How to secede in politics without really trying


| vmimoni@queenscourier.com |


Video and sketch courtesy of NYPD

This past week, a well-placed zinger by Governor Cuomo put city pols on notice that no amount of foot stamping can change political reality: New York City may be the capital of the universe, but Albany is the capital of New York.

Mayor de Blasio upped the ante on his demand for a city-controlled tax on the very rich at his State of the City address, when he staked a claim on two other heretofore state prerogatives – a minimum wage hike and official government ID cards.

Andrew (the name comes from the Greek, meaning “the man”) proved again that he will not be outdone by a mere mayor, when he dismissed his “old friend” with the retort that, “The answer to the tale of two cities is not to create two states.”

Secure in their offices for the next three-and-a-half years and buoyed by big wins in an election where less than a quarter of voters showed up, city pols pressed their state counterparts to surrender their power to the city slickers.

Perhaps these “progressives” are oblivious to the fact that several upstate democrats won close elections two years ago largely on the strength of the Obama vote – and are griping that, “as members of the Legislature we have to continue to have a relationship with the governor.”  This is a polite way of saying that they need the gov a lot more than any of us.

Or as one Dem insider in Smallbany succinctly put it to Big Bill, et al., “This is where we govern.”

There are also complaints that Hizzoner is still acting like the Public Advocate, reportedly described by a Dem insider as “a paid complainer,” and noting delicately that “it doesn’t move things in Albany.”

Our current paid complainer, Public Advocate Tish James, also thumped the tub at the expense of upstate colleagues in Oswego and Onondaga Counties – railing that those legislators shouldn’t tell us “how to live,” or what the minimum wage should be in our five counties, currently subject to state labor law.

It was red-meat for the crowd on the steps of City Hall, but considering the number of upstate school parents whose kids ride buses over dangerous roads and rickety bridges that can’t be improved because such work might impact the city’s watershed, those sound bites aren’t scoring any points with her counterparts up there.

Or as one upstate Dem observed about the campaign to let the city assume the trappings of statehood, “They don’t know what they’re doing right now.”

 

*Illustrating what separates the man in the statehouse from the rest in political currency, a  recent Quinnipiac poll has Governor Andros beating The Donald by better than three to one among city voters. Oddly enough, lesser known Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, an actual Republican, only loses by better than two-to-one in a Cuomo matchup.

 

*Cuomo wisely allowed someone else to narrate the first episode of his latest booster move, “The State of New York,” weekly videos touting how wonderful things are in the Empire State.

In fact, he was only featured for a full minute of the nearly four-minute opus, which comes from “governor.ny.gov.” We wait for the announcement that our SUNY agricultural programs have developed fig trees that grow larger leaves.

 

*In the ongoing saga of the Smith et al., corruption trial, former Queens GOP big Vince Tabone filed papers with the federal court in White Plains, asking for his trial to be delayed until after the November election — to December specifically. Tabone is charged with accepting $25,000 to secure permission for State Senator Malcolm Smith, a Semocrat, to try and collect enough signatures from registered Republicans in the five boroughs to get a spot on the Primary ballot.

Following Smith’s interesting claim that beginning the trial in June would hurt his chances at re-election to the state senate, Tabone claims that key Republican strategies would be “exposed.”  One wonders what key strategies exist, when the best weapons in the GOP arsenal seem to be the egos of the governor and mayor.

Tabone’s lawyer, Deborah Misir, claims in a letter to Judge Kenneth Karas that, “Subjecting the Republican Party, its officials and internal political strategies to intense scrutiny, while sparing the Democratic Party, would unfairly undermine Republican Party candidates in the general election.”

The intimation here is that GOP hopes may hinge on cross-party endorsements and other maneuvers which used to be considered backroom, bare-knuckle politics – some of which U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is seeking to make criminal.

While the feds have gotten one upstate Dem and the former Bronx GOP chair to cop to the charges, all three Queens pols are hanging tough with their not-guilty pleas and have attacked the foundation of Bharara’s case.

All of this is pretty much out of public view, thanks to the gag order granted at federal request because of “ongoing investigations,” which must be nearly over, since the feds oppose both Smith and Tabone’s request for a further delay.

Misir could be at least half right in her claim that the trial “could devolve into a political circus aimed at the Republican Party and its federal and state candidates.”