View Full Version : Andrew Cuomo: Motorhead Governor of a Mass-Transit-Dependent State

October 5th, 2011, 05:44 PM

His latest move is to fire the Port Authority chairman for speaking out in favor of toll hikes to fund the agency's transit infrastructure capital program. Word is he'll be replaced by one of Cuomo's Long Island cronies.

Who will replace Chris Ward?

http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article.../INS/110929859 (http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20110930/INS/110929859)

There are other technocrats in New York who, like outgoing Port Authority Executive Director Chris Ward, can manage a sprawling bistate agency with a multibillion-dollar budget. But talent alone is unlikely to win over Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who demands undivided loyalty.

Insiders, who said Ward's shoes would be difficult to fill, mulled possible replacements yesterday. Some remained angry that Cuomo had not backed Ward from the get-go.

“It is truly unfortunate for all that Chris is leaving just so the governor could have his own person in the job,” said one industry leader.

Contrary to reports, an insider said Ward has lined up a job, possibly with an engineering firm. Having held what is widely considered the best government job in his field, Ward is likely finished with public service, another insider predicted.

To replace Ward, the governor is unlikely to pluck his new secretary, Larry Schwartz, who was rumored to have wanted the Port job and would be a strong candidate. But his departure might trigger bad press focusing on Cuomo having to pick a third right-hand man in nine months.

Cuomo's deputy secretary for economic development and MTA board member Pat Foye has also expressed interest in succeeding Ward. The former Empire State Development Corp. chairman was not aware of Ward's departure when contacted yesterday by the Insider. An insider said Foye's ties to the governor could provoke accusations of cronyism.

Other names floated yesterday: Charlie Maikish, former head of the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center and the Port Authority's World Trade Center director in the 1990s; Silverstein Properties executive Janno Lieber, who was a deputy in the U.S. Department of Transportation; and Sharon Greenberger, the chief operating officer of the city's Department of Education and former School Construction Authority head. Her ties to Mayor Mike Bloomberg could disqualify her in the eyes of the governor.

An executive director should have management experience, be a strong advocate for the region, have Cuomo's confidence and push back against New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie if need be, said Dick Anderson, president of the New York Building Congress. “But I don't think there is necessarily such a person.”

Chris Ward Says Politics Did Him In By David Freedlander (http://www.politickerny.com/author/dfreedlander/) 4:36pm

Outgoing Port Authority head Chris Ward appeared at a Lower Manhattan Marketing Association meeting this morning and told the assembled that he was pushed out of his job for political reasons. (http://www.dnainfo.com/20111005/downtown/outgoing-port-authority-head-was-burned-by-politics)
“What I learned, as my hand got singed in the oven, was that you can’t raise tolls anymore to what they would have to be to sustain the Port Authority,” Ward said, according to Julie Shapiro of DNA Info.
Mr. Ward added:
“I somewhat paid the political price of saying [the tolls] could have and should have been higher.”
Mr. Ward resigned unexpectedly last month after getting blasted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Gov. Chris Christie for suggesting a significant toll increase. The assumption in political circles was that both Mr. Cuomo and Mr. Christie knew in advance of the toll increase, but panned it publicly for political reasons. A smaller increase was eventually settled up.
Mr. Ward suggested this morning that the failure to raise tolls meant more congestion in the area.
“You’re going to be stuck in traffic on the George Washington Bridge,” he said. “You’re going to be stuck on buses trying to get into the Port Authority Bus Terminal. You’re going to be stuck at LaGuardia and JFK because [they] don’t have enough runway capacity.”

