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BM5 via Woodhaven

Cuomo Got State Law Changed to put Ineligible Budget Director on the MTA Board

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https://www.gothamist.com/2019/06/21/cuomo_mujica_mta_board.php

62219mujica.jpg?crop=faces&fit=crop&auto

Robert Mujica, Governor Cuomo's budget director, and also his new appointee on the MTA Board KEVIN P. COUGHLIN/OFFICE OF GOVERNOR ANDREW M. CUOMO

At the end of the legislative session, New York State legislators and Governor Andrew Cuomo craft a “Frankenbill” or “Big Ugly”, crammed with miscellaneous tweaks and spending measures. This year’s productive session meant it was smaller than year’s past—more of a “Slim Ugly”—but Governor Cuomo was able slip in language that would, by default (“Ex officio”), make the state’s budget director an MTA board member.

What this means is Robert Mujica, a governor appointee, who doesn’t live in the MTA’s service area (which under normal circumstances would make him ineligible for the position), and with barely a public hearing (there was a confirmation hearing Wednesday, although it wasn't to discuss a change in the law), will have a seat on the board of the state transit agency the governor said he wanted to blow up.

That puts him in the unusual position of both voting on MTA contracts as well as ensuring at the state level that the MTA gets the money its leaders ask for.

“We believe it is inherently impossible for the state’s budget director, who must sign-off on numerous MTA contract and aid agreements, to fulfill his fiduciary duty as an MTA board member,” Rachael Fauss, with the watchdog group Reinvent Albany, wrote in a statement.

While Cuomo has done his darndest over the years to gaslight the public into believing that he’s not in charge of what happens at the highest levels at the MTA, he’s also been signaling that now he’s ready to be in charge and in fact willing to remove any decision-making powers from the board.

And after arguing that the MTA structure was so convoluted no one could possibly be held to account for anything, he now has a current member of his office sitting on the board, making it increasingly difficult to keep blaming the board for the MTA’s shortcomings.

“As budget director, it's totally correct that he should be on the MTA board because it's a state-subsidized authority,” Cuomo said on WAMC Thursday. “I would put his experience with the MTA against anyone's on a personal or—and on a professional level, no one can compare to what he knows about the MTA.”

In a Senate confirmation hearing, which is where typical nominations are discussed and voted, Mujica proved his loyalty. “The board runs the MTA,” he said. “The governor doesn't run the MTA.”

As for the conflict of interest, Mujica pointed to other appointees who “sailed” through the confirmation process, including two first deputy mayors, a New York City budget director, and current Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. None of these people were responsible for overseeing the implementation of the state budget; they all also lived in the area served by the transit system.

“We’ve confirmed them without any questions,” Mujica argued. “Those instances are very similar to this nomination that is here today,” he said, referring to himself.

Reinvent Albany pointed to several potential conflicts of interest in having a state budget director on the board:

1. He will decide whether to continue withholding the $7.3 billion dollars in state capital pledged in the 2016 budget to the 2015-2019 capital plan (Mujica said Wednesday the MTA was too slow to spend this money).

2. He is in a position to approve waivers from the MTA if it chooses to not use a design-build contract for projects that cost more than $25 billion dollars.

3. He can determine the MTA’s debt issuance charges or can issue a waiver.

4. He can approve legislative earmarks for the MTA’s 2020-2024 capital funds.

Other potential conflicts of interest could arise from the numerous other boards that Mujica sits on as an ex-officio member. In fact, he told senators he’s on so many boards he can’t remember the exact number, although he usually sends a designee to meetings in his stead.

He said that won’t be the case for the MTA and that he will attend meetings in person and be very “hands on.”

“The law has required MTA Board members to be from the MTA service region for a good reason: they should rely on the system they oversee,” Nick Sifuentes, executive director of Tri-State Transportation Campaign, wrote in a statement. “There are plenty of qualified, diverse candidates in the MTA region who are actual transit users. They should be considered, too.”

Before the final vote on Mujica, State Senator Liz Krueger, who voted “aye” without recommendation for Mujica (essentially approving him), recalled this statement he made in January, which called for giving the governor more power over the MTA.

“I think at least we should recognize that if we move Mr. Mujica forward, that’s exactly what we will be doing and just admit that that’s what we’re doing,” she said.

The only one of 23 senators to vote no in the Transportation Committee was Gustavo Rivera.

Several current MTA board members were contacted for comment, but declined.

