While You Were Out: June 24, 2019

It was a busy and sticky Monday, CivMix fam. And it’s in the books. Boom.

Politically speaking, the real action will take place tomorrow, as candidates across the state and their respective supporters are getting ready for primaries.

Turnout is expected to be low – perhaps even lower than the traditionally low primary turnout – because voters aren’t used to going the polls at the end of June.

You can thank the state Legislature for that, as lawmakers moved the primary date as part of a larger voting reform package that was among one of the first things passed when they arrived in Albany back in January. (Boy, does that seem like a lifetime ago, or what?)

Also, if it rains, as it it predicted to do, then turnout could be depressed even further.

There are lots of local races to keep an eye on. The list in Albany County is fairly lengthy, and includes a hotly contested county comptroller battle.

The Cohoes mayoral primary is also worthy of attention. The incumbent, Shawn Morse, has been indicted on federal charges. He has pleaded not guilty, but given New York’s history with this sort of thing, that doesn’t by any stretch of the imagination mean he’s going to lose.

There are also contested races in Rensselaer County, including a mayoral primary. Ditto for the city of Schenectady.

And, not to be outdone, there are primaries taking place in Saratoga County, too.

Remember: New York has closed primaries, which means (generally speaking) you need to be an enrolled member to participate. Check your local boards of elections for polling details.

In New York City, the Queens DA primary is generating a lot of attention, given the fact that it is seen as a proxy race between the establishment Democrats and the insurgents, who are led by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

It’s the first time in decades that this seat is open. Six Democrats are vying to replace former DA Richard Brown, who died earlier this year.

Meanwhile, Gov. Andrew Cuomo says Democrats who represent districts in New York City are “fearful” of primary challenges from more progressive candidates on their left. (He’s backing the establishment candidate, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, against Ocasio-Cortez’s candidate, public defender Tiffany Caban).

In other news…

Cuomo on Wednesday is making his third trip to Israel since taking office, describing it as part trade mission, part “message of solidarity,” explaining: “There has been a rash of anti-Semitism all across this country. We’ve had it in this state, all across this state, and it’s repugnant to what New Yorkers believe and feel.”

President Trump announced new sanctions on Iran, stepping up a policy of pressuring the nation’s leaders and further squeezing the Iranian economy in retaliation for what the United States says are recent aggressive acts by Tehran.

The situation at the U.S.-Mexico border is grim. Following a public outcry, hundreds of migrant children have been transferred out of a filthy Border Patrol station in Texas where they were detained for weeks without access to soap, clean clothes or adequate food.

In addition, Mexico has deployed almost 15,000 troops to the border after coming under renewed pressure from the Trump administration to help slow migration flows northward.

Also, the White House released an executive order intended to require insurance companies, doctors and hospitals to give patients more information about precisely what their care will cost before they get it.

Bird-singing contests are a thing, and they are fueling an illegal smuggling tree of finches.

In non-election local news…

Over several hours this morning, online and phone traffic clogged electronic highways into Proctors, where tickets to the two-week August run of the Broadway smash “Hamilton” finally went on sale, 28 months after first being announced.

Proctors CEO Philip Morris said they are expecting to sell out of the tickets that have been released so far, but more may be released at a higher price point in the coming weeks.

After recording zero homicides and nine shootings through the first five months of the year, Albany police dealt with three shootings in 24 hours.

A proposal to simplify paperwork when police cite a person for violating quality-of-life or nuisance issues has stalled in Schenectady. The problem: judges are simply tossing the tickets, disappointing leaders in parts of the city that are too often bedeviled by loitering, loud music and littering.

Small signs and caution tape warning of asbestos exposure that were placed at a property next to the Twin Town Little League fields in North Greenbush sometime over the weekend were fakes, according to town officials.

Albany Medical Center has hired from within to succeed its outgoing CEO James Barba, who has led the Albany region’s largest health system since 1995. Dr. Dennis McKenna — currently executive VP, president of the faculty practice, and senior associate dean for clinical affairs — will take the post after Barba retires on March 31, 2020.

Some big changes are coming to a busy part of downtown Troy starting Wednesday morning. This week, drivers may have to take a different route if they travel through the Ferry and Congress Street area due to ongoing construction on a new apartment complex project.

Some local elected officials are frustrated by the lack of an agreement on new regulations for the limo industry before the Legislature left Albany for the year.

Photo credit: Fred Coffey.



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