Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Compromise, Cuomo-Style

Andrew Cuomo responds to Bill de Blasio's criticism that he's a transactional politician without  political core who governs by vendetta:

Cuomo, speaking with reporters on Wednesday night, sought to draw a distinction between his brand of governing — which has angered liberal advocates for what they say is working hand-in-glove with the GOP — versus embracing ideology.

“We had gridlock for many, many years, but under my administration it’s been different,” Cuomo said. “When there’s gridlock, it means nothing happens.”

For Cuomo, the choice is a binary one: He has to work with the Legislature he has, or nothing can be accomplished.

“We had a very productive session,” Cuomo said. “Did we get everything we want? No. We have in New York state a Democratic Assembly and a Republican Senate, so everything is a compromise. It’s a compromise or you go Washington style and you go gridlock.”

Cuomo sidestepped the broader criticisms the mayor leveled at him: Namely that in his aggressive pursuit to accomplish things in Albany, Cuomo has often run roughshod over his enemies and has a tendency to exact “revenge” on those who stand in his way.

“Everything is entitled to their own comments,” Cuomo said, before pivoting back to talk of “compromise” — a word he used multiple times in a brief gaggle with reporters.

Given the number of times he said the word "compromise" in his remarks, clearly Cuomo and his attack monkeys have decided to try and paint de Blasio as a crazy, bomb-throwing ideologue and Cuomo as a mature, rational adult who understands how to get along with others to get things done.

Such pushback is laughable on its face.

First, it ignores the de Blasio critique - echoed by other Dems on and off the record, not to mention teachers and state workers in PEF - that Cuomo governs by vendetta.

Second, it seeks to make Cuomo's brand of compromise like something people ought to want in Albany.

A commenter at State of Politics puts that into persepctive:

Compromise - the art of giving your REBNY overlords what they want, while stiffing the party you purportedly lead by watering down everything they want (minimum wage being the best example).

Indeed.

Compromise, Cuomo-style - cha-ching!!!!

Monmouth Poll: 57% Say Chris Christie Should Resign As Governor

From Political Wire:

A new Monmouth University Poll in New Jersey, taken after Gov. Chris Christie’s presidential announcement, found that “a large majority feels that Christie has abandoned his commitment to the state and few say he is a good fit for the Oval Office.”

Key finding: “Just 27% of New Jerseyans say Chris Christie would make a good president.  More than two-thirds (69%) say he would not.”

More findings:

Christie's job approval rating in the Monmouth poll stands at 36% approval, 58% disapproval.

Among registered voters, Christie's job approval stands at 34% approval, 60% disapproval.

When asked whether Christie cares more about governing NJ or his own political future, just 17% responded governing NJ, 76% responded his own political future.

And the clicker:

When asked if Christie should resign as governor now that he's announced a run for president, 57% say yes, 37% say no.

NY Times Editorial Unloads On Cuomo

The NY Times backs up on de Blasio in the Cuomo/de Blasio feud, mocking Cuomo in the process:

The immediate analysis focused not on the truth of what the mayor said, but on whether he was a fool and a noob for saying it, or whining, or showing weakness at playing Albany chess against a grandmaster.

The important point is that everything he said is true. By any fair reading of the events of the last Albany session, the governor has acted disgracefully toward the 8.5 million people of the city Mr. de Blasio leads. Though Mr. Cuomo poses as liberal and reform-minded when it suits him, his indifference to the city’s needs, and his poorly disguised disdain for the mayor, are further discrediting an already disheartening second term.

Mr. Cuomo’s hand was acutely evident when crucial goals for Mr. de Blasio — like extending mayoral control of the New York City schools, repairing crumbling public housing, investing in mass transit — became needless struggles. An important deal that Mr. de Blasio struck with the real estate industry this spring, to reform a tax break for developers called 421-a, would have added many thousands of units of dearly needed affordable housing. In Albany it was nearly sabotaged. Efforts to extend and update rent-control laws governing more than one million city apartments were similarly undermined.

When the governor wasn’t playing Tommy Lee Jones in the upstate manhunt for two escaped killers, he was saying it was too late to fix 421-a, although it was not, or challenging the mayor over managing wage rates for construction workers or costly disability-pension giveaways to police officers and firefighters. Mr. de Blasio said the governor’s vindictiveness had even extended earlier in the year to surprise state inspections of city homeless shelters.

Mr. de Blasio’s many critics say he was foolish to go on the attack and are waiting for Mr. Cuomo to bury the hatchet, in Mr. de Blasio.

But really — what should he have done?

State law gives the Legislature and governor far too much control over New York City’s business, and whenever the mayor — any mayor — takes his petitions to Albany, he has to beg, wheedle, cajole and bargain.

For a year and a half, Mr. de Blasio — maybe naïvely, maybe cunningly, maybe because he had no other choice — played nice with Mr. Cuomo, stressing their decades-long acquaintance and going out of his way not to pick fights. Sometimes it worked, as when the mayor won funding for a huge expansion of prekindergarten. Sometimes it didn’t. He was never going to eliminate longstanding mayor-governor tensions. But he has seemed to be making an effort to get past the nonsense, with a steadfast focus on policy over personality and power plays.

Some are now wondering whether Mr. de Blasio’s stand-up-to-the-bully tack will backfire. If it does, it will make clearer than ever who the bully is.

Very strong support from the Times editorial page.

De Blasio told the truth.

Cuomo's a bully.

De Blasio/Cuomo Feud Day Three: Cuomo Loyalists Worried About Cuomo's "Democrat Problem"

Day Three of the de Blasio/Cuomo feud and while there are still few prominent Democratic politicians publicly siding with de Blasio (I count just state Senator Mark Panepinto and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams for now), many are piling on Cuomo off the record or indirectly.

Here's Harry Siegel in the Daily News:

The phrase “nothing to lose” came up repeatedly as I asked de Blasio-aligned Democrats how, exactly, attacking Cuomo personally helps the city.

“It is cathartic, but I think it’s also politically smart,” said one City Hall veteran with extensive experience dealing with the governor. “What’s Cuomo going to do? Take the largest school system in America hostage? He’s already done that. Bill’s calculation was that he had nothing to lose.”

...

“This is not about the difference between a wide-eyed idealist and a clear-eyed pragmatist,” said the Democrat, in an assessment others sympathetic to de Blasio echoed. “This is the difference between someone who is not a psychopath and someone who is. Saying that clarifies the picture for voters — that the mayor is with the overwhelming majority of New Yorkers who think Albany is a bad place.”

Strong word, “psychopath,” but it speaks to how the name “Andrew Cuomo” has become a slur in progressive circles, both because of his politics and what they see as his conniving nature.

