Will Governor Kathy Hochul save Roosevelt Island from RIOC’s ravages? Think Andrew Cuomo in a dress. Maybe this image will help.
By David Stone
The Emerging Image of Kathy Hochul in Roosevelt Island Eyes
Taking office in August, the state’s first woman governor promised a new, not-so-Cuomo administration. But she signed on with the Cuomo patronage mill poisoning the state agency, almost immediately. It’s all downhill from here.
That’s bad but maybe worse is a growing debris field of broken promises, the worse being her so far empty pledge of transparency at RIOC. In her first speech as governor, CNN reported her promise to forge a “new era of transparency” in state government. Note: she never said “different,” just new.
On Roosevelt Island, where our narrow focus assumes macro world realities, the state’s gone in the opposite direction. Not only has the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC), an agency with her name at the top of the letterhead, buttressed its media blackout, it’s whisked away the larger community as well.
A recent example is what RIOC dubbed a “bank open house” that wasn’t open to anyone living here or the press. Secrecy pulled a protective shield over what, on inspection, looked foolish, if not deliberately dishonest.
The Cuomo-esque Freedom of Information Dodge Hardens
Freedom of information laws passed decades ago, intent on opening up the state’s operations to the public. The point was keeping government honest by revealing secrets. The Cuomo administration, though, was masterful at dodging release of legitimate, valid requests. Months, even years passed before partial responses tumbled out. They were often too late for making a meaningful difference.
RIOC follows that lead with enthusiasm during the current administration, and a pile up of FOIL requests stretches back six months. Hochul delivered no changes, reminding us again that people with nothing to hide don’t hide anything.
On the other hand…
Violations in Trust You Can’t See
RIOC’s Albany handlers, none of whom have the slenderest connection to the community, oversee daily operations here, including patronage hires and who gets paid for what. That’s always been true, but under Cuomo, the grip got tighter.
When Kathy Hochul became governor, we hoped for change. Really, could anyone be worse for Roosevelt Island than Andrew Cuomo? Maybe not, but just as bad ain’t such a great deal either.
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