Cuomo’s big deal: Rotten lines for reformed pensions, expanded DNA collection and gambling

Briefing: Albany. (Azi Paybarah )
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The legislature reached a deal late yesterday for changes to the state's pension system, redistricting process, casino-licensing process, and system of collecting DNA from convicted criminals.

This has been a consistent pattern in the Cuomo era: little transparency but lots of productivity, in the form of omnibus deals that pass with little public scrutiny or attention to detail even from many of the legislators who vote for them. The trains are very much running on time, even if the tickets get punched before any of the passengers know where they're going.

The Post, News and Times have stories describing the multi-billion-dollar pension changes passed last night (this morning?), which were somewhat gingerly opposed by the AFL-CIO. (The union avoided attacking Andrew Cuomo directly, for the most part, probably sensing that it wouldn't have gotten them anywhere.)

The pension deal, and the other deals, take some attention and heat away from Cuomo's decision to give in to the legislature on redistricting by deciding to sign off on their gerrymandered lines and approve of a long-term fix that falls far short of what he originally wanted, back when he was committed to fixing the process. Ed Koch, the former mayor who got lawmakers to sign a reform pledge that most of them subsequently abandoned, said he was "disappointed that Governor Cuomo compromised," but stopped far short of labeling Cuomo and "enemy of reform," as he has many lawmakers.

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Similarly, the Senate Democrats, whose chances of becoming a majority party were effectively bartered away by Cuomo, decried the deal and the process by which it was hatched, even walking out of the proceedings at the end. But avoided attacking the governor. After all, they're not represented by any of the Three Men in a Room. It's not as if Cuomo would listen to them, anyway.

Some Links:

2012

Sean Maloney, a former aide to Bill Clinton and governors Spitzer and Paterson, is running for Congress. [Michelle Garcia]

Sunshine Week

A transparency advocate argues for strengthening the state's transparency rules. [Robert Freeman]

Mega Deal in Albany

Unable to do anything about redistricting, the Senate Democrats walked out. [Jimmy Vielkind]

There was "a flash of backroom dealing" between Cuomo and legislative leaders, resulting in a pension deal that wasn't as large as Cuomo initially wanted. "Capitol insiders" say "Cuomo leveraged today's court deadline on redistricting" to "get the deals." [Erik Kriss]

The pension deal is a scaled-back version of the ambitious plan Cuomo initially proposed, with EJ McMahon dismissing it as "marginal tweaks." [Glenn Blain and Ken Lovett]

The pension deal is on par with changes enacted in other states. Also, the AFL-CIO, a national labor organization, is quoted deriding the deal, laying a paper trail that might become relevant in 2016. [Thomas Kaplan and John Eligon]

Former mayor Ed Koch sent a statement saying he was "disappointed that Governor Cuomo compromised" on redistricting, but stopped short of calling him an "enemy of reform." [Twitter]

How Cuomo spent part of his day yesterday: calling legislators and asking them to change their votes. [Laura Nahmias]

Challenging Gillibrand

An anti-Gillibrand editorial page complains the Conservative Party chairman is sticking with his preferred candidate, despite Turner's late arrival, and wonders why he had no problem sticking with the ideologically bendy George Pataki. [New York Post]

CityTime

The city is getting back $500 million from the company that ripped it off. [Michael Grynbaum]

But Bloomberg "has not yet explained how such a massive theft - the biggest stain on his administration - could occur for so long without any of his aides noticing." [Juan Gonzalez]

Animals

Cuomo calls for a probe into the death of 16 horses at Aqueduct. [Jerry Bossert]