Stephanie Miner, mayor of Buffalo:

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner knows firsthand what it’s like to feud with the powerful governor.
Miner was Cuomo’s hand-picked co-chairwoman of the state Democratic party until she fell out of favor after publicly criticizing a pension plan by the governor.

For a while, Cuomo stopped talking to her and often did events just outside her city to which she was not invited.

“The blowback was a lot of anonymous ad hominem attacks and lots of threats,” she said. “I just said I wasn’t going to be bullied or intimidated.”

When Miner earlier this year called on the state to use a multi-billion-dollar surplus to help fund local infrastructure projects, Cuomo responded that Syracuse should pay for its own water projects by reviving the local economy.

“This governor in particular, when you have a disagreement with him on public policy, he views that as heresy,” Miner said.

Mark Panepinto again:

New to Albany, Sen. Marc C. Panepinto, D-Buffalo, said that there are many reasons for Cuomo’s problems with his own party. “He’s in the first six months of a second term. He picks unnecessary fights with key Democratic constituencies. His poll numbers are down, and his favoring of the moneyed interests of the state has made it easier for rank-and-file Democrats to stand against him,” the senator said.

Jumaane Williams:

Councilman Jumaane D. Williams, a Brooklyn Democrat, led a chant this week against Mr. Cuomo at a meeting of the Rent Guidelines Board, calling out: “Cuomo betrayed us. The R.G.B. can save us.” Mr. Williams, who declined to endorse Mr. Cuomo in the 2014 Democratic primary, said he now wishes he had campaigned actively against the governor.

“I think somebody has to run against him, and I think somebody will,” Mr. Williams said.

Progressives backed de Blasio in the fight:

Liberals who have long chafed under Gov. Andrew Cuomo's centrist governing are thrilled that Mayor Bill de Blasio attacked the governor Tuesday for stymieing the city's agenda in Albany.

"Democrats are angry with a governor whose word is not trustworthy, and who pursues Republican policies," said Zephyr Teachout, a Fordham Law School professor who challenged Mr. Cuomo in the 2014 Democratic primary. "Republicans are tired of him, too, as he seems less driven by ideas or governing and more by power and intrigue."

...

When Ms. Teachout bid for the Working Families Party endorsement last year, Mr. de Blasio helped persuade the party to give its ballot line to Mr. Cuomo. Still, she said she has no hard feelings for the mayor and is grateful that his dispute with Mr. Cuomo has finally spilled out into the public sphere.

"He made a big mistake [in backing Mr. Cuomo last year], I think, but I generally agree with him and am thrilled he's standing up," she said. "Punditry aside, New Yorkers really need leaders who are going to openly have their back, and say what they think. I liked him before, but I like him even better now."

...
 
"The mayor is reiterating what many of us feel," said Jonathan Westin, executive director of New York Communities for Change and a member of the Working Families Party. "His comments were a breath of fresh air."

Mr. Westin spent much of this legislative session protesting against Mr. Cuomo for not pushing harder to protect rent-regulated tenants. He said the mayor's comments could prove to be a galvanizing moment for those on the political left, who until now have been flailing against the governor or felt snookered by him.

"When we actually have a mayor that has his soapbox and is calling [Mr. Cuomo] out when he is not staying true to his word, then I think we have a much bigger megaphone to go out and push our policies," he said.

And the biggest sign that this is a problem for Cuomo - his loyalists are concerned:

Once relegated to whispers, a growing number of Democrats no longer are afraid to publicly take on Cuomo. They say two factors are at work: what de Blasio described as an “accumulated experience” in dealing with the governor and the realities that Cuomo’s poll numbers have been diving and his re-election last year was less than overwhelming.
...
If the governor’s team is keeping a stiff upper lip about Democratic relations, the situation has Cuomo loyalists worried. They talk of another recent governor, Eliot L. Spitzer, who also had problems with fellow Democrats.

In interviews over the last week, key Democrats say 2015 is turning out to be Cuomo’s most challenging period in office as he walks the tightrope of serving as governor in a diverse state and also titular head of a left-leaning Democratic Party. They say their unhappiness is more complex than complaints by liberal Democrats that he is too cozy with Republicans and some deep-pocketed business interests.

The governor’s supporters also sound anxious.

Assemblywoman Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes, D-Buffalo, who last year was co-chairwoman of Cuomo’s re-election campaign, said that she personally likes Cuomo but that he “really could afford better working relationships with Democrats.”

“Some people feel like he works against them, and that is a negative for our party,” she said, “and I think we could probably get so much more done if it didn’t always have to be one way.”

More and more, de Blasio's criticisms of Cuomo are looking like a watershed moment where the dam breaks and the tide turns against Cuomo.

The key indicator of that is not so much the glee of liberals at de Blaiso's criticism but the worry of Cuomo's dwindling loyalists that Cuomo's got to change but alas, he's probably incapable of it.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Eric Adams Backs De Blasio in Fight With Cuomo

Attorney General Schneiderman, City Council Speaker Mark-Viverito and Public Advocate James all declined to back Bill de Blasio for his comments yesterday blasting Governor Cuomo, but de Blasio did get public support from Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams:

One Democrat who did have Mr. de Blasio’s back was Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. Mr. Adams, a former Democratic state senator, defended the mayor after he spoke at Mr. Schneiderman’s event, telling the Observer he was “grateful” Mr. de Blasio spoke out.

He blamed Mr. Cuomo for helping Senate Republicans gerrymander their districts, not adequately funding public schools, and failing to sufficiently strengthen rent regulations.

“We’re frustrated and angry and expect more from a Democratic governor,” he said.

I understand Dems like Scheiderman, James and Mark-Viverito not wanting to pick a fight with Cuomo that they didn't start, but this kind of caution veers into co-dependency when it comes to Cuomo.

So far, no prominent Dems have come out in support of Cuomo (despite his calling around to get some public support), a couple have backed de Blasio (state senator Mark Panepinto and now Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.)

We'll see how this progresses.

Conjecture from some journos on twitter is that this battle will peter out as both Cuomo and de Blasio realize they have more to lose than gain, and that it will all end with some "beer summit" bro-hug.

Perhaps.

Nonetheless I think it was important for de Blasio to stop the abuse and take a public stand against Cuomo.

As Alex Balk wrote at The Awl today:

For those of us who have feared that, rather than craftily allowing himself to appear as an amiable dunce in an attempt to do liberalism by stealth, de Blasio actually is just a big fucking dummy who means well but couldn’t tie his shoes without asking for four different perspectives on whether you put the left lace over the right or the other way around, it’s a pleasure to see him finally stand up for himself, whether or not it will have a negative effect on how the governor treats the city from now on. (What’s Cuomo going to do, fuck New York over worse? He’s boxed out from running for president and if he wants a third term he’s not going to get it on votes from Utica and Plattsburgh alone.) 

