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Cuomo misses Silver?
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo wanted to make it clear Monday that it was only a factual observation, not praise, when he said on Sunday that Sheldon Silver had “total” control of the Assembly chamber during his long reign as speaker. In Monday’s midday news conference call, Cuomo said that during budget negotiations Silver, who resigned in disgrace in 2015 amid federal corruption charges, would return to his conference and say, “This is the best we’re going to get,” and the members would then fall in line.
Now, after Silver’s fall from power, Cuomo observed that Speaker Carl Heastie has a different “more participatory style.” He then described Assembly Democrats as having “107 speakers.” The inability of Heastie to get about seven or so newer members to go along perhaps cost Cuomo his much-desired win of seven on-time budgets. That would have tied the record of Herbert H. Lehman, who was governor from 1933-1942.
Offering some context and perhaps some balm to his remarks, Cuomo then compared Heastie’s situation to that of House Speaker Paul Ryan, who failed to get the votes on the health care bill, saying this is a different political era. “There are more factions, more extremism,” Cuomo said. “The same wind that blew in Washington, blew in New York.”
The governor said the comparison to Silver was “unfair to Heastie” although he seems to be the one making it, adding, “Silver was respected beyond question.”
Come for the pizza, stay for the Sri Lankan
Mayor Bill de Blasio will be spending the week on Staten Island as the first stop for his “City Hall in Your Borough” initiative.
It can’t hurt to get out among the people in an election year, and heading to NYC’s only red borough first might be taken as a measure of the Democratic mayor’s strength heading into re-election.
But there are more blue votes to be gained across the Verrazano Bridge than the stereotypes indicate. Democrats hold a total registration advantage of nearly 44,000 voters there. However, more votes went to President Donald Trump last year — 101,000 vs. 74,000 for Democrat Hillary Clinton. The borough, however, went for President Barack Obama in 2012 and only narrowly voted against him in 2008.
In de Blasio’s own 2013 campaign, he eked out a victory in the Democratic primary on S.I. but lost the borough in the general — 33,100 votes to Republican Joe Lhota’s nearly 40,000.
Barring a faux pas — like eating pizza with a fork during a 2014 trip to Staten Island, or dropping Staten Island Chuck a month later on Groundhog Day (the critter later died) — maybe this visit will allow him to reach a detente with the borough.
“The mayor will have a good week if he rolls with the punches, keeps his sense of humor, and eats slices with his hands,” wrote Richard Flanagan, professor of political science and global affairs at the College of Staten Island, in an email.
Republican councilmember Joe Borelli’s (culinary) advice was simpler: “Come for the pizza, stay for the Sri Lankan.”
Un-paving the way
Point of Late Return
Off the rails
There’s no easy fix to the LIRR’s service problems, especially when they stem from Amtrak’s control of Penn Station. But commuters have their own survival strategies they are willing to share. Some are practical, such as changing your work schedule, and some resort to humor, such as wearing an MTA hat that says Mayhem, Turmoil and Aggravation. Take a read and submit yours here.
Highs and lows
-- The Oyster Bay Town Board debated and voted for concessions contracts in an open meeting streamed online? Next thing you know someone, anyone, on the Hempstead Town Board will recuse themselves from voting on a relative’s hiring or pay hike.
-- President Donald Trump succeeded in meeting his prediction of a very difficult meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, because it’s very difficult to say what they accomplished.
-- Coming this month to Washington — a release-your-taxes march, a science march and a climate change march. Infrastructure is starting to get a complex.
-- UN Ambassador Nikki Haley’s warning that the U.S. bombing of Syria after that country’s chemical weapons attack is a signal that the U.S. is not going to let “things like this” happen to innocent people apparently rests on a narrow definition of “things like this.” Because bombs and good old-fashioned gunfire seem to be OK.
-- With Neil Gorsuch’s swearing-in to the Supreme Court Monday, Republicans are saying his confirmation is an example of how the party can get things done. So the lesson is to ignore Democrats, get moderates and extreme conservatives in the party to agree, and blow up whatever tradition stands in the way. Sure, that’s a recipe that’ll keep working.
-- White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon believes in the “fourth turning,” a theory that America is nearing a crisis that could result in its destruction. He’s been watching the Yankees bullpen too much lately.
-- Here’s how last week went for Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley: A report by a special counsel to the state judiciary committee found he engaged in an “inappropriate” relationship with his top adviser then used intimidation to try to cover it up, the state ethics commissioner found he probably violated ethics and campaign laws, the legislature’s top two leaders who are fellow Republicans asked him to step down, and the state’s Supreme Court allowed the legislature to begin impeachment hearings. Then Bentley went to church on Sunday and gave thanks that a week is only seven days.
-- Actually, it wasn’t that bad a week for Bentley. Neither Bill O’Reilly nor Donald Trump defended him.