With early voting already under way — and turnout looking paltry so far — Republican candidates for governor met last night for their second primary debate. Well, three of them met: Andrew Giuliani was again barred from participating in-person and required to go virtual because he didn’t meet NY1’s policy requiring vaccination against Covid-19.
While much of the debate was friendlier than last week’s showdown, the Republicans got around to name-calling eventually. Rep. Lee Zeldin, the party’s chosen candidate, snapped at Giuliani over his famous father, Rudy: “I know you feel like you’re entitled to become governor of New York, it’s a birthright for you.” Zeldin and businessman Harry Wilson both called each other a “fraud,” while Zeldin labeled Wilson “Mr. Elitist” for his Harvard degree and Wilson in turn called Zeldin a failed politician who should have a restraining order to keep him away from Albany.
The pandemic is one area where the GOP contenders largely agreed: they roundly bashed mandates, masks, and other Covid-19 precautions. Giuliani pushed the envelope furthest by criticizing the vaccination of young children, despite the American Academy of Pediatrics endorsing the shot, while the other contenders largely leaned into parental choice.
None of them will be buying legal marijuana when the state’s dispensaries open, so there’s that. One revealing point of difference: Wilson was the only candidate to say that Joe Biden was duly elected president, while Giuliani backed up Donald Trump’s false claim that he was the true victor in the 2020 election. Zeldin and former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino did not give clear answers.
If this one was too tame for you, Newsmax will be hosting another debate tonight for the GOP contenders in Rochester, which should be interesting.
WHERE’S KATHY? Speaking at LaGuardia Community College’s commencement.
WHERE’S ERIC? Holding a breakfast with members of the New York congressional delegation, holding a media briefing, speaking at a hunger conference, meeting with clergy leaders, making a public safety announcement, and speaking at a Afrikumba Utibe Drummers’ event and a Japan Society anniversary celebration.
“Eric Adams gives unvaccinated NYC workers ‘shot’ to get jobs back,” by New York Post’s Susan Edelman and Rich Calder: “Mayor Eric Adams is giving city workers who were fired for refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccination another shot at getting their jobs back – provided they opt to get jabbed quickly, The Post has learned. Internal memos delivered Friday to unvaccinated ex-employees told recipients they have an ‘opportunity to return to employment if [they] become fully vaccinated.’ The ex-workers have until June 30 to get the first dose and make arrangements for a second dose by August 15.”
“NYC health officials promise ‘shots for tots’ vaccine rollout, but overall supplies could be limited,” by Gothamist’s Sophia Chang: “New York City health officials are getting ready for what they’re calling ‘shots for tots’ as the federal government finalizes authorization of COVID-19 vaccines for children between ages 6 months to 5 years old. With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s anticipated rubberstamp of Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine applications, the last potential group of unprotected American children will be able to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The pandemic has killed about 442 kids nationwide under 5 years old and has been consistently deadlier than infectious diseases like the flu. The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is expected to meet on the applications this weekend, city health officials said. Supplies are unlikely to be as universal as past vaccine rollouts because Congress hasn’t renewed pandemic funding.”
— Success Academyis lifting its vaccine or testing mandate.
“7th inmate dies at Rikers Island as advocates press for federal takeover,” by Gothamist’s Elizabeth Kim: “Another individual has died while in custody at Rikers Island, marking the seventh death this year at New York City’s troubled jail complex. The cause of death is still under investigation, according to the Department of Correction in a press release sent out on Monday. The person was pronounced dead at approximately 1:31 a.m. at the George R. Vierno Center, one of about a dozen Rikers facilities. The latest death comes amid ongoing staffing shortages and mismanagement that has given way to what many have described as dangerous and inhumane conditions for inmates.”
— The Department of Correction is shutting down the Otis Bantum Correctional Facility at Rikers.
“Queens DA Melinda Katz uses security detail ‘as her personal car service’: sources,” by New York Post’s Larry Celona, Reuven Fenton, Jack Morphet and Bruce Golding: “When it absolutely, positively has to get there … trust your bodyguards! Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz used members of her taxpayer-funded security detail to help her move to her new million-dollar digs — potentially running afoul of ethics rules, The Post has learned.”
DRAG DOUBLE DOWN — Council Member Vickie Paladino stands by anti-drag comments that earned backlash from her City Hall colleagues and a threat of possible sanctions, she said in an interview. Paladino, who represents parts of northeast Queens, faced criticism after she posted a series of tweets last week calling drag performers “unacceptable and grotesque” and accusing them of “child grooming and sexualization.” She also threatened to withdraw some funding from any schools in her district that held drag story hours. “Nothing I did or said was wrong,” the first-term Republican said Friday, adding she was not worried about the Council taking action against her. Her comments came after City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams told reporters that Council was investigating Paladino’s behavior and “considering all options.” Paladino’s comments also sparked a Twitter feud with Council Member Chi Ossé, who demanded she publicly apologize to him and the LGBTQ+ community. But Paladino said she had “no intentions whatsoever of apologizing to Council Member Ossé, and that’s it.” — Julian Shen-Berro
Delgado quit Congress to be Hochul’s No. 2. Now he actually needs to win, by POLITICO’s Bill Mahoney: Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado’s experience winning competitive elections rivals that of any of the 62 people who have ever been elected lieutenant governor in New York. The former Democratic congressman from the Hudson Valley shows comfort on the campaign trail and can win over crowds with a quick smile. He has the advantage of incumbency, the backing of the Democratic establishment, and he might have 20 times as much campaign cash as his two competitors. But it’s far from certain that he’s the definitive front runner in the June 28 primary after leaving Washington to serve as second-in-command in state government. “This is a race with question marks and not exclamation points,” said Democratic consultant Bruce Gyory, who has served as an adviser to several New York governors.
