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Cynthia Nixon attacks Cuomo

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A candidate for the post of New York Governor Cynthia Nixon does not waste time and criticizes Andrew Cuomo’s policies. The first political video released by Cynthia blew up Twitter on March 19 and has now been viewed more than 2.5 million times.

Cuomo presented a list of the results of his activities and achievements during his governing period, among them, there is the country’s first paid-family-leave program, the approval of same-sex marriages in 2011 and a law that will boost minimal wages in the upcoming years.

Despite the lack of political experience, Nixon believes that Cuomo does not fulfill his promises and does not deserve to be elected for the third term. In her opinion, the most important problem that deserves special attention is New York subway. New York residents are absolutely dissatisfied with the work of the long-worn out metro system of the city lately. In her opening campaign speech on Tuesday Cynthia said “I got here just in the nick of time. I allowed an hour and a half for what should have been a 30 minute ride. Cuomo’s MTA.”

#CuomosMTA is a popular hashtag in social networks for expressing discontent with public transport. On her campaign website Nixon provided a whole section dedicated to #CuomosMTA.

Cuomo, in his turn, justifies his inaction by the fact that De Blasio have not invested his half in the subway improvement plan. This is a plan for 800 million dollars: half of this sum is allocated by the state. New York refused to finance its half. This means that it wasn’t possible to develop the project as planned.

The second problem that Cynthia is going to solve is an increase in the minimum wages level. Some northern parts of New York (Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse) have the lowest wages in the country.Nixon stated “New York state itself is the single most unequal state in the country. The top 1 percent of New Yorkers earn 45 times what the other 99 percent combined.”

In her speech, Nixon paid particular attention to the problem associated with Cuomo’s investors. Most of them are major donors, who have different interests before the state. Nixon is going to use it. In a press release on Wednesday, Nixon boasted that her campaign received 2,214 contributions of less than $ 200 in the first 24 hours from smaller donors.

Nixon also faulted Cuomo for two things: Allowing a breakaway caucus of eight Democrats to remain allied with Republicans and allowing Republican-drawn district lines to take effect in 2012 despite previously pledging to veto them. “I voted for Andrew Cuomo because I believed that he was a real Democrat,” Nixon said. “But since taking office he has shown us his true colors.”

Cuomo denies his relation to the decision of the Senate Independent Democratic Conference of 2012.

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Cuomo’s MTA will “review” Cynthia Nixon’s NYC subway T-shirst for trademark misuse

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Cynthia Nixon touts many pressing issues in her Democratic gubernatorial campaign, and the condition of the New York City subway is certainly one of them. The city’s train system–hampered with delays and infrastructural disrepair for years–has been a cornerstone of her campaign ever since she announced her candidacy two months ago.

Today, she held a rally from–where else?–the subway. At Williamsburg’s Lorimer station (which I can attest is frequently overcrowded), Nixon told the crowd that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s rehabilitation needed to be better and fast. She also unveiled a series of tweets, Instagram posts, and even apparel aimed at calling out her opponent, Andrew Cuomo, and his inability to fix the subway system.
One issue that may arise, however, is Nixon’s use of the MTA’s trademarks. A shirt that Nixon is now selling on her campaign website, for instance, asks “What the F?” The “F” uses the known New York City subway image.
This could very well enrage the transportation authority. The MTA has been known to crack down on unauthorized use of its trademarks–including its subway lettering images. A New York Times article from 2013 describes small designers and big companies alike being legally threatened by the MTA for infringing its trademarks. These included sports teams using subway imagery, designers with MTA map images, and even bakeries that sell MTA-object-lookalike pastries.

With this history of enforcement, the shirt currently being sold could very well be considered an IP infringement. Indeed, an MTA spokesperson tells Fast Company, “As we would with any case involving the potential misuse of our trademark, we will review the matter and proceed accordingly.”

Reached for comment, a Nixon campaign spokesperson offered the following statement: “Governor Cuomo’s MTA should be focused on infrastructure issues, not copyright issues. What we did was a parody of the MTA, but for millions of New Yorkers, the daily disaster on the subway is no laughing matter.”

For now, you can still buy the shirt. The campaign says on its website that the purchase is “a donation to the Cynthia for New York campaign.” Maybe it’s best to get it now before the cease-and-desist letters come.

Source: https://www.fastcompany.com/40574375/mta-were-going-to-review-cynthia-nixons-potential-misuse-of-our-trademark

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Let the people, not politicians, choose the next New York attorney general: Schneiderman’s replacement should be elected

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The sudden and shocking resignation of state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has brought to light the archaic legal guidelines for replacing the Empire State’s chief law enforcement officer or its controller if the elected official resigns or dies while in office.

Under the current law, the governor appoints an acting attorney general until such time as the state legislature meets and votes on a candidate to fill out the term.

In a state with a seemingly endless number of ethically challenged elected officials, this is a recipe for civic disaster. Do we really want an attorney general who is beholden to the leadership of the state Senate and Assembly, especially when you consider that in recent years the leaders of both legislative bodies have been indicted on corruption charges?

Within hours after Schneiderman’s resignation, the backroom dealmaking had begun to see who could line up the necessary number of votes in the legislature to become the new attorney general. It now appears that New York City Public Advocate Letitia James is the frontrunner.

