Archive for the ‘Blank Slate Media’ category

Time to end one-party rule in Albany – By George J. Marlin

October 20, 2022

This article I wrote appeared on The Island 360 web site on Monday, October 17, 2022, and in the Blank Slate Media newspaper chain.

Giuliani’s rise, decline and fall from grace – By George J. Marlin

October 3, 2022

This article I wrote appeared on The Island 360 web site on Monday, October 3, 2022, and in the Blank Slate Media newspaper chain.

Making the case for Zeldin – By George J. Marlin

September 20, 2022

The following appeared on Monday, September 19, 2022, in the Blank Slate Media newspaper chain and on its website,

To adequately express my views on the upcoming gubernatorial election, my column this week is a self-interview. So here goes …

Why are you supporting Zeldin?

First, Congressman Zeldin has the knowledge and public policy positions essential to managing the state government.

Next, and this is key, one-party control of Albany is dangerous. Radical progressives, with Gov. Kathy Hochul’s approval, have been running wild raising taxes, increasing debt and anti-business regulations, and spending every dollar available.

Their reckless policies are driving the state to the edge of fiscal insolvency and driving hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers to greener economic pastures in Florida, Texas, etc. As governor, Zeldin will check those radicals.

New York’s chief executive has vast powers over the budgetary process and, I believe, Gov. Zeldin will effectively employ that oversight authority to prevent a fiscal and economic cataclysm.

Any other reasons for supporting Zeldin?

Yes. I believe he will listen to the pleas of Mayor Eric Adams and civil magistrates throughout the state to fix the flawed cashless bail law that is letting criminals, who are a present danger to the public, back onto the streets.

Zeldin would also reverse the state’s ban on the safe extraction of natural gas. There is 84 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the Marcellus Shale rock formation and 38 trillion in the Utica Shale. Tapping into that natural gas will bring down the price to heat homes—which is up over 33% this past year—create scores of high paying jobs in New York’s western tier and bring billions of dollars into the state treasury.

When it comes to dealing with economic issues, Zeldin will be a breath of fresh air in Albany.

Isn’t Zeldin a dangerous 2020 election denier?

Absolutely not. Zeldin has said time and again: “I have never at any point ever made a statement calling Biden or the election illegitimate.”

True, he voted to reject the certification of Biden’s electoral votes in Arizona and Pennsylvania. While I disagreed with him, in my judgment Zeldin’s votes were symbolic, a form of protest.

Remember, it was not the first-time members of the House of Representatives objected to an election outcome. In 2005, 31 Democrats, led by Congressman Jim Clyburn, voted to deny George W. Bush’s Ohio electoral votes, even though he carried the state by 118,000 votes.

Among those 31 Democratic election deniers was the present chairman of the home security and Jan. 6 committees, Congressman Bennie Thompson.

Now, I don’t recall any claims that our democracy was at risk of being toppled by those anti-Bush votes. In fact, Nancy Pelosi approved of and praised the objectors. “Debate,” she said, “is fundamental to our democracy” and it “is about the Constitution.” She dismissed Republican “talk about this as a conspiracy theory.”

What about Zeldin’s stand on abortion?

Zeldin is pro-life, as am I. He opposes late-term abortions and non-doctors performing abortions. He supports parental consent and informed consent. Zeldin also supports the Dobbs decision that permits states via the democratic process to determine abortion policies.

Sadly, New York has the most permissive abortion law in the nation. Hence, Dobbs has not had any impact whatsoever on the state.

Also, Zeldin vociferously opposes Hochul’s demand that millions of Christians and Jews who are not pro-abortion, move to Florida. He believes that every citizen is entitled to their views on the issue and should be free to express them in the public square. That’s called democracy at work.

What about Zeldin on education?

Zeldin, who is not a captive of the teacher unions, released a thoughtful “students first” plan that includes, promoting a parent’s right to be in control of their children’s education, lifting the cap on charter schools, creating tax credits for school choice, and maintaining merit-based entry exam specialized schools.

Any other thoughts on Zeldin?

Yes. New York’s executive branch has been controlled by Democrats for over 15 years.

It’s time to give a new lease on the executive mansion to someone who can clean house and add balance to addressing the state’s ever growing problems. I believe that Lee Zeldin is that person.

For Our New Governor it’s Business as Usual – By George J. Marlin

August 23, 2022

The following appeared on Monday, August 22, 2022, in the Blank Slate Media newspaper chain and on its website,

Gov. Kathy Hochul’s performance in office brings to mind the French maxim “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose,” which means “the more things change, the more they remain the same.”

Hochul, who had pledged to end business as usual in Albany, has become comfortable with the trappings, perks and power of her office and has been acting Cuomo-esque.

For example, Hochul, like Cuomo, has been using the state’s jet plane liberally. The New York Post has reported that “Hochul took 140 private-aircraft flights at taxpayer expense in just her first seven months on the job, zipping across the state to tap special interests for her huge campaign warchest.”

Air Hochul has cost taxpayers over $250,000.

Then there is the dazzling office she built for herself in Buffalo.

As governor, Hochul has spent only 12 days in her hometown. So, one would think, on the rare occasion Hochul requires indoor working space, an office in a state building would suffice.

Nope, not for Gov. Hochul. Her new Western New York “executive chamber”—which was built in a renovated warehouse and has access to a balcony and a rooftop garden—cost $2 million.

Construction expenditures included: $413,000 for electricians; $362,000 for engineering and architectural services; $240,000 for—get this—doors and frames; and $172,000 for finishes—whatever that means.

The Empire State Development Corporation, which is under the governor’s thumb, paid for the renovations. That’s the same state agency Cuomo used to pay for his handouts to favored interests.