The governor’s office did not answer questions about why they’re inserting the change of law into a spending bill at the end of the legislative session, why the issue of changing the law didn’t come up for a public hearing, or how Mujica will avoid conflicts of interest as both a budget director and MTA board member.

The office also didn’t answer how Mujica, who lives in Columbia County, just south of Albany, will get to the MTA board meetings, which is either a three-hour drive or a nearly three-hour Amtrak ride away.

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On one hand, I don’t have a problem with a state officer on the (MTA) board - many TAs have reps from the State Government on the board (albeit in a non-voting role), but on the other hand, a bean counter isn’t the best choice - since value for money shouldn’t be superior to region-wide transport planning. Someone from NYSDOT would’ve been the better choice.

But since the board is a useless entity anyway...

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Man, Cuomo speaks about the (MTA) being irresponsible, but atleast their decisions had more sanity than when he began micromanaging.

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4 hours ago, Wallyhorse said:

Probably did this to keep certain donors happy.  

Nah. This is cover for saying he’s going to control (MTA) largesse - since all everyone complains about consistently more than poor service is poor fiscal management.

If you want a political stratagem on it, he’s banking that the other dumbass from Queens is re-elected next year, and that the Republican nominees in 2024 will be an easy opponent for his POTUS run. IOW, Cuomo’s doing this so he stands a chance in the 2024 Iowa Caucuses.

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3 hours ago, Deucey said:

Nah. This is cover for saying he’s going to control (MTA) largesse - since all everyone complains about consistently more than poor service is poor fiscal management.

If you want a political stratagem on it, he’s banking that the other dumbass from Queens is re-elected next year, and that the Republican nominees in 2024 will be an easy opponent for his POTUS run. IOW, Cuomo’s doing this so he stands a chance in the 2024 Iowa Caucuses.

That also assumes the current POTUS is re-elected next year as well.  

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8 hours ago, Wallyhorse said:

That also assumes the current POTUS is re-elected next year as well.  

That’s what I said.

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Posted (edited)

Kind of surprised the topic of board member seats doesn't get more discussion on here. Like the fact that Cuomo appointed Mujica to replace Michael Lynton after less than 3 months on the board. Or the fact that even after the State Senate confirming 10 people in new board seats this year (plus 2 reappointments) the board still has 4 vacant seats. Or the general idea that the State Senate seems to rubber-stamp anybody Cuomo appoints to the board. It's true that this process is not fully transparent. I guess it's all futile in the end.

Edited by Mysterious2train

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22 minutes ago, Mysterious2train said:

Kind of surprised the topic of board member seats doesn't get more discussion on here. Like the fact that Cuomo appointed Mujica to replace Michael Lynton after less than 3 months on the board. Or the fact that even after the State Senate confirming 10 people in new board seats this year (plus 2 reappointments) the board still has 4 vacant seats. Or the general idea that the State Senate seems to rubber-stamp anybody Cuomo appoints to the board. It's true that this process is not fully transparent. I guess it's all futile in the end.

The problem is that it just isn't surprising anymore. So many of us have frankly resigned ourselves to dictatorship by Cuomo -- the Mayor and legislative branch of the state gov't have shown themselves to be ineffectual at best, spineless at worst, and there is neither an election coming up nor a credible Cuomo challenger. I've contacted reps and spoken with advocates in the past, but in the face of Cuomo's seemingly overwhelming power (which, mind you, is not just political: being able to so effectively obfuscate one's responsibility for the decline of a major piece of state infrastructure is a whole different sort of power) it just seems so...futile. Until NYers by and large begin prioritizing transit in their politics, we have a long, hard, and seemingly losing battle ahead of us with a man who is a politician before policymaker. 

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1 hour ago, Mysterious2train said:

Kind of surprised the topic of board member seats doesn't get more discussion on here. Like the fact that Cuomo appointed Mujica to replace Michael Lynton after less than 3 months on the board. Or the fact that even after the State Senate confirming 10 people in new board seats this year (plus 2 reappointments) the board still has 4 vacant seats. Or the general idea that the State Senate seems to rubber-stamp anybody Cuomo appoints to the board. It's true that this process is not fully transparent. I guess it's all futile in the end.

