Does 15 years to life for one drug deal sound excessive to you? Our guest this week, Anthony Papa, is a living example of the ineffectiveness of the Rockefeller drug laws. Papa served 12 years at Sing Sing for a nonviolent drug crime before Governor George Pataki commuted his sentence in 1996. Just last month, Andrew Cuomo officially pardoned Papa, clearing his record after 20 years of criminal justice activism fighting for criminal justice reform and against the excesses of the United States’ War on Drugs.
Andrew Cuomo’s hitting the road, so we did too. We’re in the place that Cuomo is supposed to be, Albany, on the second day of the 2017 legislative session with two seasoned statehouse reporters. The Times Union’s Casey Seiler and New York State Public Radio’s Karen DeWitt join us to discuss the tense atmosphere in Albany and what lies ahead for Governor Cuomo, including the recurring buzz about his presidential ambitions.
It’s been quite the year in New York politics and, in the spirit of the season, we came up with some gifts that we think our elected officials could use as we wrap up 2016. Slant editor Nick Powell, City and State Editor-at-Large Gerson Borrero, City and State Editorial Director Michael Johnson and Robert George of the Daily News sit down to discuss what presents they would get for New York’s political leaders…or perhaps some of them just deserve a lump of coal.
Happy holidays and happy New Year to all of our listeners!
With the 2016 election in the rear view mirror, the next decision New Yorkers have their eyes on is the race for mayor in 2017. Sal Albanese has been a frequent and vocal critic of Mayor Bill de Blasio and the longtime New York politico and former city councilman has officially become the first person to challenge de Blasio for the Democratic ballot. Albanese joins us to discuss de Blasio’s pay-for-play investigations, his thoughts on police-community relations, and why he’s chosen to throw his hat into the ring after two losing mayoral candidacies in the past two decades.
Campaigns for local races go beyond the typical liberal vs. conservative, Democrat vs. Republican debate we’re used to hearing about on the national stage. They are about going door to door, organizing and getting to know the local issues – the building blocks of a winning campaign. Welcome to City & State’s newest podcast series – Block by Block, an inside look at the quirks and curiosities of local campaigns. In our pilot episode, we examine the classic underdog story – Ritchie Torres’s 2013 race for New York City Councilman. Find out why the odds were stacked against Torres in his first race for public office, how he pulled off the dream win, and how Trader Joe’s wine helped fuel his campaign.
After 24 years in Congress with a district spreading across Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens, Nydia Velazquez has established herself as a power broker with a strong voice on New York City issues. But her influence extends beyond the five boroughs as well, as far as Washington DC, Cuba and her native Puerto Rico.
Velazquez joins us this week to recount her battles with Sheldon Silver and Vito Lopez, give her thoughts on how to save public housing under the new president and why she thinks Bill de blasio should welcome a primary in 2017.
Donald Trump may be dominating the headlines today, but in 2002, New York City was getting used to the idea of a different multi-billionaire assuming high office. Yes, fifteen years ago, Michael Bloomberg won the mayoral election running as a Republican, thanks in part to the work of Bill Cunningham, one of the chief architects of Bloomberg’s 2001 and 2005 campaigns.
Cunningham, a prominent communications consultant who also worked for governors Hugh Carey and Mario Cuomo and senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, joins us for this week’s podcast to share some war stories from his time working with Bloomberg. And with Mayor Bill de Blasio set to run for re-election in 2017, Cunningham tells us whether de Blasio can be beaten and if his campaign messaging will resonate as well it did in 2013.
Henry Cisneros has held many prominent titles over the course of his career, but none more important than his four years as the Secretary for Housing and Urban Development under Bill Clinton. At HUD, Cisneros hired and worked closely with Andrew Cuomo and he shares some stories about their accomplishments together and the relationship between the Cuomos and the Clintons. Cisneros also gives his unfettered take on what a Trump administration could mean for infrastructure in the country, the prospect of Dr. Ben Carson running his old agency, and where the president-elect and Democrats might be able to find some common ground.
Dr. Christina Greer is shocked and dismayed at the results of the presidential election, but also not entirely surprised. The author and Fordham University political science professor analyzes the election through the lens of gender, race and income, in particular. Dr. Greer helps us parse the election results through these unique lenses ad also gives her take on how we should discuss Trump’s actions and appointments over the last two weeks as we enter the “normalization” phase of the post-election coping process.
With Donald Trump’s upset win in Tuesday’s election, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman now finds himself in the precarious position of suing and investigating the next president of the United States. Schneiderman has been scrutinizing Trump University and the Trump Foundation for potentially illegal conduct and those investigations are moving forward even after Donald Trump’s victory. The A.G. joins us on the podcast to discuss all this and give his thoughts on the Democratic party’s future.