December 31, 2014

The Sonofa Gov Strikes Again

Andrew Cuomo has been a very busy man these past few weeks. He was pretty quiet after winning reelection in November, but he's been making some noise of late.
Photo credit: Cuomo's bio

First, he got himself engaged in the 'negotiations' over a possible pay raise for the state Legislature, trying to obtain additional concessions on ethics.  That effort failed, probably for the best; I don't know about you, but I don't believe that the Gov should be the decider on whether our elected officials in Albany deserve a raise.

He had his year-end press conference, where it was announced that fracking was a no-go for New York. That decision crushed the hopes of many in the Southern Tier, they of course being the folks under which the majority of the frackable gas resides, and the ones who can see Pennsylvania's fracking growth from their porches.

And there was the announcement by the Gaming Facilities Location Board (GFLB) letting us know who the winners were in the contest to build new casinos.  Three were authorized: one in the Catskills, one in Schenectady, and the third in the town of Tyre, near Waterloo, in Seneca County. The casino decision was another blow to our neighbors down south; the winner for "Southern Tier - Finger Lakes" region ended up not being in the Southern Tier.

Cuomo, who deflected credit (and blame) for the fracking and casino decisions, tried to say that neither had anything to do with politics and that he wasn't involved. The fracking decision was made based on science, and the casino location decision was entirely up to the GFLB; his hands were clean on both. Not surprisingly, a lot of people didn't believe him, given his record of similar statements on the 'independent'  Moreland Commission.

Now, Cuomo has stepped up with a letter to his, I mean 'the' Gaming Commission, looking to have a reopened bidding process for a casino in the 'true Southern Tier.'  At this point, the only bidder from the 'true' region is Tioga Downs, as a rival in Broome County will support the Tioga package if bidding is reopened. Cuomo suggests there might be national interest as well, although with a saturated market and casinos closing in Atlantic City, that may be as likely as the odds of winning the jackpot on a single pull on a slot machine.

However, since the Sonofa Governor has decided that we need a casino in the Southern Tier, it merely remains to be seen how he will make that happen. Maybe as part of the budget negotiations next spring? Say, a pay raise for the legislators if they pass some special bill for Tioga? Maybe he'll promise to stay away from any more ethics legislation if they go along with a win for the Downs?  It would probably serve us well to remember that the house always wins - and in this case, the 'house' is the Governor's Mansion.

And yesterday, Cuomo vetoed his own legislation delaying the implementation of teacher evaluations which included Common Core scores.  Cuomo says it was because there's no need for this particular legislation, given that just about every teacher in New York was rated as effective or higher.  He's now promising 'comprehensive reforms' in teacher evaluations next year. And we can trust that these reforms are because we need them, and not at all tied to the failure of NYSUT, the teacher's union, to support Cuomo's re-election bid.

We can trust him on all of these decisions, right?  Right?