Seriously, how much worse can Cuomo screw NYC over than he a;ready has?

Especially now that de Blasio has torn back the curtain and said "Hey, guy's a prick, he screws with us just to screw with us and we now expect more since I've gone public with the bullshit games he plays."

And especially since Cuomo's already roundly hated upstate and only survives with approval ratings above Spitzer levels because of the support he has in NYC.

Cuomo Calling Around, Trying To Get Dems To Stand With Him Against De Blasio

Well, that didn't take long.

Yesterday Mayor Bill de Blasio unloaded on Governor Andrew Cuomo, calling him a transactional politician who governs by vendetta and has no political allegiance to anything or anybody except his own career.

Today, Cuomo starts the counterattack:


So far, it's been de Blasio who's gotten backing from fellow Dems.

Yesterday there was this in Ross Barkan's Observer piece on the feud:

Among top Democrats in New York, Mr. Cuomo is virtually friendless. He has burned bridges with Sen. Charles Schumer, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. Ditto the rank-and-file party activists motivated more by ideology than Mr. Cuomo’s centrist pragmatism.

...

An Albany Democrat was similarly blunt.

“I think what you are seeing is that the governor has no friends and that is because he has no actual beliefs and vision,” the Democrat said. “He just wants to win.”

State Senator Mark Panepinto went on record last night backing de Blasio in the battle with Cuomo:
During a wide-ranging CapTon interview last night, Buffalo Sen. Marc Panepinto unleashed on the governor, saying he had “lined up with the Senate Republicans against the mayor of New York City” during the end of the 2015 session.

“Poor Mayor de Blasio,” Panepinto said. “There wasn’t one thing that the governor agreed with him on, even though they share a party affiliation.”

The senator’s comments echoed the mayor’s very public venting of his frustrations with the governor over the past six months, which included an accusation that the Senate Republicans were under Cuomo’s “control” when it came to thwarting NYC’s agenda.

Panepinto insisted he has a “great deal of respect for the governor, but he wants to rule the Democratic Party with an iron fist.”

“We’re a party of inclusion we’re a party of discussion…and it’s been my impression during my short time in state government that Governor Cuomo often doesn’t like those debates,” the senator said. 

Cuomo privately backed Panepinto's Republican opponent, former state Senator Mark Grisanti, last November as payback for Grisanti's backing Cuomo on gay marriage, so Panepinto owes Cuomo nothing.

Still, you've already got one Dem on record echoing de Blasio's remarks and at least one Dem off the record doing the same.

We'll see how many Dems come out to support Cuomo - I suspect we'll see a few who owe either their jobs or their political relevance to Cuomo back him.

That means the inevitable David Paterson statement of support (though as Louis Flores pointed out, Cuomo played games with Paterson back in the day too) and a few others.

Political consultants who've worked for Cuomo will warn us that de Blasio is wrong here (you know, like Hank Scheinkopf), but again, they'll have expedient reasons to do so.

Otherwise, I bet Cuomo's going to have some trouble getting fellow Democrats or party activists to publicly back him.

After all the years of screw jobs, Cuomo has alienated nearly everybody in the political establishment and sits isolated in his darkened room on the second floor making his phone calls that nobody wants to get or act upon.

The Bigger Risk For De Blasio Was Staying Silent While Cuomo Mauled Him

I keep reading this morning about the "risk" that Mayor Bill de Blasio took in publicly blasting Governor Andrew Cuomo as a transactional politician who governs by vendetta.

See here, here, here, and here.

But even a few critics of de Blasio's critique acknowledge how badly Andrew Cuomo has treated Bill de Blasio and NYC in the 18 months de Blasio has been mayor.

Josh Greenman wrote up a list of the barbs, arrows, slights and outright screw jobs Cuomo has sent de Blasio's way in the past year and a half:

In the midst of the Ebola crisis last fall, Cuomo failed to consult the mayor before making major policy announcements.

Ditto when Cuomo decided to shut the city’s subways before a snowstorm.

When de Blasio put forward a plan to build housing at Queens’ Sunnyside Yards — a goal Cuomo should have been able to work with — Cuomo snippily replied the space wasn’t available.

This year, agreeing with the state’s request, de Blasio and the city were set to pony up more money than ever to support the buses and subways — only to be attacked by Cuomo’s MTA as cheapskates after the budget had gone to press.

Against his better fiscal instincts, Cuomo fought against de Blasio in favor of hiking disability pensions for cops and firefighters — which would have saddled the city with huge bills.

Having previously been a champion of mayoral control of the schools, Cuomo gladly accepted Republicans’ insulting one-year extension.

And when de Blasio offered vital, pragmatic reforms to the 421-a housing tax credit, Cuomo had nothing to offer but out-of-character complaints that de Blasio was shortchanging construction workers.

And Ken Lovett gets an unnamed former Bloomberg aide to note that considering how badly Cuomo was treating his "friend" Bill de Blasio, the mayor had nothing to lose:

Seasoned observers understand why the mayor got fed up. A one-time aide to Michael Bloomberg, who as mayor had his own problems with Cuomo, said that the governor “never made Bloomberg feel like he had nothing left to lose, but that’s what he’s done to de Blasio and I think Cuomo will regret it.”

Don't forget too that Cuomo started the public feud by criticizing de Blasio to Ken Lovett last week, but doing it through the beard of an "unnamed" source in the Cuomo administration who turned out to speak exactly the way Andrew Cuomo speaks.

I think this tweet sums up the bigger risk for de Blasio than openly returning fire at Cuomo:


Sure, de Blasio's taken a risk by being so open and forthright in his criticisms of Cuomo (Elias Isquith tweeted that de Blasio had nuked the bridge between he and Cuomo - then nuked the ashes), but quite frankly, the bigger risk was, Brooklyn Shaun said, in staying silent as Cuomo took it to him over and over and over.

By calling out Cuomo as a vindictive politician who governs by vendetta, by pointing out all the ways Cuomo screwed NYC not because of policy differences or principle but simply because he wanted to remain top dog in the political equation, by saying that he expects Cuomo to retaliate and he will call him out publicly when he does so, de Blasio puts some onus onto Cuomo when he screws NYC going forward.

De Blasio is helped here too by the fact that Cuomo has destroyed every relationship he has with other prominent Democrats:

De Blasio joins a growing list of state Democrats, including Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Controller Thomas DiNapoli, Senate Democrats and many Assembly Dems, who are no longer afraid to speak their minds when it comes to Cuomo.

