The inexplicable power of the Albany Republicans, explained

Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders. (Governor Andrew Cuomo, via flickr)
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As the TimesThomas Kaplan points out today, Republicans have a fairly sturdy foothold in Albany despite the fact that the state electorate is much more Democratic than Republican and the fact that the Assembly and the executive branch are both Democratic-controlled.

One reason is the map: A very partisan configuration of legislative districts has allowed the Republicans to hold on to their majority in the State Senate, an advantage Governor Andrew Cuomo extended to the Senate majority (and the Assembly majority, which doesn't really need the help) for at least another decade by preserving partisan redistricting in exchange for other legislative concessions.

But beyond that, Cuomo has a warm working relationship with the Republicans who control the State Senate, and has done nothing (or, arguably, less than that) to help the minority Democrats get back in power.

The Suffolk County Republican chair, John Jay LaValle, casts that alliance as a necessary counterweight to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who was for many years the state's most powerful Democrat.

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And LaValle, a good Republican, took a further shot at the Democrats in explaining Cuomo's affinity for the G.O.P.:  "He knows that if he doesn’t fix New York State, he won’t have even a remote chance of being president. So what does he do? He realized quickly that he has to act like a Republican in order to fix this state."

Events

Andrew Cuomo is in New York City and has no public schedule.

9 a.m. Councilwoman Gale Brewer tours completed Classroom Technology Lab she funded in FY12 at MS 243: The Center School, 100 West 84 Street.

10:15 a.m. Christine Quinn, Council members Gale Brewer, Brad Lander and others discuss Community Supported Agriculture programs, in the City Hall parking lot.

4:30 p.m. Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Andrew Cuomo, Chris Christie, Michael Bloomberg tour Ground Zero.

6 p.m. Brewer attends Annual Young Leadership Gala Dinner for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Pier 60, in Manhattan.

6:30 p.m. Bloomberg hosts a reception for New York City's Fatherhood Initiative at Gracie Mansion.

7 p.m. Brewer honors ‘green’ West Siders at the West Side Community Garden Greening Celebration, WSC Garden, 89th St between Columbus & Amsterdam Avenues.

The Numbers

Quinnipiac poll of city voters:

76-18: good idea / bad idea to have a living wage on publicly subsidized developments

46-43: support / oppose opening a casino in NYC

42-46: support / oppose opening a casino in NYC, among voters with a college degree

50-38: support / oppose opening a casino in NYC, among voters without a college degree

43-51: support / oppose stop-and-frisk

56-39: support / oppose stop-and-frisk, among white voters

21-69: support / oppose stop-and-frisk, among black voters

NY-08

Hakeem Jeffries: "The community can elect either a self-professed activist or a legislator active in doing the business of the people." [Erin Dunkin]

NY-13

The Riverdale Review endorsement of Adriano Espaillat: " He seems as concerned about Israel as he is about the Dominican Republic. This is important to us." [Riverdale Review]

Espaillat's name is being circulated as a candidate for State Senate, but he said he did not authorize it. [Carl Campanile and David Seifman]

From Capital

Could a bigger cross-Hudson plan work? [Dana Rubinstein]

Michael Bloomberg gets enthusiastic about student art. [Dan Rosenblum]

Charles Barron's "odd couple" friend Simcha Felder said Barron must now be stopped. [Azi Paybarah]

Albany

Why Republicans are not extinct in New York: "Assembly Democrats, in return for being allowed to draw their own districts, agreed to accept the Republican-drawn redistricting map for the Senate. So did Mr. Cuomo, who settled for a promise of redistricting reform a decade from now." [Thomas Kaplan]

Cuomo and the teacher unions are reportedly working on a deal to restrict access to teacher evaluations. [Ken Lovett]

"Beyond absurd": The restrictions on obtaining and sharing info about teacher evaluations should be rejected by Cuomo and state lawmakers. [Daily News]

Fracking

Cuomo reportedly would allow fracking "only in communities that express support" for it. [Danny Hakim]

Binghamton mayor Matthew Ryan: "Nobody ever thought an important decision like this would be passed down to local governments." [Joseph De Avila]

"Sensible balance": Permitting it where local residents express support for it while prohibiting it near the unfiltered water supply for New York City and Syrcause seems right. [New York Times]

"Death by a thousand cuts": Cuomo has delayed the approval process and may not allow enough fracking permits to boost the economy. [New York Post]

If allowed, it would mostly take place in the Southern Tier. [John Farley]

"Hydrofracking opponents are set to arrive at noon Thursday, while supporters begin at 1 p.m. There's a good chance many lawmakers will have left town by then." [Rick Karlin]

Ground Zero

"Behaving very, very badly": The Port Authority should drop its demand to share revenue with the 9/11 Museum, nor be allowed to influence the annual 9/11 commemoration. [Daily News]

Inspector General for the NYPD

Michael Bloomberg: "I think we've got enough supervision and oversight." [Sally Goldenberg]

Michael Bloomberg: It's "not going to add anything." [Jill Colvin]

The N.A.A.C.P.'s national president, Ben Jealous, attacked Bloomberg over the NYPD's stop-and-frisk policy. [Inside City Hall]

City Hall

Bloomberg is offering $9 million, through his foundation, to fund innovative projects in other cities. [David Seifman]

Councilman Vinny Ignizio said he was bothered that the city Department of Finance used the "honor system" and allowed taxpayers to qualify for deductions without proving their eligibility. Ignizio also said he was bothered that the Bloomberg administration didn't see a problem with it. [Tom Wrobleski]

On the “only stand-alone private space remaining in the city to qualify as a bomb shelter.” [Sam Roberts and Noah Rosenberg]

Now, taxi and livery drivers who knowingly facilitate sex trafficking will be heavily fined. [CBSNewYork]

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