The reason that I did not post on this subject up and until now is this is typical Albany politics and when the New York State Senate became Democratic this year, the situation became far worse as the Republicans in the State Senate alone with the Democrats that supported them kept a lot of situations from becoming far worse, I knew what to expect from Cuomo as that is the reason in 2010, I walked around my place of employment telling my co-workers to apply for the early retirement incentive being offered. The MTA board is a non-salaried position and it has to go to the governor and then the State Senate has to approve it. Unfortunately what happened this year is no different from other years when it was under republican leadership as they too rubber stamped his appointments of the MTA and all the other agencies under his control.

As far as the local newspapers covering the Albany scene which would provide information as to what is going on up there, neither the Post nor the News have reporters up there anymore. I do not consider the New York times as a source of information on anything on any level. The Post had Fred Dicker and the News had Kenneth Lovett both of whom wrote columns on the Albany scene that provided us with information as the what is going up there and were not afraid to ask the tough questions of elected officials. The Albany Times-Union is not the same as it used to be  and how many people bother to look at their website to find out what is going on in Albany? There is no real source for information today and that is why both the legislative and executive branches are able to do what they are doing now.

1 hour ago, RR503 said:

The problem is that it just isn't surprising anymore. So many of us have frankly resigned ourselves to dictatorship by Cuomo -- the Mayor and legislative branch of the state gov't have shown themselves to be ineffectual at best, spineless at worst, and there is neither an election coming up nor a credible Cuomo challenger. I've contacted reps and spoken with advocates in the past, but in the face of Cuomo's seemingly overwhelming power (which, mind you, is not just political: being able to so effectively obfuscate one's responsibility for the decline of a major piece of state infrastructure is a whole different sort of power) it just seems so...futile. Until NYers by and large begin prioritizing transit in their politics, we have a long, hard, and seemingly losing battle ahead of us with a man who is a politician before policymaker. 

The reason that people are resigned to a dictatorship under Cuomo is that the Republican party for all intensive purposes in this state is dead. When was the last time republicans won a statewide office was maybe 20 years ago? There are certain parts of the state where the republicans still hold congressional seats but that is becoming fewer and fewer in each election cycle. When you look at the ages of many of the Republican State Senators that were replaced in the election, some of them were older than me and I am bit over 70 years old.  Cuomo has nothing to fear as when was the last time that the Republicans did any form of voter recruitment drives? I think the last time that may have done it was during Governor Rockefeller's  time, if at all. So it could be said that the reason that he can get away with what he is doing is that the statewide Republican Party is just like the State Democratic Party with one major difference, the democrats have always been recruiting to join the party while the Republicans have done nothing. 

So for all intensive purposes, New York is a one party state and has been for many years and it s not going to get any better.

That's my opinion. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Interested Rider said:

The reason that people are resigned to a dictatorship under Cuomo is that the Republican party for all intensive purposes in this state is dead. When was the last time republicans won a statewide office was maybe 20 years ago? There are certain parts of the state where the republicans still hold congressional seats but that is becoming fewer and fewer in each election cycle. When you look at the ages of many of the Republican State Senators that were replaced in the election, some of them were older than me and I am bit over 70 years old.  Cuomo has nothing to fear as when was the last time that the Republicans did any form of voter recruitment drives? I think the last time that may have done it was during Governor Rockefeller's  time, if at all. So it could be said that the reason that he can get away with what he is doing is that the statewide Republican Party is just like the State Democratic Party with one major difference, the democrats have always been recruiting to join the party while the Republicans have done nothing. 

 So for all intensive purposes, New York is a one party state and has been for many years and it s not going to get any better.

That's my opinion.

I don’t think it’s so much the Republican Party as it is just a general lack of care towards local politics. There is a lot of room for dissent within the democratic platform, and longtime machine instruments have been successfully primaried in the past few years. Problem is that few competent folks want to get involved, and we don’t really have some credible Cuomo alternative on the scene. 

In other words, y’all should run for office. 

Edited by RR503
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The problem currently is that

  • Cuomo has unbeatable name recognition for any politician in this state
  • While Trump is in office, Democrats get a huge boost in New York statewide races
  • NY Democrats are still party above people, though this could change if enough AOC-type situations happen

That being said, I don't think he's going to get a fourth term, or be unopposed for so long, because

  • eventually people want change; Nixon did pretty good for a person who had no political credentials and basically ran a downstate-only campaign.
  • the current Senate Democrats aren't happy with him for thwarting a majority for most of his time in office

I don't think the status of the current State Republicans matters too much, because Cuomo was able to work with Skelos and Flanagan (and is the entire reason the Republicans controlled the Senate in the first place). Had Cuomo wanted to push this through years ago he could've.

