New York should consider Cuomo recall for nursing home cover-up: Pataki
New York’s COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations keep dropping
Cuomo aide in nursing home cover-up is related to top fed prosecutor
‘Despicable’: Ex-NY Gov. Pataki rips Cuomo’s nursing home death coverup
New York’s ‘ethics watchdog’ is worthless by design
Former Gov. Pataki thinks New Yorkers should take a hard look at recalling Gov. Cuomo over the “reprehensible” cover-up of nursing home deaths.
On Thursday, Cuomo’s top aide, Melissa DeRosa, admitted to lawmakers that her boss concealed data about the coronavirus death toll among nursing-home residents to avoid having to share it with the federal government.
Even before The Post exposed that scandal this week, roughly 40% of New Yorkers said they would favor a recall effort to oust the three-term incumbent if a recall mechanism existed in the Empire State.
“I think it would be appropriate to take a hard look at that,” Pataki, 75, said in a Zoom call from his home in upstate Garrison. “I only think it should be used in extraordinary cases but when you really have lost confidence in the leadership in your state, I think the opportunity should exist for the majority of the people to say we want something different.”
Unlike California, New York has no legal procedure for recalling elected officials midstream. A serious effort to create such a process was instigated by Pataki, who pushed a state Constitutional amendment in 2002 to allow for popular referendums. The idea was promptly nuked by crooked then-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.
Other Albany lawmakers have attempted to create a recall system over the years. In 2013, GOP Assemblyman James Tedisco pushed a bill that received no support from his Democratic colleagues.
The idea would have allowed New Yorkers to instigate a recall petition for any reason. A recall election would be held if the petitioners could secure 20% of the total vote count of the last election for the individual targeted in the recall.
Citizen recall efforts exist in some form or another in 39 states.
Creating a recall process in New York would require a constitutional amendment bill passed in successive years.
Though he can’t be recalled, Cuomo could be impeached under a current, but rarely used, provision of the state constitution. At least one state Republican lawmaker has already called for it.
Pataki said that short of recall, it was increasingly urgent for city and state voters to make a change in the 2021 mayor’s race and 2022 governor’s race.
“Crime is through the roof … You have mentally ill people on the street harassing you and this is Sixth Avenue and midtown in the middle of the day,” Pataki said. “There is a tremendous concern that things are not as they should be and it’s not because of Covid.”
Pataki said his friends were all decamping to other states to escape withering taxes and New York’s high cost of living.
“I can’t tell you the number of my friends who are looking in Florida. These are committed New Yorkers. They’re not the super wealthy who can fly privately back and forth. They are people who have lived most of their lives in New York who just doubt the future and wonder why they should be paying so much more for a quality of life that in parts of Florida is much cheaper and perhaps better,” Pataki said. “I am not one of those who is ready to give up but many are. And that’s discouraging. It wasn’t long ago that everyone wanted to be in New York.”
The governor said he was bullish about GOP candidates on deck in the state.
“I think there are a lot of potentially really good candidates who could raise the Republican banner high and mount a very serious challenge to Andrew Cuomo,” Pataki said, name-dropping Reps. Lee Zeldin, Elise Stefanik and Nicole Malliotakis.
He also all but offered an endorsement to supermarket billionaire John Catsimatidis, who has been publicly weighing a run for mayor as a Republican (or a Democrat) — and dumping $100 million of his own wealth into the race.
“If he were to run, I think the Republican party would unite behind him and I think a great many Democrats would unite behind him,” Pataki said. “I think he’d have a very good chance because he’s a New Yorker who knows not just business but the streets.”
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