Briefing: Lhota defends a Koch brother, disclosure day in Albany

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LHOTA DEFENDS DAVID KOCH: After a federal court lifted the contribution limit to political action committees in New York yesterday, Bill de Blasio released a web video accusing “the Koch brothers” and other billionaires of trying to flood New York with campaign money for his Republican opponent, Joe Lhota, who de Blasio has tried to paint as a run-of-the-mill Republican, in line with the national party.

Lhota, in Harlem last night, said he hadn’t seen the video, but took the opportunity to defend David Koch: “First off, it’s David Koch, not the other Koch brother. This is the same man who is pro-choice, pro-same-sex marriage, one of the largest philanthropists in New York [with] all of our cultural institutions; the person who built the hospital for special surgery in New York. He’s a philanthropist and a person who gave $80,000 to Governor Andrew Cuomo. So, look at who he is and try to understand what kind of citizen he is.He’s the one Koch that lives in New York with his wife. I mean, to say, 'They’re trying to buy the election,' I just don’t understand it.”

FILING DAY IN ALBANY: It's campaign finance day in Albany. With ads now on the air to push legalized gambling—and a preliminary indication that they're being funded by casino companies—candidates and PACS around the state are due to file disclosure reports with the State Board of Elections today. We'll get updates on the casino spending (and donating), as well as a clearer financial picture of competitive county executive races in Westchester and Nassau counties.

EXCLUSIVE — State's top judge is pushing hard to raise retirement age, which keeps him on bench — Capital's Jimmy Vielkind: Court of Appeals Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman has become the leading advocate for a proposal to increase the mandatory retirement age for many judges to 80, with personal efforts that are disquieting some attorneys. The judge urged several longtime associates to form a political action committee that has since raised over $500,000 to spend on public relations and mail advertising, according to several prominent attorneys familiar with Lippman's efforts. Most of the donations to the group, called Justice for All, came from major law firms and lawyers. … Lippman's spokesman, David Bookstaver, said: “Judge Lippman and Judge Prudenti are acutely aware that they cannot be involved and have not been involved with anything that raises money because that's an ethical violation. It is simply abhorrent that folks are speculating and spreading rumors to that effect as nothing could be further from the truth.” http://goo.gl/r5fSK9

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EXCLUSIVE — Avonte Oquendo’s School Lacked Safety Features — Capital’s Eliza Shapiro: “The Queens school that a severely autistic teen walked out of earlier this month lacked key safety features that could have prevented him from leaving the building—including working video surveillance, alarmed panic bars and doors with windows, Capital has learned.

"None of the administrators or staff at Public School 277 had passwords to access live security camera feeds on Oct. 4, the day Avonte Oquendo, 14, left the brand new Long Island City school through a side door, according to an internal memo written by a teachers' union official that was obtained by Capital." http://goo.gl/FQVUA3

TIMES ARGUES AGAINST CASINOS — The New York Times: “Gambling is a regressive tax that takes its highest toll on those who can least afford it. Casinos often bring higher crime rates and deterioration of the communities nearby. Mr. Cuomo and the gambling interests say the state already has gambling and more won’t increase those problems. But even if you accept that argument, you should not accept the way this amendment is advertised on the ballot as a jobs and growth initiative for upstate New York. It is liable to fail to deliver on that promise.” http://goo.gl/4EZ0Xg

RESPONSES: Cuomo aide Howard Glaser hits back: http://goo.gl/JFNhZJ WSJ reporter Andrew Grossman mocks: http://goo.gl/LfF9n3

ED CHIEF GETS AN EARFUL — Forum features 500 parents — Capital's Jessica Bakeman: “The Poughkeepsie event is behind all of us,” state education commissioner John King said during a media briefing held before Thursday's forum. “Everyone in the education sector in the state understands that it's important that we have good constructive dialogue about the interest of our students, and that's what I expect tonight.” … Most of the 67 speakers were teachers, administrators or other school officials, although they typically identified themselves as parents first. Current students and recent alumni also spoke, as well as parents addressing issues specific to students with disabilities and or English deficiencies. http://goo.gl/hKF7Gy

LOOK FOR: Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott to join President Obama when he visits a school in Brooklyn this afternoon. Follow our @ElizaShapiro for dispatches.

CAMPAIGN FINANCE — Court overrules $150,000 campaign donation limit — Times' Thomas Kaplan: A midlevel federal appeals court suggested New York's yearly cap on individual donations is not constitutional when it ruled in favor of an Alabama man hoping to donate to a pro-Joe Lhota super PAC. “Even though time is quite short, they’ll make as vigorous an effort as possible in the remaining time to raise and spend money for speech in support of Lhota,” said Michael A. Carvin, a lawyer for New York Progress and Protection PAC.

But forget Lhota, who a dozen days before the election is trailing badly in polls. This could super-size the influence of super PACs already operating in the Empire State, good-government advocates fear. “This could usher in an era where super PACs call the shots in campaigns all over the state, not just in the city,” said David Donnelly, the executive director of the Public Campaign Action Fund, a super PAC that advocates public financing of elections. http://goo.gl/ElPVzp

CAMPAIGNING QUIETLY — 'Long-lost' De Blasio Visits Staten Island, Sans Schedule — Capital’s Sally Goldenberg: “On Tuesday, de Blasio made a secretive trip to the Republican stronghold, only his second visit since he won the Democratic primary on Sep. 10. De Blasio did not list the appearance on either the public schedule for his campaign or his official public advocate schedule.