Other than party hacks who owe their employment/political relevance to Cuomo  (e.g., David Paterson, Chris Quinn, et al.) who's backing Cuomo in a fight with de Blasio?

No one from the list above, that's for sure.

I would add our two senators to the list of pols unlikely to back Cuomo as well, especially Schumer, who is said to loathe Cuomo with a passion Chuck usually reserves for camera opportunities.

Certainly not party activists, as I pointed out in a post last night - many are fuming over Cuomo's betrayal on rent regulations.

And by saying publicly that Cuomo governs by vendetta and he now expects a few aimed the city's way, de Blasio puts some pressure on Cuomo:


De Blasio in part enabled Cuomo by helping to engineer the Working Families Party ballot nod last May and by helping Cuomo win re-election.
 
De Blasio seemed to do this because he thought he would have some chits he could call on later with Cuomo, but as many of us pointed out at the time, Cuomo doesn't play that game and de Blasio was likely to lose it.

That's of course exactly what happened - Cuomo went out of his way to screw de Blasio and NYC every way he could.

De Blasio could have stayed silent and acted the co-dependent here as Cuomo continued to use and abuse him, but I give de Blasio a lot of credit for taking the gloves off, getting very pointed in his criticism of Cuomo and doing it openly.

Now it's important for activists, other Dems, and city residents to back de Blasio in this fight with Cuomo, not because they like or support de Blasio, but simply because de Blasio has become the face of the "Fight Cuomo" movement here.

Others have criticized Cuomo before, but none so openly and frankly as de Blasio.

Sure there was risk in this for de Blasio and NYC, but the bigger risk was continuing to stay in the abusive relationship with Cuomo.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Everybody Hates Andrew Cuomo

There's some conjecture on twitter that Mayor de Blasio has made a big mistake by publicly blasting Governor Cuomo in such a scathing way, that Cuomo will exact revenge on de Blasio and the city and it won't be pretty:


But Ross Barkan at the Observer reports progressives are rallying to de Blasio:

When Mayor Bill de Blasio eviscerated Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a fellow Democrat, in an unusually candid press conference earlier today, there was the usual chatter about a vindictive governor readying to punish an unruly mayor who didn’t know his place.

But among progressive Democrats frustrated at an executive who they see as antithetical to their values, there was elation. For Democrats in New York City and Albany, Mr. de Blasio’s sudden decision to publicly air his grievances at Mr. Cuomo was long-awaited, the equivalent of a come-to-Jesus moment.

“The only way to make progress with Andrew is to attack him. If you attack him effectively, he’ll cave. He’s a bully,” said Bill Samuels, a prominent liberal activist and fundraiser. “The verdict for Cuomo for many of us was decided long ago.”

When Mr. de Blasio fumed that he had been “disappointed at every turn” with Mr. Cuomo and admitted he couldn’t “tell you that I can place his philosophy at this point,” liberals found their conscience given voice in the mayor of New York City.

And Barkan reports that few will rally to Cuomo because, well, he has no friends:

Among top Democrats in New York, Mr. Cuomo is virtually friendless. He has burned bridges with Sen. Charles Schumer, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. Ditto the rank-and-file party activists motivated more by ideology than Mr. Cuomo’s centrist pragmatism.

If Mr. Cuomo enacts payback on Mr. de Blasio, a city of eight million people could suffer, and Mr. de Blasio can point to a scapegoat in the governor. He has the advantage of the largest media market in the world to disseminate his message; Mr. Cuomo, never one for cameras or microphones, has Albany.
...

“Enough is enough. This isn’t about personalities. It’s about one personality playing politics and using 8.5 million people as pawns,” crowed one de Blasio loyalist.
An Albany Democrat was similarly blunt.
“I think what you are seeing is that the governor has no friends and that is because he has no actual beliefs and vision,” the Democrat said. “He just wants to win.”

While no politician has been as openly blunt as de Blasio in their criticism of Cuomo they have been critical:


Progressives have been quite critical of Cuomo, especially tenant activists, who hammered Cuomo after he sold them out on rent regulations.

Here was Alliance for Tenant Power's Katie Goldstein last week:

Our worst fears about Governor Cuomo have been confirmed. He took no action at all to strengthen the rent laws. Cuomo made empty promises and lied repeatedly while helping the Senate Republicans advance a bill that is a massive giveaway to landlords. Cuomo’s Republican deal on rent will harm and endanger countless low-income and working-class households. Up to 100,000 rent-regulated apartments will be lost over the next four years because of Cuomo’s Republican deal. This four-year extender does nothing to empower tenants. In fact, it leaves the most vulnerable even more susceptible to landlord harassment and skyrocketing rents. Cuomo should change his party registration to Republican because he is not worthy of the Democratic Party and its most basic values. Cuomo will suffer big political consequences for his betrayal of tenants and Democrats and for solidifying his status as a Republican Governor.
We were right to challenge Cuomo at every turn and not trust him throughout our campaign for stronger rent laws. Cuomo never had any intention of introducing his own pro-tenant bill. We will now lose many more rent-regulated units because of Cuomo’s failure to deliver for tenants and for working families. Today Cuomo alienated and angered millions of New Yorkers. We look forward to helping a strong Democrat defeat Cuomo if he foolishly tries to run for a third term as Governor.

Cuomo has few friends in the media as well:


And people are calling Cuomo out for going on the attack using "anonymity":


Weiner's referring to Cuomo's thinly disguised attack on de Blasio last week, using an unnamed "well-placed source" in the Cuomo administration who just happened to be Cuomo himself.

Give de Blasio credit for not only blasting Cuomo but doing it openly and honestly.

Cuomo, on the other hand, knows nothing about either openness or honesty:



I dunno how this all shakes out - de Blasio is going on a two week vacation with his family and journalists weren't invited to tag along.

You can be sure Cuomo will be working behind the scenes to destroy de Blasio, starting tonight, probably with some of those preemptive and post-facto phone calls that Jonathan Martin referred to in his tweet - Cuomo's famous for that.

But we might have hit a watershed moment here with de Blasio's criticism.

It's in the open now - a prominent Democrat has said publicly that Andrew Cuomo is no Democrat, that his only allegiance is to himself and he goes out of his way to harm constituents simply to stick it to fellow politicians.

De Blasio's criticism is the unvarnished truth and everybody I've mentioned in this post knows it - from the media members conjecturing on twitter about the wisdom (or lack thereof) of de Blasio's criticism to the activists who are already are rallying to de Blasio in this fight to the unnamed Dem who told Barkan Andrew is friendless.

De Blasio's gone to the mattresses in open war against Andrew Cuomo but he's not without help here.

Everybody I know is sick of Cuomo, sick of his shadowy vengeful act and ready to take him down.

