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The State of the State

WPCNR QUARTERLY STATE OF LIFE SERIES # 3. News & Comment  By John F. Bailey. March 26, 2023:

The state government has us in their hands and they are being very careless with us.

They have bad hands as they say in the dugouts.

They never make a play in the clutch.

They are afraid of getting their expensive suits dirty.

I have just seen in the last year the most irresponsible, partisan, unprincipled management of state affairs and actions by the leadership of the State Senate and State Assembly I can remember since the three-men-in-a-room days of past.

The Democratic Party decided last year  just decided they would take away seats held by Republicans in central New York by  redrawing  election districts in Westchester County to get rid of first term congressman who defeated previous long serving Congressman who had been defeated in primaries.

They gerrymandered districts and did not obey the law requiring the  new districts be submitted for approval by the proper committee. Republicans gerrymandered out of districts sued. Democrats lost, they took it to the Appellate court in the region and boom they lost again, then it went up to the Court of Appeals and Governor Cuomo-appointed Chief Justice ruled against the Democrats, too.

How stupid were they in doing this under the present Democratic Leadership?

Very stupid—6-lost-seats-to-Republicans-in November-stupid.

Those Republicans that won in NY turned over the house of Representatives to the Republicans in this new about-to-do-nothing Congress for the next two years.

The defeats cost Westchester Mondaire Jones, (now out of politics), when Sean Maloney carved up his district to kick Mondaire Jones out of it and run himself for what he thought was safer seat.

Instead Republican Mike Lawler defeated Mr. Maloney, who is now in political limbo. And Mr. Lawler is a New York political factor now.

But that is not the only stupid, illegal thing the Democrats did. Their “abuse” of power also cost us Carolyn Maloney, also gerrymandered out of congress.

Though Governor Hochul defeated Lee Zelden for Governor, the Democrats now have turned on her for their own political gains shooting to make her a one term governor.

The State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins is aiming for that gubernatorial nomination in 2024.

Assemblyman Heastie may be eyeing it, too. So might other State Senators (Shelley Mayer)  or possible County Executives out of a job i n 2024.

The Democrats and Republicans in Albany are refusing to pass Governor Hochul’s Housing Compact.

After the Democrats stripped Governor Cuomo of his epaulets by taking away his control of calling a state of emergency over covid, in an effort to lift covid restrictions which the people wanted.

Mr. Cuomo immediately did lift all restrictions which opened up society and let covid infections rise for 3 months into July 2022 giving us 10,000 infections in July. (Thanks to the vaccines, this rise has been cut down to where it has lowered for 13 straight weeks in August, heading for a 14th.)

The State Senators and Assembly persons were out to sweep Cuomo out of their way by  keeping the right to declare a State Emergency for themselves.

This move they threw on Cuomo while he was accused of sexual harassment of women who worked for him, took away a very important responsibility from all future governors.

This is not a good thing.

The State Senate and State Assembly cannot make decisions when decisions have to be made if a decision that should be made would possibly cost them votes.

None of them up there will vote to shut down the state if covid gains more momentum. (It already has momentum.)  Shutting down the towns, ruling for masking, demanding schools report cases as Mr. Cuomo did, can you really see them doing that? This might be unpopular.

That is why we were so lucky when covid hit that Governor Cuomo took action. You may not like Governor Cuomo but he saved this state by his actions on Covid.  Both houses of the state legislature hated him for that took positions that opposed it when it was not their decision.

Now they have that power. Will they use it if the covid tide rolls back in?

Look at the huge discrepancies between new covid cases (quite low by official dissemination of results, while hospitalizations across the 7 counties are running 2,539 two weeks into March. Latest hospitalizations are indicating we may get 4,000 hospitalizations (actual admission to the hospitals, not emergency room walk-ins and walk-outs).

Westchester daily cases as reported are significantly lower than actual cases being discovered. Does this mean escalation of infections? Well now they have to decide that. Governor Hochul’s hands are tied by inability to declare an State of Health Emergency herself unless the state houses support it.

Do you think anyone in Albany wants to do that?

The game in Albany among the Democratically controlled houses is “Get Hochul.”

Senator Stewart-Cousins signaled  so eagerly and prematurely with totally no class. She declared the Hochul sisterhood with her Democratic Controlled State Senate  was over when she pulled another fast one.

When it was clear Governor Hochul’s nominee for Chief Justice of the New York Court of Appeals was unacceptable to the Democrats living in their own hubris of righteousness,  she acted.

