Ama­zon angst

6 L.I. pols tell chief: Trou­ble if Be­zos bails

New York Daily News - - NEWS - KEN­NETH LOVETT AL­BANY IN­SIDER

AL­BANY — A group of six Long Is­land Demo­cratic state se­na­tors this week­end ex­pressed fears to Sen­ate Ma­jor­ity Leader An­drea Ste­wart-Cousins that they could be harmed po­lit­i­cally if the deal to bring Ama­zon to Queens unravels, mul­ti­ple sources told the Daily News.

The mes­sage was sent dur­ing a con­fer­ence call be­tween the six se­na­tors and Ste­wartCousins (D-Yonkers), the sources said.

“All of the mem­bers were united in fa­vor of Ama­zon,” said one Long Is­land Demo­crat fa­mil­iar with the call.

Some of the se­na­tors, the source said, told Ste­wartCousins they were feel­ing pres­sure from con­stituents about the pos­si­bil­ity the Ama­zon deal could fall through “and how that would not be a good thing for this re­gion, for Long Is­land.

“They made that clear,” the source added. “The ma­jor­ity leader un­der­stood that very well. Where it goes from there, I can’t say, but there was no con­fu­sion or mis­un­der­stand­ing or lack of clar­ity on the po­si­tion of the Long Is­land del­e­ga­tion.”

A sec­ond source, who took part in the call, told The News “you’re not off base” when asked about the con­ver­sa­tion.

The fear is if the project im­plodes, the Repub­li­cans will use the is­sue to try and re­claim Long Is­land seats they lost last year by paint­ing the Dems as anti-busi­ness.

Amid vo­cal op­po­si­tion from some pro­gres­sives, The Washington Post re­ported last week that Ama­zon was re­con­sid­er­ing its plans to open a new of­fice in Long Is­land City that sup­port­ers say will cre­ate a min­i­mum of 25,000 jobs that carry an av­er­age salary of $140,000.

Sen­ate Deputy Leader Michael Gia­naris and other New York City politi­cians have blasted the state and city for agree­ing to pro­vide nearly $3 bil­lion in tax­payer in­cen­tives to one of the world’s rich­est com­pa­nies while some unions have com­plained about Ama­zon’s la­bor record.

In a move that raised some eye­brows, Ste­wart-Cousins rec­om­mended Gia­naris’ ap­point­ment to a lit­tle-known board that will likely have to sign off on parts of the deal. Gov. Cuomo, who helped bring Ama­zon to New York, has not said whether he will ap­point Gia­naris.

Cuomo told the Long Is­land As­so­ci­a­tion busi­ness group Fri­day that for the state Sen­ate to op­pose Ama­zon was “gov­ern­men­tal mal­prac­tice.”

“And if they stop Ama­zon from com­ing to New York, they are go­ing to have the people of New York State to ex­plain it to.”

Sen­ate Demo­cratic spokesman Mike Mur­phy would not dis­cuss the specifics of the Satur­day call be­tween Ste­wart-Cousins and the Long Is­land del­e­ga­tion, but said that “the leader felt it was im­por­tant to reach out to mem­bers (af­ter) they were blind­sided by false at­tacks at the Long Is­land As­so­ci­a­tion.”

The con­cerns of Long Is­land se­na­tors shows the bal­anc­ing act Ste­wart-Cousins has to play in rep­re­sent­ing a con­fer­ence made up of more lib­eral mem­bers from New York City and more mod­er­ate Dems from the sub­urbs and up­state.

As he seeks to head the state Repub­li­can Party, Erie County GOP Chair­man Ni­cholas Lang­wor­thy has a Carl Pal­adino prob­lem, sev­eral party of­fi­cials and op­er­a­tives say.

Lang­wor­thy hails from the same county and is friends with Pal­adino, the bom­bas­tic Buf­falo busi­ness­man who un­suc­cess­fully ran for gover­nor in 2010 and who has been ac­cused in the past of racism.

“(Lang­wor­thy’s) sup­port is widely viewed as com­ing from Pal­adino, which then begs the question of what in­flu­ence would Pal­adino have over the state party,” said one GOP op­er­a­tive.

The source and other Repub­li­cans also ex­pressed con­cerns that Lang­wor­thy, hail­ing from the west­ern part of New York, won’t be able to eas­ily tap into the party’s down­state donor base.

“I don’t have a Pal­adino prob­lem,” Lang­wor­thy in­sisted. “He’s been a sup­porter of the party like he’s been a (fi­nan­cial) sup­porter of (state GOP Chair­man) Ed Cox and the state party.”

As for hail­ing from up­state, Lang­wor­thy notes the party’s great­est mod­ern suc­cesses took place un­der for­mer GOP Chair­man Wil­liam Pow­ers, who was from the Al­bany area.

Cox has said he will seek another term as chair­man in July. Suf­folk County Repub­li­can Chair­man John Jay LaValle is also con­sid­er­ing seek­ing the post.

De­spite con­trol­ling a fleet of nine cars, the Democrats — who now con­trol the state Sen­ate — are only us­ing one.

Ste­wart-Cousins has a 2017 Ford Ex­plorer SUV that un­til Jan­uary be­longed to John DeFran­cisco, a Syra­cuse Repub­li­can who re­tired.

The Repub­li­cans asked for and were as­signed three cars, all 2013 Ford Tau­ruses, for Sen­ate Mi­nor­ity Leader John Flanagan (R-Suf­folk County), Deputy Mi­nor­ity Leader Joseph Grif­feo (R-Utica), and Sen. James Se­ward (R-Ot­sego County).

Five cars are cur­rently unas­signed.

State Sen­ate Ma­jor­ity Leader An­drea Ste­wart-Cousins was told by Demo­cratic se­na­tors from Long Is­land that they were wor­ried about po­lit­i­cal fall­out if Ama­zon pulls out of its move to Queens.

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