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Hold Your Nose. Vote for Hochul. Now, It’s Serious

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Although she has done worse than nothing for Roosevelt Island, we strongly recommend that you vote for Hochul for governor. Her opponent, Lee Zeldin, is a died-in-wool Trumpist who voted to disenfranchise voters. He also hasn’t a clue about governing New York.

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

Let’s start with Lee Zeldin, a cheeseball following a script that started twenty years ago with George W. Bush. Remember the “Compassionate Conservative” tag Bush’s campaign used in painting over his really harsh agenda?

Too many fell for it – hook, line and sinker – leaving Republicans a free hand to cut taxes on the rich and expand the gap between them and the poor.

But although it failed Americans, it worked for two terms, and Trump followed up on a law and order theme, painting a picture of American dystopia where only he could save the world.

Law and order is a racist theme that equates crime with people of color, even when it’s at historic lows as it is today. What it really plays on is a fear of white supremacy losing ground because everyone not in line with it is so dangerous.

That’s where Zeldin comes from. As the New York Times endorsement of Kathy Hochul shows, Zeldin has no viable plan for running a state and isn’t exactly candid about his Trump devotion.

So, Roosevelt Island, Hold Your Nose and Vote for Hochul

Through two terms of Andrew Cuomo, I did it. And I spiced it by voting on the Working Families line, pinching my nose against the stench of Cuomo. He was almost as bad for Roosevelt Island as Hochul is, but his Republican opponents were nearly as bad as Zeldin.

Roosevelt Island always gets the short end of the stick because the community is tiny, far less than 1% of New York’s population, and we haven’t had strong leadership in years.

Even our committed local officials struggle to get anything done for the Island. For example, earlier this year, Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright and Senator José Serrano worked together in passing a bill that would bring the first meaningful reform to RIOC since their beginning.

Yes, it’s minor, tightening control over board membership and demanding residency for RIOC’s leadership. Both should be no-brainers, and an experienced operator like Shelton J. Haynes can weave around them in any case. But even so, six months after the bills passed, Hochul still hasn’t signed them.

She couldn’t give us even that much.

And the Broken Promises

The Times endorsement skirts around the promises Hochul made about transparency and accountability as well as her Cuomo-esque commitment to real estate developers and other special interests.

In her campaign ads, Hochul says she will “fight like hell” for New Yorkers, but there is no evidence of anything but windy PR in that. Locally, she hasn’t moved a muscle in favor of bringing RIOC under control or delivering any accountability.

Transparency? It’s a laugher here. RIOC devotes more time to finagling novel dodges to FOIL requests than it does to doling out bloated payrolls.

As by far the worst RIOC leader since Pataki-appointed Jerry Blue, Haynes has built walls between RIOC and the community, fired responsible, longtime employees who refused to “kiss the ring” and doled out unjustified cash to those who do.

All without a wink of disapproval from Hochul.

But Lee Zeldin Is a Great Gift

A responsible, thoughtful Republican would sweep Hochul out of office just as Pataki swept out Mario Cuomo. New Yorkers fed up with high taxes and poor performance deserve better.

But Zeldin cannot or would not deliver that. That’s why we must vote for Hochul. She’s far from perfect, but she’s the best we’ve got against the tide of Trump represented in New York by Lee Zeldin.

RIOC will not get better. That’s a given. But squeeze your nostril closed and vote for Hochul anyway. It’s no contest.

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