Good afternoon and welcome to The Point! Today we’re closely following the government shutdown and reopening; make sure to look for our editorial later on newsday.com/opinion.
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New York Republican Party chairman Ed Cox is playing the ziti card in his running battle with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, showing off colorful mock-up boxes of “Cuomo’s Bribezoni” pasta to make his corruption case.
Cox popped up Monday with a handful of fellow protesters outside U.S. District Court in Manhattan, where former Cuomo aide Joseph Percoco is going on trial on federal corruption charges.
In emails, Percoco and an alleged co-conspirator are said to have referred to the money they were making as “ziti,” a reference made famous in “The Sopranos.” Cox, with a weak stable of candidates to challenge the governor, hopes he can help deflate Cuomo.
And then there are the family ties binding the story together.
Joining Cox was his Manhattan GOP chair, Andrea Catsimatidis, who was married to Cox’s son, Christopher, until 2014. Catsimatidis is the daughter of John Catsimatidis, the billionaire grocer, sometime Republican candidate and radio talk-show host.
Before he worked for Andrew Cuomo, Percoco worked for his father, Gov. Mario Cuomo.
And Cox has reverted to a treasured slogan. He says it’s “Anyone but Cuomo,” this time around. That was the rallying cry when the relatively unknown George Pataki denied Mario Cuomo a fourth term in 1994. Now Cox is also serving up a side dish of “ziti,” a term the indictment alleges Percoco and his co-conspirators used to refer to bribes.
LI and the congestion-pricing plan
The Fix NYC panel’s congestion-pricing plan got off to a rocky start last week — especially in the suburbs. And the problem was one of the panel’s own making.
Long Island Association chief executive Kevin Law, a panel member, was never asked to be part of a conference call for the media. That left the door open for panel members who were on the call to focus almost entirely on New York City and to make some unforced errors.
Former Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer, a Metropolitan Transportation Authority board member, said that all of the revenue from the Fix NYC plan to charge for entering downtown Manhattan would go into New York City Transit coffers. He was mistaken.
The panel’s report notes that some money from a for-hire vehicle surcharge could be directed to suburban buses.
That still might not mean much money for the Island. While all money would go to the MTA, The Point was told, any revenue might be apportioned based in part on from whom it was collected. Census data indicate that about 5 percent of Long Island commuters drive into the central business district every day. State officials, however, noted that they knew suburban railroad and bus service would have to be in good shape before any congestion-pricing zone went into effect.
And that’s a better answer politically than Ferrer’s comment Friday. The support of State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, as well as that of suburban and outer-borough lawmakers, is key to the plan’s success in the State Legislature.
That’s why Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s immediate reaction on Friday was that he also wanted to reduce tolls on outer-borough bridges such as the Whitestone and Throgs Neck.
There might not be any future conference calls to discuss congestion pricing, but if there are, it’s likely Law or other Long Island business leaders and advocates will be part of the messaging.
Randi F. Marshall
- So, which side of the federal shutdown were you on: #schumershutdown, #trumpshutdown or #wethepeopleloseshutdown?
- Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens took pains to explain that his extramarital affair with his former hairdresser was “consensual,” had “no threat of violence” and “no blackmail.” Which are important things to be clear about when you’re cheating on your spouse.
- In 2013, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo made a deal on the 12th day of that year’s federal government shutdown to pay the wages of federal workers needed to keep the Statue of Liberty open. This time, he made the deal on the second day of the now-ended shutdown. On-the-job learning or 2020 groundwork?
- Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney says he discovered the day before the federal shutdown that it would fall to him to shutter the government and called that “kind of cool.” Which is the first time in recorded history that “cool” was used that way.
- Billy Joel just announced his 100th appearance at Madison Square Garden. Unlike other longtime tenants of the Garden, Joel is unbeaten.
- The resolution of the federal shutdown paves the way for President Donald Trump to attend Davos, a gathering of globalists from around the world, later this week. As if Trump wasn’t at the center of enough dysfunction already.
- RIP, Mathilde Krim.