The hellish conditions for commuters on the New York City subway system and the Long Island Rail Road, in addition to the ongoing problems with Amtrak, have created a game of who’s-to-blame that has one insider bochinchero concerned about what the new chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority will do: “(Joe) Lhota will get to what has to be done. The question is, will (Gov. Andrew) Cuomo allow it to happen?”
The well-founded concerns over Cuomo’s meddling and the benign neglect by members of the MTA’s board to act quickly has other bochincheros doubting much will happen to fix the major problems that besiege the system. Lhota is working on two reports for the governor – one with short-term solutions and the other with long-term fixes. The bochincheros all agreed that the reports Lhota submits to the governor will likely be comprehensive. However, knowing the governor’s notoriously controlling nature, they wonder how Lhota will ever get results. “If push comes to shove, Lhota isn't going to let Cuomo ruin his reputation. There’s only so much give-and-take that’s going to go on here,” one bochinchero speculated. The current plan is predicated on Cuomo trusting Lhota enough to let him start implementing his short-term plan by September and long-term plan by mid-December – just in time for the 2018 gubernatorial election cycle. Veremos.
Barron voted NO!
Assemblyman Charles Barron called to clarify the following in last week’s B&B column. In the item titled “Cuomo’s Broken Bridge,” we quoted an Albany bochinchero saying: “You know Mario Cuomo even used economic development money to build prisons and yet every minority legislator voted to name a bridge after him.” In the voicemail message, the outspoken Brooklyn legislator said: “Untrue. I voted NO! It was part of an omnibus bill. I voted NO for the mayoral control. NO for the bridge and NO for the sales tax upstate, which is regressive taxation against the people. … Let’s get it right, Gerson. I did not vote for that bridge.” Duly noted, Señor Barron. Not every “minority legislator” voted for Cuomo’s bridge or danced to the Democrats’ beat.
Mailers on the people’s dime
B&B has received some complaints from self-interested bochincheros dropping the dime on mailers about specific members of the state Legislature who are vying for New York City Council seats. We took note and were not going to write anything about this. However, the emails, text messages and a few llamadas against Assemblyman Félix Ortiz were considerable. A common complaint was, “He’s using taxpayers’ money on mailers that are supposedly for constituent services.” Another asked, “Is this illegal?” The piling on of Ortiz came from supporters of City Councilman Carlos Menchaca (who Ortiz is challenging) and from supporters of Javier Nieves and Sara Gonzalez. I figured this can’t be a coordinated effort by the incumbent and several challengers. So I’m thinking, could Ortiz beat the popular Menchaca? “Not likely,” is the response from a political operator who knows this district really well.
NEXT STORY: Winners & Losers 7/7/17