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Is Cuomo Overreacting to Occupy Albany?
October 24th, 2011

So “Occupy Wall Street” finally made its way to Albany–a couple of weeks, or months behind other cities and even foreign countries. It may be a surprise to some but Albany and some surrounding suburbs are a hotbed for progressive activism and yet it still took until last week to get something organized.

It would seem that the late blooming protest might not be of particular concern to Gov. Andrew Cuomo as he spends most of his time “in the NYC area with no public schedule,” but according to reports by the Times Union and the NY Post Gov. Andrew Cuomo pressured Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings to have protesters arrested. Cuomo is concerned that protests could linger and add momentum to the push to renew the millionaires tax.

Jennings was rumored to be under consideration for a position in the Cuomo administration and at even one point rumored to be a choice for lieutenant governor. Jennings, according to the Times Union directed the police to make arrests but they didn’t. Albany County District Attorney David Soares, who was described by the Post’s Fred Dicker as “leftist-oriented and highly political” (although likely would not be described that way by Albany’s leftists,) reportedly informed Jennings and police officials that he was not interested in using county resources to prosecute peaceful protesters.

So what of it? Well the story made the front page of the Times Union and the Occupy Albany movement suddenly got a bit more legitimate. So why call so much attention to it? Arrests would have likely caused even more of an uproar in the protest-friendly capital. As we have written before team Cuomo has been very quick to mobilize to squash dissent.

One Democratic legislator told me earlier this fall, “We’d love to push the [millionaires] tax. If only Andrew would give us a sign that he wouldn’t cut our heads off if we tried it,” Something tells me Cuomo isn’t looking to give an inch on this issue.

Here is a snippet of an article I wrote about Cuomo back in March:

“Cuomo, who enjoys a 70 percent approval rating, seems quick to scuttle any dissent. For now, he only need rattle his saber to frighten off legislators, who currently have zero political capital, and he has successfully countered the arguments of opposition advocates with editorials in the Post and tongue lashings from Vlasto. Some question, though, whether this can last. They think Cuomo is growing thin skinned and that his “my way or the highway” approach is actually fanning the fires of opposition. Sixteen protesters were arrested at the Capitol late last month, and groups that oppose cuts to education, school aid and services for the poor are stepping up their campaigns and pushing for the governor to keep a tax on the richest New Yorkers, something Cuomo has vowed he will not do.”

Sound familiar?
Here is an interesting snippet from the Times Union article:
“Inside police circles, there was speculation by some officials that the pressure from the governor’s office to enforce the curfew was about political perception. They noted that some critics had questioned New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s handling of a similar protest in lower Manhattan that has become an organized fixture, with medical supplies, food and even donated office space supporting the protesters.”

By on October 24, 2011, 9:28 am
In category: Albany,Eye on Albany | 10 Comments »

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10 Responses to “Is Cuomo Overreacting to Occupy Albany?”

  1. David Says:
    October 24th, 2011 at 10:56 am

    The law needs to enforced equally to all groups. The squatters have no rights to camp out in the park. They need to be arrested if they refuse to leave. Soares, Jennings and the Albany PD needs to do their jobs thats what the taxpayers are paying for.

  2. Sarah Says:
    October 24th, 2011 at 11:13 am

    David, you seem to completely misunderstand what the Occupy movement represents. They are not “squatters” as you so eloquently call them. They do have homes and are not homeless. You may not know, but there is such a thing called Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Assembly, so YES we are in our rights to protest. Speaking of taxpayers money-I’m glad you are more interested in squashing political dissent rather your government giving away billions of dollars to banks who give their CEOs millions in bonuses. Talk about a taxpayer waste.

  3. David Says:
    October 24th, 2011 at 11:23 am

    Sarah,
    I understand the Occupy movement completely. Che inspired marxists with their useful idiots. I am not against political dissent. All groups have a right to protest but not overnight by creating a camp out.

    All protest groups should be treated equally.
    Would the Tea Party be allowed by Soares to stay overnight. I doubt it. Why is this group receiving special treatment? By the way, I was totally against all bailouts.

  4. Steve Says:
    October 24th, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    David,
    I’m a Republican from Oklahoma. This is not a Marxist/socialist/far left/hippie movement. If you go to some of the occupations around the country you will see that political affiliations, ages, religons, and backgrounds of these people are very different. They have been seriously wronged, and they don’t feel they can trust the current system in place. The current system can’t even let them occupy a single park in each city so that draw attention to what is going on in the world today.

    When we started the Tea Party we didn’t need to stay in parks to have a voice. Thankfully depending on the way you look at it corporations such as the energy company ran by the Koch Brothers backed us with millions of dollars so we could fill congress with our Tea Party conservatives and shut down the legislative process. These people diverse as they may be don’t have these tools. Besides the corporations they even a democratic governor of a Deep Blue state waging war with them. For a group of people with their lives falling apart around them I think their actions have actually been quite modest.

  5. Jason Says:
    October 24th, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    David,

    To completely understand the Occupy movement is to completely understand that there are Tea Party members down there. The Occupy movement is all inclusive. Tea Party members, Dem’s, Repub’s, Green’s and whatever affiliation you see yourself as (one who was against all bailouts) are being represented by the Occupy movement. Would anyone no you were/are against “all bailouts” if you never told anyone or showed anyone? Democracy is not a spectator sport. It requires participation.

  6. Trudy Says:
    October 24th, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    The Tea Party was a front for the Koch brothers and were backed with big money. They did not need to spend the night in a park to get their voices heard. They were an “astro turf” movement backed by the rich ond powerful. The Occupy movement represents the 99% who don’t otherwise have a voice. This is a real grass roots movement and they represent an effort to address the problems of: corporate greed, economic inequities, lack of jobs, degradation of our environment, loss of our infrastructure and the real problems that face 99% of Americans. The Middle Class is facing extinction and the 99% is waking up to the fact that we are living in a country of the corporation, by the corporation, and for the corporation. The Occupy movement represents most Americans and for every one arrested, 3 more will appear.

  7. Rich Says:
    October 24th, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    I think it’s high time we enforced these curfew laws! But that certainly has nothing to do with the people I exploit every day, as they gain momentum trying remove the stranglehold my multinational conglomerate has over the political process in this great nation.

    If they were to suddenly enforce the tax code I’m supposed to be paying with my Fortune 500, why all those teachers could keep their jobs. But who gives a shit right? I mean all our kids are in private schools by now anyway. Duh.

    -RR

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