Both the attorney general and controller are supposed to be independent and, among their responsibilities, serve as checks and balances on other parts of the government. But how can they be truly independent if their heads are selected by members of the state legislature, with particular influence from the Assembly speaker?

That’s why I’m introducing legislation that would take the selection process out of the hands of the politicians and put it in the hands of the voters, as it should be in a democracy.

Under my legislation, the governor would have 60 days from the date the vacancy occurred to call a Special Election, which would take place in a 45-60 day window. If the vacancy occurred in the same calendar year as that office’s regular election — as it does this year — the solicitor general would be named attorney general (or the in case of the comptroller, the first deputy comptroller) until the November general election picks a replacement.

Under this system, the usual primary process would take place to select the party nominees for the general election in November. Additionally, this would prevent the unfair advantage of an acting attorney general or controller running for election while already holding the job title.

New Yorkers have every reason to be cynical about how state government operates; the “old-boy network,” backroom budget deals and the cloud of corruption that hangs over Albany have made them that way.

Think about it; over the past dozen years, a governor and an attorney general have resigned over sex scandals, a controller was convicted on corruption charges surrounding a “pay-to-play” scheme regarding the state Pension Fund and two Senate leaders and one speaker of the assembly have been indicted on corruption charges.

That’s not even taking into account the cavalcade of legislators who have either resigned due to a scandal or been indicted or convicted for some form of corruption or malfeasance.

I doubt any state in the nation can rival this dubious record; it alone is a good reason to remove the Legislature from the process.

The path to reform won’t be easy, but a potentially good start will be squandered if the Legislature acts to install an interim attorney general and doesn’t let Acting Attorney General Barbara Underwood, the accomplished solicitor general who is now serving in Schneiderman’s role, to complete his term.

Let the people select the next attorney general this November. And if this ever happens again, make sure the power to choose is in their hands, not the hands of Albany insiders.

Source: http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/people-not-politicians-choose-n-y-ag-article-1.3982565

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Corruption Retrial Begins for Former New York Assembly Speaker

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Twice in the past three years, former New York state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has sat in the same Manhattan federal courtroom and heard opening statements in his public-corruption trial.

“Power. Greed. Corruption,” then-Assistant U.S. Attorney Carrie Cohen repeated in her November 2015 opening statements, in a courtroom that included former-Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

“Quid pro quo. This for that,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Damian Williams stated in a similar fashion on Monday, in a courtroom that included current Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman.

Monday marked opening statements in the retrial of Mr. Silver, now 74 years old, who is being tried once again on charges of honest-services fraud, extortion and other crimes. Federal prosecutors have accused Mr. Silver of using his state power for personal gain, netting millions in profit.

Lawyers for Mr. Silver, who has pleaded not guilty, say the longtime legislator’s activities may appear distasteful but aren’t criminal.

If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison.

In 2015, a jury convicted Mr. Silver of seven counts and, the following year, U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni sentenced him to 12 years in prison. After the U.S. Supreme Court narrowed the definition of some public-corruption crimes, a federal appeals court last year vacated Mr. Silver’s conviction.

Judge Caproni, who also presided over Mr. Silver’s first trial, estimated the current trial would take about a month. Mr. Silver, who wore a headset that appeared to be a hearing-aid type device, sat quietly during the proceeding, appearing not to look at the jury.

In his opening statement, Mr. Williams portrayed Mr. Silver, a powerful Democrat who for decades represented lower Manhattan, as greedy and deceitful. Year after year, he said, Mr. Silver took bribes then lied to cover them up.

“This was not politics as usual,” Mr. Williams said. “This was politics for profit, and no one played that game better than Sheldon Silver.”

Mr. Williams outlined two schemes. In the first, he said, Mr. Silver steered hundreds of thousands of dollars in state funds to a prominent mesothelioma doctor. In exchange, the doctor sent patients to law firm Weitz & Luxenberg P.C., which paid Mr. Silver referral fees. The firm didn’t respond to a request for comment Monday.

In a second scheme, Mr. Silver supported policies to benefit certain developers, which steered its business to the Goldberg & Iryami law firm that also paid Mr. Silver fees.

In all, Mr. Silver netted about $4 million, which grew to roughly $5 million after he invested it, Mr. Williams said.

Michael Feldberg, a lawyer representing Mr. Silver, argued that Mr. Silver’s acts weren’t criminal, and certainly didn’t involve bribes.

“Imagine you’re Shelly Silver,” Mr. Feldberg said, before continuing to give much of his opening statement in the second person. You devoted your life to public service, and you were so good at serving that you got elected to be speaker of the state Assembly, he said. And while you served, he said, you had another job.

A slide flashed on a projector showed two teal circles, with the words “outside income” and “legal” connected by a large equal sign.

He said everything Mr. Silver had done had not only been legal, but intended to help people, including those with cancer.  Referral fees are legal, accepted and common, Mr. Feldberg added.

A slide flashed on the screen. This time the teal circles contained the phrases “no crime” and “not guilty,” once again connected by an equal sign.

“Being imperfect is not a crime. It is human,” Mr. Feldberg continued. “Is any of us perfect?”

Source: https://www.wsj.com/articles/corruption-retrial-begins-for-former-new-york-assembly-speaker-1525118241

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