidate would come forward, who's never come forward."

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7:00am

Mon September 16, 2013
Politics and Government

GOP leader says there's interest in challenging Cuomo in 2014

file photo
Zack Seward WXXI

The primaries are over and the general election in November is still weeks away, but already many in the political world are thinking about the next significant contest on the horizon -- the 2014 statewide elections. State GOP Chairman Ed Cox, in an interview with New York State Public Radio and Television, says he’s working to finding a Republican candidate to challenge Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and says several people are interested.

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5:14pm

Fri September 13, 2013
Politics and Government

Maffei: non-military solution to Syrian crisis is preferable

Congressman Dan Maffei (D-NY) holds a "Commitment to Constituent Service" press conference at his downtown Syracuse office on Friday.
Tom Magnarelli/WRVO

Syracuse-area Rep. Dan Maffei in one of many congressmen who has received a classified military briefing this week regarding the use of chemical weapons in Syria. President Barack Obama had asked Congress to vote to authorize a military strike against Syria, but then asked congressional leaders to put the vote on hold while diplomatic discussions about securing Syria's chemical weapons continue.

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4:56pm

Fri September 13, 2013
Politics and Government

Joanie Mahoney presents Onondaga County 2014 budget

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney presents her 2014 budget to the Onondaga County Legislature.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Onondaga County is on firm, fiscal footing according to County Executive Joanie Mahoney.  Mahoney offered up a $1.22 billion 2014 budget to the Onondaga County Legislature Friday that features spending cuts and a slight decrease in tax rates.

Mahoney says there are a couple of reasons for the slimmer spending plan.

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6:46am

Fri September 13, 2013
Politics and Government

Environmentalists say decline in pollution enforcement can harm New Yorkers' health

An environmental group says budget cuts at the state’s environmental agency has meant up to 75 percent fewer inspections of polluters like power plants and hazardous waste sites.

David Gahl, with Environmental Advocates, says years of budget cuts at the state Department of Environmental Conservation, known as the DEC, has led to a one-third reduction of staff, and an even greater decrease in the number of inspections of potential polluters.

“DEC is looking less and finding less,” Gahl said.

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4:18pm

Thu September 12, 2013
Politics and Government

Hanna, Owens support delaying vote on Syria

The ongoing civil war in Syria is dominating the discussion in Washington this week.  Rep. Richard Hanna, who represents an area from Utica to Binghamton, was one of many congressmen who received a classified briefing on Syria.

He said the U.S. should be looking at the Russian proposal for Syria to give up its chemical weapons, fairly, but also with some skepticism. Hanna, a Republican, said going to war again is not the best option.

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7:17am

Thu September 12, 2013
Politics and Government

Kevin Bott launches Green Party mayoral campaign in Syracuse

Green Party mayoral candidate Kevin Bott stands on the steps of City Hall while launching his campaign.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO file photo

Syracuse's Green Party is optimistic about the race for mayor of Syracuse. Candidate Kevin Bott kicked off his campaign on the steps of City Hall yesterday, suggesting that even though incumbent mayor Stephanie Miner won a three-way Democratic primary, there are signs her political support isn't that strong.

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9:01am

Wed September 11, 2013
Politics and Government

Watertown primary decides city council candidates, draws few voters

Four of the six candidates running for Watertown City Council, including the race's two incumbents, are moving on to the general election in November, following Tuesday's primary election.

Incumbent candidates Teresa Macaluso and Jeffrey Smith took the top two spots, with 575 and 454 votes, respectively. Challenger Stephen Jennings also had a strong showing, falling only two votes shy of Smith. Cody Horbacz also moves on to the November election.

Jasmine Borreffine and Rodney LaFave received the lowest totals and were eliminated from the race.

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7:59am

Wed September 11, 2013
Politics and Government

Mayors in 2014 face big fiscal challenges

Whatever is the outcome of Tuesday’s primaries, most mayors who win a new term in cities across the state will face a similar challenge - how to get their municipalities back on secure financial footing.   

The next political leaders of New York City, smaller cities upstate, and even large suburban counties like Nassau County, will all face a big test once they take office; how to solve mounting fiscal difficulties.

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7:20am

Wed September 11, 2013
Politics and Government

Syracuse primaries shrink field for mayoral, councilor-at-large positions

Stephanie Miner receives a hug on primary night.
Tom Magnarelli/WRVO

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner took a step toward a second term in yesterday's Democratic mayoral primary, after winning more than half of the votes cast in a three-way race for the Democratic spot on the November ballot.

