It was just one month before COVID shut the world down in 2020 and tempers were short in New York’s state Capitol. I don’t remember exactly why the governor and legislature were sniping back and forth, but I do recall sitting down for a mid-February meeting with one of Governor Cuomo’s top policy people.
“I know it’s chaos around here,” I said to her, sympathetically. “Thank you for taking the time to meet with me.”
“Hey, It is chaos,” she shrugged. “That’s the way the boss likes it.”
Andrew Cuomo strolled to the microphone in New York City last week with characteristic swagger, carrying the binder that contained either his prepared remarks or, perhaps, a playbook filled with trick plays that end with the ultimate Hail Mary pass – a trip back to Albany as governor of New York State.
It was his second appearance on what looks like a mea culpa tour of friendly locations in New York City, and this time, he spoke with gubernatorial intonation about the need to revisit bail reform to combat the region’s rising crime rate. (This would be the same bail reform that he jammed through the state Legislature in 2019.)
Within hours, his successor, Governor Kathy Hochul, leaked a memo outlining a 10-point bail and discovery reform bill she plans to inject into state budget negotiations, the process over which her
New York’s 2022 political season begins in earnest this month after both Democrats and Republicans convened in February to select their party-backed slates for statewide offices.
In the top of the ticket race for governor, Republicans this week chose Long Island Congressman Lee Zeldin as their choice to take on Democrat incumbent Kathy Hochul. Both face potentially difficult primary challenges, though, as Republican Harry Wilson – who narrowly lost a 2010 bid to oust state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, jumped into the race for governor last week.
The Westchester County businessman, originally from Johnstown, New York, reportedly plans to sink $12 million of his own money into the primary contest against Rep. Zeldin. His campaign began running introductory television messages in upstate media markets prior to the party’s February 28-March 1 convention.
With more than $20 million in her campaign account, Governor Hochul remains the odds-on favorite to head the Democrats’ ticket in November, despite failing to secure backing from the
Ah, mid-December, when thoughts turn to the wrappings and trappings of the holiday season and joy-filled activities like wassailing and hot toddying and the Jenga stack that is New York State politics.
New York Attorney General Tish James last week announced the end of her brief run chasing Governor Kathy Hochul for the Democratic Party nomination for governor in 2022. Surely that news brought seasonal joy to New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, since — at least for now — he stands to gain a decent swath of the farther-left voters who probably were leaning toward the AG. And soon-to-be former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who keeps hinting that he’s going to get in the gubernatorial chase one of these days soon, is giddy dreaming that he’s in line for those left-leaners. He also ran for president in 2016.
Farmers across New York State, including Otsego County, are speaking out in opposition as a New York State Department of Labor Farm Laborers’ Wage Board considers lowering the threshold at which farm workers earn overtime pay from 60 hours per week to 40, a move farmers say will devastate their businesses.
Farmers went to Albany Wednesday, December 1, to deliver letters to Governor Kathy Hochul opposing the move and urging the Wage Board to keep the 60-hour overtime week.
The Farm Laborers Fair Practice Act, signed into law by former New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, statutorily reduced the weekly overtime threshold from 80 hours to 60 beginning January 1, 2020. The law also included workers’ compensation, one day of rest during the calendar week, unemployment insurance, disability, and the right to organize.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced his resignation in a televised address Tuesday, Aug. 10, effective in two weeks.
While the governor denied accusations that he was intentionally inappropriate with anyone, he said that the “politically motivated” allegations against him would plunge the state into disarray.
The three-term governor has been rocked by sexual harassment allegations which included unwanted kisses and touching.
Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul will become the next New York State governor.
Reactions to the resignation were swift.
“While we can now turn to rebuilding our state, it does not mean the end of multiple investigations into the departing governor and his retaliatory enablers,” State Sen. Peter Oberacker, R-Schenevus, said in a statement. ” The brave women who stepped forward to tell their stories deserve justice, along with those who lost their lives needlessly due to the governor’s irresponsible COVID nursing home directive. ”
“New Yorkers can breathe a collective sigh of relief that Andrew Cuomo will no longer be able to wield the immense power of the governor’s office to commit his corruption and abuse, but make no mistake, this resignation is simply an attempt to avoid real accountability for his numerous crimes,” NYGOP Chairman Nick Langworthy said in a media release. “Thousands of lives have been destroyed by Andrew Cuomo and the legislature must continue to move forward with impeachment to ensure he can never run for office again.”