“…Campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith didn't elaborate on why the campaign declined to include the event on his schedule.” http://goo.gl/dIZ5TV

NOT ON DE BLASIO’S SCHEDULE — a visit to Central Labor Council. http://goo.gl/CNo8do AND a visit to the Queens County Democratic Organization. http://goo.gl/4teBk5

READ IT HERE FIRST: — Capital’s Eliza Shapiro and Jessica Bakeman: “A new report from Citizens Budget Commission, a government finance watchdog group, finds that universal pre-Kindergarten remains an ‘elusive’ goal. “The establishment of universal pre-K in New York City is a signature goal of mayoral front-runner Bill de Blasio.

The study, which looks at the feasibility of implementing it across the state, projects that it would take about $4 billion added to the existing $51 billion state education budget to fully fund pre-K in New York.

“…The report shows that the state has been trying to achieve public pre-K since the 1960s, but still hasn't reached funding targets set for pre-K plans set in 1997. The report estimates that it will cost $12,846 per child in New York City to provide universal pre-K, and that expanding pre-K for all 3-and-4-year-olds would cost the City $619 million.”

POLL — Ray Kelly vs Bill Bratton — Newsday’s Matt Chayes: “Keeping [Ray] Kelly, 72 — the longest-serving commissioner in the NYPD’s 168- year history — was favored by 45% of likely voters, the poll conducted by Penn Schoen Berland found. Almost as many — 44% — wanted to see someone else, such as former commissioner Bill Bratton, a leading contender if Democrat Bill De Blasio is elected mayor. Republican Joe Lhota says he’d keep Kelly.

In a Kelly vs. Bratton matchup, the poll found 45% for the current commissioner, 20% for Bratton and 24% who would like to see someone else.” http://goo.gl/AmdOSl

amNew York ENDORSES LHOTA: “Lhota plainly has the administrative chops to run a city as complex and as crucial as New York City. De Blasio doesn't come close.

“At the same time, it's extremely hard to see how de Blasio can deliver on his signature proposal to raise local income taxes on New Yorkers making more than $500,000 and pour the money into a citywide prekindergarten program.” http://goo.gl/nIsDL5

The Villager ENDORSES DE BLASIO: “He seeks a minuscule tax rate hike on the city’s wealthiest residents to pay for his education expansion. Critics say the tax plan will be dead on arrival in Albany, but that ignores the fact that the idea has caught fire with voters, giving it political momentum. De Blasio’s ties to Governor Andrew Cuomo go back two decades and, we believe, his plan has a realistic chance of passing.” http://goo.gl/pcCpNZ

ABNER LOUIMA HITS CAMPAIGN TRAIL — News’ Simone Weichselbaum and Thomas Tracy: “Louima will appear with Brooklyn DA Democratic nominee Ken Thompson and Rev. Al Sharpton on Saturday, which will be followed up with a series of church visits across the borough on Sunday, a spokesman for Thompson’s campaign said Thursday.” http://goo.gl/xyLOUL

GREEN TECH — New bill expands energy supports for homeowners — Capital's Scott Waldman: Where earlier efforts largely focused on more modest methods of bringing down energy costs like weather stripping and insulation, the new law is designed to expand the use of more significant technologies like solar photovoltaics, wind turbines, hydro-electric generators and fuel cells.

WALKING BACK — NYSUT criticizes the IDC, then clarifies — Capital's Jessica Bakeman: Pallotta said he spoke directly to Bronx Sen. Jeff Klein, the I.D.C.'s leader, as well as conference spokesman Eric Soufer. They urged him to call Capital to “clarify” NYSUT's position. “I understand what Dick [Iannuzzi] is trying say here with, it's crystal clear that the IDC blocked...,” he stopped. “But I wouldn't say anything negative about our relationship with the I.D.C.” http://goo.gl/TVUNuh

DUFFY WATCH — Lieutenant governor interviewed for Rochester job on Oct. 5 — Times Union's James Odato: Cuomo's top spokeswoman confirmed that Duffy interviewed for the job on Oct. 5, but took himself out of the running 10 days later. He committed to staying on for the remainder of Cuomo's term, but recused himself from all matters involving the RBA “outof an abundance of caution.” http://goo.gl/iZBVi0

On Wednesday, Duffy spoke briefly to Gannett's Jon Campbell: “The lieutenant governor was asked by a reporter twice on Wednesday whether he had interviewed for the soon-to-be-vacant chief executive position with the Rochester-based business group. Duffy didn't answer directly, instead professing his support for Cuomo.” http://goo.gl/Hpg2NQ

BLOOMBERG’S RULE for dealing with Page Six’s Richard Johnson: “If you see him at a party, stay 15 feet away…And leave after 15 minutes. That way you can go to sleep at night without having to worry about what might be in the New York Post in the morning.” http://goo.gl/jYXs3P

FRONT PAGES:  News: “Jay-Z under pressure to drop his business deal with Barneys or else he’ll have ZERO RESPECT”; amNewYork: “STAY OR GO?; Voters split on whether police commish should stay”; Times A1: “Court lifts Limit on contributing to pro-Lhota PAC; Impact beyond ’13 race” SEE THEM:http://goo.gl/IyaAUI 

#UpstateAmerica: A horse died after it collided with a pickup truck in the Adirondacks. http://goo.gl/IzlDKz