10:30 am Jan. 15, 20133
Andrew Cuomo's post-Newtown, post-Webster gun-control package was approved by the coalition-run State Senate late last night, and is being taken up by the Assembly today. The legislation puts limits on sales of high-capacity magazines and requires background checks for all gun sales, among other things.
The new laws will make Cuomo the first governor in the nation to pass gun-control legislation following the massacre in Connecticut, and will help brandish his credentials nationally both as a progressive and as a leader who can get things done.
But Cuomo's well-timed push for gun control, an issue which he, like most other Democrats, had mostly avoided until recently, has given rise to a fascinating sub-plot: open revolt by Fred Dicker, Cuomo's closest and most influential ally in the media.
Dicker, the veteran state editor for the New York Post, has been a consistent booster of Cuomo and serves as a useful clearing house for Cuomo's proposals, personnel decisions and political threats, which often appear first in Dicker's column as lightly attributed offerings of sources close to the governor.
When Cuomo comes under attack by the rest of the Albany media for, say, being hyper-controlling of information, Dicker will counterprogram, writing that in fact the governor is extraordinarily transparent, and everyone should quit their whining. If a group of legislators angers Cuomo, Dicker will report shortly afterward that, according to his sources, the governor is considering a course of action that would be very bad for that group.
Dicker is currently writing a biography about Cuomo with the cooperation of the governor and his staff.
Dicker, who is for broad gun rights and low taxes, has criticized Cuomo in the past, like when the governor rejiggered the state's tax codes and effectively raised the permanent tax rate on high-income earners. But even then his objections were overtaken by his admiration for Cuomo's political acumen and chutzpah in pulling off the hike and selling it as a cut.
This is different, at least in tone.
Dicker has made clear his view that banning assault weapons will do little to reduce gun violence in New York, which is most often carried out with illegal handguns. He speculated that Cuomo was seeking national headlines and seeking primarily to placate the left, and then wondered whether it was even worse, and Cuomo was using the latest shooting tragedy as an excuse to push a radical gun agenda he wanted to advance "all along."
On his daily radio show, Dicker warned listeners that "a major attack is underway."
"It's all in secret, typical Albany, behind closed doors," said Dicker. "The governor had promised to make it transparent, out in the open. Now the rush is on."
Dicker warned, "This is a Trojan Horse. This is not about semi-automatic rifles. This is a sweeping set of gun laws the governor is using. The governor is using the tragedy … as a justification for sweeping changes in gun laws including regulating every single gun millions of New Yorkers now own. ... It's another reason people are going to be leaving New York."
"They’re giving New Yorkers reason to actually feel proud about Albany." — Bill Hammond
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The New York State Senate Senate passed Cuomo's gun bill 43-18 minutes after receiving it. [Erik Kriss]
Republicans will only allow about a dozen amendments to the Sandy aid package, which should clear the way for quick House action. [David Rogers]
Former comptroller Bill Thompson had his strongest fund-raising period so far, with $1 million raised, though there still are no details on how much he's spent. [David Chen]
It looks like Bloomberg is breaking his part of an implied deal to support City Council Speaker Christine Quinn as his successor. [Michael Powell]
A sick game from the N.R.A. [Daily News]
A majority of Americans support new gun laws, including armed guards in schools and an assault weapons ban, and nearly 90 percent support background checks at gun shows. [Washington Post-ABC News]
Obama suggested the gun industry benefits when there's fear about gun control. [Reid Pillifant]
State Senator Greg Ball was on the radio talking about state police entering homes to confiscate weapons. [Azi Paybarah]
"When Lautenberg's age met Booker's ambition: An elegy for the Swamp Dog" [Steve Kornacki]
The M.T.A. is considering platform screen doors. [Dana Rubinstein]
"Governor Andrew Cuomo is in Albany."
11 a.m. Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and others are expected to give testimony at a New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's hearing on campaign finance disclosures, at 250 Broadway, in Manhattan.
6 p.m. Rev. Al Sharpton has a forum on public safety, featuring many, many elected officials, at the National Action Network headquarters, 106 West 145th Street, in Manhattan.
8 p.m. Sharpton holds a mayoral forum, featuring Quinn, de Blasio, Liu, Thompson and Albanese, at the National Action Network headquarters, 106 West 145th Street, in Manhattan.
On "The Road to City Hall" tonight: New York City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, Republican mayoral candidate Tom Allon, and the Wise Guys: Eliot Spitzer, Al D'Amato and Ed Koch.
Former M.T.A. chairman Joe Lhota is running. [David Seifman]
Nobody was surprised by Lhota's remarks about the mayor's race. [David Chen]
Chung Seto, a top political aide to City Comptroller John Liu, owes more than $100,000 in federal back taxes. [Carl Campanile]
City Hall / City Council
The deadline for approving a teacher evaluation deal, and tapping into $250 million in state education aid, is approaching. [Yoav Gonen]
Tomorrow is the start of the school bus driver strike. [Yoav Gonen]
All the major mayoral candidates support mayoral control. [Carl Campanile]
Assemblyman Vito Lopez returned to work, grumbling about his lost perks. [Danny Hakim]
Cuomo's gun bill passed the State Senate late last night. [Glenn Blain and Ken Lovett]
The passage of the gun bill is celebrated. [Daily News]
President Obama is preparing for one of the biggest legislative fights in decades over new gun laws, but will also consider 19 executive actions. [Michael Shear and Jennifer Steinhauer]
The executive actions might include more gun research, increased enforcement of existing laws and better sharing of gun databases. [Reid Epstein]
"The next few weeks represent a once-in-a-generation opportunity to harden the nation’s gun laws and reduce the threat of rapid-fire violence in America." [New York Times]
After Chuck Hagel sent a detailed letter to Barbara Boxer reassuring her about his views on Israel, Iran, and Don't Ask Don't Tell, she pledged her support. [Manu Raju]
Chelsea Clinton will be the honorary chair for the National Day of Service this weekend. [Chelsea Clinton]