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2 hours ago, RR503 said:

I don’t think it’s so much the Republican Party as it is just a general lack of care towards local politics. There is a lot of room for dissent within the democratic platform, and longtime machine instruments have been successfully primaried in the past few years. Problem is that few competent folks want to get involved, and we don’t really have some credible Cuomo alternative on the scene. 

In other words, y’all should run for office. 

There are many Democrats (and for that matter Republicans) who believe in working with the other party to pass legislation that benefits all of us. The Governor was able to work with the Republican majority in the State Senate and the moderate Democrats (not the radicals that are now in charge of New York State Senate). If you look at how these Democrats worked with Republicans to get help for their districts, you could see that many were successful.

The problem was that in the eyes of many of the primary voters, the democrats were considered traitors and therefore they had to be defeated for they did the unthinkable in working with the opposite party. Just compare the legislation passed by this legislature and previous legislatures and it becomes clear thst the legislation passed by this legislature was far more radical as compared with previous legislatures. It is the reason that is my opinion that the governor has had no alternative but to move in the same direction. After all, we have drums banging in the city with our own house idiot who  is constantly being given coverage on the national scene by the phony media and spews every radical idea from other far leftists. The rest of the country knows more about what emanates from him and when you are a politician with an ego bigger than Mount Rushmore (as most of them have), it hurts.

I may have posted this before so forgive me if I am reposting it again. I tried to get approval to do a newsletter for my fellow party members in my assembly district three years ago. I offered to pay for the printing and the postage with older United States stamps to attract attention which would have included the profiles of our candidates so that our members would be able to discuss our candidates with the voters. Needless to say, I received a response six weeks later from the person I sent the letter to in the form of a telephone conversation on a Saturday night asking me to carry petitions for some useless individual who never even got on the ballot . After all how do you expect to win elections if no one knows who is the party representative is on the ballot.

One of the best examples of a leader who reached agreement with the other party  was President Bill Clinton. Today he is considered a traitor by his own party for what he did in terms of legislation. That is the problem that the governor is facing and members of the party throughout the country. The voices of cooperation and moderation are being drowned out by the radicals who with the help of the phony media are driving us further and further apart.

 

 

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On 6/22/2019 at 2:18 PM, BM5 via Woodhaven said:

 

The office also didn’t answer how Mujica, who lives in Columbia County, just south of Albany, will get to the MTA board meetings, which is either a three-hour drive or a nearly three-hour Amtrak ride away.

A reason to get Columbia County into the MTA region and restore the Upper Harlem Line to Chatham!

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8 hours ago, Mysterious2train said:

Kind of surprised the topic of board member seats doesn't get more discussion on here. Like the fact that Cuomo appointed Mujica to replace Michael Lynton after less than 3 months on the board. Or the fact that even after the State Senate confirming 10 people in new board seats this year (plus 2 reappointments) the board still has 4 vacant seats. Or the general idea that the State Senate seems to rubber-stamp anybody Cuomo appoints to the board. It's true that this process is not fully transparent. I guess it's all futile in the end.

What I can't stand is that the State Senate just gave into his demand.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, bobtehpanda said:

The problem currently is that

  • Cuomo has unbeatable name recognition for any politician in this state
  • While Trump is in office, Democrats get a huge boost in New York statewide races
  • NY Democrats are still party above people, though this could change if enough AOC-type situations happen

That being said, I don't think he's going to get a fourth term, or be unopposed for so long, because

  • eventually people want change; Nixon did pretty good for a person who had no political credentials and basically ran a downstate-only campaign.
  • the current Senate Democrats aren't happy with him for thwarting a majority for most of his time in office

I don't think the status of the current State Republicans matters too much, because Cuomo was able to work with Skelos and Flanagan (and is the entire reason the Republicans controlled the Senate in the first place). Had Cuomo wanted to push this through years ago he could've.

You say that he won't get a fourth term. There is no bench of Democratic talent, if you can even say that, lining up for the seat. Our joke of a Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul, our MIA Mayor that nobody likes, and so on. There is no credible candidate that can run against him. I voted for Nixon largely as a protest vote against Prince Andrew. If someone with actual political experience and someone who knows how Albany works ran, the race would have been much tighter. Who do you suppose would run against him?