De Blasio's extraordinarily frank and honest criticism of Cuomo is the rallying cry for just that.

De Blasio Returns Fire On Cuomo

Governor Cuomo criticized Mayor de Blasio in a thinly disguised but anonymous interview with Ken Lovett last week.

Today, Bill de Blasio returned fire - only unlike Cuomo, he did it without the anonymity jive:

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio blasted Gov. Andrew Cuomo in an exclusive interview with NY1’s Errol Louis and took the governor to task for being consumed with “transactional” politics.

“What I found was he engaged in his own sense of strategies, his own political machinations and what we’ve often seen is if someone disagrees with him openly, some kind of revenge or vendetta follows,” de Blasio said of the governor.

The broadsides against Cuomo are the culmination of an increasingly tenuous relationship between the state’s top elected official and the more liberal Democrat who was elected with a wave of progressive support in the city.

...

In the interview, de Blasio knocked Cuomo for working to closely with Republican-led Senate at the expense of the Assembly, which is dominated by Democrats from New York City.
“I don’t believe the Assembly had a real working partner in the governor or the Senate in terms of getting things done for the people of this city and in many cases the people of this state,” de Blasio said.

In one stinging rejoinder during the interview, de Blasio took aim at the Cuomo administration’s habit of conducting background briefings and providing anonymous jabs at the mayor and his policies.
“And I want to hasten to say there was some interesting back and forth last week and some unnamed sources well-placed in the Cuomo administration had a few things to say. I’m here in front of you on record saying what I believe,” he said.

Good for de Blasio to finally come out and call Cuomo what he is - a transactional politician interested only in his own power and career, a vindictive manipulative scumbag and a coward for his pattern of criticizing others anonymously through background interviews and anonymous jabs.

Alas, all this was apparent last year when de Blasio was pushing Working Families Party to support Cuomo.

I understand at the time de Blasio thought he was counting up some chits that could be cashed later with Cuomo - but as many of us pointed out at the time, Cuomo is a liar and his word is worthless.

That immediately became apparent when Cuomo began wrangling out of the promises he made to WFP in exchange for their ballot nod almost immediately after he made the hostage video for them.

Still, nice to see de Blasio come out firing publicly now, and unlike Cuomo, put his name to it.

Cuomo is sufficiently weakened at this point that de Blasio sees no more reason to make believe like his "friend" Cuomo is on the same side as him or his fellow Democrats.

And this will have repercussions not only for de Blasio, who clearly will get increased hostility from Cuomo from now on (get ready to be treated like a teacher, Mr. Mayor!), but for Cuomo too:


Dunno if Cuomo still harbors delusions about running as a Democrat in a future presidential race, but between the tenant activists and now de Blasio publicly calling him a Republican, that delusion ought to be put to rest for good.

Why A School Would Want To Have Some Regents Tests Rescored

The NY Post reported that 55 schools out of 860 schools in NYC had some Regents exams "rescored."

Four of these schools were "Renewal" schools.

This is supposed to make readers think that these schools - and the de Blasio NYCDOE - is cheating in order to improve test scores.

But if you know anything about the Regents exam grading process, you'd know why some exams need to be rescored.

Regents exams are now scored outside of individual schools, either during the school day or after school when teachers are paid extra to score exams.

This is supposed to ensure objectivity in the scoring of the exams and prevent cheating in individual schools (where teachers and administrators have a lot riding on the scores.)

Alas, the "norming" process for training the teachers to do the grading is often haphazard at best, incompetent at worst.

I've graded both during the day and after school for per session and I can tell you, I've seen some people lead the "norming" process who had no idea what they were doing.

In one case, the person leading ELA "norming" a few years ago gave some erroneous information about the grading of exams that was only corrected because several veteran teachers at the session pushed back against the information that was being given out.

In other cases, I have seen "norming" sessions in which most teachers present have agreed upon the way to approach the exam only to have one or two teachers say "I don't care what the rest of you say about that - I'm going to grade this way!"

One year, during the electronic grading, I saw a teacher who decided to grade the Part 3 ELA responses with her own grading system rather than the one the state had given in the grading materials.

She gave 0's to short response paragraphs that clearly should have been 1's and 1's to short response paragraphs that should have been 2's.

Given that she was grading both parts of the Part 3 section, she easily could have been the difference between some students passing the exam or failing it.

Now "quality control" is supposed to catch this kind of thing, and after a while, a supervisor did approach her and tell her she wasn't grading according to the state standards.

But what happened to all the tests she had already graded?

Were they rescored?  Or were the grades kept and they simply took her off the scoring going forward?

Another problem with scoring the exams is that teachers are often under the gun to get the tests graded by a certain deadline.

I saw this first hand with history exams last year, as teachers were "speedgrading" tests the night before the last day of school.

How accurate were the grades during the speedgrading sessions?

Hard to say - maybe teachers are more forgiving during "speedgrading" sessions and apt to give students the benefit of the doubt, maybe they're more apt to grade severely because they're feeling stressed.

In any case, one thing I do know - teachers weren't able to give much thought to the grading process that last day.

Schools are allowed to request rescoring of some exams if they see egregious errors in the grading process or believe they have evidence that the scoring was unfair and contrary to the state standards.

These requests are not always granted - a few years ago, I know a school that asked to have about a half-dozen exams rescored out of hundreds scored because the grading of the essays in these half-dozen tests was clearly contrary to the state standards that were released in the grading materials.

The request was denied.

Would some of the six students who ended up failing the exam have passed if the exams had been carefully (and fairly) rescored?

You bet.

The NY Post wants you to think the grading process is competent, objective and professional.

They want you to believe that the scores that come from the Regents grading process are sacrosanct, like Mosiac law from the mount, and any requests to rescore exams tantamount to "scrubbing" or cheating.

The truth is much more complex than that.

Is it possible some schools are looking to raise grades by having some tests rescored?

Sure.

But it's also likely that there have been breakdowns in the grading process around the city and many of the schools that asked to have exams rescored had legitimate concerns about the grades their students received.

Of course, the NY Post doesn't cover this complexity because they're not much interested in anything other than pushing their political agenda - public schools suck, public school teachers are incompetent and dishonest, de Blasio is inept and his "Renewal" program doomed to failure.

But it's important to correct the record here and point out that the grading process for Regents exams is often chaotic, sometimes a complete a mess, and can lead to unfair grades for students (and teachers and schools.)

Monday, June 29, 2015

Big Motivation For Cuomo During Legislative Session Was To Screw De Blasio

From Fred Dicker's NY Post column today:

Cuomo, sources in both parties said, was motivated by a desire to deny credit to de Blasio on housing (by rejecting the 421-a construction incentive proposal) and education policy (by granting him a mere one year extension of mayoral control of the schools) as well as by a commitment to some of his big-money contributors who favored aid to private schools.