“Will Kathy Hochul’s Low-Key Primary Come at a Cost? Allies Fear Yes.,” by The New York Times’ Nicholas Fandos and Jeffery C. Mays: “By all accounts, Ms. Hochul is headed toward a comfortable primary win. She has cornered nearly every major political endorsement and collected record-breaking donations, while outspending her opponents, Thomas R. Suozzi and Jumaane D. Williams, by millions of dollars on television and digital advertising. The commanding lead has enabled Ms. Hochul’s team to deploy a so-called Rose Garden strategy, eschewing the kind of all-out, on-the-ground campaign used by her challengers. … In interviews over the last week, a broad spectrum of elected officials, party leaders and Democratic strategists expressed worry that the governor’s low-key approach may come at the cost of building the kind of old-fashioned political ground game and enthusiasm with bedrock Black, Latino and union voters that a relatively untested candidate from Western New York like Ms. Hochul will need to drive Democratic voters to the polls in November.”
“Dems, labor dump money on embattled Assembly incumbents ahead of June 28 primary,” by New York Post’s Zach Williams and Carl Campanile: “The Democratic Party’s civil war is raging ahead of the New York primaries at the end of June. The state Democratic Party and political allies are throwing big bucks around as they rally to save embattled Assembly members targeted by democratic socialist challengers supported by the likes of lefty superstar Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. ‘These are people who want to take over the Democratic Party, want to take over the Legislature and we disagree with them … We’re not going to stand idly,’ state party Chair Jay Jacobs told The Post Friday.”
— Rep. Hakeem Jeffries on Monday endorsed Dionne Brown-Jordan’s primary bid to topple Assemblymember Mathylde Frontus in Brooklyn.
“In honor of Juneteenth, New York enacts John Lewis Voting Rights Act to combat suppression and discrimination,” by New York Daily News’ Denis Slattery: “New York celebrated Juneteenth and paid tribute to the late civil rights icon and congressman John Lewis on Monday by enacting sweeping new voter protections. The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of New York, signed into law by Gov. Hochul, will make it easier to sue over discriminatory voting policies and require areas with a history of civil right violations to get approval before changing election rules.”
“As interest on LIPA’s debt climbs to $348M, it looks to refinance,” by Newsday’s Mark Harrington: “As some LIPA costs such as property taxes decline, the interest the authority pays on its $9.1 billion debt is expected to top $348 million this year, even as it moves to shift more debt to an affiliate with lower interest rates. Interest expenses are expected to increase next year, too, to $355.1 million, LIPA reported last month, as the overall debt rises and LIPA moves to refinance old debt at better rates. Last year LIPA received state authorization to increase debt through an affiliated unit called the Utility Debt Securitization Authority. The UDSA has better bond ratings — triple A — because it can’t file for bankruptcy to avoid paying off its bondholders.”
#UpstateAmerica: “Haunted hospital” and abandoned tuberculosis refuge Saratoga County Homestead is up for sale again and, honestly, cheaper than a lot of area houses on the market right now.
#UpstateArtHeist: “Two sleuths — a curator and a librarian — in New Paltz, N.Y., helped the F.B.I. track down 200-year-old paintings that were stolen from a historical society in 1972.”
“Eric Adams tells AOC to call him with NYC gripes, not tweet about them,” by New York Post’s Bernadette Hogan: “Stop tweeting and give me a call. That’s the blunt message Mayor Eric Adams had for socialist darling Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) Friday as their feud over state races and the city budget continues to heat up. In the latest iteration, Adams took on AOC for Twitter-bashing City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams instead of picking up the phone to voice her fury after the pol punished the left in the city’s $101 billion budget. ‘I think there’s professional courtesy, that it is an issue. You know, don’t tweet — speak. Pick up the phone. Call your colleague and say, ‘I’m concerned,’’ Adams advised AOC, who wasn’t present, on Friday during an unrelated event in the Bronx.”
“De Blasio accuses MSNBC of aiding rival Dan Goldman in congressional primary,” by New York Post’s Carl Campanile: “Former New York City mayor turned congressional candidate Bill de Blasio has accused MSNBC of giving rival Dan Goldman free air time and an unfair advantage in the Democratic primary for the 10th District House seat. Goldman, the chief Democratic lawyer in the House of Representatives during former President Donald Trump’s first impeachment proceeding, has been a paid legal analyst at the left-leaning cable news outlet. During a recent remote appearance to discuss the congressional hearings on the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, the attorney could be seen with ‘Dan Goldman for Congress’ posters behind him, de Blasio complained in a letter to MSNBC president Rashida Jones.”
