The 3C Brothers: Cuomo and ChristieControl, Conspiracy, Corruption
STATE OF AFFAIRS
New York and New Jersey go together like pizza and coke, lox and bagels, corned beef and boiled potatoes. Sadly, so does the reality that these metropolitan partners share a long history of corruption which has robbed the people of untold wealth and less-than-the-best quality of life which its decent, hard-working population deserves.
The history of corruption in New Jersey goes back to the settlement of the ‘families’ in the State at the turn of the 20th Century and their eventual ownership of everything that moves in and out of it today.
The history of corruption in New York goes back even further – perhaps 100 years further – as successive Democrat governments in New York City = the Boss Tweeds, the Carmine DeSapios and Tammany Hall – eventually turned the New York State Legislature into the most ‘dysfunctional’ in the nation according to a major University think-tank. Not only is that quite a distinction but it uses a kind word – dysfunction – to avoid the ‘c’ word…corrupt.
This corruption never sleeps. A resident of Bergen County, NJ wonders why a tiny invisible bridge under a blacktopped road and over an invisible stream must take more than a year to be rebuilt at an undisclosed cost. The residents of NYCHA buildings in New York City don’t need to wonder, they know about their uncorrected slum situation. And so it is no real surprise when the law, waving criminal indictments, reveals the ‘under-the-rock’ regimes of both Andrew Cuomo and Chris Christie to public view at the very same time.
But here’s the one million dollar question: Does anyone really care?
With American government at a standstill, public schools in free-fall, home-grown terrorists an undeniable threat to public safety – real and imagined, racial discord between the police and minority communities at an all-time violent high, good jobs hard to find, discriminatory student loan debt limiting the future of tens of millions of young people, two of the most unpopular candidates ever to run for President dominating the concerns of many … will anybody care about the same old, same old in New York and New Jersey.
With charges as ugly as any that can be made about a government: bribes, extortion, fraud and conspiracy — filling the air in courtrooms and Grand Juries – and the links to two controlling Governors plaining obvious, what difference will it make to a public inured against the whole endless mess.
Christie is at the end of his Governorship and unless Donald Trump becomes President, will return to a private law practice. Cuomo’s natural ability to ‘be surprised and disappointed’ by the actions of nine closest advisors, life-long friends and supporters and perhaps shielded by a system which avoids sending the top guy to jail if he’s a Democrat when it can nail those close to him – see John Liu, former NYC Comptroller – seems likely to keep on keeping on. With millions in his campaign fund and the promise of weak competition from the Republican Party (again), he will clearly run for a third term unless with the heat closing in on him, newly elected Hillary Clinton will give him a job somewhere.
The similarities between those two guys continues, doesn’t it.
Bridgegate in New Jersey. The Port Authority, jointly ‘owned’ and operated by both Governors, used by Christie’s people as a toy – with gifts and special favors handed out for one quid pro quo or another; used by Cuomo’s people to reveal how badly New Jersey is doing and thus gain additional control over the Authority.
In New York, graft, bribes, shakedowns in the Buffalo Billion urban redevelopment program offered by Cuomo as a prime example of his very expensive efforts to bring business back to New York State; efforts that have been laughable in his first four year term bringing but 374 jobs to the State…not businesses – jobs.
To accomplish success, Cuomo attempted to move a billion dollar stimulus grant from the management control of the State University of New York to the Empire State Development agency. And then the games began.
Two different kinds of activity but both dependent upon the Governor’s men to act professionally, honestly and effectively…activities of no interest to either group involved.
As with most multiple conspiracies one or more of those caught are turning against their fellow indictees and tell the story to avoid or lessen punishment.
The details are easily found with a quick Google. In both instances the petty venality and horrific sense of doing anything they wanted to do because of the protectorate they lived in is obvious and clearly responsible for the crimes committed.
US Attorney Preet Bharara remains a prosecutor of extraordinary range and ability. One of the reasons for the endless indictments against officials in New York has been the enormous number of crimes being committed by members of New York’s government – city and State.
It’s like shooting ducks in a gallery; it doesn’t matter how many you miss, there are plenty that keep coming. And yet…the guys at the very top remain untouched…so far.
When criminal activity continues in government for years and years and years, jailing and fining those caught is not enough. A system has been established and that system seems to continue no matter how many people are caught and brought to justice. The only way the system can be broken is that voters must turn against those representing the system and seek relief from the chains that bind.
In New York all the good government watch-dog groups shout ‘ethics reform’ and then watch in silence as tiny changes are made here and there…and everybody is happy. They don’t seem to be as blatant in New Jersey because they’ve done it for so long that it is totally ingrained in community life. When something is normal it is not considered criminal and so the words ‘ethics reform’ don’t exist in that State’s government.
The NYC Democratic Party is no longer run by a small group of borough leaders calling all the shots. Most of them have been involved in enough shady activities to warrant prison or retirement.
Despite the overwhelming number of Democratic voters in New York and New Jersey, neither State party leadership exerts anything like control. They do what they can and depend on ‘drift and ennui’ to get what they want.
The control over State government by the Republican Party in New York is all but gone. Both houses of State government would have Democrat majorities if Cuomo thought that best. He doesn’t and so the State Senate remains very marginally in Republican control maintaining what appears to be a balance. Appearances are deceiving. And it takes deceit to pull off deceiving. It is found in abundance in Albany and in Trenton.
Change is difficult especially when things haven’t changed in hundreds of years. And so there must be a mechanism to drive that change. One exists if it is adopted no matter what the opposition: