August 8, 2014

Cuomo buys time

Nothing sounds more promising than an ethics committee. Just bring out the broom, sweep out the cobwebs and get a fresh start. Sometimes the cleanup doesn’t go as planned. Such is the case with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who halted his Moreland Commission investigation in mid-sweep when, The New York Times reported in July, the commission was a little too close to some of the workings of the Cuomo campaign, including the possibility that they were violating campaign finance laws. The commission issued a subpoena to a media-buying firm, Buying Time, which had placed millions of dollars worth of advertisements for the state Democratic Party, a company with Cuomo among its clients. After issuing the subpoena, Mr. Cuomo’s senior aide Larry Schwartz, no stranger to Westchester as the former top aide to county executive Andy Spano, is said to have called Syracuse district attorney William J. Fitzpatrick, one of the commission’s three co-chairs, and instructed him to “Pull it back.”

It’s not the actual charge — at least not at this point — that is so alarming for those who generally endorse Mr. Cuomo’s general public policy performance in Albany. It is the vaudevillian mis-execution of his response: denials, fluster and bluster; reminiscent, alas, of Chris Christie after the bridge scandal. Ironically, Andrew Cuomo is not only the creator of the Moreland Commission but also the author of the “Public Trust Act.” Or is “public trust” an oxymoron in Albany?

In the meantime, U.S. Attorney General Preet Bharara is doing little to dispel the specter of a future and possibly longer-term investigation, if not actual charges. We will see how that plays out in the election cycle. We predict the stage will remain in place through November, at which point the feds may say to Mr. Cuomo, “OK, we gave you your election, here’s your prize.” That may include a court summons.

This week Mr. Cuomo is walking a different road: playing it safe. Very, very safe. On Monday he sent out a press release with this headline: “Gov. Cuomo signs legislation to support new mothers and families.” What’s next? A hard-hitting polemic on the dangers of the emerald ash borer?

It remains to be seen whether Mr. Cuomo actively campaigns against his Democratic primary opponents Zephyr Teachout and comedian Randy Credico (hey, it worked for Al Franken), whom he is running against on Tuesday, Sept. 6. Should he, as expected, cruise to victory, what are his plans for the governor’s race? Oh, never mind. He’s got Buying Time to figure that out for him.

Remember, this is still a state in which convicted felons can receive full federal pensions for their service in state government. Yet it always seems as if the ones who are yelling “reform” once they are in power need the reforming. Or is it just that power corrupts?

Signature battle

In another state race, it’s Yorktown councilman Terrence Murphy against our former Assemblyman Bob Castelli in a GOP primary battle for the New York State Senate’s 40th District. For some unknown reason, Murphy is challenging the credibility of the signatures on Mr. Castelli’s ballot petition — a most uncollegial move, especially when the county GOP has already endorsed you. However, anyone that knows Bob Castelli, who we were fortunate to have as an Assemblyman from 2010 to 2012, will not be swayed by this minor challenge, and shame on Mr. Murphy for not recognizing this. Mr. Castelli’s dogged determination will no doubt vindicate his signature petition. In the meantime, Mr. Murphy has soured future goodwill in what surely will be a difficult battle for him against Justin Wagner, the Democratic candidate who is unopposed in the primary. Mr. Wagner got his education campaigning against Greg Ball two years ago, and let’s just say he’s learned to play hard “Ball” himself. Mr. Murphy might want to be careful about what he wishes for. Bob Castelli, more moderate and with a proven track record, may have a far better change of winning on Sept. 6.

Read more local coverage of your hometown in this week’s issue of the The Record-Review. Newsstand copies are available at several locations listed above, or subscribe today for convenient home delivery.

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The official newspaper of the towns of Bedford and Pound Ridge, New York



Pound Ridge/Scotts Corners

  1. Scotts Corner Market – Trinity Corners Shopping Center;  55 Westchester Avenue

  2. Pound Ridge Sunoco — 66 Westchester Avenue    

  3. Sam Parker Country Market — 257 Westchester Avenue    

Bedford Village

  1. Bedford Rexall Pharmacy — Hunting Ridge Mall; 424 Old Post Road  

  2. Village Green Deli — Village Green; Routes 22 and 172    

  3. Bedford Shell — Routes 22 and 172 (at blinking light); 848 So. Bedford Road

  4. Village Service Center —193 Pound Ridge Road (at Long Ridge Road intersection)    

Bedford Hills

  1. Bedford Hills Deli – 7 Babbitt Road    

  2. Bueti’s Deli – 526 Bedford Road (Route 117)


  1. NoKA Joe’s – 25 Katonah Avenue    

  2. Steger’s Paper Mill – 89 Katonah Avenue    

  3. Katonah Pharmacy – Katonah Shopping Center; 294 Katonah Avenue   

  4. Bagel Shoppe – Katonah Shopping Center; 280 Katonah Avenue    

  5. Katonah Sunoco – 105 Bedford Road

Mount Kisco

  1. Teamo/Mt. Kisco News – 239 Main Street    

Cross River

  1. Bagel Boys Café – Cross River Shopping Center; Routes 121 and 35    

  2. Cross River Shell Station – Route 35    

  3. Cameron’s Deli –  890 Route 35    

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