New York politics – from City Hall to Albany

Andrew Cuomo’s Popularity Wave

Sarah Laskow | April 18, 2011

It’s amazing how much you can accomplish in politics just by doing what you said you were going to do. Paterson, Spitzer, Pataki — all of their poll numbers took a huge hit during budget seasons. Gov. Andrew Cuomo corralled the state legislature into passing the budget on time, and his poll numbers have never…

The New York Education of Jason Helgerson

Sarah Laskow | April 11, 2011

Getting the budget passed on time has earned Andrew Cuomo a round of hosannas for his shrewd political maneuvering. But one of the smartest moves that Cuomo has made since becoming governor may have been hiring Jason Helgerson as his Medicaid director — if,  for no other reason, than to hand over responsibility for the details…

Black Out, Walcott In: Deputy Mayor Is Named New Education Chancellor

Sarah Laskow | April 7, 2011

After Mayor Bloomberg introduced Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott as the city’s new education chancellor this morning, Walcott announced one of his short-term goals in his new job: making waffles with a bunch of sweet-voiced school kids. Walcott follows Cathie Black as chancellor, and the image he presented at this morning’s press conference stood in contrast…

Should Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant Be Shut Down?

Sarah Laskow | March 28, 2011

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has long opposed the nuclear power plant at Indian Point and has been speaking since the Japanese nuclear crisis about the possibility of closing it for good. For New Yorkers who agree that the nuclear power plant at Indian Point should cease operations, there is a simple way to further that goal:…

NYU vs. Greenwich Village: Round 2

Sarah Laskow | March 21, 2011

Round two of the battle between NYU and its neighbors begins tonight. Last week, the university released its revised plan for redeveloping what it calls the school’s Core area, and tonight Community Board 2 will meet for the first time to consider the revised plans. The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, which has led…

New York on Ethics Scandals: Meh

Sarah Laskow | March 14, 2011

When I talked to the Center for Public Integrity’s Caitlin Ginley last week, she reminded me that, as a rule, ethics reforms pass only when some sort of scandal prompts citizens to outrage and politicians to action. New York seems determined to break that rule. Last week, the FBI announced charges against yet another Albany…

On Ethics Reform, Loopholes, and What We Can Learn from Meds

Sarah Laskow | March 9, 2011

Does it matter if, in Albany, legislators receive gifts from lobbyists and how much those gifts are worth? This problem is a small knot in the vast net of ethical questions that’s snared the capital and its inhabitants. But each time a legislator or an ethics commissioner tries to untangle it, someone else with an…

Why Ed Koch Is Optimistic About Redistricting Reform

Sarah Laskow | February 28, 2011

NY Uprising, the good government group founded by former mayor Ed Koch, keeps an official list of “enemies of reform.” Throughout 2010, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was on it, for his refusal to promise change on issues like ethics reform. But now, based on his support for an independent redistricting committee, Silver may be coming…

Painting the Town White

Sarah Laskow | February 22, 2011

About a year and a half ago, the city painted the roof of MoMA QNS white as part of PlaNYC, Mayor Bloomberg’s long-term strategy for New York. During the 2009 pilot project, volunteers coated a total of 100,000 square feet of rooftops in Long Island City, and last year the city exceeded its goal of…