Spin Cycle

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

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Paul LaRocco

Paul LaRocco joined Newsday in November 2010, covering the Town of Oyster Bay, City of Glen Cove and the nearby incorporated villages. In the fall of 2011, he began writing about Suffolk County government and politics. Before coming to Newsday, LaRocco worked as a reporter at The Press-Enterprise in Riverside, Calif., and The Record-Journal in Meriden, Conn.

Coalition of Nassau Civic Associations calls for halt to speed camera program

Speed cameras in front of the Dutch Broadway

(Credit: Newsday / Audrey C. Tiernan)

A coalition of Nassau County civic groups has joined the chorus calling for the halt to the county’s speed camera program.

Leaders of the Coalition of Nassau Civic Associations wrote to Nassau's 19 county lawmakers on Thursday, requesting an immediate moratorium on the issuance of speed camera tickets and an immediate legislative hearing on the issue.

While county officials said...

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Watchdog issues scathing report on Tappan Zee funding (Update)

(Updates with comment from EFC and sponsor of bill that created watchdog)

ALBANY - A report states the Cuomo administration used secretive means to push through its questionable proposal to use an environmental fund to pay for Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s high-profile project to the replace the Tappan Zee bridge.

The state Authorities Budget Office, based on a complaint by the Environmental...

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Cuomo gets praise, defends decisions in Buffalo snow emergency

ALBANY -- Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Thursday drew some praise for his order to bring state resources and National Guard troops to Buffalo as it was pounded by more than 6 feet of snow.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said Thursday that Cuomo’s order is speeding removal of the snow even as more snow was expected to pile up at a rate of 3 inches an hour.

But Cuomo, in Buffalo, also had to defend...

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Rochester-area politician re-elected leader of Assembly GOP

   Assembly Republicans re-elected Assemb. Brian Kolb (R-Canandaigua) as their leader Thursday.

   Kolb, 62, whose district covers all of Ontario County and parts of Seneca, has been Assembly member since 2000 and minority leader since April 2009.

  In recent days some of the conference’s more outspoken conservatives, including Assemb. Steve McLaughlin (R-Schaghticoke),...

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Tolls might double throughout NYS to pay for Tappan Zee, expert says

New York might have to double tolls on its highways and bridges over the next  five years to help pay for Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s plan to rebuild the Tappan Zee Bridge over the Hudson River, a financial expert said Wednesday.

 Cuomo already has started what he estimates to be a $4 billion project to replace the span, located 25 miles north of Manhattan, but hasn’t disclosed how it...

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For Cuomo, the question is who takes top jobs after exits

Re-elected executives commonly reshuffle top staff as a new term commences. Now comes Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's turn.

For those who deal with his office, the big question is less a matter of who moves out, but who moves in, either from down the ranks or outside the administration.

At least 10 of Cuomo's highest-level aides and commissioners have already either left or said they'd do so...

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Man who helped save NYC, working on Detroit, calls for gas tax to save NY transit (Update)

Former Lt. Gov. Richard Ravitch thinks New York

(Credit: iStock)

(Updates with cost per 1-cent increase in gas tax; adds Cuomo comment)

ALBANY — Former Lt. Gov. Richard Ravitch, who had a historic hand in the fiscal recovery of New York City and is now involved in Detroit’s recovery, said New York State needs a new gasoline tax to meet serious infrastructure needs.

Ravitch’s idea came as Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the Legislature are expected to devote...

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NYC: Poll results tell a tale of two de Blasio perceptions

Twenty years ago, it was remarkable to note how polls showed a stark difference in perception of Mayor Rudy Giuliani between African-Americans (largely negative) and whites (largely positive). 

Things seem similar now, but in reverse. Blacks view incumbent Bill de Blasio with strong favorability, and whites view him unfavorably.

And as was the case back in the 1990's, those responding...

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Senate: Schumer, Gillibrand to vote no on Keystone XL pipeline

New York's Democratic Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand said they will vote against a bill approving construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline in a vote early this evening, despite the pleas of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.).

Landrieu, who faces a run-off election on Dec. 6, needs 60 votes to pass the measure, which is the bill sponsored by her opponent, Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.)....

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Silver talks, but says little about upcoming Albany action

State Sen. Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) speaks at

(Credit: Craig Ruttle)

ALBANY -- Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was in Albany Tuesday and, true to his inscrutable image, revealed almost nothing about what, if anything, will happen in Albany in coming weeks.

Silver met with newly elected Democrats in a closed-door session. On the way into the conference room, he indicated the Assembly could come back for a special session in December, that he could support a...

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