With hints that we could be returning to “normalcy,” whatever that may mean, let us revisit the last two months of “new normal.”
We have come to a new understanding of the pervasive power, reach and control of elected officials. The mayor of Kingston, for instance, asked the governor for permission to delay payment of property taxes for a month. Asked permission to help his own constituents. Permission denied.
Elected executives from the president on down to small-town mayors have wormed their way into every nook and cranny of public life. There is no defense. There is no appeal. Did it slow the virus? To be determined. Did it wreck the economy? Obviously.
Under a declaration of public emergency, legislatures have virtually disappeared. Strong men (and women) have taken over. And once having had had that heady power, if only for a few months, will they readily relinquish it? I don’t think so.
Acting on what now appears to be flawed intelligence on the virus, there is every indication our elected officials will extend draconian policies if only to extend the strangle-hold they have so relished these many long weeks.
The pandemic will recede, perhaps to return in the fall when we will be better prepared to react. Power, once assumed, does not.
Old normal– Behind the facemasks, politics as usual seems to be reemerging.
The county legislature, all but invisible of late, has decided to punish non-profits the county funds by suspending payment until the fiscal situation clarifies. They’re talking $700,000, collectively, against executive Pat Ryan’s prediction of a $34 million county shortfall in the 2020 budget, about 10 percent of the overall spending plan. Non-profits are called non-profit for a reason. Among the most financially stretched institutions, they face fiscal challenges every month. And those are the first organizations the legislature picks on?
A better idea: Tap into the $20 million “rainy day” county surplus. It’s raining.
Kingston’s free-spending mayor Steve Noble may not appreciate the city’s fiscal challenges, what with the hiring of a $65,000 a year “housing specialist” this month. With benefits, that one job translates into six figures. And the beat goes on.
As if appearing on TV eight days a week wasn’t enough, Gov. Cuomo got his photo in the paper spraying the inside of a subway car with disinfectant in the wee hours of the morning. Naturally, Hizzoner brought a film crew and photographers. It must be hell working for that guy.
In another section of the New York Post it was reported that the top four nursing home administrators in Gotham average about $1.4 million each in salary and bonuses. Upstate, hospital administrators go for about a third of that.
And speaking of nursing homes, I don’t hear anybody calling for an independent investigation of a state policy that forced nursing homes to accept virus-infected patients. Cuomo wants to do it in-house. Better idea: A special prosecutor with subpoena power.
I miss my grandkids, but don’t we all?