Former Cuomo Aide Indicted for CPV Bribery

NEW YORK — Monday morning at 8:30 a.m. a court proceeding began that has many Orange County residents and some from Sullivan Co. protesting, as well as citizens across the state concerned.

A former aide to Governor Andrew Cuomo, Joseph Percoco, is finally seeing trial over a year after a subpoena calling for his indictment on the charges of accepting bribes for official favors.

Organizations such as Food and Water Watch – New York, Concerned Citizens for the Hudson Valley, and Protect Orange County organized to further call attention to these charges, the corruption of Albany and the Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) plant transporting fracked gas into the Hudson Valley.

The bribes, from 2012 to 2014, as well as in 2015, recurringly came bank accounts set up by a shell company of Todd Howe, a lobbyist who first met Percoco and Cuomo while he was working Cuomo’s father, Mario Cuomo. Howe is now cooperating with prosecutors after having pleaded guilty to multiple felonies of a similar nature in September 2016.

Activists in the region are pointing to a particular instance when CPV paid over $287,000 to Percoco. Former CPV executive, Peter Galbraith Kelly Jr. was charged with arranging the payments. Now, Protect Orange County, wants to see the CPV fracked gas-fired plant removed from the Hudson Valley, and they aren’t alone.

The trial is expected to be ongoing for the next four to six weeks. Syracuse developers, COR Development executives Steven Aiello and Joseph Gerardi, were also charged in the Percoco trial, as well as another, for their arrangement of nearly $35,000 in payments to help with economic development.

Susan Lerner, Common Cause Executive Director, believes that the evidence in the trial will “be eye-opening for the public” in terms of the “pay-to-play aspects” of government economic decision-making.

The trial is being held at the Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse in Foley Square in New York City. Many have already gathered in protest. Footage from Protect Orange County’s Facebook Live feed is below.

The Buffalo News reporter Tom Precious said Saturday that the “Percoco corruption trial is as much about Cuomo as it is the defendants.” In the article, Executive Director of the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), Blair Horner, agrees with Lerner that prosecutors are “going to illustrate Albany’s pay-to-play culture, and it’s not going to be pretty for New Yorkers to see.”

Assemblyman Ray Walter, an Amherst Republican, takes it a step further.

“I think we’re going to see the inner workings of the Cuomo administration and how the economic development model he’s developed as governor leads to this type of corruption,” he said.

Tom Precious, The Buffalo News. Jan. 20, 2018

Chair of Protect Orange County, Pramilla Malick, has not yet responded to calls for comment. To be Updated as the trial continues.


Tidal Transition

The political revolution is on. Many people, especially those that fell in love with Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein, are not alone. Believe it or not, Donald Trump was more of a protest vote than voting for Evan McMullin, and here’s why, bigly:

Early on, the challenge was real. Working-class Americans, riding the poverty line and relocating time and time again to stay afloat made the choice clear. They weren’t having any of the Democrats -with the except of Bernie- because they were only going to add to the budget and stack on the taxes.

The GOP, Republicans, and Libertarians (i.e. Gov. Gary Johnson), are known well for not only stripping the budget down bare, including social services and Planned Parenthood unfortunately, but are most well known for lowering taxes across the board. For example, I don’t live in a Democrats’ big city, I no longer live in a college town that can successfully run Greens, but I live in my small hometown in New York, with an economy that is finally looking to come back from the hit it took in the 80s. The biggest reason for that, is the Republicans that continually run on a platform of lowering property taxes, in a town with declining property values due to absentee landlords and subsidy programs that are abused.

Locally, neoliberal leaning policies such as NAFTA have taken a huge hit out on communities the size of mine, in areas similar to mine, where there’s space to work with, but good-paying jobs are at least a half hour away, and it’s unlikely that more will bloom here. Moderate Democrats, perhaps those that could be called Berniecrats, are who we need to uplift at the Federal level now, and at the state level, with Greens and other third parties, as we transition into a Trump presidency propelled by the tossing-out of lobby interests and tax-raisers from Wall Street- looking at you Chuck Schumer. This change isn’t really anything new, but with the growth of social media and citizen journalism, a compelling push towards a direct democratic system is evident.

Now if only we can make this actually about  economics, and not about hate… Trust me, we’re working on it, Dems, Reps, Greens, and everyone that hates politics, we all care about each other. We really need to talk, because quite frankly, it always comes down to sociolinguistics, but we’ll talk about everything else and economics and democracy before that. At least I think so.

Hate me, for rationalizing Trump / how we got Trump? Let’s talk about it.
Hate me for being an openly transgender woman? Let’s talk about it.
Hate me for being a journalist, philosopher, poet, activist, artist? Fuck you, let’s talk about it. 😉