Op-ed: Common Sense – Drama lessons

January 16, 2020 JERRY KASSAR
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Gov. Cuomo’s State of the State address last week was notable for several items he did not address. There was no mention of amending the bail reform legislation which has been returning violent and repeat offenders to the street for the past three weeks. The new law also changed the discovery requirements, which in practice will force district attorneys to drop prosecutions as well as providing personal information on victims to the accused.

The governor also failed to address the unusually large $6.2 billion state budget deficit. He did indicate that local governments needed to do more to rein in Medicaid costs. That is all well and good, but fails to take into account that his budget office has been kicking Medicaid costs down the road from to year, resulting in much of the deficit. Many legislators and budget-oriented good government groups warned him in early 2019 — warnings he did not heed.

He also failed to acknowledge that the large migration of New Yorkers to other states was a growing problem. To this point, some of the wealthiest New Yorkers are taking their homes and their pocketbooks to other states, further hurting the state economically.

What the governor did do in his address was create a heavily dramatized version of all he believes he has done to make the state better. This included a few slides of him involved in emergency operations.

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

Hugh Carey of Brooklyn, a gubernatorial predecessor of Andrew Cuomo’s, in a State of the State address during hard times, famously declared that the “Days of Wine and Roses” were behind us. For Andrew Cuomo, every day seems to be a day of wine and roses even if we have a large budget deficit, the population is fleeing and there is a general fear that the legislature has lost its way on important issues such as public safety.

I was quoted in the Buffalo News as saying, “I know he has a law degree, but hearing this speech, you would think he went to drama school.” That would be my summation of the one-and-a-half-hour 2020 Cuomo State of the State address: Mostly dramatic flourishes with little substance. 


The Democrats in the legislature seem to be all over the place on rolling back bail reform. Some support it and others, notably including the speaker of the Assembly, oppose changes. The same goes for tax increases to address the budget deficit. Some support reducing spending, others support increasing taxes.

Republican legislators, to a person, support rolling back the bail reform law and oppose tax increases to address the budget deficit.

You should ask your assemblymember and state senator where they stand. 

Clearly fixing this crazy bail law should have been done on day one. Instead, in the State Senate, the first business taken up was the establishment of automatic voter registration through contact with various government agencies including DMV. 

Who knows? Maybe this will increase the pool of voters who feel that the legislators who are running for re-election should be removed from office for failing to address more urgent issues.


In the past few days, congressional candidate Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis has received the unanimous endorsements of the executive committees of the Republican and Conservative Party organizations in both Brooklyn and Staten Island.  She also reported over $1 million raised from thousands of contributions, almost $320,000 for the quarter, and well over $700,000 cash on hand.

This will be one barn-burner of an election punctuated by Max Rose’s support for impeaching the president.

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