Tales of rescue abound in election season

Screengrab from the Committee to Save New York

Screengrab from the Committee to Save New York (Credit: www.letsfixalbany.org)

Legends of great rescues -- some better founded than others -- abound as useful tools for political spinmeisters.

Democrat Thomas Suozzi pursues a new tenure as Nassau executive with the narrative of having redeemed the county from financial collapse under his predecessor.

Republican incumbent Edward Mangano's team recites at every turn the salvational incantation that no further property tax hikes occurred on his watch.


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Democratic insurgent Adam Haber, facing Suozzi in next week's primary, of course contests the validity of either county-rescue scenario.

When Mayor Michael Bloomberg wanted to change the law to seek a third term in 2009, his crew went with the rationale that only he could save New York City from economic collapse at a dicey moment.

Chief executives under whom crime fell or successful emergency operations were carried out will have their fans immediately promoting the story that only under their leadership could the forces of chaos be batted down.

Which brings us to the defunct Committee to Save New York. On the cusp of Labor Day weekend, the state was pronounced saved, at least by implication, when committee spokesman Michael McKeon said the business- and real estate-funded group had served its purpose and was disbanding. Its mission, as a multimillion-dollar message machine for Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's fiscal agenda, was deemed accomplished.

In 2011 and 2012, the entity spent some $16 million -- more than any other lobbying group. It launched pre-emptive ads aimed to paint critics of the governor's fiscal goals, such as public-sector labor unions, as "special interests" -- organizations that funded hard-hitting commercials when ex-Govs. Eliot Spitzer and David A. Paterson proposed budget cuts.

Operatives and donors behind the Committee to Save New York are saved, too -- from the need to publicly disclose their activities as required under a new ethics law. It was reported last year that the committee got $2 million from gambling interests around the time Cuomo was preparing his statewide gaming plan.

Rescue tales can even fuel offbeat uproars. The saving of kittens from under a subway rail last week led mayoral candidate Joseph Lhota to say an entire train line shouldn't close for a long period for that purpose. Lhota was praised as MTA chairman for the system's post-Sandy recovery.