“Gov. Cuomo finally stepping down is ultimately for the good of New York and something I am glad to see finally happening,” Assemblyman Brian Miller, R-New Hartford, said in a statement. This resignation is a definitive new beginning. We deserve a better leader.”
“New York now has a chance to move forward and build a new culture of leadership,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, in a statement. “Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul is an exceptional public servant and will be an excellent governor. I look forward to working together to continue serving the people of our great state.”
“Gov. Cuomo’s resignation is welcome news for all New Yorkers,” said Assemblyman John Salka, R-Brookfield, in a press release. “He has finally acted in the best interest of the people. His actions have been disturbing and inexcusable. I am pleased to see the governor step aside and allow government to function properly. I will continue to stand with these women and fight to hold the governor accountable. Congratulations to Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, I look forward to working with her in a positive and bipartisan manner.”
“I again want to thank the women who came forward for their accounts and applaud them for their bravery, because today we sent a message to everyone that conduct of this nature will never be tolerated, from anyone,” Assemblyman Chris Tague, R-Schohaire, said in a press release. “I wish to congratulate Kathy Hochul, the next governor of our state, and hope that we will be able to establish a productive, bipartisan relationship to do all we can for the people of New York.”
In a daily press conference Monday, Jan. 4, Governor Cuomo called out Fox Hospital: If the Oneonta facility doesn’t use its anti-COVID vaccine allocation more quickly, it won’t get any more.
The governor said Fox had only used 18 percent of the doses it has.
Bassett Healthcare Network’s spokesman, Karen Huxtable-Hooker, said that figure is actually 30 percent as of Tuesday the 5th, both at Fox and its Tri-Town Campus in Sidney.
In all, she said, more than 2,000 Bassett Network staffers had been vaccinated, with 52 percent of the Moderna virus supply used up. The network employs 5,200 people over nine counties.
Bassett Hospital received its Moderna allotment Dec. 23, and immediately began vaccinating, Huxtable-Hooker said, and continues “to offer vaccination clinics for our health care staff, as do all of the hospitals in the Bassett network.”
The pace of vaccinations is just one challenge Bassett is facing, along with rising hospitalization – “double what it was in November,” she said. “The continued escalation of COVID-19 cases is challenging resources, but (at Bassett Hospital) we are managing.”
“Fortunately, with five hospitals in the network, we are able to make use of all available beds to meet patient needs to identify space within our hospitals that can appropriately be converted for patient care needs as demand dictates,” she said.
On a “case-by-case basis,” she continued, some elective surgeries that require hospital says have been postponed “ to have those beds available for seriously ill patients,” Huxtable-Hooker said.
Despite such challenges, healthcare workers see the vaccine as a light at the end of the tunnel.
Some staffers have declined the vaccine, “but this has been the exception,” the spokesman said. “Most staff members are anxious to receive the vaccine as soon as they are eligible and can be scheduled.”
While there are two bills in the state Legislature seeking to mandate that healthcare workers and others be vaccinated, they have not yet been acted on. (See related story, Page A1).
Nor has the state Department of Health issued any such order, so “we cannot require staff to get the COVID-19 vaccine, but we are strongly encouraging it,” Huxtable-Hooker said.
Meanwhile, she said, masks, social distancing, hand-washing and the like is being encouraged to reduce transmission, she said.
At his Sunday, Jan. 3 press conference, Cuomo said 70-90 percent of New Yorkers need to be vaccinated to push back COVID-19, part of his dismay at the vaccination rate.
If hospitals do not use up their allotment they may face fines and/or possible disqualification from future vaccine distributions, according to Cuomo’s statements.
“Bassett Healthcare Network continues holding vaccination clinics with the goal of using the vaccine allocated to us,” Huxtable-Hooker said.
Meanwhile, on Saturday Jan. 9 and Jan. 16, asymptomatic rapid testing will be available to the public as long as supplies last at Bassett’s Oneonta location on 125 Main St.
Reservations are required by calling 607-433-6510 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The network is working to schedule other locations and dates for asymptomatic testing.
Today at 12:30pm, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo will deliver his annual State Of The State & Budget Address at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany. The speech will be streamed live on the Governor’s website. There you can also find previous addresses as well as more information about the Governor and this particular address. We have included a link to the live stream below.