Planes Trains & Automobiles
This afternoon, Governor Andrew Cuomo officially announced his pick to head the Metropolitan Transit Authority, left vacant over 100 days ago when then-Chairman Joe Lhota resigned to pursue a mayoral campaign: M.T.A. Interim Executive Director Tom Prendergast. And Mr. Lhota told Politicker he couldn’t be more pleased with the selection.
“Tom Prendergast is a superb choice and he has a unique understanding of the system,” Mr. Lhota proclaimed. “And I know of no one who cares more for the customers and the riders than Tom Prendergast. As chairman, I relied on him more than anyone and I think it’s a great choice.”
Mr. Cuomo, in a statement, was similarly effusive.
Law & Order
After a series of New York officials were arrested and charged with corruption last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo says he has the solution–or at least the first step. Accordingly, at press conference earlier this afternoon, Mr. Cuomo unveiled a legislative package aimed at curbing the problem.
“Over the past few days, there have been several charges brought against public officials; they span city and state government,” he began. “And they paint a truly ugly picture of our political landscape. I’d like to say that this is an unprecedented situation, that public corruption is a new problem. But it isn’t and, in many ways, that’s what makes it worse.”
Although the New York Post ran a front-page story today reporting that Governor Andrew Cuomo is seriously considering a coup d’etat against influential Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver, the governor himself is denying any such scheme exists.
“It is wholly up to the legislative bodies to select a leader,” Mr. Cuomo said on The Capitol Pressroom this morning. “I would never, even for a moment, try to influence that decision.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo is not happy about the barrage of corruption charges hitting various New York lawmakers throughout the week, including State Senator Malcolm Smith, City Councilman Dan Halloran and Assemblyman Eric Stevenson. Accordingly, Mr. Cuomo released a statement this afternoon detailing his disgust.
“The allegations of public corruption by City and State officials revealed this week are appalling,” the governor declared.
Governor Andrew Cuomo said he’s unfazed by pro-gun groups like the National Rifle Association and their lawsuits against New York’s new gun control legislation. Indeed, Mr. Cuomo took his argument a step further this morning and labeled the legal efforts “propaganda” and part of a plot to “misinform and scare people.”
“The extremists … spread fear and unrealistic theories of conspiracies of a citizenry that needs to be armed because the government is possibly tyrannical,” Mr. Cuomo said on The Capitol Pressroom. “You need a system and government regulations to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill. … That’s what we put in place in New York with the New York SAFE Act. It doesn’t interfere with anybody’s Second Amendment right; … that’s not what the New York SAFE Act is about. That’s why they need the fear and they have to misinform and scare people because, on the facts, it makes total sense.”
When Governor Andrew Cuomo quickly passed tough new gun control measures in January, he faced a raft of criticism for skipping the standard deliberative period and allegedly ignoring the more minute legislative details. The criticism recently found new substance with the bill’s apparently unworkable 7-bullet magazine requirement, which Albany is now working to reverse. And, on his weekly radio show with John Gambling, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that “one criticism” may indeed have merit.
“This is true of a lot of things,” Mr. Bloomberg said after accusing an unrelated City Council bill of having unintended side-effects. “You asked before about the magazines in Albany. We just got to start to thinking a little bit more about the implications of things before we rush to legislate and rush to legislate everything.”
Earlier today, National Rifle Association President David Keene went on Fred Dicker’s radio show to tout yesterday’s pro-gun rally in Albany. As they are both wont to do, Mr. Dicker and Mr. Keene took a number of shots at Governor Andrew Cuomo and the gun control legislation he passed earlier this year. At one interesting moment in the conversation, however, Mr. Keene went further by saying another unnamed Democratic governor shared some of their anti-Cuomo views.
“You know Fred, I was out in the West recently and had to meet with a Democratic governor because a lot of the state legislatures are considering all kinds of different laws and legislation on firearms,” Mr. Keene said. “As I went into his office, I said, ‘Governor, before we get started, I have to tell you that the press has been asking me why I’m meeting with you.’ He said, ‘What did you tell them?’ I said, ‘I’m meeting with you because you’re not Andrew Cuomo. And you should take that as a compliment.’ He looked at me and he said, ‘Believe me, I do.’”
Earlier today, the New York State Republican Party employed a sexual innuendo in its push for Governor Andrew Cuomo to reform so-called unfunded mandates, which require local governments to contribute to state social programs without the funding for them, so that local tax relief can be passed on to struggling municipalities.
“So Governor, How big is your mandate relief package?” the party asked in a Facebook image featuring Mr. Cuomo making a rather suggestive gesture indicating a small object.
Governor Andrew Cuomo and Chris Christie, his Republican counterpart in New Jersey, are willing to admit they have at least one thing in common: strong, Sicilian mothers. Mr. Christie pointed out this fact earlier this week while denying reports he privately discussed agreeing with Mr. Cuomo on a wide variety of issues. Today, Mr. Cuomo responded during a budget-related press conference where he playfully hinted at the unusually “powerful” influence Sicilian mothers have on their children.
“I understood that the governor said we both have Sicilian mothers, which is true,” Mr. Cuomo said when asked about Mr. Christie’s comments. “They can be a strong force on development–I don’t know on political philosophy–but on personal development, the Sicilian mother is a very powerful force.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a lengthy statement responding to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address last night commending the president’s education proposals, call to raise the minimum wage and commitment to gun control.
“President Obama put forward a bold, comprehensive agenda in his 2013 State of the Union Address that continues to rebuild our nation’s economy and strengthens the middle class,” the governor began. “The vision President Obama presented tonight is one we embrace here in New York. The President laid out an agenda for a vibrant American future, where we work together to bring jobs back from overseas, train our young people to have the skills they need to succeed in the workforce, and ensure those who work long and hard hours can provide for their families.”