ALBANY – Newly elected state Sen. Peter Oberacker, R-Schenevus, joined his Assembly colleague today in reacting to Attorney General Letitia James’ report that the Cuomo Administration underreported COVID-19 nursing home deaths by 50 percent.
Supporting Senate Republican Leader Rob Ort, Oberacker called for the “immediate resignation” of state Health Commissioner Howard Zucker.
“I join with Senate Republican Leader Ortt in calling for the immediate resignation of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker. “
ALBANY – That state Attorney General Letitia James concluded the Cuomo Administration underreported COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes by half is “appalling,” Assemblyman John Salka, R-Brookfield, declared in a statement released this afternoon.
An investigation by James’ office concluded the administration undercounted coronavirus-related deaths at nursing homes by as much as 50 percent, the New York Times reported today.
Salka said this warrants the state Legislature pulling the governor’s emergency powers, and he urged his colleagues to do so.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo “decided years ago, partly by watching his father, that Democrats can’t govern effectively, that they are a tax-and-spend juggernaut, and that any power they have in the Legislature is bad for him,” Bill Lipton, a former political director of the Working Families Party, told me.
“The ease and consistency with which he does one thing in practice while arguing in public he’s doing the exact opposite – and saying anyone who suggests he’s doing this is crazy – should worry anybody who believes that executives should be transparent and accountable.”
“These are institutional advocates who by their job can never say, ‘It’s enough’,” Cuomo told me. “A sitting governor can never satiate advocates. Otherwise, they’re not advocates, by definition. I can’t. My father couldn’t.”
Cuomo and his staff, buoyed by their own internal polling and the results of his two primary challenges, contend that he is actually more popular among Democratic voters who consider themselves to be very liberal than he is among those who are closer to the center…
“They’re not the left,” one of them said (of the WFP). “They don’t represent anybody. They’re a piece of stationery.”
ALBANY – State Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, today joined other members of the Senate Republican Conference in bringing an amendment to the floor to repeal of the so-called “Green Light” Law, his office announced a few minutes ago.
With all members of the Democratic majority voting against repeal, the measure failed.
“I voted against the ‘Green Light Law’ last year because the thought of giving a driver’s license, a secure identification document, to someone who is intentionally breaking the law was inconceivable,” Seward said in a statement after the vote.
Editor’s Note: In light of yesterday’s Siena Poll finding that 55 percent of New Yorkers support rolling back the state’s bail reforms, here are state Sen. Jim Seward’s recommended adjustments, reprinted from the Feb. 13-14 editions of The Freeman’s Journal and Hometown Oneonta.
Another week in Albany but still no legislative action has been taken to fix the disastrous bail/discovery laws that are continuing to wreak havoc across our state.
Protecting the public is one of the most important responsibilities of government, and when a crime has been committed, the victim, not the criminal, should be our first concern. Unfortunately, the disastrous new bail laws have completely reversed those priorities, endangering communities and empowering repeat offenders – while also forcing new costs on taxpayers.
ALBANY – A new poll out Monday shows support for the state’s bail reform plummeting, following weeks of pushback about the new laws from police groups and prosecutors, North County Public Radio is reporting.
The Siena College poll finds that just one third of New Yorkers now think that the January 1 laws that ended most forms of cash bail for non-violent crimes and shortened the time prosecutors have to hand over evidence to defendants is a good idea. When it was first approved last April, 55% of voters like the law.
If marijuana is legalized in the state legislative session that begins today, it won’t be with the help of Otsego County’s delegation.
“It’s not my issue,” said state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, who said he is “responding well” to cancer treatments, and expected to be in his Albany office on opening day.
“I would hate to move forward on that, particularly with those advocating for the increased revenues — $300 million,” said Seward, now in his 32st two-year term. “It’s not worth it, because it would cost us a lot more in different ways.”
For his part, Assemblyman John Salka, R-Brookfield, who represents Oneonta and Cooperstown, said there’s a “50-50 split” on legalization of marijuana. “I would vote against it,” he said.
It’s fun to watch Andrew Cuomo. He knows that his father lost his try for a fourth term in office. To be fair, he didn’t lose by a lot and it was a very Republican year.
On the other hand, Andrew has to worry that people can get tired of having the same guy in office year after year. So, Andrew is on the warpath.
I have been speaking with him a lot lately on the radio and I’m here to tell you the guy gets angry when he is challenged. Nothing gets by him.
