Spin Cycle

News, views and commentary on Long Island, state and national politics

Top court says tenants can file class-action lawsuits over rent control

New York City tenants who claim their landlords illegally deregulated certain rent-controlled apartments can bring class-action lawsuits, the state's highest court ruled Monday.

The state Court of Appeals, in a series of 4-2 decisions involving three cases, said tenants seeking reimbursements for rent overcharges can band together to sue landlords who allegedly violated statutes by lifting...

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Annual pre-Thanksgiving food appeal reveals hidden threats

ALBANY — Advocates for the working poor said Monday that several factors are worsening the hunger problem for 3 million New Yorkers despite the economy’s recovery.

The social workers and clergy altered their annual Thanksgiving appeal for food donations to call for food to be treated by government as a higher funding priority. They said food needs to be treated as a human right, not an issue...

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NYC: Firefighters' union pushing for fairer rookie disability deals

Steve Cassidy, president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York, says his union's push to improve disability benefits for newer members is unrelated to talks toward an overdue contract settlement with the city. 

Rather, Cassidy said, it's prompted by a recent resumption of FDNY hiring stalled by years of litigation over diversity.

Hundreds are now joining...

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In Albany, a so-called GOP wave passed the Assembly by

Looks like the “Republican wave” passed the Assembly by.

Though three elections are still being disputed, it is possible Republicans will return to the Assembly with the same number of members they had in January 2013 — 43, compared with the Democrats’ 107.

Right now, Republicans have won at least 43 seats in this year’s elections; they lead in just one of the disputed contests.

But...

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Suffolk extends convention-visitors bureau contract

A Suffolk executive-legislative committee gave a waiver to extend the $2 million annual contract of the Long Island Convention and Visitors Bureau for another year without going through a process to seek competitive proposals.

The three-member committee voted unanimously last week for the waiver noting that the current state legislation which increased the hotel motel room tax expires next...

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Suffolk: Top Sawicki deputy moves on to Bellone administration

Departing Suffolk County Comptroller Joseph Sawicki's chief deputy, Christina Capobianco, is joining the administration of County Executive Steve Bellone as the health department's top fiscal aide.

Capobianco, a Republican, starts Monday as deputy health commissioner for finance operations at the same $150,101-a-year salary she received in the comptroller's office. Capobianco, a certified...

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Nassau chief deputy exec Rob Walker credited with life-saving move

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano's hard-charging chief deputy, Rob Walker, may be a lifesaver, according to Deputy County Executive Ed Ward.

Ward said Walker and he recently lunched late at Arturo's Italian restaurant in Floral Park, where an elderly man at the next table began choking. While others froze, Walker "went over like a football player and tackled him," giving him the Heimlich...

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Tale of two Senators -- Webb and Gillibrand -- and a 2010 bank-bonus bill

Former Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia last week became the first well-known Democrat to launch a presidential exploratory committee for 2016 -- setting him on a potential collision course against former Secretary of State and ex-New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Earlier this month, Webb was quoted in the New Yorker magazine on his effort in 2010, alongside Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), to...

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Civic activist launches petition drive to repeal Nassau speed cameras

Nassau political activist Pat Friedman has launched a petition drive to encourage county legislators to repeal the controversial speed camera program.

Friedman, a longtime registered Conservative, said several political, civic and social media groups will be collecting signatures in hopes of forcing the 19 county lawmakers, who unanimously approved the program last summer, to repeal the law.

“And...

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Albany eyes aid package for Buffalo as Legislature pay raises mulled

ALBANY — A state aid package for snow-walloped Western New York is in the works, an official confirmed Friday.

The talks come as leaders are already considering a special session in December which would likely include a pay raise for lawmakers.

“The governor reached out to legislative leaders on the need for an emergency appropriation, and they agreed,’’ said Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s spokesman,...

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