Andrew Cuomo was once an ally of the Orthodox Jewish community or so we thought. Yes community leaders had access and a perceived relationship with top Cuomo administration officials until everyone realized the relationship was all just one of political convenience and political control. “Tzedokah” the Governor once famously pontificated to a crowd in Flatbush, means Justice and “it is justice and not a hand out to help communities like the Orthodox who do so much for the State.” Yet, despite the emotional heart tugging, he failed to deliver EITC then & never brought the issue of tuition relief back up again. Leaving struggling Yeshiva parents and leaders to fight for the scraps of the NYS Budget like they always had. The big ugly as they call in Albany. Ugly indeed.
Much needed security funding was heralded in multiple Cuomo press releases but if you ask those in the know, it has become something of a running joke to see him dangle the same carrot every few months, all while keeping community leaders tasked with protecting vulnerable institutions on a very short leash, begging for an invite to his “special” phone conferences and announcements.
Mr. Cuomo was a pragmatic politician he convinced us. We need to keep the state out of the hands of the “far left crazies” he preached. Cynthia Nixon was a radical, like Zephyr Teachout who ran against him, before her. We bought it. Everyone did. Partially because it was true and frankly speaking, normal New Yorkers really had no better option. Cuomo was going to win and alienating him was just not smart politics. But something changed. Yes he won a third term. But inexplicably he then let the same crazies run roughshod over him to completely gut the NYC Real Estate industry without Mr. Pragmatic so much as lifting a finger. And before you could say the word foreclosure, NY lost its golden tax goose. The real estate industry collapsed. The Governor is mostly to blame for allowing billions of dollars of real estate values into the toilet. He of course blamed everyone else but you can’t take the credit for anything good and blame everyone else for the catastrophic failures NY has recently experienced ( see Covid and bail reform as exhibit a and b.) Cuomo is New York tough for sure. Tough on landlords, victims of crime and everyone who has invested so much into New York’s recent renaissance.
Covid came and in the carefully scripted process of becoming a national celebrity, Cuomo’s Health Department forced patients onto helpless nursing homes, once a reliable group of allies. Then when it all went to hell, he in typical character, completely abandoned the industry, throwing owners, operators and staff under the bus as the deaths piled up. And then they fudged the numbers. The media smelled blood. The cape was ripped off and Tish James finally outed them as the liars they are. We should have known right then and there that the Madam Attorney General was truly serious about holding him to account. But I’ll get to her in a minute.
We will never ever forget or forgive how Andrew Cuomo closed our camps, then our Shuls, and then our schools throwing parents and children’s lives into underground bunkers and padlocks doors like our predecessors in Europe & Russia throughout the dark ages of history. Let’s also never forget that he left our most vulnerable parents & grandparent’s, brothers & sisters to die all alone without an ounce of compassion in hospitals. Unforgivable.
Not done yet, he created discriminatory Orthodox Redzones, closing down the economic lifeblood of our community, all while publicly shaming these same communities in his daily self- congratulatory
press conferences for failing to keep itself safe. He knew everything better. He ignored our elected officials who pleaded with his arrogant staff to listen to the people. They always knew better and after all, the fawning media said he was a hero so who were we to question him?
To add the final insult to the massive injury he inflicted, when the Covid vaccines finally became available, he mysteriously forgot about the very same communities he had humiliated & relegated us to the back of the line, never really doing the responsible job of bringing the vaccines into the Red Zone neighborhoods until private operators took matters into their own hands.
Carelessness? Indifference? Intimidation? Retaliation? We’ll never know his true motives but let’s say it once and for all, Andrew Cuomo is no friend of the Orthodox Community and never was. Cuomo is all about Cuomo.
He ruthlessly governs by bullying and intimidation. He and his minions pit activists and organizations against each other and they exact vengeance from perceived enemies all while shutting out and punishing those who dare challenge them. ( See Agudath Israel vs Cuomo)
In maybe the the first time and the last, I fully agree with President Biden, Speaker Pelosi, Senator Schumer and Mayor Deblasio. After the AG’s damning and courageous report on Tuesday, it is beyond clear that Cuomo and his staff should go and go immediately.
David Sokol – Brooklyn
NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of YWN.
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