Cuomo-Hochul, Hochul-Cuomo – “Meet the new boss, Same as the old boss…?”

Cuomo-Hochul, Hochul-Cuomo – “Meet the new boss, Same as the old boss…?”

Whether it’s Cuomo-Hochul or the other way around, it looks more and more like the same old song with the same political patronage and the same big money supporters. Are we being fooled again?

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

Cuomo-Hochul, Hochul-Cuomo: What’s the difference?

June 2, 2015 – New York City – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul attend a screening at Lincoln Center of “The Hunting Ground” a new documentary highlighting the epidemic of sexual violence at colleges and university nationwide. Also present at the screening were the founders of End Rape on Campus, Andrea Pino and Annie E. Clark, who are survivors of sexual assault while students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (Office of the Governor – Kevin P. Coughlin)

Not as much as you might suspect, considering the political rhetoric about change, but is there really any difference? There might be in the New York State legislature as leaders have more muscle, but in the governor’s office…? Not so much.

Here on Roosevelt Island, we hoped that replacing the fiercely undemocratic Cuomo would bring change. After all, those of us who live here and pay most of the bills were denied any meaningful say in how things are run. We have no input on how much we pay in the RIOC Tax nor in how it’s spent. It seemed a no-brainer that a new governor would act.

But she hasn’t, not in the least. We still have the same spineless RIOC board of rinky-dinks nodding “Yes” like bobbleheads at whatever direction rolls out of Albany. There are never open discussions nor is there any effort at integrating community preferences. Residents may agree on the super secret Hochul-Cuomo agenda here, but how would you know?

Misstep One

The first clue to Hochul-Cuomo’s same old song was an immediate outburst of support for her Hochul’s reelection, this after there was barely time to change the guest towels in the executive bathrooms. Stepping up immediately was the voice of the most profoundly influential patronage mill New York has known since Tammany Hall.

That patronage mill is the only explanation for a RIOC executive staff staggered with unqualified decision-makers raking in dizzying salaries while barely showing up for work.

The people who benefit from political patronage are frequently unqualified for the job due to lack of education or experience. But because they have political connections. they have a leg up on other applicants. To most, political patronage is a form of political corruption because it allows the least qualified candidate to get the position.

That’s as true on Roosevelt Island as it is anywhere else. The results are visible.

Then, there’s the cash

Hats off to our friend and reader Sylvan Klein. A wide-ranging reader of all things political, Klein spotted a well-researched story in The Gothamist. Governing New York rests on a bed of campaign contributions. People hoping to influence power pour the cash in. Governor Cuomo hauled in so much, he still had over $10 million in his account when he got kicked out of office.

But what we see from Hochul-Cuomo is the same machine collecting tons of cash from the same old donors who piled it on for Cuomo – and in local terms, froze RIOC and its undemocratic routines exactly as they are. Is it any wonder that Cuomo-Hochul hasn’t lifted a finger to help fix RIOC no matter how miserable its performance?

Hochul’s $21.9 million haul is the single-highest total for a state-level candidate in a single six-month period, demolishing the previous record of $12.8 million set by then-Gov. George Pataki in 2002.

The Gothamist

About the haul

Keep in mind, this “haul” tumbled into the collection basket for a governor with scarcely any track record in office. That’s because she’s kept up a “relentless fundraising schedule,” not governed. What undisclosed deals were cut on the road?

“Hochul showed no qualms about accepting big-money contributions from ultra-wealthy donors – many of whom will try to push her administration one way or the other on state issues that affect their business,” The Gothamist said.

In six month fundraising reports in January, there were 98 contributions of $50,000 or more among all gubernatorial candidates. 82 went to Hochul-Cuomo. Of those, 49 hit the maximum allowable amount.

Conclusion

As for Roosevelt Island and the rest of New York State, it looks like Peter Townsend got it right when he attached ironic lyrics at the end of Won’t Get Fooled Again...

Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss

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