The two scorpions in a bottle are rubbing off on each other. Both Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio, who have upside down job approval ratings were embarrassingly caught this week trying to pad their audiences with paid supporters and invite-only guests.
Governor Cuomo was busted for his practice of using state workers on the taxpayer's dime to fill the audience of his event with former Vice President Al Gore.
Mayor de Blasio held a phony event open only to a chosen group handpicked by City Hall; he has yet to follow his predecessors and hold town hall meetings open to the real people of the City. He is, however, furthering his national ambitions by holding a "presidential" forum in Iowa in December.
Governor Cuomo should reimburse the state out of his well-padded campaign account for this gross misuse of tax dollars and Mayor de Blasio should hold a real town hall meeting open to the public, who will tell him that crime is going up, quality of life is going down and the public education system is an embarrassment.
New Yorkers are suffering under the highest taxes, the most residents fleeing a state and the worst business climate. Enough with the political theatrics; it's time to focus on reform and good government.
Here are the stories detailing the Cuomo/de Blasio stunts:
By Michael Gartland
New York Post
Gov. Andrew Cuomo wasn't taking any chances that there might be empty seats at a speech he delivered last week on climate change - so state workers were summoned on the taxpayer dime to fill the audience, The Post has learned.
The workers said they left their jobs in the middle of the day Thursday and were paid their full salaries to hear Cuomo at Columbia University announce the state was joining a global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
"I'd rather be at the park," said one of the workers, who is employed by the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and who has no connection to climate issues. He explained that he went because his boss "asked me to make some time available in my schedule."
The worker confessed that he didn't know what the event was about before he agreed to go. He said attendance is not required, but is viewed favorably, and that the practice is common throughout state government to support Cuomo.
"They often ask," he said, referring to supervisors. "We get emails, and they'll ask us if we want to go."
The worker said he would not have volunteered if he were not getting paid his regular salary. "It's better be on the clock," he said. The 2:30 p.m. event, which lasted about an hour and included speeches from former Vice President Al Gore as well as Columbia President Lee Bollinger, focused on Cuomo's plan to have state agencies work with other states and cities worldwide to reduce carbon emissions. A state Department of Health worker told The Post that supervisors offered employees the option of attending the event "instead of working."
If they watched Cuomo, they could go home afterward instead of returning to work, the employee said. He called the practice "AstroTurfing" - an attempt to fabricate grassroots support.
"Public employees take an oath that they won't use their position for their personal advantage," the employee said. "How can you expect any state workers to take it seriously when the boss isn't leading by example?"
Good-government advocates questioned why state workers were being paid to attend an event designed to bolster an elected official's credentials.
"It's a questionable use of state resources," said Dick Dadey, executive director of Citizens Union.
A Cuomo spokesman acknowledged that state workers attended the Columbia event, but insisted that was proper. "A handful of staff from relevant state agencies had the opportunity to attend this important announcement, which impacted their work. They were a small number of the more than 500 people who attended the event," said spokesman Frank Sobrino. He said about 20 workers went from four agencies, including Environmental Conservation and the state Energy Research and Development office and decisions on whom to send were made "at the agency level."
He also said that climate issues are "directly relevant" to health employees and are "an enormously important issue" to parks workers after Hurricane Sandy.
By Connor D. Wolf
The Daily Caller
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio allegedly "handpicked" his allies to stack the deck at a town hall meeting Wednesday regarding rent security and tenant protection.
"Mayor de Blasio is using a public school building for a re-election rally disguised as a town hall meeting," Joseph Strasburg, president of the Rent Stabilization Association, told the New York Post. "The mayor and sponsors handpicked the attendees."
De Blasio's office denied the allegations.
"It's hard to fathom why anyone could oppose the mayor taking two hours of unfiltered questions from tenants and helping explain their legal rights," Mayor Deputy Press Secretary Wiley Norvell told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
De Blasio did invite certain groups to attend, but his office said none of those groups were invited in an effort to make the crowd more friendly towards him. The organizations he invited include New York Communities for Change and the unions SEIU 1199 and UNITE HERE.
Strasburg also alleged de Blasio chose the housing topic for the meeting in order to avoid tougher topics.
De Blasio's been accused of inciting violence against cops and criticized for cracking down on Uber, and his recent budget proposal has been met with strong resistance.
Friday, October 16, 2015