Imagine that one of the primary motivations for the governor of the State of New York was to ensure that the mayor of New York City had his political agenda shunted aside, not because the governor was necessarily opposed to that agenda but simply because he wanted to deny the mayor credit.

What damage was done to Andrew Cuomo as a child that he continues to act like a petulant brat and bully throughout his adult life?

I wrote this earlier today, but it bears repeating:

It says an awful lot about Andrew Cuomo, alpha male, that a primary motivation in policy-making is remaining top dog.

New York's Assembly Line Teaching



A serious of tweets with Arthur Goldstein, Tim Farley and Randi Weingarten on the state of teaching in New York today:




Truth is, teaching in many New York schools these days is EXACTLY like the Little Tramp on the assembly line in Modern Times, especially when the EngageNY curriculum is used:

Close read incomprehensible piece, ask text-based questions about excerpt, close read same incomprehensible piece (sometimes same incomprehensible excerpt!), ask text-based questions about it, repeat ad nauseam until final assessment that tests retention of said material.

Have a lesson plan printed out with EVERY step, EVERY activity timed to the second, EVERY question asked of students with expected (and necessary) responses under them, EVERY activity ending in an assessment, EVERY do now activity text-based and "rigorous" (drill-and-kill starts from the very beginning of class and goes right to the end) - this is the daily experience of many teachers in New York's schools.

And God help you if you're slated for a Danielson drive-by observation on the day when you decide to deviate from the above assembly line teaching - you're almost guaranteed a "developing" or "ineffective" evaluation for the lesson in many schools.

Randi Weingarten says teachers feel disrespected and need to be respected?

Respect starts and ends with the autonomy to write curriculum, teach that curriculum as one sees fit, assess students as one sees fit, have the freedom to deviate from teaching methods and lesson plans imposed from above, and not be forced to teach from a lesson plan so completely controlled and rote that it sucks the life and soul out of the learning and the classroom.

Alas, Randi Weingarten and union leaders, through their collaboration with education reformers, have brought us the current assembly line teaching mess.

Randi Weingarten thinks teachers need to be respected?

Great - she should start respecting teachers herself by ceasing to "collaborate" with reformers on reforms that strip teachers of autonomy, creativity, and professionalism.

End the assembly line teaching and evaluations.

Cuomo Teamed Up With Republicans Against Democrats On Rent Regulations, Charter School Policy, Money For Private Schools

Fred Dicker in the Post:

Despite public claims to the contrary, Gov. Cuomo worked behind-the-scenes with the Republican-led Senate to defeat Assembly Democrats on such key “progressive” initiatives as tenant rights and a minimum-wage hike, knowledgeable insiders have told The Post.

Cuomo, the de facto head of the state Democratic Party, defeated a range of Democrat-sponsored proposals supposedly on his agenda through a “two-against-one” strategy in which he allied with Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-Suffolk) against Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx), leaving Heastie no choice but to fold, the sources said.

“Throughout the negotiations, there was never any real difference between the positions of Cuomo and Flanagan. It was two against one with Cuomo pulling Flanagan’s strings to corner Heastie,” said a source with direct knowledge of the secret end-of-session deal-making.

The source said Cuomo and the Senate GOP also worked to force Heastie to accept an expansion of charter schools for New York City and additional state aid to parochial schools, proposals Heastie and the Assembly’s other leaders repeatedly opposed.

“Not that there should have been, but if there was any doubt that Senate Republicans are nothing but a tool of Cuomo to use against his fellow Democrats, there isn’t anymore,’’ the source complained.

This isn't a surprise - anyone watching closely over the past few years knew this was what Cuomo was doing and what he was going to do in the final days of the legislative session.

But it's good to get this in print, even if it's anonymously sourced in Fred Dicker's column.

I'll have more on this story later because Dicker reports that one of Cuomo's primary motivations to work with Republicans against Democrats was to screw de Blasio - just cuz', you know?

Says an awful lot about Andrew Cuomo, alpha male, that a primary motivation in policy-making is remaining top dog.

In any case, if Cuomo still harbors any national political ambitions as a Democrat, his work with Republicans against his fellow Democrats, becoming more and more naked as his governorship goes on, ought to dispel them.

He literally now is seen as "New York's Republican governor," as one tenant activist put it last week after Cuomo screwed NYC residents by siding with Senate Republicans over Assembly Dems on rent regulation.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Calling The "Visionaries" In And Out Of The Education World What Many Of Them Truly Are - Sociopaths

Tony Schwartz in the NY Times on Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk:

The three leaders are arguably the most extraordinary business visionaries of our times. Each of them has introduced unique products that changed – or in Mr. Musk’s case, have huge potential to change – the way we live.

...

What disheartens me is how little care and appreciation any of them give (or in Mr. Jobs’s case, gave) to hard-working and loyal employees, and how unnecessarily cruel and demeaning they could be to the people who helped make their dreams come true.

...

Given the extraordinary success of these men, the obvious question is whether being relentlessly hard on people, and even cruel, may get them to perform better.

Like their biographers, I think the answer is no. Our research at the Energy Project has shown that the more employees feel their needs are being met at work – above all, for respect and appreciation – the better they perform.

Here's how these three "visionary" leaders treated their employees and/or others:

As Mr. Isaacson writes of Mr. Jobs: “Nasty was not necessary. It hindered him more than it helped him.”

...

Mr. Jobs drove around without a license on his car, and he regularly parked in spaces reserved for the handicapped. As Mr. Ive said of his attitude, “I think he feels he has a liberty and a license to do that. The normal rules of social engagement, he feels, don’t apply to him.”

Amazon employees collected examples of Mr. Bezos’s most eviscerating put-downs, including, “Are you lazy or just incompetent?” “Why are you wasting my life?” and “I’m sorry, did I take my stupid pills today?”

When Mr. Musk’s loyal executive assistant of 12 years asked for a significant raise, he told her to take a two-week vacation while he thought about it. When she returned, he told her the relationship wasn’t going to work anymore. According to Mr. Vance, they haven’t spoken since.

And of course all of this nastiness, this "I am the most special person on the planet and you will treat me as such!" stems from the egocentric belief these men had or have of their own so-called genius.

But Schwartz thinks there's another reason Jobs, Bezos and Musk act or acted so badly - out of fear:

People like these three visionaries deeply crave control. Each of them was far more likely to act out suddenly and behave poorly when he wasn’t getting exactly what he wanted — when he felt that others were failing to live up to his standards.

