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Going to bat for Cuomo

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo talks on the phone

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo talks on the phone at the Executive Mansion, in Albany on Saturday. Credit: AP/Hans Pennink

Daily Point

Making her case for the governor

In the days since the office of New York Attorney General Tish James released its 165-page report on the sexual harassment allegations against Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, hardly anybody in the political world outside of his inner circle has stepped up to argue that he should remain in office.

This changed over the past two days when Long Islander Pat Maher, a frequent Democratic candidate for political office and a perennial outsider inside the party, stepped up for the defense.

Maher’s argument came in tweets and an email from "We Decide New York Inc.," for which she is the chairperson of volunteers. She says the group has about 40 active members, and actually split from "We Decide New York" (without the "Inc."). The group’s Twitter account has 666 followers, while her own account that she also uses to publicize the cause has about 500, and both get a decent number of retweets, likes and support.

Maher sought the Democratic nomination for the 2nd Congressional District in 2020, losing to Jackie Gordon, and in 2014 was the Democratic nominee against then-Rep. Peter King, losing by a 2-1 margin. She also ran unsuccessfully against former Nassau County Legis. Norma Gonsalves more than once.

A recent graduate of Touro Law School (she is waiting for her bar results), Maher also has received a master’s degree from Hofstra University in health care and policy. She now works for a branding company, but for years was employed by the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office.

The arguments Maher made in both her statement and an interview with The Point are that:

  • Cuomo is the driving force behind crucial projects that his removal would imperil, like what she called "New York’s $350 billion-plus infrastructure plan," including rebuilding Kennedy Airport, creating the LaGuardia Airport AirTrain and, for the Long Island Rail Road, a third track for the Main Line and trains in and out of Grand Central.

  • The New York laws that would remove Cuomo from power temporarily after the Assembly impeaches, but before the Court of Impeachment votes, are unfair, penalizing politicians who have not yet mounted a real defense.

  • The spectacle of the juries of both parts of the process, Assembly and Senate members, demanding Cuomo resign, destroys any semblance of impartiality.

Maher said that "We Decide New York Inc." was formed around the time Cuomo was accused, and in response to his travails, but has a broader goal.

"The voters gave Cuomo, and anyone else who would be impeached via this process, their office," Maher said. "They shouldn’t be forced out or have their power seized without a full process."

Maher also said no powerful politicos had approached her or her allies about speaking out, when Cuomo was first accused or now, and that the state constitution ought to be changed to both keep the accused in power until they are truly removed, rather than temporarily replacing them between the Assembly impeachment and Senate trial, and to spell out what constitutes an impeachable offense.

Maher still has ambitions of her own in elective politics, and sees the issue through that prism. A resident of Roslyn, she may go next year after the Assembly seat held by Charles Lavine, the Glen Cove Democrat who chairs the Judiciary Committee overseeing impeachment.

"I wouldn’t want to see my power seized if I were elected, just because people didn’t like me," Maher said. "This just isn’t the right way to do things."

— Lane Filler @lanefiller

Puzzle Point

In the news

The dog days of August are here. Have you been paying attention to the news? Here’s a way to find out. Provide the answer for each clue, one letter per blank. The first letter of each answer, taken in order, spells the name of an American athlete who also has been in the news lately, though perhaps not in a way that was expected. Answers will appear in Tuesday’s edition of The Point.

  • _ _ _ _ _ _ Several of these have been sighted near South Shore beaches recently, forcing temporary closures to swimming.
  • _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ After years of ridicule about whether one week or another would finally be the week to get this done, Democratic and Republican senators made a $1.2 trillion deal on this that is now moving through the Senate.
  • _ _ _ _ _ _ Much-maligned hairstyle of the 1980s and early 90s (think Billy Ray Cyrus, John Stamos and Randy Johnson) that is making a comeback on Long Island and elsewhere.
  • _ _ _ _ _ _ The massive Bootleg Fire in this Western state has burned more than 410,000 acres and might not be contained until October, firefighters said last week.
  • _ _ _ _ The college sports organization that contributes to gender inequity by prioritizing its men’s basketball tournament over its tourney for women, according to a report last week by investigators hired by the organization itself.
  • _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Millions of Americans avoided this last week when the CDC extended an expiring federal moratorium dealing with tenants and the back rent they owed.
  • _ _ _ _ The instrument played by ZZ Top member Dusty Hill, who died recently.
  • _ _ _ _ Middle East nation that last week swore in a new hard-line president expected to take a defiant stance toward the U.S.
  • _ _ _ _ Former Suffolk County Executive Steve who has been in court fighting to keep sealed an agreement with former District Attorney Tom Spota.
  • _ _ _ _ _ _ The continent that has passed the U.S. in COVID-19 vaccinations.
  • _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ East End village whose police chief is about to retire with a $774,000 payout for unused sick and vacation time.

— Michael Dobie @mwdobie

Pencil Point

A yearning curve

For more cartoons, visit www.newsday.com/nationalcartoons

Quick Points

Targets missed, targets hit

  • Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s lawyer, Rita Glavin, said his behavior toward the female state trooper depicted in the attorney general’s report "is not criminal conduct." OK, provided she’s also clear that that’s no defense against impeachment, public opinion or the general scuzziness of what he did.
  • As former President Donald Trump rails against the bipartisan infrastructure bill moving forward in the U.S. Senate, it seems clear some Republican senators are ignoring him. How long will that last?
  • International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach has said that the Tokyo Games would be "the light at the end of this dark tunnel the whole world is going through." It’s not the first thing the IOC president has been wrong about.
  • Former President Donald Trump’s campaign has returned more than $135 million to donors hoodwinked in 2020 into unwittingly making automatic weekly donations. Which was unusual for Trump, for whom "refund" is a four-letter word.
  • Senate committee chairs are furious that the bipartisan group shepherding the monster infrastructure bill bypassed them in moving it forward. To which the rest of the world said: Whatever works.
  • The Dixie fire has mushroomed into the second-largest fire in California history, leaving Californians with one fervent hope — that it doesn’t set a record.
  • Many Olympic venues through the years have become white elephants after the Games’ conclusion, rusting from disuse or being torn down. Which made all those empty arenas in Tokyo a perfect if unintended metaphor.
  • U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona warned public officials not to "be the reason why schools are interrupted" by opposing mask and vaccine mandates. Now he needs to get the message to parents.
  • Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene suggested people take up arms against volunteers going door to door to promote COVID-19 vaccines. It’s called the shot-for-shot defense.

— Michael Dobie @mwdobie

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