The Week That Was – TW2 Minority Review – August 12


President Obama‘s health care reform plan suffered a major blow today when a federal appeals court ruled that forcing Americans to buy insurance is unconstitutional.

An SUV driven by Assemblyman William Boyland Jr. was struck by gunfire last night as he rode through Brooklyn with his 7-year-old son, the New York Times says. Police say that Boyland and his son, who were unharmed, did not appear to have been the intended target.

Assemblyman Peter Rivera and members of the Hispanic community release a report on redistricting, race, ethnicity and electoral issues in front of the Westchester County Board of Legislators Building. (No link)

Sen. Gustavo Rivera, a frequent critic of the federal Secure Communities program, expressed significant “disappointment” during a CapTon interview last night with the Obama administration’s reversal on allowing states to opt out. (SOP)

The Soundview Healthcare Network which former State Sen. Pedro Espada founded (and was indicted for looting) will lose $10 million in Medicaid funding because of repeated violations of state law, according to the NY Post.

Indicted former Sen. Pedro Espada on Tuesday accused Gov. Cuomo of carrying out a vendetta by pushing a probe that could strip $10 million in Medicaid money from his Bronx health care network. The disgraced ex-lawmaker accused Cuomo of a “personal obsession to take on and dominate my world and my manhood” dating back to when Cuomo was attorney general. (NYDN)

Lots of headlines Wednesday morning about the Soundview Healthcare Network, run by former Bronx Sen. Pedro Espada Jr., which just got kicked out of the state’s Medicaid program and is likely facing closure. You can read more on this in our previous post, here. According to the A.P., Espada says he’ll fight the state’s decision with a court order.

The News cheers the state’s decision to yank Medicaid funding for ex-Sen. Pedro Espada’s health clinic network, arguing that patients who are inconvenienced have no one to blame but the scandal-scarred pol. The Post agrees, calling it a “necessary move”.

Legislative Gazette published a story about the statewide redistricting that is underway. In it, former Bronx Assemblyman Michael Benjamin, who supported a bill that would require inmates to be counted at their previous address, said the 2010 law will be obeyed. Dilan still has doubts on prison gerrymandering

The Times-Union deems the state Legislature’s partisan redistricting committee “an insurmountable obstacle to public confidence in democracy”:

“So there was the state Legislature, holding hearings last week on how to redraw its own district lines in time for its members to run for re-election next year. Can state government get any more surreal? These are hearings that no matter how they turn out, never should have taken place.” So began the Albany Times-Union editorial against the state legislature’s redistricting effort.

The Gotham Gazette wrote a balanced report on the circumstances surrounding the redistricting process and the opposition to LATFOR. As the legislature’s redistricting task force begins work the key debate centers not on where the lines will be drawn but on who will draw them.

The armed robbery reported yesterday at Brooklyn Assembly candidate Jesus Gonzalez‘s campaign headquarters wasn’t the first crime there, sources said. A campaign laptop was stolen from the office several weeks ago in a crime that seemed more than a garden-variety theft, one source said – laptops belonging to the candidate and the campaign manager were taken, but another computer was untouched. (CHN)

Bronx Sen. Gustavo Rivera is the first New York state legislator to join Foursquare, the social media site where users “check in” online to show where they are in the real world. He’s used it to promote his public appearances and weekly fitness walks around St. James Park. “It’s a transparency thing, for people who say, ‘I want to know where my state senator has been,’ ” said spokeswoman Conchita Cruz. Rivera hasn’t checked into his district office enough to be its Foursquare “mayor” yet, though – that honor belongs to his community affairs representative Jessica Flores. (CHN)

Heard Around Town

A February court ruling that New York City candidates can no longer be held personally liable for wasting taxpayer-provided campaign matching funds is starting to take its toll. Yesterday the Campaign Finance Board said Councilwoman Helen Foster owed the city a $65,000 repayment from her 2009 campaign, but Foster had only $42,000 left in her campaign account, and the CFB can no longer compel her to make up the difference. A CFB audit found Foster had misused campaign funds following her successful re-election campaign – including $4,000 spent by Foster’s campaign treasurer at Embassy Suites – but the CFB now has little choice but to eat the expense. (CHN)

Assemblyman Herman “Denny” Farrell Jr. supports fellow Manhattan Dem, NYC Councilwoman Inez Dickens, for speaker. (Politicker NY)

About SquarePegDem

A former state legislator turned NY Post editorial board member, thought-leader, public affairs consultant and commentator, columnist and blogger. Michael has appeared on Al Jazeera America Tonight, NY1/Inside City Hall, FoxNews.com LIVE, YNN/Capital Tonight, The Brian Lehrer Show, The Fred Dicker Show, The Capitol Press Room, and The Daily Show. His op-eds have appeared in the NY Post, City and State, The Legislative Gazette, Bronx Times, The Troy Record, Buffalo News, and the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. To schedule speaking engagements, email MBenjamin9@optimum.net.
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