Edited by Union Tpke
fix typo
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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, Mysterious2train said:

Kind of surprised the topic of board member seats doesn't get more discussion on here. Like the fact that Cuomo appointed Mujica to replace Michael Lynton after less than 3 months on the board. Or the fact that even after the State Senate confirming 10 people in new board seats this year (plus 2 reappointments) the board still has 4 vacant seats. Or the general idea that the State Senate seems to rubber-stamp anybody Cuomo appoints to the board. It's true that this process is not fully transparent. I guess it's all futile in the end.

I don't like the potential implications of Cuomo playing the match ups like a baseball manager...

5 minutes ago, Union Tpke said:

You say that he won't get a fourth term. There is no bench of Democratic talent, if you can even say that, lining up for the seat. Our joke of a Governor Kathy Hochul, our MIA Mayor that nobody likes, and so on. There is no credible candidate that can run against him. I voted for Nixon largely as a protest vote against Prince Andrew. If someone with actual political experience and someone who knows how Albany works ran, the race would have been much tighter. Who do you suppose would run against him?

Another democratic socialist AOC-type would wipe the floor with him in a primary with a well run campaign like hers to defeat Crowley. And no one saw that one coming either.

Edited by Around the Horn

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8 hours ago, Mysterious2train said:

Kind of surprised the topic of board member seats doesn't get more discussion on here. Like the fact that Cuomo appointed Mujica to replace Michael Lynton after less than 3 months on the board. Or the fact that even after the State Senate confirming 10 people in new board seats this year (plus 2 reappointments) the board still has 4 vacant seats. Or the general idea that the State Senate seems to rubber-stamp anybody Cuomo appoints to the board. It's true that this process is not fully transparent. I guess it's all futile in the end.

One of Mayor DeBlasio's nominees didn't get through and one of his picks is an idiot.

Quote

 

https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/albany/story/2019/06/21/new-york-city-to-have-limited-say-at-mta-during-its-reorganization-1070995

During a press conference Friday, a reporter asked the governor why he failed to send the nomination of Dan Zarrilli, the mayor's chief climate policy adviser, to the Senate before its session ended for the year.

“We got it late,” interjected his secretary, Melissa DeRosa.

“Before you can get nominated, you have to go through a state police background check,” Cuomo added.

Zarrilli has worked for City Hall since the Bloomberg administration. He has served on an advisory board for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and on FEMA’s National Advisory Council.

The mayor’s office sent his nomination to the governor’s office on Monday June 3, according to a City Hall spokesperson. About the same time, word first began to circulate that the governor wanted to appoint his budget director, Robert Mujica, to the MTA board. A spokesperson for Cuomo said Mujica's background check process began before The Wall Street Journal reported on his nomination.

Since Mujica's nomination would have violated state law and the residency requirements it imposes on MTA board members, the governor had the Legislature change the law.

Mujica's nomination went through. So did Bob Linn's, de Blasio's other nominee and his former labor commissioner. The mayor submitted Linn's recommendation on Friday, May 31, the business day prior to his submission of Zarrilli's.

The governor’s office had no further comment as to why Zarrilli’s nomination was such a heavy lift.

“The cynical answer would be that the governor wants to be able to have a comfortable control of the MTA board votes during a critical time,” said Reinvent Albany executive director John Kaehny.

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
30 minutes ago, Around the Horn said:

I don't like the potential implications of Cuomo playing the match ups like a baseball manager...

Another democratic socialist AOC-type would wipe the floor with him in a primary with a well run campaign like hers to defeat Crowley. And no one saw that one coming either.

I don't see it. This would be a state-wide race, which would require a lot of money, which the Governor has. The Governor did not take Nixon's challenge lightly and soundly defeated her. He has the unions, he has the party establishment, he has(d) real estate, etc.  An AOC-type candidate would not do well upstate, and would not do well in SI, most of Queens, and LI. In the weeks approaching the race, friends of mine in the district told me that Crowley had not showed up but was scrambling to stop her. In the end, I was not surprised that she won, but was surprised by the margin.

Edited by Union Tpke
clarify
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1 hour ago, Interested Rider said:

After all, we have drums banging in the city with our own house idiot who  is constantly being given coverage on the national scene by the phony media and spews every radical idea from other far leftists.

I don't mean to derail this thread into a bunch of political arguments, but DeBlasio is by no means a leftist. Actual leftists can't stand him either. 