— A college basketball player was killed and eight others wounded in a shooting in Harlem.
— At least six people were injured when a taxi hit a cyclist and jumped the curb in Manhattan.
— Mayor Eric Adamsannounced $7 million for LGBTQ initiatives.
— Adams is bringing back solo subway patrols by NYPD officers.
— Coney Island’s unofficial “mayor” Dick Zigun reached a settlement with Coney Island USA after the group fired him.
— An East New York landlord is suing a tenant he alleges throws urine out the window and feces in the trash can.
— LISTEN:Assemblymember Catalina Cruz explains why the Clean Slate Act didn’t pass the state Assembly this year.
— Nearly 80,000 of the state’s original COVID-19 Excelsior passes are set to expire on June 30, so DOH wants you to download Plus Pass.
— Marcy Houses residents are skeptical of Jay-Z’s Bitcoin Academy.
— A would-be operator of a Tim Horton’s store has won another battle against Orchard Park’s ban on drive-thrus.
— A fire in Richmond Hill killed three people in a basement apartment.
— The city declared an end to the Legionnaire’s disease cluster in the Bronx that killed two people.
— Despite a lifeguard shortage, the city is newly enforcing a rule barring first responders from picking up shifts as lifeguards in their off time.
— The World Trade Center Health Program is set to add uterine cancer to its list of covered conditions.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Axios’ Mike Allen … NYT’s Elizabeth Williamson and Elizabeth Dias … WaPo’s Laura Meckler … CNN’s Madeleine Morgenstern … Forbes’ Emma Whitford … ABC’s Chris Francescani … Zack Richner … Tanya Singer … Sam Nunberg … Dan Wagner … George Jahn … Max Clarke … (was Monday): Adrienne Elrod … POLITICO’s Josh Gerstein … CNN’s Janie Boschma … Sara Pearl Kenigsberg … Olivia Messer … Tom Tripicco … Vic Grace …
… (was Sunday): Reuters’ Jeff Mason … POLITICO’s Alex Isenstadt and Melissa Cooke … CBS’ Christina Ruffini … Marcus Brauchli … Seth Stevenson … former SEC Chair Mary Schapiro … Tom Hoare … Jenna Sakwa Kastan … Rebecca Karabus … Katie Burke … Nick Gollner … (was Saturday):Dina Powell McCormick … Axios’ Nick Johnston … CNN’s DJ Judd and Devan Cole … BuzzFeed’s Mary Ann Georgantopoulos … Joanne Lipman … Sophia Templin … Heather Louise Finch … Dylan Pyne … (was Friday): Matthew Nimetz
SPOTTED: Mayor Eric Adams kicked off a busy holiday weekend in the Hamptons Friday night, attending a soiree in his honor hosted by real estate executive Brandon Charnas. “Proud to host our mayor of the greatest city in the world,” Charnas posted to his Instagram account, captioning a picture of him standing beside a grinning Adams who donned a checkered jacket over a white collared shirt. …
… The photo, flagged by a reader, included Scott Sartiano, who opened the members-only Zero Bond club that attracts a celebrity clientele. Adams is a frequent visitor to the private Manhattan haunt. Charnas, who donated to Adams’ transition account in December, is married to fashion blogger and social media influencer Arielle Charnas. The two were caught up in controversy during the height of the pandemic, when they fled to the Hamptons after a positive Covid-19 test. Our reader tells us they were hosting a fundraiser Adams, but a spokesman for the mayor would not confirm. — Sally Goldenberg
MAKING MOVES — Lauren Mannerberg, who formerly worked in the governor’s executive office, has joined Anat Gerstein, Inc. as an account executive. Kelly Kennedy has also joined the firm as a summer intern.
WEEKEND WEDDING — Freddi Goldstein, communications manager at Uber and former press secretary to Mayor Bill de Blasio, married Alex Cohen-Smith, the president of Mitchell Martin Healthcare, on Saturday at the bride’s family’s house in East Hampton.
“Tenants in 1 million NYC rent-regulated apartments likely to see hikes as guidelines board vote looms on Tuesday,” by New York Daily News’ Michael Gartland and Chris Sommerfeldt: “Tenants who live in approximately one million rent-regulated apartments in New York City will find out Tuesday night how much their rents will go up in the coming months — a decision that’s certain to take on larger than normal significance given the sky-high inflation both tenants and landlords are now facing. The final decision will be made by the city’s Rent Guidelines Board on Tuesday night and set the threshold on how far landlords can go in demanding more cash from tenants.”
“NYC estimates 3,400 homeless on streets and subways; advocates say figure is a big undercount,” by New York Daily News’ Clayton Guse: “City officials counted 3,439 homeless people living on the streets and subways last winter ― but advocates say that’s a gross undercount that doesn’t acknowledge the scale of the homeless crisis. The estimate issued this week came through the city’s annual Homeless Outreach Population Estimate (HOPE) survey, issued by the Department of Social Services.”