While You Were Out: July 16, 2019

It was a VERY busy Tuesday, CivMixers, and there’s still quite a bit of action taking place down in D.C. Let’s get right to it…

When President Trump said foreign-born Americans should “go back” to the countries they were born in, he may not have realized his entreaty could clear out 5 percent of Congress. In all, 29 members of the House and Senate were born abroad, about half of them to parents serving in the military or working overseas.

A vote to rap Trump for his tweets about four Democratic House members was temporarily trapped in partisan gridlock after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi referred to the “president’s racist tweets.”

The vote was to be on a resolution that “strongly condemns (Trump’s) racist comments that have legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color by saying that our fellow Americans who are immigrants, and those who may look to the President like immigrants, should “go back” to other countries.”

Trump denied that tweets were racist and implored House Republicans to reject the resolution condemning his statements.

“Those Tweets were NOT Racist,” Trump tweeted. “I don’t have a Racist bone in my body! The so-called vote to be taken is a Democrat con game. Republicans should not show ‘weakness’ and fall into their trap.”

Southern Tier Republican Rep. Tom Reed spent most of a conference call with reporters today discussing his feelings on Trump’s inflammatory tweets over the weekend. The upshot: He disagrees with the president, but doesn’t think he’s a racist.

A federal judge banned Republican operative Roger Stone from posting anything at all on major social media platforms after ruling that the longtime confidant of Trump violated an already strict gag order in his criminal case.

The judge walked through a litany of Stone’s recent posts from his Instagram account that appeared to breach his order not to speak publicly about his case, but decided not to revoke his bail bond or hold him in contempt for violating her order.

New York will raise its smoking age from 18 to 21 under a legislation signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo today.

Elected officials, civil rights activists and family members expressed dismay that the Justice Department had declined to pursue charges against a New York City police officer in the death of Eric Garner on a Staten Island sidewalk five years ago.

Two real estate trade groups and seven landlords filed a federal lawsuit aimed at opposing the new rent laws in New York City, and also challenging the entire rent-regulation system, which dictates the rents of about 2.4 million tenants who live in nearly 1 million rent-stabilized apartments.

Cohoes Mayor Shawn Morse has been accused of defamation in a lawsuit filed by a city resident who was the target of a series of incendiary statements that the mayor made on a local talk radio station in January 2018.

A felony case last year that threatened to derail the candidacy of now 118th District Assemblyman Robert Smullen quietly ended two months ago with Smullen pleading guilty to a violation.

As the city of Albany wrestles with a similar issue, the City Council in Springfield, Massachusetts has voted to put teeth into a crackdown on illegal dirt bike riders.

The re-election campaign of state Attorney General Letitia James in the last six months has raised $405,395, according to her latest filing with the state Board of Elections.

Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady officially launched legal sports betting in New York today with the opening of its new Rivers Sportsbook lounge.

A lawsuit has forced the Schodack Zoning Board of Appeals to reverse a decision it made back in February to allow Stewart’s Shops to sidestep the town’s water quality rules in order to build a new gas and convenience store on Columbia Turnpike in Castleton.

“Waitress,” the long-running Broadway show about a despondent waitress in a small-town diner who finds solace in making pies, will close on Jan. 5, 2020, producers announced.

Troy will be talking about becoming a Sanctuary City once again tonight. There’s a public hearing about a local law to prohibit Troy from becoming a Sanctuary City. This is the first of three public hearings. It will be at 6 p.m. at the Lansingburgh Veterans Club.

Woodstock 50 organizers will have a chance to appeal an upstate New York town’s denial of a permit to hold the music festival. The Town of Vernon’s planning board is set to hear an appeal tonight, exactly a month before the festival would begin.

It appears residents of Saratoga Springs will have another chance to vote on changing their form of government.

The Schenectady City Council has passed a motion paving the way for the city’s Corporation Counsel to negotiate a settlement for a lawsuit filed against the city after a man died in city police custody in 2017.

The cat found with apparent chemical burns in Clifton Park is going to recover. The Saratoga County Animal Shelter says the cat, which they’ve named Soldier, is healing from injuries to his face and neck and doesn’t need pain medication anymore.

The stepmother of the slain Utica teenage social media star, Bianca Devins, whose accused killer posted photos of her corpse online says she’s outraged by people who re-shared the gory images.

RIP Schenectady County Legislator James Buhrmaster of Glenville, one of just two Republicans on the legislature in recent years, who has died after a long illness at the age of 73.

NASA is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.

The Big Apple showered Democratic 2020 candidate and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg with $2.35 million in donations during the past three months, more than twice what NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio raised in total — nationwide — since launching his own White House bid in May.

Photo credit: Joe Bonilla. (I know this is a New York-centric site, with a focus on upstate, but when one of our founders goes on a cool trip to California and takes neat photos, I feel like it’s worth sharing. This is Point Mugu State Park).

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