All three invested endless hours and energy in building and running their businesses — and far less in anything else, including taking care of the people who worked for them or even understanding what doing so might look like. To a large extent, people were simply a means to an end.

I understand what it is like to have one’s self entirely tied up with external success. No amount is ever quite enough. To a large extent, for these men, employees are simply a means to an end.

If you're a teacher these days, you know some of the drill that the people who work or worked for Jobs, Bezos and Musk know because some of the same personality types have been given the power to run school systems and schools themselves.

In the "visions" of the corporate education reformers, students are seen as "products," teachers are seen as a means to an end, control is the most sought-after goal and the only thing that truly matters is imposing an agenda and rigging the data to make it look successful.

Many education leaders these days are little versions of Bezos, Jobs and Musk - always without the "genius" or "vision," of course, though some education leaders think they have it - see Joel Klein, Michelle Rhee, Cami Anderson, et al. for the same delusional arrogance and egocentric patterns that Bezos, Jobs and Musk displayed.

But it doesn't really matter whether the Kleins and Rhees of the world have the "genius" or "vision" of Bezos or Jobs or not because a truly successful leader shouldn't be treating people like "products" or a "means to an end," a truly successful leader shouldn't be so obsessed with control and fear that they run roughshod over everybody and everything.

Schwartz concludes:

The question their management style raises is not whether being tough, harsh and relentlessly demanding gets people to work better. Of course it doesn’t, and certainly not sustainably. Can anyone truly doubt that people are more productive in workplaces that help them to be healthier and happier?

The more apt question is how much more these men could have enhanced thousands of people’s lives – and perhaps made them even more successful — if they had invested as much in taking care of them as they did in conceiving great products.

“Try not to become a man of success,” Albert Einstein once said, “but rather a man of value.”

It is time we stop fetishizing so-called corporate geniuses like Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and other so-called "visionaries" (you can add many others to the list - Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates come immediately to mind) and call them exactly what they are - sociopaths who in the end do a lot more harm than good.

The same goes for the little versions in education - the Kleins, the Rhees, et al. - who for years have lived on the press of their "visions" and "genius" (think the TIME cover with Rhee on it holding the broom.)

But remember, you can't decry the sociopathology of the Kleins and Rhees of the education world while praising the "genius" and "vision" of sociopaths like Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates.

Gates is an easy one for people in the ed world to despise - his foundation's work to destroy public schools makes that an easy thing.

But Steve Jobs still gets fetishized by some for his "genius" and "vision".

Truly his "vision" was "@#$% you, I get my way or I destroy you!"

And that's the kind of vision we can do without these days - in or out of education.

For another example, see one Andrew Cuomo in Albany.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Pathological Cuomo Just Can't Help Making Stuff Up

Governor Cuomo at a press conference on the shooting and killing of one of the escaped prisoners from the Clinton  Correctional Facility in Dannemora:

Cuomo has drawn mixed reviews for how he has publicly associated himself with the search in the last month, and his appearance at the press conference came after a day in New York City. Wearing a grey, two-button suit jacket but no tie, the governor stood next to D'Amico as he answered questions, but fielded just one inquiry himself about the cost of the search.

“There's no doubt that it's expensive, but there's also no doubt, in my opinion, that it is worth it. This is the first escape from this prison in the prison's history,” Cuomo said. “These are truly armed and dangerous people, and we will do what we have to do to bring them to justice.”

Governor Cuomo to ABC News on June 7:

The governor, who toured the prison Saturday, described the escaped convicts as "resourceful" and "dangerous." 
"This was the first breakout since 1865 and I want to make sure that it's the last," Cuomo said.

Interesting how Cuomo went from claiming this was the first prison breakout since 1865 to now claiming it's the first escape in the prison's history - all in the course of 19 days.

No matter, a NY Times report from June 9 shows he's wrong on both counts:

Since Clinton opened in 1845, dozens of inmates have escaped over, under or through the prison’s thick walls, their exploits detailed in breathless, often sensationalistic, newspaper reports of earlier eras.

The NY Times also ran a piece on June 9 about two inmates who escaped from Clinton Correctional Facility in 1974 - one was caught in 1976, the other in 1980:

The Hamiltons seemed to make for an enviable family.

They lived in a sprawling brick house in Great Falls, Va., and drove around in a silver Mercedes. Neighbors knew the father of the family as Norm, a successful real estate investor and antiques dealer who shared stock market tips with his friends. The Washington-area police had a different name for him: a one-man crime wave.

Norm Hamilton was the unobtrusive creation of Bernard C. Welch Jr., a serial burglar who escaped from the grounds of the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, N.Y., decades before Richard W. Matt and David Sweat burrowed their way out last week. In 1974, Mr. Welch and a fellow inmate staged a less elaborate break, scaling a 20-foot cyclone fence and taking off for the anonymity of the Washington suburbs.

That other inmate, Paul Maturano, was caught in 1976 in West Virginia, but Mr. Welch parlayed the guise of Norm Hamilton, wealthy suburbanite, into a dodge that lasted until 1980. When the police searched Mr. Welch’s home, they seized 51 boxes of valuables. The loot, with an estimated value of millions, included candelabras, antique clocks and porcelain Hummel figurines.

Wouldn't it be great if reporters covering the Cuomo Prison PR Tour asked him why he keeps making up stuff about the prison break and the story keeps changing over time?

It's pathological that Governor Andrew Cuomo just can't the truth about this.

And really, to what end?

Friday, June 26, 2015

NYSUT DeclaresThe 2015 Legislative Session A Win, Says Lots More Wins To Come Next Time

From the "What drugs are these people on?" file:

The state’s largest teachers union said in a statement Friday that while there were “significant advances” for educators this session, they’ll be back next year for more.

The bill to end this year’s legislative session included several reforms to the state’s education policy coupled with rent regulations, property tax relief, and more.

Under the new law, test questions will be disclosed and available for teachers, though there have been conflicting reports as to whether they’re allowed to discuss it with colleagues and administrators.

A committee will also be tasked with reviewing curriculum, including the Common Core learning standards. Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan said yesterday they’ll be looking at whether state exams are age-appropriate and if the timeline of those tests is effective.

...

NYSUT chalks all of these changes of up as a win for this session, but says they’re committed to easing the burden on teachers and students that comes with state-mandated policies.

“The battle for the future of public education is far from over,” NYSUT said in a statement. “In concert with parents, NYSUT will continue to oppose over-testing, press for fair evaluations and redouble our efforts to provide students and educators, from pre-k through post-grad, with the tools they need to excel.”

The final deal did not include a delay for the development of a new teacher evaluation system, meaning districts who are not able to meet the requirements by the November deadline will have to apply for a waiver.

