Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

June 23, 2013

HOPKINS: Careful where you step around here

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Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — My bull-spit meter has been running on “tilt” recently. That’s not its actual name, but for a family publication it will suffice.

The reason my BS meter has been running so high is because of the continuing catastrophe that is called Albany and the lack of.

Does anyone else besides me think that Governor Andrew Cuomo’s pact with the Seneca Nation of Indians was announced right after efforts to dissolve the Peace Bridge Authority were begun?

Hey, anything to divert attention from negative publicity, right? Cuomo and his Peace Bridge Authority Vice Chairman/yes-man Sam Hoyt aren’t thrilled with how the authority is being run, so not only are they taking their ball and going home, they’re trying to put a padlock on the gym doors, too.

So, how could they deflect the international attention? Easy. After years of staring down the Senecas, Gov. Cuomo decides to play nice and reach a deal that will supposedly send millions of dollars to Niagara Falls.

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Gov. Cuomo also rates high on the BS meter for his “Tax-Free New York” plan, which essentially allows new businesses (or businesses relocating from out-of-state) to align themselves with public and private colleges. In return, they don’t have to pay taxes for 10 years. Plus, their employees dont have to pay state income taxes for five years.

Existing businesses and their employees with no affiliation to these colleges, naturally, get the shaft. That’s right, the companies and the average Joes who have stayed in this corrupt New York state through thin and thinner receive a collective “up yours” from Cuomo, the New York State Senate and Assembly.

Just last week, Cuomo, recognizing that “Tax-Free New York” isn’t the best name for a program while duping the rest of us, decided to rename the program “Start-Up New York.” According to an Associated Press article, Cuomo said the name change is “more descriptive.”

It’s not. It’s just another smoke-and-mirrors ruse by an apple that didn’t fall far from the tree. (See: Cuomo, Mario)

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I’m convinced Sheldon Silver has more lives than a cat. The Assembly Speaker always seems to find a way to wiggle out of scandal after scandal in Albany. Maybe this latest one will be the one that kills the cat.

Last year, when a few women stepped forward and said they were harassed by Assemblyman Vito Lopez, Silver quietly offered cash settlement with the women, using public money to do so. That’s our tax dollars, and he had no right to use it in that fashion. Nice people will call it “misappropriation.” I call it a bribe; hush money; buying silence.

Then Silver responded to a conclusion that the Assembly was trying to protect itself with the secrecy by saying the deal “represented a good-faith belief that the Assembly was acting in the best interests of the victims.”

Baloney. Silver was acting in the best interest of his colleague, Vito Lopez. Then he got caught, but still slipped through like a snake in the grass.

Now there’s a lawsuit against Silver and Lopez. And the state will pay for Silver’s legal bills.

I’m hoping these women take SIlver to the cleaners — which unfortunately means taking taxpayers to the cleaners — but will it be enough to oust the man from Albany? I doubt it. He’s got a firmer grip on Albany than the Emperor in Star Wars had on Darth Vader.

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Things aren’t looking any better in Washington, either.

The Obama administration is also in hot water, and for good reason. I haven’t been a fan of president Obama from the start, and the more we’ve learned in the past few months makes me dislike him more and more.

First, we have an IRS that openly harassed Tea Party organizations during the 2012 election campaign. Several of these far-right groups were singled out for investigation by the agency.

Tea Party representatives vociferously complained about the IRS tactics during these probes, but no one paid too much attention; the Tea Party has been dismissed by many for being about as credible as the far left was in the 1980s.

It turns out the Tea Party was right (and I’m not talking about the political spectrum). Part of me wants to say I’m glad that the IRS was doing its job by ensuring that money was collected and used legally. However, that’s trumped by an obvious question: Why didn’t they apply their investigations across the entire political spectrum?

To me the answer is obvious: It wouldn’t have helped fund-raising to get their Conniver-in-Chief re-elected. Why should they investigate groups that share their own ideals?