A Look At First 100 Days Of Spitzer, Cuomo
Actually, as we look back on his first 100 days in office, some things changed, others remained the same.
Some issues which had stymied his predecessors, such as workers' compensation reform and some good government reforms were changed, to the new governor's credit.
The one major area where change was promised or implied was the governor's power versus the power of the state legislative leaders, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno. There was no change.
Spitzer outright lost his first major battle in this area- choosing a successor to replace state Comptroller Alan Hevesi. This skirmish clearly was won by Silver after he broke his word on a deal worked out with the governor, and Silver's pick as the new comptroller, Assemblymember Thomas Di Napoli, was elected by Albany lawmakers to succeed Hevesi.
The governor and the legislative leaders clashed again on the issue of the state budget, but this time with a negotiated settlement both sides could claim a partial victory.
Firstly, Silver and Bruno added about $1 billion to Spitzer's budget proposal.
After that, Spitzer won major victories by including in the budget a new school funding plan which directed more funding to poorer school districts in the state, a benefit for New York City, and sharply reducing the growth of Medicaid to one percent a year from eight percent a year.
Both of these changes will be long-term gains for the state. Thus, they justify the tradeoffs that Spitzer made to get them included in the budget.
In addition to these give-backs on school funding and Medicaid, Spitzer failed to gain any ground on eliminating or reducing the hundreds of millions of dollars that go to the legislators
with hardly a clue to how the money is
spent. That's a battle for another
From this brief look at
the new governor's first
100 days in office, we
would say Spitzer is performing
well. The bruising
battles have taken their toll on
his popularity, according to a
Quinnipiac University poll conducted after the dust settled from the budget battle. But over the long run, the dividends Spitzer will gain by improvements to the state's educational system and the billions of dollars saved in the Medicaid-program will make up for the temporary loss in popularity.
CUOMO GETS GOOD GRADE: In the past three months, another new high profile state official, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, has started to build an impressive record.
The former member of the Clinton cabinet started out with a series of appointments which were very favorably accepted by the Albany community. Then he moved to shed some light on the legislature's oft-criticized member items by requiring the publication of some details about them. This also drew some positive headlines.
Cuomo also jumped into the sale of the Starrett City housing complex in Brooklyn and helped to derail it. Over the past month, he started an investigation into alleged deals between college administrators of student loans and the banks that issue the loans. Somehow in these relationships, the students' interests are perhaps being overlooked and hopefully Cuomo's probe will correct this.
So the prognosis is good for the 49-year-old son of former Governor Mario Cuomo who ran into some obstacles between his days as a Clinton cabinet member in Washington and his election as New York state attorney general in Albany.
MONSERRATE BACKS CRUISE'S 9/11 PROGRAM: A new detoxification program for 9/11 rescue workers, sponsored by actor Tom Cruise calling for 30 straight days of treatment, was recently endorsed by City Councilmember Hiram Monserrate, an ex-cop, after he completed the strenuous program himself.
The Corona lawmaker told a reporter afterward: "I will tell you I felt 100 times better after the program than I've felt in the last 15 years."
He also said many others who went through the program told him that it helped them to feel better also.
The novel program was created by L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the Scientology Church, of which Cruise is a member and passionate advocate. The program includes a regimen of high doses of niacin, long and regular saunas over a period of time and ingesting cold-pressed oils.
Monserrate has joined as a host for a fundraiser on Thursday, April 19 for the New York Rescue Workers Detoxification Project, of which Cruise is a co-founder and at which he will appear.
Monserrate, whose district includes Corona, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst and part of Jackson Heights, has moved his district office to 32-37 Junction Blvd., just a block from Northern Boulevard.
QUINN'S BUDGET PROPOSALS: City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D- Manhattan) announced several proposed inclusions in the 2007-08 city budget last week, including $261 million for a new $300 tax credit for 1.1 million tenants. Another top priority would be to keep library branches open six days a week at a cost of $16 million the first year and $43 million by the third year. A third priority would add $7 million to extend 2,100 prekindergarten slots from halfday to full-day status.
In all, Quinn would add $61 million to Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposed $57 billion spending plan and redirect $570 million to cover the council's own initiatives and proposals.
Quinn's proposals are expected to pass when the budget receives final approval. It must be in place by July 1.
WEINER WANTS MORE COPS: About 3,500 more police officers would be added to the New York Police Department under a bill introduced recently by Congressmember Anthony Weiner (D- Queens/Brooklyn). The measure would provide 50,000 more cops throughout the United States at a cost of $600 million. Another $350 million would be included in the anti-terror legislation for technology improvements and $200 million to bolster district attorneys' staffs. Weiner said that under his bill, the cop funds could be used to pay officers' salaries for anti-terror assignments.
APPOINTMENTS ETC.: State Senator Frank Padavan (R- C, Bellerose) has been reappointed as chair of the Senate Majority Task Force on Port Security, which focuses on shipping containers and their contents, including stolen merchandise, and safety and security from terrorists in general.
+Governor Eliot Spitzer has appointed James Sheehan, a former federal prosecutor in Philadelphia who handled more than 500 health fraud cases, as the new Medicaid inspector general.
+Judge Jeremy Weinstein has been appointed Administrative Judge of the Queens Supreme Court, Civil Term and Bernice Siegal has been named Administrative Judge of Queens Civil Court. Siegal has been serving as president of the Brandeis Association, a lawyers' organization. Weinstein has been its director.
STAVISKY SPEAKER: State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky (D- Flushing) will speak on the record state budget recently enacted at the Thursday, April 19 meeting of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Democratic Association at the Chabad of NE Queens (formerly ANIBIC), 212-12 26th Ave., Bayside at 8 p.m.