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Posted (edited)
29 minutes ago, Around the Horn said:

I don't like the potential implications of Cuomo playing the match ups like a baseball manager...

Another democratic socialist AOC-type would wipe the floor with him in a primary with a well run campaign like hers to defeat Crowley. And no one saw that one coming either.

Her district is unique, and will likely be eliminated with redistricting as NY will lose 1-2 House seats. Just look at the shape of the district.

CongressionalDistrict.jpg

It is split between The Bronx and Queens and is only connected by the Whitestone Bridge, meaning that you cannot get between the two districts without taking a car or going on the subway through Manhattan and the Bronx in other districts. In addition, other Dems would love to get back at her.

If you didn't know already, I am a political junkie.

24 minutes ago, Around the Horn said:

I don't mean to derail this thread into a bunch of political arguments, but DeBlasio is by no means a leftist. Actual leftists can't stand him either. 

I am one of the actual leftists that can't stand him.

Edited by Union Tpke
typo
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25 minutes ago, Union Tpke said:

I don't see it. This would be a state-wide race, which would require a lot of money, which the Governor has. The Governor did not take Nixon's challenge lightly and soundly defeated her. He has the unions, he has the party establishment, he has(d) real estate, etc.  An AOC-type candidate would not do well upstate, and would not do well in SI, most of Queens, and LI. In the weeks approaching the race, friends of mine in the district told me that Crowley had not showed up but was scrambling to stop her. In the end, I was not surprised that she won, but by the margin.

It’s also worth noting that Cuomo, for all his flaws, is very good at selling himself as a sort of fixer. He busts through the red tape and gets results — the contrast necessary for that play being one of the many reasons he wishes to cast himself as a figure external to the MTA’s bureaucracy. While people like us see the putrid underside of these efforts, many don’t care enough to delve and simply see all the new bridges and clean stations and new subways.

I’m gonna second all the above comments: even with his increasingly downstate-centric electoral coalition, I really don’t see a path for a challenger. The radical brand of leftism that brought the likes of AOC and Julia Salazar to office — and seems to be the only viable path for some Cuomo challenger — has only yet worked in relatively specific contexts, and with Cuomo’s grasp on key demographic groups still strong, I just don’t see an opening.  

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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, RR503 said:

It’s also worth noting that Cuomo, for all his flaws, is very good at selling himself as a sort of fixer. He busts through the red tape and gets results — the contrast necessary for that play being one of the many reasons he wishes to cast himself as a figure external to the MTA’s bureaucracy. While people like us see the putrid underside of these efforts, many don’t care enough to delve and simply see all the new bridges and clean stations and new subways.

Exactly. It is a smoke-screen. There is a reason that people who know a lot about politics have a very different view of Cuomo than the average voter.

Edited by Union Tpke
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5 hours ago, RR503 said:

I don’t think it’s so much the Republican Party as it is just a general lack of care towards local politics. There is a lot of room for dissent within the democratic platform, and longtime machine instruments have been successfully primaried in the past few years. Problem is that few competent folks want to get involved, and we don’t really have some credible Cuomo alternative on the scene. 

In other words, y’all should run for office. 

Cuomo enabled the Republican party by supporting the power-sharing agreement with the IDC. He is not happy that the Dems control the State Senate. Someone in a few of my classes at MHC at Hunter ran for State Senate. I could see myself running for office in the future, but that is not the path I wish to go on. If things get really really bad, I might just have to at some point......

https://gothamist.com/2019/06/20/cuomo_rent_reform_deal.php

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1 hour ago, RR503 said:

It’s also worth noting that Cuomo, for all his flaws, is very good at selling himself as a sort of fixer. He busts through the red tape and gets results — the contrast necessary for that play being one of the many reasons he wishes to cast himself as a figure external to the MTA’s bureaucracy. While people like us see the putrid underside of these efforts, many don’t care enough to delve and simply see all the new bridges and clean stations and new subways.

I’m gonna second all the above comments: even with his increasingly downstate-centric electoral coalition, I really don’t see a path for a challenger. The radical brand of leftism that brought the likes of AOC and Julia Salazar to office — and seems to be the only viable path for some Cuomo challenger — has only yet worked in relatively specific contexts, and with Cuomo’s grasp on key demographic groups still strong, I just don’t see an opening.  

Even though no NYC mayor has won higher office since NYC was just Manhattan, imagine if DeBlasio was better at selling himself. Cuomo would have an actual rival.

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