A Tale of Two Governments – Albany and Rockland

image

1) It’s back to business-as-usual in Albany – there were TWO arrests there in 2015 but who cares?

After the disgrace that befell the two most powerful lawmakers and two of the three most powerful leaders in state government, it was said the venal self-serving culture that had long held sway in Albany would show cracks. With the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District, Preet Bharara, going after corruption hammer and tong, the crooks would tremble in fear and everyone else would be sure to be on their best behavior. Mr. Bharara seemed to be promising New Yorkers and warning elected officials at the same time when, after Mr. Silver’s conviction, he said, stay tuned.

Preet Bharara

Preet Bharara

The word “reform” was on everyone’s lips, especially since New York was judged the most corrupt state in the nation by good-government watchdogs. And Gov. Andrew Cuomo (who inexplicably disbanded the Moreland Commission he created to investigate corruption last year) has consistently talked a good game about reform.

Everyone agreed, there would be real change. Or so it was thought. Here we are, little more than a month after the back-to-back convictions of Albany’s most formidable — and seemingly, most invulnerable — figures and the business-as-usual ethic seems to be reasserting itself. In fact, it seems it never really went away.”

Guess what? Nothing has changed – the politicians in Albany shuffled their chairs and got back on track. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose!

2) It’s back to business-as-usual in Rockland – there were NO arrests here in 2015 but who cares?

The Rockland County Government broke the tax cap for 2016 and raised our property taxes AGAIN by just under 10%. The Rockland legislature then appointed Aron Wieder to chair the county legislature’s committee overseeing “law enforcement and public safety“.

Legislator Aron Wieder

Legislator Aron Wieder

This is the same legislator who resigned his position last month as majority leader to more fully devote himself to the troubled East Ramapo school district where he will travel to the corrupt government in Albany and oppose the appointment of a veto-proof monitor.

Wieder held ‘Hearings’ on funding “training for Rockland’s first responders“. “It’s a great honor to chair this important legislative committee,” Wieder said. “I look forward to working with my legislative colleagues on both sides of the aisle to enhance public safety in our County facilities and in every community in Rockland.”

Legislator Jobson

Legislator Jobson

Wieder appointed Legislator Doug Jobson, (R-Stony Point) as Vice Chair of the committee. Jobson is also the Legislature’s Deputy Minority Leader. “Legislator Jobson and I share a commitment to public safety and he will be a great partner on security issues that this committee will address,” Wieder said. “Together we will fight to make Rockland even safer for all our residents.”

Wieder is the third leg of the stool on which two Rockland County lawmakers (Soskin and Schoenberger) sit all of whom are tied to the Haredi community. These legislators blocked legislative approval for an initiative to crack down on dangerous illegal housing – much of it owned by Haredim.

At one meeting, the chairman of the county’s Illegal Housing Task Force, firefighter John Krieger, spoke about losing three friends in the “Black Sunday” fires in 2005 and of and the near-loss of his brigade’s captain in a local illegal housing fire. “I’ve been to too many funerals and seen too many people hurt. This is not a warning. This is not a threat. It’s gonna happen. [More people will be unnecessarily killed,]” Krieger said.

A local fire captain also lashed out at Schoenberger and Soskin. “They don’t give a damn about the peoples’ lives. They’re pontificating on legalese. These legislators are fiddling while the county is burning,” Spring Valley Fire Department Captain Justin Schwartz said.

Guess what? Nothing has changed – the politicians in Rockland shuffled their chairs and got back on track! Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose!

In the absence of anything which can be called an ‘investigatory press’ in Rockland County, elected officials must know that their behavior is being publicly scrutinized by the social media and that past behaviors which resulted in Rockland County becoming bloated with over 100 patronage appointments and millions of dollars in ballooning property taxes, bonded debt, and deficit spending MUST stop.

If our elected officials didn’t get the taxpayers’ message in 2015 taxpayers will be happy to explain the matter to them AGAIN in November 2016.

James Madison wrote in 1822: “A popular Government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to tragedy. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance and a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”

We intend to be “our own Governors”! Please join us as it is becoming crystal clear this struggle is not over!

About Michael N. Hull

Michael N. Hull has lived in Rockland County for 35 years where he writes articles on philosophy and political affairs. Hull has written over 300 articles for New City Patch and Rockland Voice. He is presently a senior editor of the Facebook page Clarkstown: What They Don't Want You To Know and a senior editor of Rockland Voice.

About the Author
Michael N. Hull has lived in Rockland County for 35 years where he writes articles on philosophy and political affairs. Hull has written over 300 articles for New City Patch and Rockland Voice. He is presently a senior editor of the Facebook page Clarkstown: What They Don't Want You To Know and a senior editor of Rockland Voice.