She had the votes from Republicans to confirm him, State Senator Stewart-Cousins added three Democrats to the Senate Judiciary Committee and Judge Hector LaSalle, head of the Appellate Court, 2nd Department, was defeated.

He would have been the first Hispanic Chief Justice.

By the way, the Appellate Court second department was the court that declared Adam Bradley did not get a fair trial in his  trial on charges brought by his wife.  This decision by the 2nd Department paved the way for a retrial that cleared Bradley. The very same court also threw out the Judge Lefkowitz decision allowing the French American School to build, thus finally defeating that project that the City of White Plains had fought to get through the courts for 11 years.

The Second Department stopped it.

Then Governor Hochul in submitting the budget two weeks ago offered the Housing Compact attempting to create 800,000 units of affordable housing across the state. It also set goals of 3% increase in affordable housing building for downstate Westchester, Nassau and Suffolk and the 6 counties in the Mid-Hudson region.

When the leaders of towns, villages and cities screamed about upholding the “quality” of their community, and overriding their zoning laws, true to form, Hochul was seen as vulnerable.

For 23 years since I’ve been doing this website I have heard Democrats talk about affordable housing, workforce housing.

When a bill is submitted that would do something about it they kill it.

Instead of setting quotas they want to pay communities to build their own and see what happens, leaving zoning intact. They are attacking her daily on the budget providing more money for schools, refusing to revise the bail law.

Do we see a pattern here?

There is.

The Democrats now are taking the position Robert Astorino the former County Executive when the Department of Housing and Urban Development sued Westchester  for not using community funds for building  affordable housing. HUD withheld the funds.

The Democrats fully supported HUD on that issue which dragged on for 11 years until the Trump administration took over. The suit was settled when in making a  submission of an 11th  analysis of zoning practices  that  the Monitor approved.

The Journal News reported the settlement this way:  (Approved)Version 11 was that Westchester removed many of its most antagonistic statements that resisted any link between zoning and demographics. For example, this line in the 10th AI about the Village of Port Chester got zapped in the 11th: “…there is no pattern between where minority populations live and zoning for multi-family housing.”

Now the Democrats are taking the position against  the Housing Compact essentially letting local zoning which has denied apartments, high rise, townhouse types of construction in certain toney communities (and you know who they are).

Governor Hochul sent out a flyer to voters this week urging them to contact the Senators and Assembly to pass her budget. She has not yet submitted a new Chief Justice candidate.

Meanwhile court is short one judge. After the denial of Judge LaSalle by the State Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate as a whole, (at Hochul’s insistence) it be put to a vote of the whole State Senate.

The court cannot hear cases effectively.

Pay attention Mr. and Mrs. And Ms. White Plains and Westchester the politicians smile and say they care and they understand your complaints. They may listen and nod “Yes” but they aren’t really. It is all about power and their personal growth in politics they care about.

With these type of people acting as they have the last three years, the state problems will be tentatively dealt with. We can expect no hard decisions from this gang and it is not a party it is a gang. They deceive, set you up and ruin you.

The antitdote to this is to realize that politicians only need you on election day.

They are fast talkers, old or young they are old smoothies. So believable, so righteous. Sincere. They look you in the eye and they can tell you anything and you believe them.

That is a talent. They are actors. They have been doing it for a long time. They know all the lines that work by heart.

Your job is to pay attention on the local level.

But I can write the truth for 20 years as I have done and the same things keep happening, and the same things we wanted 23 years ago we still do not have.

Affordable housing?  Try getting it now, throwing money at towns won’t do it. Developers do not love building affordable housing. They’d rather buy out of the commitment as they do in White Plains.

More money for  housing for the disabled? More homes for the growing disabled population?

Investigation of medicare-medicaid fraud by hospitals? Does not happen.

Bail reform without thinking it through? That has happened

Oversight of school district malfeasance and mismanagement? Never happens often.

But make no mistake, those legislators up their in both Senate and Assembly do not have it –the ability to make decisions that will solve problems.

They do have the ability to yes to policies that preserve the status quo and their seat or aid lobbyists’ clients. That they do without hesitation and a twinge of conscience.

How though, getting back to the Housing Compact delivery to the Albany Legislation Morgue in the Hudson River, will any town in the communities of suburban Westchester ever be able to have affordable starter homes, condos, co-ops in the present Westchester zoning? it is as restrictive as it was in the 1950s

73 years ago.




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