Rise and Shine: June 27, 2019

Happy Thursday, CivMixers! Did you know that this day was named after the Norse god of thunder, Thor?

Good for you if you did. I didn’t. Wikipedia is a marvelous invention, though, let me remind you, it is not a reliable resource for term papers, kids.

Anyhow, a day named after a thunder god is pretty fitting, given the weather we’ve been having lately. But today is looking pretty good all across the Capital Region – partly cloudy with temperatures reaching into the high 80s and a 0 percent chance of precipitation, according to The Wether Channel. There will be wind coming out of the west at about 10 to 15 miles per hour.

It continues to be a not-so-great moment for allergy sufferers among us, with high counts of tree pollen and moderate grass pollen.

The big news in national politics this morning is last night’s debate among 10 of the Democratic hopefuls vying for their party’s nod to take on President Trump in 2020, in which the candidates clashed over immigration policy and the economy, and the growing strength of the party’s left wing was on full display.

It was the first of two debates being hosted by NBC in Miami, FL – the second is tonight – and the first time any 2020 candidates have faced off against one another on the debate stage.

If you missed the debate, you can watch the whole thing here.

Last night’s performance featured nine candidates polling in single digits or below, including one of New York’s two White House contenders, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, which means this could have been their only chance to make their pitch to a national audience.

De Blasio was aggressive during the debate, and the first candidate on the stage to interrupt one of his opponents, but it might not be enough to help him break out of the pack.

The general consensus seems to be that it was a very good night for Julian Castro, a former HUD secretary and ex-San Antonio, Texas, mayor and the grandson of a Mexican immigrant, who delivered an impassioned and emotional response to the immigrant crisis on the US-Mexico border.

Castro managed to upstage the better-known Texan in the debate, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, and produced some viral moments on social media, which is the gold standard for a modern candidate – though how long that bump lasts this early in the game is anyone’s guess.

Castro’s moment could be short-lived depending on how things go in tonight’s debate, which features the current 2020 Democratic frontrunner, former Vice President Joe Biden, as well as Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and the other New Yorker in the field, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

It was also a good night for transgender rights, which, thanks to New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, was discussed for the first time in a presidential debate.

Booker and O’Rourke spoke the most during the debate.

Unfortunately for the candidates, hot-mic technical difficulties that brought the proceedings to a pause during hour two as moderator Chuck Todd was asking the candidates about gun policy.

President Trump took to Twitter to highlight the problem, which caused an unplanned commercial break, blasting NBC as “truly unprofessional,” adding that the problem was “only worthy of a FAKE NEWS Organization, which they are!”

Meanwhile, there’s a policy stalemate brewing on Capitol Hill over immigration.

And employees at the online home furnishing company Wayfair’s Boston, MA HQ staged a walkout to protest their employer’s involvement with the detention of migrant children near the U.S.-Mexico border.

There’s more trouble for Boeing’s 737 Max jet.

Many expect the reverberations from the Queens district attorney’s Democratic primary, in which pubic defender and progressive Tiffany Caban appears to have defeated Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, the establishment favorite, to seep into Albany and the 2021 race for New York City mayor.

(Katz has not yet conceded the race, and the paper ballots won’t start being counted until next week).

Caban’s win is expected to fuel progressive challenges in the Assembly, and many longtime Democratic incumbents may have to start thinking about defending their seats and may push lawmakers further to the left, though 2020 will be a presidential year, which means turnout will be high. So far, progressive have done very well in low-turnout primary elections.

Thearse McCalmon said her phone has been ringing off the hook with calls, mostly to congratulate her, and a few wanting to help out with her campaign after she nearly upended two-term incumbent mayor of Schenectady, Gary McCarthy. Though McCarthy holds a 858-793 lead, McCalmon and officials with the Working Families Party, which endorsed her, are not willing to concede.

Retired State Police official Bill Keeler predicted his 103-vote primary lead over embattled Democratic Cohoes Mayor Shawn Morse will hold, saying: “It’s mathematically possible, but I would call it unlikely to swing in the mayor’s favor.” A third candidate, Steve Napier, is still on the Independence and Working Families lines in November. Keeler is on the Conservative line.

The State Police released a new forensic sketch of a man who was shot dead in 1970 and dumped in the Hudson Valley, in a plea for the public’s assistance in identifying the victim. The man’s body was found on Feb. 1, 1970, down an embankment off Platte Clove Road in West Saugerties, Ulster County. He had been shot multiple times in the back of the head.

The town board in Bethlehem last night voted 3-1 in favor of a six-month moratorium on smoke and vape shops and medical marijuana dispensaries from opening in town.

St. Peter’s Health Partners is offering a voluntary separation program to employees as it seeks to reduce expenses and streamline operations.

A Schenectady neighborhood is worried a dangerous intersection at Bedford and Eastern avenues will result in someone’s death. Numerous crashes have led neighbors to pleas to the city for change.

The Albany Police Department is searching for the next members of its force.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the completion of the Frontier Town Campground in North Hudson, which was once home to the Frontier Town theme park, and is now a signature piece of the governor’s “Gateway to the Adirondacks.”

Jazz pianist and composer Fred Hersch has had to cancel his upcoming appearances tomorrow, June 28 due to medical reasons, SPAC and Caffè Lena announced. The performances have been rescheduled to Dec. 22, 2019 at Caffè Lena.

All that celery juice you’re consuming? You might want to rethink that. There’s no actual science behind all the health claims about this latest craze, which is driving up the cost of celery. Also, have you actually tasted the stuff? It’s not good.

Photo credit: Fred Coffey.

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