Michael Volpe, the current SAM-NY Chair, is a former two-term Mayor of Pelham, New York, where he was elected 5 times. Michael was the SAM candidate for Lt. Governor of New York in 2018 and has been practicing law for 30 years. For more information on SAM-NY, visit joinsamny.org.
At SAM-NY, the newest political party in New York state, we have had an interesting week. A federal court of appeals declined our request for an injunction preventing the governor, the Legislature and the Board of Elections from limiting the number of political options for New York’s residents. We asked the court to overturn a law that will limit the voices of minor political parties; thereby giving New Yorkers fewer choices in making political election choices. Bad news for New Yorkers, who deserve transparency, accountability, reform and real problem solving. We should not have a one or two- party state. Why? Well, consider the other news this week.
The Cuomo Administration “hid” the actual nursing home death toll numbers from federal authorities because of politics. One of the governor’s top aides, Melissa DeRosa, admitted the lack of honesty, transparency and moral decency to the concerned and suffering families. This is simply unbelievable and unacceptable. The governor and his direct reports — DeRosa and Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker should resign, and a federal Department of Justice investigation should commence immediately.
The SAM solution is a careful investigation of this scandal; ultimately determining criminality and unveiling and following the connections between Cuomo and our “health care leaders” who we have placed our faith, trust and loved ones lives with.
The Cuomo Administration was given certain “emergency powers” by the legislative leadership last year because of the pandemic. This allows the governor board budget powers and authority — in contravention to the state Constitution. We now see what happens when an autocratic leader bullies, threatens and grabs power.
The result? A bad decision by the Legislature, who now, surprise, surprise, wants to take power back. This was a legislative abdication of responsibility from the start. Should those who were afraid to fight for New Yorkers from the start really be given “power” back?
The SAM solution is term limits for the governor and the state Legislature, and open and transparent budget negotiations every year.
Another scandal in the Cuomo Administration (that was overshadowed by the nursing home coverup) comes from the New York State Thruway Authority (everyone knows all state agencies report to himself and his cronies) which was sued for $961 Million, over the Mario M. Cuomo-Tappan Zee Bridge. The estimated $4 billion dollar bridge (no one is sure what it cost) was completed with little transparency or accountability and with no real information of future costs for tolls.
The SAM solution would dedicate funds to local infrastructure first and would require full disclosure of all costs for larger projects statewide. And contractors who donate to elected officials are barred from bidding on state contracts.
And one more story about dysfunction in our Empire State: The Cuomo Administration was asked to “fire” the elections commissioners in Oneida County after the debacle concerning the election in New York’s 22nd Congressional District. Essentially, a court had to step in to determine who won the November election between candidates Claudia Tenney and Anthony Brindisi.
Why? Because the D’s and R’s in Albany have concocted a system where each county has a D and R election commissioner. Stalemates, cronyism, infighting, lack of reform, insufficient funding and resources result, and chaos prevail at Boards of Elections across the state.
The SAM solution is independent, transparent and non-partisan BOE Commissioners for every county.
Sadly, New York state is not in a good place. We have a struggling public educational system, crumbling local infrastructure, a complete lack of real economic opportunity for many and, as a result many, many residents are leaving.
We need change!