"Tonight we heard loudly and clearly, that the people of this party are looking forward and not backward," Miner said.

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6:36am

Tue September 10, 2013
Politics and Government

Primary day expected to draw low numbers

Columbia City Blog Flickr

It's primary day in New York state, and city halls throughout the region are at the center of voting. Probably the highest profile mayoral race is in New York City, but voters will also be choosing candidates for mayor in Buffalo, Rochester, Albany, Watertown and Syracuse.

While the polls give an edge to incumbents in these races, Onondaga County Democratic Elections Commissioner Dustin Czarny says candidates can't afford to take anything for granted.

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7:25am

Mon September 9, 2013
Politics and Government

Environmental advocates say better staffing more important than bond act

The leaders of the environmental committee in the New York state legislature have proposed a $5 billion environmental bond act, to be voted on in November 2014. But at an Assembly hearing on the state’s environmental budget, advocates say a bigger concern is dwindling staff at the Department of Environmental Conservation.

Assembly Environmental Committee Chair Robert Sweeney is sponsoring a bill to create a $5 billion environmental bond act to promote clean water, clean air and to preserve public land.

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4:49pm

Fri September 6, 2013
Politics and Government

NYS education commissioner visits two very different school districts

State Education Commissioner John King visits a seventh grade math class at Wellwood Middle School in the Fayetteville-Manlius School District.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

It was a tale of two distinct school districts in Onondaga County as State Education Commissioner John King visited central New York today during a new school year swing through the state. While there are big differences between the Fayetteville-Manlius and Syracuse City School Districts, he found some similarities especially when it comes to attacking the new rigorous common core standards.

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6:52am

Fri September 6, 2013
Politics and Government

Cuomo's "death penalty" remarks on failing schools draws reaction

knittymarie/flickr

The school year starts for New York children this week and next week. It comes amid concerns regarding low test scores for many of the state’s students, and harsh rhetoric from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, saying he wants a “death penalty” option for dealing with failing schools.  

Most of the state’s school children did not measure up in new tests administered last year. Only 31% passed the new math and English exams, according to the State Education Department. Numbers were higher in suburban schools and lower in urban and rural areas.

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6:44am

Thu September 5, 2013
Politics and Government

Maffei, Owens talk about upcoming Syria vote

Ellen Abbott WRVO file photo

While Congress prepares to vote on whether or not to take military action against Syria, two local members of Congress are still considering all the facts. Syracuse-area Democrat Dan Maffei says he is looking at the big picture, but says he still has questions that need to be answered, including how it will impact American service members.

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6:33am

Thu September 5, 2013
Politics and Government

Miner receives endorsement from environmentalist group

Mayor Stephanie Miner receives an endorsement from the local and regional arm of the Sierra Club.
Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner has some local environmentalists on her side in her race for reelection.

The local and regional arm of the Sierra Club is supporting Miner in her bid for mayor, citing what they say is her ambitious environmental vision for Syracuse. Shortly after becoming mayor, Miner created the Bureau of Sustainability and Environment, dedicated to environmental issues in the city. Miner says these are important issues, even in a time of fiscal instability. She also says city residents appreciate the focus on this issue.

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6:21am

Thu September 5, 2013
Politics and Government

NY Senate hearing places focus on special tax breaks

Members from several progressive groups hold signs during a press conference.
Karen Dewitt/WRVO

Senate Republicans held a hearing on how to cut taxes, while also questioning whether some targeted special tax breaks are worth the money. Meanwhile, some groups complained that they’d been unfairly excluded from the discussion.

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8:18am

Wed September 4, 2013
Politics and Government

Area lawmakers weigh in on upcoming Syria vote

As Congress begins to debate a resolution to authorize United States military action in Syria, members of the New York congressional delegation are expressing their opinion publicly about what should be done.

Rep. Tom Reed, a Republican who represents parts of the Finger Lakes and Souther Tier regions, has been conducting a listening tour in his district to gather opinions from his constituents.

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7:22am

Wed September 4, 2013
Politics and Government

Business group pushes for tax cuts, fracking to revive upstate economy

WBFO

An upstate pro-business group says regions of the state north of Westchester need special attention in the coming months to help the floundering economy. The group Unshackle Upstate is proposing a series of tax cuts, as well as a start to hydrofracking as the remedy.

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