More NY Silly Season Politics – By George J. Marlin

The following appears in the August 15-21, 2014 issue of the Long Island Business News:

In mid-July, one of New York’s top lobbyists, Al D’Amato, chastised Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino for daring to attack Gov. Andrew Cuomo. D’Amato demanded that Astorino apologize for calling Cuomo “corrupt” and criticized him for “doing gimmicky press conferences.”

That is awfully nervy considering D’Amato was known for savaging his political opponents and for employing all sorts of gimmicks to generate headlines. I remember when he sang a revised version of “Old McDonald Had a Farm” on the floor of the U.S. Senate and donned undercover clothes to buy illegal drugs in Washington Heights.

D’Amato, who was booted out of the Senate by voters in November 1998, forfeited the right to be a GOP sage years ago. Since leaving public office he has been a lobbyist, paid handsomely to represent the interests of the people that hire him. To further client causes and to enrich himself, D’Amato has endorsed and raised money for liberal Democrats, including Cuomo and last year’s unsuccessful candidate for New York City mayor, Bill Thomson.

Like Cuomo, D’Amato has no core principles and no interest in promoting the common good. He only promotes what’s best for him.

Sadly, I learned earlier this year the self-interest rule also applied when D’Amato was in the Senate. In Richard Ravitch’s memoir, “So Much To Do,” he revealed that D’Amato – the man I and many others supported because of his stark opposition to abortion – was a mountebank on that issue.

Ravitch revealed that at a breakfast, D’Amato had “asked whether I had voted for him. I said that in all my voting history I never pulled a lever for a Right-to-Life candidate. It was okay, [D’Amato] said; he didn’t really believe all that stuff.”

D’Amato is nothing more than a snake oil salesman and his political pronouncements should be dismissed by the public and the media.

It was reported in Newsday this summer that financially strapped Nassau County “paid $26.6 million last year to more than 2,000 part-time seasonal workers, some of whom have political or community ties or hold other governmental jobs.”

Several beneficiaries of County Executive Ed Mangano’s largesse earned more working part-time than their full-time counterparts. One part-timer earned $66,499 as a golf course attendant, while holding a full-time job with the Town of Hempstead that pays $126,000 annually. And the attendant’s part-time income was greater than the combined salaries of three full-time golf course managers.

Think about it. At $50 an hour the attendant would have to clock in 1,328 hours to earn $66,449. Considering golf is seasonal – April through October – about 30 weeks, the part-timer would have to work 44 hours a week. Remember, those hours are on top of a full-time job – what a remarkable feat. Obviously this person requires very little sleep.

That CSEA leader Jerry Laricchiuta was unaware of or unconcerned with these shenanigans is a disgrace. His membership – the lowest-paid county workers who were under a three-year wage freeze that Mangano asked the Nassau Interim Finance Authority to impose – should be outraged.

Taxpayers should also be outraged that Mangano has permitted cronyism to the tune of $26 million to continue when his budget’s structural deficit continues to grow due to smoke-and-mirror revenue and expenditure estimates.

One knows the dog days of August have arrived when former Gov. George Pataki – who left the state in worse financial shape than his predecessor, Mario Cuomo – turns up on television. In a Newsmax TV interview, he refused to rule himself out as a presidential candidate in 2016. That’s as ludicrous as me not ruling out running for pope in the next papal election.

You just can’t make this stuff up.

In spite of these silly season revelations, try to enjoy the rest of the summer.

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