Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Why Is Cuomo Intent On Public School Reform But Reluctant On Port Authority Reform?

Less than 18 hours before Governor Andrew Cuomo has to take final action on the Port Authority reform bill that passed 612-0 in all four legislative houses in New York and New Jersey.

Editorial boards in both states are calling for him to sign it - the Daily News was the latest yesterday.

So are politicians and reform advocates.

And let's say again, it passed 612-0.

Does anything ever pass 612-0 anymore?

Yet for some reason, Cuomo hasn't signed the PA reform bill yet and is waiting until the last moment to take public action.

The cynic in me wonders if it's because of some secret deal he has with Christie, his fellow governor who also controls the PA and uses it as a patronage mill and a cash box when he needs funds for projects that have nothing to do with the PA.

It's pretty clear the Port Authority is need of "reform".

As the Daily News put it:

Exempted from basic government rules like the freedom of information and open meetings laws, the Port Authority has run amok time and again. Even a partial list of the outrages astonishes.

There was the waste of billions of dollars on a super-extravagant, overdesigned PATH station.

There was the scheme by which the governors ordered the authority staff to propose a toll hike that was double the amount needed so the governors could then “rescue” drivers by ordering the hike slashed. For good measure, Cuomo and Christie then ordered up an audit that branded the PA “dysfunctional.”

There was Bridgegate.

There was the diversion of hundreds of millions of dollars by which Christie propped up a bankrupt city and funded his road budget.

There were secret meetings of the board of commissioners and conflicts of interest galore.
There was Christie’s use of the authority as a patronage dump and the division of the agency into two bureaucratic fiefs, one for each state.

Cuomo and Christie now have the opportunity — actually, the duty — to impose the most sweeping reforms on the PA in its near century of life and to do so by statute, not easily modified PA bylaw or gubernatorial decree.


One measure would subject the PA to the freedom of information laws of both states and mandate that it conduct business in public. The other, more sweeping, bill would require members of the board of commissioners to swear a “fiduciary” duty to act in the authority’s best interest — and not in either governor’s political interest.

Despite the will of the people as so certainly expressed by two legislatures, Cuomo and Christie have said exactly nothing about the reform acts. Both must approve for the laws to take effect.

Cuomo claims the mantle of "reformer" and has already told us he plans widespread "reform" of New York's public education system, which he says is a "monopoly" that he needs to "break."

Dunno why Cuomo is so intent on reforming public education but reluctant to reform the Port Authority.

The cynic in me thinks it's because public education "reform" will enlarge his power as governor while Port Authority "reform" will diminish it.

It seems when it comes to "reform," Governor Cuomo is only for the kind that enlarges his power.

At any rate, with so many public figures and editorial boards promoting PA reform, Cuomo may have no choice but to sign this bill into law.

But then Christie has to do so too for it to actually become law.

The two met on Tuesday and again, the cynic in me wonders what they were cooking up over the PA.

You can bet neither one wants this to happen.

You can bet they have some jive planned to kill PA reform.

It may come with Cuomo not signing the bill into law.

Or it may come with Cuomo signing it but then something happening that keeps Christie from signing it by his mid-January deadline.

One way or the other, I have a difficult time seeing why Cuomo would have left this bill to the last minute except that he's got some shenanigans planned to kill it.