Governor Andrew Cuomo, fresh from his turn as Pontius Pilate in the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation review of natural gas fracking in the state—they came to the right decision, which is a really good thing, but it's evident that Cuomo's chief concern was to not be seen as making a decision at all, and instead of welcoming the ban and its protection for the health of New Yorkers and the integrity of the environment he gloomily predicted a "ton of lawsuits" that are not in fact going to take place at all—
Cuomo, I was saying, returned to the more familiar role of joint dictator of the Hudson Duumvirate on Saturday night when he and Christopher Christie showed up to veto a bill passed unanimously by all four of their legislative houses to reform the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Vetoed a bill passed unanimously? That's right: in New Jersey they can't get a two thirds majority to override it because once Christie has vetoed it all the Republicans will change their votes out of fear of pissing him off. Some justified fear, as Mayor Mark Sokolich of Fort Lee will tell you.
The bill would have put the Port Authority under the control of a single director instead of the administration by cronies of the two governors making the agency what it's been:
A bi-state agency that controls a good share of the transportation infrastructure around New York City and North Jersey, the Port Authority squanders its wealth and mismanages its assets; it charges high tolls and puts off necessary maintenance work; and it’s a cesspool of dirty politics. How ironic that an organization designed to be the antithesis of old school Tammany Hall machine politics, would be turned into a patronage mill forced to absorb dozens of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s cronies—“they came in like cockroaches,”quipped one Port Authority staffer—including a deputy executive director willing to create a phony traffic jam at the behest of a gubernatorial aide seeking political retribution.And it would have added an inspector general, a whistleblower program, new ethics rules, and required public meetings.
The governors couldn't deal with that. And the traditional Friday night news dump wasn't secretive enough for them so they did it on the Saturday night between Christmas and New Year's instead. And among the "reform" executive action ideas they offered as an alternative to the bill, they included a little gratuitous nastiness, the concept of cutting off overnight service on the PATH train under the Hudson, apparently to punish the constituents of Hoboken and Jersey City mayors Dawn Zimmer and Steven Fulop. It really smells very bad.
Cross-posted at The Rectification of Names.