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Tonko gets a different sort of town hall reception ⋆ Epeak . Independent news and blogs

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Good morning! The Presidents’ Day weekend is over, though the state Legislature remains in recess and Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in the city so nice they named it twice with no public schedule. Expect another weirdly warm day, and more of them to come. And speaking of warmth, direct your attention to this morning’s headlines:

For more than two hours at Schenectady County Community College, Amsterdam Democratic Rep Paul Tonko took questions on environmental policies pushed by President Donald Trump’s administration, the manufacturing workforce, efforts to repeal of the Affordable Care Act, hate crimes that have gained considerable attention since the election and other topics. (TU)

Meanwhile, Buffalo Rep. Chris Collins is facing increased pressure to hold a town hall. (TWC)

President Donald Trump has still not set foot in New York City as president. But whenever he does settle into his penthouse home atop Trump Tower, seething New Yorkers will finally be able to train their ire directly at Trump on his doorstep. (NYT)

Trump has cast incoming refugees in a sinister light, the influx into the beleaguered communities along New York’s old Erie Canal has been a surprising salve for decades of dwindling population and opportunity. (NYT)

Buffalo’s immigrant community fears a crackdown under Trump. (BN)

A new report shows that the struggles to find and retain caregivers for those with serious physical and mental debilitations through a Medicaid-funded personal assistance program are exacerbated by low wages that advocates say are not being funded properly to begin with. (TU)

State and local officials are touting Cuomo’s plan for a series of linked recreation trails stretching to Buffalo and north to the Canadian border. (NYT)

A leading budget watchdog group is accusing the governor of fudging the numbers in his state budget to appear to stay within his self-imposed two percent per-year spending cap. (NYS Public Radio)

Cuomo’s proposal for a developer to build a lodge on Goat Island would harm the island’s reputation as a place of natural beauty, and also would put other hotels in the Falls at a competitive disadvantage, members of the Niagara Falls City Council and the Niagara County Legislature say. (BN)

The father of Cuomo’s new state operations director, Jamie Rubin, once served with the governor in President Bill Clinton’s administration. (DN)

A former aide to Gov. Mario Cuomo recalls him as the “anti-Donald Trump.” (Napa Valley Register)

Saying “our growth is undeniable,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown made it official: He’ll seek a fourth term. (BN)

Sculptor David Poulin – still bruised by the national reaction to his “scary” Lucille Ball portrayal – has lost interest in bronze statues. So he has given away his tools of the trade. (BN)

From Washington and environs:

Trump appointed Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster as his new national security adviser on Monday, picking a widely respected military strategist known for challenging conventional thinking and helping to turn around the Iraq war in its darkest days. (NYT)

Breitbart editor and pro troll Milo Yiannopoulos was disinvited to the Conservative Political Action Conference and lost his book deal after a tape surfaced in which he expressed support for sexual relations between boys and older men. (AP)

Sweden reels — but not from what Trump thinks: “We are used to seeing the president of the U.S. as one of the most well-informed persons in the world, also well aware of the importance of what he says,” Carl Bildt, a former prime minister of Sweden, said by email on Monday. “And then, suddenly, we see him engaging in misinformation and slander against a truly friendly country, obviously relying on sources of a quality that at best could be described as dubious.” (NYT)

From the editorial pages:

The TU editorial board on the GOP’s reluctance to hold town hall meetings: “We understand their desire to avoid the heat. But to dismiss the discontent as “a small number of activists” or to suggest, as some Republicans in Congress have, that this is all the fault of paid agitators, is to ignore the reality that a majority of Americans are apprehensive, many are fearful and some are downright angry.”

Chris Churchill: “Among the hugely important questions facing the world during this moment of geopolitical turbulence is this: Did an argument over whether a planned sexual romp should include three or four participants lead to a fight at the new casino?” (TU)

The New York Post editorial board says Cuomo is right to wait to call a special election to fill Bill Perkins’ Senate seat.

Anti-tax activist Grover Norquist assails Cuomo’s subsidy package for four upstate nuclear reactors. (Syr)

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