New Governor, New Congress

January 5, 2011 1:41:19 PM PST
"This is not about budget trimming or cutting, it's about looking at how we can fix government and make it work for the people."

And so the 56th Governor of New York today laid out his plan and in a way threw down the gauntlet for his term as the state's CEO.

One politically conservative leaning friend of mine called during Andrew Cuomo's State of the State address this afternoon and suggested that, based on what he was hearing so far in the speech, he was thinking of becoming a Democrat.

It's the new Governor's emphasis on not raising income taxes, cutting property taxes, getting rid of the state government's fat, and worried about business leaving the state - those are the issues my friend liked.

While Mr. Cuomo was speaking - and using, for the first time, graphics in his presentation - the new Speaker of the House was taking the gavel and giving his take on the new Congress. John Boehner now leading the Republican majority in the House, and promising a new era in Washington.

Talk, as we've seen in politics, isn't expensive. Both men today making promises; now we'll see if they follow through. And it could be ugly. The battle to overturn health care reform is agenda item number one for the new Repubs in Washington.

We'll have reaction to both big speeches - in Albany and in Washington - tonight at 11.

By the way, all governments have a tough reality ahead. And it's all about money. The U.S. Census Bureau today released new data that showed overall state government revenue dropped nearly 31%, while spending rose. Not a good formula.

Also at 11, we're following the controversy surrounding the New York City Sanitation Dept. Last night's report on our 11 p.m. newscast has added to the long list of problems from last week's blizzard. We reported that snow had been allegedly dumped by Sanitation Dept. trucks on cars - crushing them - and through a cemetery fence that knocked down some headstones in Brooklyn. Many investigations now underway into what happened, and why the City didn't declare a snow emergency, which would have cleared hundreds of streets of private cars.

We're also following the incredible change-of-life for a man named Ted Williams. We reported on his plight last night at 11 - a homeless man in Columbus, Ohio - with an amazing radio DJ-quality voice. A reporter for the Columbus Dispatch posted a video on the paper's website - and it went viral. Now, Mr. Williams is suddenly all the rage. He's been offered a job with the Cleveland Cavaliers to do voiceovers. And he's headed to New York tonight for some high-visibility appearances. We're with him when he arrives tonight.

And for everyone who's resolved to diet this year, Consumer Reports takes a fresh look at the most important part of losing weight: counting calories. What's interesting about the story tonight is that the calorie counts of foods you might eat, might surprise you.

We're on Long Island tonight - reporting on a tragedy that any parent with a teenager who drives ought to pay attention to and learn from.

A 17-year-old boy was killed last night in the town of Westbury after police say he blew a stop sign and broadsided another car. He apparently wasn't wearing a seat belt, and was reportedly ejected. Police say he was speeding, and he had two car accidents in September. That alone should have been warning enough that this kid needed more driver ed.

Two of his friends were also in the car; one is in a medically induced coma with spinal injuries, the other is in serious condition with a variety of injuries.

The young woman who was driving the other car was not seriously hurt.

And finally, gun violence isn't on the agenda in Washington - yet - but maybe it should be. At this writing, there are three shooting incidents we're following: A deadly shooting at a high school in Omaha, a hostage situation with shots fired at a mall in Arizona where the gunman was apparently incorrectly released from custody last month by U.S. Marshals, and the fatal shooting of a police officer at a church in Oregon.

Some other stats for you, involving weapons:

  • Of the more than 15,000 people murdered in the U.S. in 2009, more than two-thirds were killed by a firearm.
  • Of the more than 800,000 aggravated assaults in 2009, more than one-in-five involved guns.
  • And of the more than 408,000 robberies in 2009, nearly 43% involved firearms.

    We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Rob Powers with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.


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