If someone is mad about having to pay $25 for a new license plate and is blaming him for it, he doesn’t turn the other cheek. Nope, he says that the very people in the Legislature who are blaming him for the fee are the ones who put the new “tax” in place and they are welcome to change it. A lot of people are thinking that it might take an Andrew Cuomo to get in Donald Trump’s face in 2020. They remember Hillary’s inability to do that and don’t have a lot of faith that any of the present contenders will fare any better.
When Chris Cuomo got into a fight over being called “Fredo” by a troll, Andrew went after a columnist for a local Albany paper and he didn’t pull any punches. He made news on my radio show, going after that columnist two weeks in a row.
The truth is that he has been making a lot of news on the public radio station that I run. My press colleagues often forget to mention my name, however, even though I was asking the questions that prompted his angry responses. Ah, well – you can’t have everything.
So how did this all come about? After all, Andrew was apparently so angry with me on a private matter that he wouldn’t talk to me for his first two terms (eight years) in office.
Then one day, there was the WAMC news director, Ian Pickus, knocking on the door of our studio while I was on the air, telling me that Andrew wanted to come on that very day. We were delighted, and he made such big news that even the New York Times credited me by name.
I try to be as tough on the guy as I possibly can. I recently received a letter asking why I was so rude to the governor. Rich Azzopardi, Cuomo’s senior advisor (he was once my student) got hot under the collar when someone referred to Cuomo and me as “pals.”
Azzopardi reminded the letter writer that I had opposed Cuomo in columns during his recent primary campaign and further reminded him that when Andrew decided to run against Carl McCall for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination quite a while ago, I really objected to the fact that Andrew was taking on a wonderful man who just happened to be the first African-American to have a shot at being governor of New York – not exactly a pal.
The governor did ask me, I suspect tongue-in-cheek, to accompany him to the New York State Fair in Syracuse.
He demanded an answer and I said “no.” It was pretty funny.
Some of you might remember that I had a weekly radio show with Mario Cuomo that played all over New York and as far away as Boston. That show was on the air for a long, long time. Mario was both articulate and one of the funniest men I have ever known. Now I see that Andrew’s apple has not fallen far from Mario’s tree.
As for me, I will continue to ask him the toughest questions I can, and I have to believe that, at some point, he’ll have had enough and call it quits. In the meantime, I’m having the time of my long life.
Alan Chartock is president of WAMC, Northeast Public Radio, which beams into Otsego County. This column was reprinted from Berkshire Edge, Pittsfield Mass.
By State Sen. JIM SEWARD • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
Police, firefighters, and emergency first responders are vital to public safety. The brave men and women who work in these fields put the lives of others first and often risk their own well-being. I am appalled by recent incidents in New York City of individuals hurling buckets of water at on-duty police officers. Video of these abuses has spread on the Internet, certain to trigger copy-cat offenses.
This type of disrespect toward our uniformed police officers cannot be permitted to escalate further. To help thwart this behavior, I have joined with my Senate Republican colleagues in co-sponsoring legislation that would make this type of harassment a class E felony.
The new legislation (S.6641) reads in part:
“The men and women who serve and protect our communities as police officers risk their lives every day. Therefore, it is extremely disheartening that there are members of communities harassing these officers with water and at times even assaulting them. Law enforcement in our state deserves better.
ALBANY – Governor Cuomo today signed the bill banning declawing of cats in the Empire State, a move hailed by he Humane Society of the United States. New York is the first state to ban the procedure.
“This historic bill in New York is a watershed moment for the declawing issue,” said Humane Society President Kitty Block (cq), “and we hope other states will follow suit by prohibiting this unnecessary convenience surgery.”
By State Sen. JIM SEWARD, R-Milford • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
ALBANY – While the 2019 state legislative session concluded several weeks ago, discussion continues to swirl around one of the more controversial new measures approved this year – the so-called “Green Light” law.
he new law, which formally takes effect on Dec. 14, 2019, would permit illegal/undocumented immigrants to apply for standard driver’s licenses using forms of foreign identification. The majority of New Yorkers are against the idea and prior to the Senate vote on the bill, I heard from a great number of constituents who voiced strident opposition.
A push to legalize recreational marijuana in New York has failed after state leaders did not reach a consensus on several key details in the final days of the legislative session, ABC news reported a few minutes ago.