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by Jay Gallagher

Friday, February 12, 2010

Weekend preoccupations


Wonder what Albany insiders will be mulling this long holiday weekend? Here are a few likely topics:
-- Will Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, former Tennessee Congressman Harold Ford Jr., Gov. David Paterson and Attorney General Andrew Cuomo manage not to try to throttle each other at the weekend’s Black, Hispanic and Asian Legislators’ conference that they’re all scheduled to attend? Ford is expected to try to beat Gillibrand in a primary in September and Cuomo is expected to announce his candidacy for governor as soon as next month.
-- What are prosecutors focusing on as the look at the recent deal to award the franchise to install video lottery terminals at Aqueduct Race Track to AEG Entertainment? Just a few days after the award was announced, Paterson sought political support from the Rev. Floyd Flake of Queens, who has a piece of the deal and is also one of New York City’s most powerful politicians.
-- Will a federal judge try to block the ouster of Sen. Hiram Monserrate of Queens from office? And will he scratch a special election Gov. Paterson has set for March 16 to replace the senator? Monserrate claims in court papers it is a civil-rights issue and that he was denied due process.
-- How much will get done in the Senate before Monserrate’s seat is filled, since neither party has a majority until he is replaced? Common wisdom: very little.
-- Who will appear with Gov. Paterson when he officially announces his candidacy for governor on the 20th? His father, former Secretary of State Basil Paterson, is behind him as is Rep. Charles Rangel, D-Harlem, but after that most well known Democratic polls have been running away from the gov as a sure loser.
-- Will The New York Times ever run its much-rumored story about Paterson’s personal life?
-- Where can the state possibly find the money to head off deep cuts in school aid and health-care spending and still close its $8 billion budget gap by April 1?
-- Is ethics reform dead for the year?
That’s enough to fill anyone’s head, as the folks who live here permanently get set to enjoy a week without the Legislature being in session.

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