Lawmakers also ended up ditching a proposed $100 million for struggling schools as part of the deal, an idea pitched by Governor Cuomo earlier this month. Yonkers Public Schools will still receive $25 million in aid, but the remaining $75 million was left out.

But the governor did secure more aid for private and parochial schools. The Education Investment Tax Credit (or Parental Choice in Education Act) was not included, but $250 million will go to non-public schools to cover mandates from the state.

If this year's legislative session was a win with "significant advances," I'd hate to see what a loss looks like.

Let's review:

New evaluation system imposed by the governor meant to find more teachers "ineffective" and "developing" - Cuomo said the last one wasn't getting enough of those ratings.

Under the new system, test scores count for about 50% of a teacher's rating.

There is no delay on the new evaluation system deadline - it must be in place by November.

Teachers can now talk about the Common Core tests - but only after they have already been released to the public. 

NYSED has to put together a rubber stamp committee to review the Common Core standards - since the new NYSED commissioner is a huge fan, you can bet they won't find much wrong with them.

Cuomo had promised $100 million for "struggling" public schools north of NYC but instead came in with $250 million for private and parochial schools.

The charter cap was raised and charter schools can now save 15% of their slots for family members of employees and/or employees of the charter management organizations.

And of course none of the new evaluation changes count for charter schools - the new system only counts for public schools.

These are the "significant advances" NYSUT touts today.

Whatever they're smoking, it must be strong stuff because they're delusional about the "significant advances" and "wins" this session.

As usual, everything in AFT/UFT/NYSUT-land is a "win."

But this year was no win - it was a rout.

Working Families Party Sellouts Serve Up Some Self-Serving Jive

From the "Oh, please!" file:

At the time of its annual gala last year, the Working Families Party was agonizing over whether to deny Governor Andrew Cuomo its ballot line.

Ultimately the party endorsed him. But at this year's gala, members sounded regretful.

"This unsavory alliance between our governor and a Senate Republican conference propped up by real estate and hedge fund billionaires must be broken," said W.F.P. president Bill Lipton during his remarks. "We will hold the governor accountable for the promises he made last year. We have not forgotten those hard-won commitments."

"We made a decision [to endorse him] at the time because we believed that it was more important to flip the State Senate," he elaborated later to a few reporters. "We fell short, the governor did not do what we hoped—what he said—he was going to do to help us. He's admitted that. Obviously we're deeply disappointed and frustrated with that. I think us going forward, we don't forget these things. We're committed next year to actually flipping the Senate and picking up that agenda right where it left and pressuring the governor to work with us."

One of the "promises" WFP extracted from Cuomo in return for the WFP ballot nod was that Cuomo would work toward flipping the state Senate to Democrats.

It was clear even as Cuomo was making that promise that he had no intention of keeping it and did not want Republicans to lose control of the state Senate.

Cuomo worked closely with Senate Republicans during his first term on many of his proposals, including the SAFE Act, the property tax cap, and education reforms.

There was little doubt he wanted the Senate to remain in the hands of the GOP and would do little or nothing to fulfill his promise to WFP and de Blasio (who helped seal the deal between Cuomo and WFP.)

And of course that is exactly how things played out - Cuomo did nothing to help Dems, the GOP won the Senate outright (though the sellout Dems in the IDC continued to caucus with the GOP) and Cuomo continued to work very closely with Senate Republicans this legislative session - especially on rent regulation and education reform.

Lipton and the rest of the WFP elders (and their union funders who pushed for the Cuomo nod) are full of shit when they criticize Cuomo for selling out their interests.

It was clear this would happen last year when WFP was agonizing over whether to endorse Cuomo or not and their union funders were threatening the party with dissolution if they didn't.

If they wanted to stop Cuomo from screwing them, they should have done damage to him last May by putting Zephyr Teachout on their ballot and forcing Cuomo to take on both a GOP challenger and a challenger from the left in the general election in November.

So spare me when I hear the WFP sellouts talk about holding Cuomo accountable for the promises he made to them and broke.

It's self-serving bullshit from the WFP sellouts, nothing more, and Cuomo's laughing at it and them.

With Heavy Hearts, Assembly Dems Sell Out Once Again

With heavy hearts and forked tongues, most Assembly Dems voted yes on the end-of-session legislation that sold out tenants, NYC schools, and teachers, but Assemblyman Charles Barron had some choice comments on the floor:

ALBANY—There so much in the bill it was hard to debate. So after Republicans in the Assembly highlighted some of the more unseemly aspects of the omnibus “big ugly” bill that tied up the loose ends of the state legislative session late Thursday night, members of the Democrat-dominated chamber approved it by a 122-13 vote.

...

Despite reservations and private grumbling—and the denunciation of tenant advocacy groups—most Democratic members of the chamber kept their complaints out of the floor debate. Only a few, including Assemblyman Charles Barron of Brooklyn, rose to outline concerns.

“There's too much of the protection for the tenants that was watered down,” he said. “I am disappointed. I know you feel in negotiations that you go as far as you think you can go. You can talk about the Republican Senate, the Republican governor. For me, the governor is a disgrace, what he's allowed to get away with.”

Indeed the governor is a disgrace, both as a human being and in what he is allowed to get away with, but frankly, some of that second category could be mitigated if the Heavy Hearts Club in the Assembly stood up to him.

Alas, they are cowards and sellouts and so, once again, in the end, Cuomo gets his way on legislation and policy.

Same old story, over and over and over again...

Gag Order On Educators Discussing Contents Of Common Core Tests Remains

 From State of Politics:

Contrary to lawmakers’ claims, the Big Ugly did not end the State Education Department’s so-called “gag order” policy that prevents administrators and teachers from discussing the contents of state exams.

The Capital NY piece is behind a paywall, but here's the gist:




It had been rumored that the end of session legislation bill would allow teachers and administrators  to talk about the tests after they were over.

But the gag order, in essence, remains.

You can talk about the tests after they have been released.

Gee, thanks.

That's...no change at all, really...

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Cuomo Gives Charter School Employees 15% Of Charter School Slots

Capitol Confidential has some of the surprises in the big end-of-session omnibus bill that was announced today and here's one that says everything you need to know about Cuomo's love of charter schools:

  • Charter schools can give admission preferences to the children of employees of either the school or a charter management organization as long as those students don’t form more than 15 percent of the student body.

This is an interesting new move for the charter people, because what it suggests is that they will move even more in the future to make the city-housed and state-funded charters into their own fiefdoms run for and by themselves - but all on the public dime, of course.

Expect the 15% requirement to go up in the future and for charters to further use this regulation to keep out students they don't want (i.e., students who will hurt their test score numbers.)