Good afternoon and welcome to The Point!
Cuomo can get on the board
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s controversial proposal to create a new inspector general position reporting directly to him at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is getting new ammunition with the sentencing Monday of David Samson, former chair of the bi-state agency.
Samson was sentenced to one year of home confinement. He had pleaded guilty to federal bribery charges from his decision in 2012 to pressure United Airlines to restore a flight from Newark to South Carolina, so that Samson could have a convenient way get to his weekend home.
Cuomo’s proposal came under fire Friday from six Port Authority commissioners who released a letter criticizing the move. Among the signers was current Port Authority chairman John Degnan, who referred to the Samson case to argue that the authority’s existing inspector general is effective.
Supporters of Cuomo’s power move, however, say the Samson case proves the opposite, that the misconduct probe could have been investigated sooner and more thoroughly if the IG were more independent and didn’t report to the authority’s chairman.
Randi F. Marshall
Fleeing New York
All politics might be local, but sometimes it’s nice to get out of town.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is back from his whirlwind weekend trip to Israel, which included visits to Yad Vashem, the Western Wall, and attendant speculation about a 2020 presidential run.
Mayor Bill de Blasio spent the last few weeks in cities including Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles and Chicago for fundraisers and appearances, though in Florida the sunny escape might have been marred by #CLOSErikers protesters.
But New York officials beyond the top dogs are in escape mode, too. City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito is in Columbus, Ohio, meeting with leaders of a local ID program. And city Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina is taking midwinter break a bit late; she is scheduled to take part in a South by Southwest event in Austin, Texas, on equity in education.
It’s not a bad time to leave when New York feels arctic and all eyes are on the chaos in Washington.
-- Talk about unbelievable: A drive-in in Alabama canceled plans to show Disney’s live-action “Beauty and the Beast” film because it contains a “gay moment.” Wow. Who knew there were any drive-ins left?
-- Nevada’s state legislature is about to become the 36th state to approve the Equal Rights Amendment — 45 years after it was passed by Congress and 35 years after the deadline for passage in 38 states for it to become part of the Cnstitution. In related news, Nevada is also about to pass legislation declaring the Earth is not flat.
-- “Deep state” is emerging as a popular phrase among conservatives to describe entrenched networks in and out of government hostile to President Donald Trump. And the “shallow state” would be whom?
-- The most Trumpian voices of sanity, daughter Ivanka Trump and husband Jared Kushner, observe the Sabbath on Saturdays. President Donald Trump issues his most inflammatory tweets on Saturdays. Correlation or causation?
-- President Donald Trump gets angry and goes ballistic. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un gets angry and launches missiles — literally, going ballistic.
-- Officials for the operator of the new casino in Islandia say the 643-space parking lot, already stressed with 265 video-lottery terminals up and running, will be adequate even when 1,000 machines are in play. And casinos are supposed to be good with math.