A small crowd of public school parents and advocates stormed the lobby of midtown building where Gov. Andrew Cuomo was believed to have a meeting this afternoon. Waving “Quid Pro Cuomo” posters, the two dozen or so protesters rallied against proposed budget language that would give the state government some jurisdiction over city schools.
The proposal, outlined by the State Senate’s one-house budget resolution, would block Mayor Bill de Blasio’s ability to stop charters from co-locating with traditional public schools. According to the protesters, Mr. Cuomo’s own pro-charter budget push–which is separate from the senate’s plan–is a power-grab, not in the interests of students, but rather in the interests of the wealthy charter school supporters who regularly make donations to Mr. Cuomo’s office.
“When you look at Cuomo’s donors and who are the largest donors, who are the people giving him huge sums of money, they’re the one’s he is listening to in Albany right now,” Jonathan Westin, Executive Director for New York Communities for Change said. These donors, he added, are attempting to “jam through gubernatorial control of charter schools here in New York City and take that power away from the mayor.”
“It’s taking power away not just away from the Mayor and our kids, but it’s also public school parents, who have no say in the matter,” said Noah Gotbaum, a former City Council candidate whose child he said attends a co-located public school. “This gives veto rights to charters over what happens in our public school buildings. And our public school parents and the Mayor don’t have the same power. That’s ridiculous!”
“Why would a governor and State Senate come out and back 3 percent of the kids, who are in charters, and cast aside the 97 percent of the kids who are in public schools?” he added. “There’s only one reason and it’s money.”
There is little doubt that Governor Cuomo is simply giving his donors what they want.
He took at least $800K from the charter operators and hedge fundies and is giving them everything they want on charter funding and co-locations. He took millions from overseas gambling consortia and expanded gambling in the state just to their liking. He took hundreds of thousands from real estate interests and gave them tens of millions in tax breaks. He took hundreds of thousands from Hollywood producers and movie company folks, then gave them a tax break that essentially pays them to make movies in NY State w/ NY State tax funds. He took millions from wealthy interests as part of the Committee To Save New York PAC, money that was used to push his agenda, then when he was forced to release the names of the donors to this PAC, he shut the Committee To Save New York down instead, so that we don’t know exactly which wealthy interests paid for the governor’s agena to be imposed on the state.
I’d say we need an independent commission to look into this corruption, but the last one we got, the Moreland Commission, took orders from the governor on what they could investigate and what they couldn’t. If you guessed that they couldn’t investigate the governor or any of his donors, you guessed correct.
Albany is a cesspool of corruption and cronyism, and right at the center of that cesspool is one Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.
Cuomo is smirking now, thinking he got his way on the charter school issue and paid back some heavy Wall Street, hedge fundie and charter operator donors in the process, but memories over this kind of thing are long and the list of donors he has paid back over his first term as governor is getting longer and longer by the day.
He's getting away with this stuff so far, but wait until he decides he has had enough of Albany and pivots to a presidential campaign.
He's going to get the kind of scrutiny his pal in New Jersey, Chris Christie, is currently getting over the Sandy Aid, Port Authority conflicts of interest, Bridgegate and the like, and when he does, you can bet some very unseemly stories are going to come up to dog one Andrew M. Cuomo.