And by sheer coincidence, the Hochul office is located in a building owned by a developer who has donated $62,500 to her campaign committee.

State business to a donor? That’s another Cuomo habit the governor has embraced.

The seriously flawed, Cuomo-promoted, Penn Station real estate development deal that Hochul approved is another example of cronyism. A key developer has donated $69,700 to Hochul’s coffers office.

It gets worse.

In November 2021, Hochul extended Cuomo’s COVID state of emergency order, which suspends not only competitive bidding for various contracts, but the review and approval process performed by the office of the state comptroller.

One company that has greatly benefited from the bidding exemption is Digital Gadgets, which provides Hochul’s Department of Health with at-home COVID tests.

Digital Gadgets, the Albany Times Union has reported, is a “New Jersey-based wholesaler of household and other electronic devices that sells its wares to companies like the Home Shopping Network QVC [and] in 2020 the company pivoted to supplying medical equipment and began landing major contracts in New York.”

In December 2021, Digital Gadgets was awarded a no-bid purchase order to supply the state with 52 million at-home tests. During the next three months the company received 239 payments totaling a whopping $637 million.

By the way, Digital Gadgets owner Charles Telebe, his wife and various family members have donated $300,000 to Hochul.

And, surprise surprise, a member of the Telebe family, James, an NYU undergraduate, was hired by Hochul’s campaign to work on its fund-raising staff for approximately $3,700 a month.

According to James Telebe’s LinkedIn profile, he also worked on the staff of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s short-lived 2020 presidential campaign.

Another coincidence: In 2020 Digital Gadgets received an emergency no-bid contract totaling $119 million from the de Blasio administration.

That contract, according to the Times Union “came on the heels of about $44,000 in donations from Telebe family members to de Blasio’s campaign and related action committees.”

You can’t make this stuff up.

Meanwhile, as the jet-setting governor, who has raised a record-breaking $38 million in political contributions, gallivants around the state, New York’s overtaxed common folks aren’t traveling much this summer.

The looming recession, rampant inflation, high gas and food prices and the crimewave sweeping the state are keeping them close to home.

Quite a contrast.

Hopefully, voters tired of “things remaining the same” will turn out on Election Day and send Hochul packing to Buffalo.


Gov. Hochul’s pork barrel spending – By George J. Marlin

July 29, 2022

The following appeared on Monday, July 25, 2022, in the Blank Slate Media newspaper chain and on its website,

Recent disclosures indicate that Gov. Kathy Hochul is expending billions in our tax dollars to pave the road to a gubernatorial victory in November.

In a last minute “message of necessity” before the state Legislature closed down for the summer, according to The New York Times, Hochul pushed through legislation approving “billions of dollars in corporate subsidiaries to lure semiconductor plants to New York.”

The $10 billion was authorized without a debate or a public hearing.

One Democrat state senator, James Skoufis, said, “Sunlight did not exist in the room where this program was cooked up.”

Another Democrat senator, Liz Krueger, who voted against the chip proposal, complained that it is “the biggest economic development tax give away the state has ever seen—maybe any state has ever seen.”

She continued, “We did try to negotiate some structure and transparency into the language and some limits. I lost on that.”

This is not the first financial boondoggle the governor persuaded the Legislature to approve in the darkness of night.

Let’s not forget the $600 million of state funds she secured to build in her hometown of Buffalo, a new Bills football stadium.

There’s more—

On July 14, the New York Post reported that “a company headed by a big donor to Gov. Hochul is in line for up to $1.2 billion in tax breaks under an opaque plan to overhaul Penn Station.”

A “Reinvent Albany” report prepared by the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis at the New School, reveals that this tax break would be given despite the fact that “the state has not made public the necessary information to determine if the [financing plan] can be successful, including projections of costs and revenues.”

The Penn Station project, which is expected to cost between $7.5 billion and $10 billion could have a shortfall of $3 billion. “In that case,” The Times reports, “New York taxpayers might have to fill the gap….”

Sounds like a great deal for Hochul’s campaign contributors but not for taxpayers.

There’s still more—

To get her dubious spending programs through the Legislature, Hochul greased the way by handing out more than $68 million in pork barrel projects between November 2021 and March 2022 to finance 276 projects.

Those dollars were expended from proceeds of bonded debt issued by the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York. As an independent agency, DASNY is able to issue debt and award grants without voter approval.

Thanks to a FOIL request by the Empire Center for Public Policy, the grants are listed on its web site.

Here’s a few of the awards handpicked by the governor and her allies in the state Legislature:

  • $1 million for renovations to the Cazenovia pool in the City of Buffalo;
  • $500,000 for improvements to the year-round farmer’s market in the Town of Brighton in the Finger Lakes region;
  • $275,000 for the construction of a splash pad at Veterans’ Memorial Park in the Town of Orangetown in the Mid-Hudson region;
  • $100,000 for the purchase of an electrofishing boat for Cazenovia College in Central New York;
  • $50,000 for the installation of structural bike racks in the City of Newburgh in the Mid-Hudson region;
  • $50,000 for the construction of a dog park in the Town of Parma in the Finger Lakes region.

Pork grants in Nassau include:

  • $150,000 for renovations to the Library’s Children’s Room in the Village of Garden City;
  • $100,000 for Creation of a Free Play learning area in Nassau County;
  • $500,000 for improvements to the Ice Arena bathrooms and locker rooms in the City of Long Beach;
  • $325,000 for park improvements to Williston Park in the Village of Mineola.

And there’s more to come.

The state budget department expects another $260 million in pork barrel grants to be distributed in the present fiscal year.

My guess is most of the money will be distributed between now and Election Day to entice voters to re-elect Democrats.

It is my hope that voters will reject attempts to buy them off and will punish incumbent pols at the ballot box for squandering their hard-earned tax dollars.