October 5th, 2011, 05:45 PM
LOWER MANHATTAN Outgoing Port Authority head Chris Ward said Wednesday that he was forced to step down after getting burned by the politics surrounding toll and fare hikes this summer.
Ward, who will leave the Port Authority at the end of October (http://www.dnainfo.com/20110929/manhattan/port-authority-head-chris-ward-depart-according-report), advocated steep $4 increases on Hudson River crossings to pay for much-needed infrastructure. But after a public and political outcry, the Port Authority ultimately dropped the increase to just $1.50 (http://www.dnainfo.com/20110819/manhattan/cuomo-christie-agree-plan-cut-toll-fare-hikes) a decision Ward criticized.
"What I learned, as my hand got singed in the oven, was that you can't raise tolls anymore to what they would have to be to sustain the Port Authority," Ward said Wednesday morning at a Lower Manhattan Marketing Association (http://www.lowermanhattanmarketing.com/) breakfast.
"I somewhat paid the political price of saying [the tolls] could have and should have been higher."
Ward clashed with Gov. Andrew Cuomo over the toll increases and had bristled at the governor's suggestion that the Port Authority needed to cut back its capital plan instead. (http://www.dnainfo.com/20110830/manhattan/lower-toll-hikes-will-hurt-new-york-port-authority-director-says) Ward believed that the Port Authority should have remained firm on the fare and toll increases so the agency could invest in infrastructure improvements that would boost New York's economy for decades to come.
Rather than waiting for Cuomo to formally ask him to leave the Port Authority, as was rumored, word got out last week that Ward was stepping down.
On Wednesday morning, Ward focused on the Port Authority's future and warned that due to the agency's scaled-back budget, New Yorkers would continue to be inconvenienced by the region's aging bridges, tunnels and airports.
"You're going to be stuck in traffic on the George Washington Bridge," Ward said. "You're going to be stuck on buses trying to get into the Port Authority Bus Terminal. You're going to be stuck at LaGuardia and JFK because [they] don't have enough runway capacity."
If he had continued as executive director of the Port Authority, Ward said some of his top priorities would have included rebuilding LaGuardia Airport and building a high-capacity bus garage in Midtown.
As evidence that such large-scale projects can be completed, Ward pointed to the World Trade Center, which was little more than a mud pit when he took over the Port Authority in 2008 and now boasts two rising skyscrapers and a completed 9/11 Memorial.
"Downtown is a remarkable example of what can get done when hard work goes into [making] tough decisions," Ward said. "We proved that you can build large projects [by] being honest with the public about the challenges."
Ward, who appeared in good spirits Wednesday, said he did not know what he would do next. He declined to comment on rumors that he could replace Jay Walder as chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority when Walder steps down this month.
"It's been a great run," Ward said of his three-and-a-half years at the Port Authority. "It's been the job of my career. I want to stay involved. I love this stuff."

http://www.dnainfo.com/20111005/down...ed-by-politics (http://www.dnainfo.com/20111005/downtown/outgoing-port-authority-head-was-burned-by-politics)

October 5th, 2011, 05:47 PM

Empire State's #1 Gearhead: Cuomo Visits Nassau County Car Show

Governor Cuomo and Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano (Levittown Patch (http://levittown-ny.patch.com/articles/cuomo-mangano-show-off-vintage-corvettes-at-cruise-to-the-show#photo-7817868)
Governor Andrew Cuomo's biggest passion—after his family and running New York State, ofco—seems to be cars. While this may be troublesome for, say, mass transit advocates (http://gothamist.com/2011/07/30/mta_ceo_walder_leaving_because_cuom.php), it's awesome for classic car events. Yesterday, Cuomo headed to the Cruise to the Show (http://www.cruisetotheshow.com/), the parade and car show in Nassau County, and suggested that he's going to promote the car show business in New York (http://levittown-ny.patch.com/articles/cuomo-mangano-show-off-vintage-corvettes-at-cruise-to-the-show#photo-7817868): "Our state does not do as much as it could do [to help car shows]. There are car shows that attract thousands of people in this country, and people come and they stay for days."
The show was devised by Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, who has responded to criticism about the $75,000 in police overtime needed, by, Newsday reports (http://www.newsday.com/classifieds/cars/auto-enthusiasts-cheer-mangano-car-show-1.3180865), saying "that labor costs for the parade and the East Meadow car show are funded entirely by taxes collected from local hotels' customers. Sponsorship fees, he added, would likely put the county out on top. He envisions growing the show into an attraction for the entire Northeast." Mangano also gave Cuomo a trophy for having the best gubernatorial Corvette (a 1975 model that he apologized for being dirty and not a show car (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/19/nyregion/governor-andrew-cuomo-eagerly-attends-an-auto-show.html)).
Among the many cars Cuomo admired, one was a 1969 Corvette restored by a Long Island man, who told the Times, "It’d be cooler if he’d lower my taxes, but, yeah, it’s pretty cool."

