Special Election Bracket Busters

Cinderella stories are common in March, but what about in April?

On April 24 the state’s political season kicks off with special elections from Long Island to Buffalo. There will be 11 potential upsets, with nine Assembly races and two in the state Senate.

Most eyes are on the 37th Senate District because it’s viewed as a pivotal battleground for control of the state Senate. The district leans Democratic, but Republicans are hoping they can wrestle back control and pad their majority. Michael Lawler, campaign manager for Republican hopeful Julie Killian, joined the podcast to talk about their path to an upset victory.

The Assembly seats could also be ripe for surprise victories, as was the case in last spring’s special election on Long Island. Melinda Person, political director for NYSUT, came on the show to talk about the possibility of repeating that win on a larger scale.

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Seeing Through New York

The expectation in New York that public information should be available online is only a recent development in the online era.

Ten years ago the landscape was radically different (and not just because Netflix dealt solely in DVDs), which is why the creation of See Through New York was a game changer.

In its first year, the site published payroll information for New York City and the state’s largest authorities, shared legislative expenditure data and unveiled a tool to analyze local tax data. Since then, See Through New York has launched new applications and continued to grow its database of public information. Continue reading “Seeing Through New York”

The Loan behind the Lawsuit

If you ever stumbled across a late night television advertisement promising cash – maybe with a catchy jingle – then you might have unwittingly heard the sales pitch from a lawsuit lender.

Lawsuit lenders can act as third-party financiers of lawsuits with a simple pitch: Need cash while you wait for the resolution of a lawsuit? Then call an 800-number that probably ends in CASH.

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EXTRA EXTRA – Brian Kolb’s Gubernatorial Show

In anticipation of the upcoming LCA Show, I wrote a song for Brian Kolb that is no longer relevant. Instead of letting the song die, like his candidacy for governor, it’s being released into the world.

You’re welcome.

Now what rhymes with Giambra

Guardians of New York

For thousands of New Yorkers who find themselves unable to make critical life decisions, the state’s guardianship laws are designed to serve as a safety net of last resort to meet their needs.

Reformed in 1992, the state’s overhaul of the Mental Hygiene Law was an attempt to move away from its benign paternalistic approach to guardianship. In theory the law promotes a flexible system aimed at crafting tailored and limited solutions that meet a persons need for assistance , but in reality it has been plagued by a lack of resources, incomplete data and a shortage of guardians.

Jean Callahan, of the Legal Aid Society, joined Poozer Politics to talk about the evolution of the state’s guardian laws and explain the situation facing thousands of incapacitated New Yorkers today.  The conversation also explored the need to promote alternatives to guardians and possible reforms to the system. Continue reading “Guardians of New York”