Five Stories for the End of a Heatwave

July 26, 2011
Rep. Michael Grimm

When temperatures rocket over 100 degrees and don’t drop below 80, even at night, most of us don’t have the wherewithal to care about any news other than when the heat will dissipate. But now that the mind-numbing heat that swept New York last week has left, State Room rounds up the stories that passed in the haze.

Same-Sex Marriage Challenged
Hundreds of couples wed this weekend after New York State’s new same-sex marriage law went into effect. City clerks made a special effort to open their offices up on Sunday so that couples could take advantage of the law as soon as it came into effect. Opponents of the law, on the other hand, had to wait until Monday to register their disapproval. But on the first day the courts were open after the new law took effect, New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms and a rabbi filed a case challenging the law on the grounds that the state had violated open meetings laws.

New York Freshman Reps Have America’s Future in their Hands
If Congress doesn’t pass some piece of legislation dealing with the debt ceiling and soon, we’re all going to be screwed. But freshmen, in particular, who are apparently still somewhat dewy-eyed about the role of ideas in Washington, are having a tough time dealing with the reality of D.C. compromises. New York frosh Michael Grimm pointed out he’d had an actual gun to his head before and “didn’t blink then; won’t blink now.” The DCCC knows what to do with that sort of intransigence: the national Democratic group is robocalling the districts of Grimm and four other freshman Republicans and saying they’re gong to “protect tax breaks for big oil companies and billionaire jet owners.”

State GOP Rolling in It
But on the state level, at least, the GOP is doing fine. NYPIRG’s Bill Mahoney crunched some campaign finance data and found that Republicans (candidates and the conference committee) had raised more than $6.6 million — three times more than Democrats, who raised about $2.17 million.

Bloomberg Rolling in It
The mayor is finding ways to spend his millions. He just bought a $20 million mansion on 35 acres of the Hamptons. The property’s secluded and right next to a golf course. But he also gave $50 million to the Sierra Club for its anti-coal campaign, which in the grand scheme of things at least makes up karmically for some of the carbon his private planes have expelled on weekend flights to the Bahamas and whatnot.

Economic Development Overhaul
We already know that Gov. Cuomo digs consolidation. He announced last week that he’d  brought together and reorganized a slew of state economic development programs. The result is a pool of $1 billion in development grants that should be easier to apply for. With all that money in one place, the governor said, communities will be able to strive for long-term visions, rather than competing to fund one-off projects.