October 5th, 2011, 05:49 PM
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/2011/09/21/2011-09-21_gov_fares_well_as_yellow_cabs_fight_to_kayo_bil l.html

Gov. Cuomo fares well as yellow cabs fight to knock out livery bill BY Kenneth Lovett (http://www.nydailynews.com/authors/Kenneth Lovett)
Wednesday, September 21st 2011, 4:00 AM

http://assets.nydailynews.com/img/2011/09/19/alg_andrew_cuomo_speech.jpg Mariela Lombard for News
Gov. Cuomo has not taken a position on the livery bill, which has yet to be sent to him.

Cohen: Andrew Cuomo, comeback kid (http://www.nydailynews.com/opinions/2011/06/28/2011-06-28_andrew_cuomo_comeback_kid_from_gay_marriage_to_ state_finances_rookie_governor_is.html)
Hammond: Why Cuomo holds all the cards (http://www.nydailynews.com/opinions/2011/03/22/2011-03-22_why_gov_cuomo_holds_all_the_cards_in_the_budget _fight_every_delay_increases_his_.html)
A.G. Andrew Cuomo accepts Democratic nomination for New York governor (http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2010/05/27/2010-05-27_ag_andrew_cuomo_accepts_democratic_nomination_f or_new_york_governor.html)
Cuomo wants to work with Bloomy on cab bill (http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2011/09/26/2011-09-26_gov_cuomo_wants_resolution_for_bloombergbacked_ bill_giving_livery_cabs_right_to_.html)
Hail of fight for livery bill (http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2011/09/20/2011-09-20_livery_bill_losing_gas.html)
Pol honks at taxi plan Urges gov to add cabs for disabled (http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2011/09/17/2011-09-17_pol_honks_at_taxi_plan_urges_gov_to_add_cabs_fo r_disabled.html)

ALBANY (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Albany) - The yellow-cab industry recently pumped nearly $30,000 into Gov. Cuomo (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Andrew+Cuomo)'s campaign coffers as it fights a bill to permit livery drivers to pick up street hails.
Cuomo received 19 donations from the yellow-cab companies between June 17 and July 6, fund-raising records show.
The Legislature approved a plan June 24 allowing black cars to be flagged down in the outer boroughs and upper Manhattan (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Upper+Manhattan).
Cuomo has not taken a position on the livery bill, which has yet to be sent to him, but said this week that support for it "appears to be dissipating" - even among its backers.
Cuomo has pocketed more than $100,000 in campaign cash from the yellow-cab industry over the past decade, including from Medallion Financial (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Medallion+Financial+Corp.), which has Cuomo's father, ex-Gov. Mario Cuomo (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Mario+Cuomo), on its board.
The top yellow-cab interests that gave since the bill passed include RSM Management Corp. (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/RSM+Management+Corp.) and AA Maintenance Corp. (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/AA+Maintenance+Corp.); each gave $5,000 in July.
And United Management Group (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/United+Management+Group) gave $4,000.
Assemblyman Guillermo Lineres, a Washington Heights (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Washington+Heights) Democrat and former livery driver, ripped "deep-pocketed" yellow-cab companies for jeopardizing needed service.
"We are hopeful the governor will understand how critical this isfor a majority of New Yorkers," Lineres said.
But yellow-cab industry officials say they are trying to counter the heavy influence of chief bill-backer Mayor Bloomberg (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Michael+Bloomberg) - a major contributor to Senate Republicans.
Cuomo spokesman Josh Vlasto (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Josh+Vlasto) said the donations will have no impact on whether Cuomo decides to sign the bill.
"The taxi industry has been strong supporters of the governor for many years, as have livery cabs and people from Queens, Brooklyn (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Brooklyn+(New+York+City)) and the Bronx (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/The+Bronx), which represent the other side, as well as millions of other people," Vlasto said.
Richard Dadey (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Richard+Dadey), executive director of Citizens Action, said the yellow-cab donations show "theunseemly side of politics" - but he doesn't believe they will sway Cuomo.