Paladino and Access-A-Ride have seen better days
Paladino in 2018?
Congeniality is not one of Carl Paladino’s traits. The 2010 Republican gubernatorial candidate has for years displayed behavior that casts doubts as to whether the emotional and rational parts of his brain communicate with one another. Sin embargo, Paladino’s bombastic and, at times, insulting remarks haven't quieted the buzz among political insiders that he could run against Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2018.
A well-informed Republican bochinchero told B&B: “He was planning to do it, but as far as I know he dropped that idea after his Christmas shot at Michelle Obama. If he is still running, he hasn't told me or any other close political adviser.”
We won’t repeat the outrageous, racially tinged remark Paladino made about the former first lady in December, but it would definitely go viral again if he were to throw his hat into the 2018 election. “Astorino and Wilson or any other Republican should be concerned with Paladino,” a Republican politico opined. But should Andrew Cuomo?
CUNY moving on search for new chancellor
CUNY Chancellor James Milliken’s March 31 announcement that he had recently been diagnosed with throat cancer has not deterred the search for his replacement. “They’ve been meeting and have scheduled meetings for (this) week,” one bochinchero said, discussing my item in a previous B&B column where we reported that Milliken would be ousted.
One CUNY bochinchero said, “The search is on, Gerson. If I were him I would be looking for a job.” When we mentioned that his health may buy Milliken some time, the response was, “It seems that with treatment he’ll be okay. But insofar as CUNY, he’s a dead man walking.” I cringed when I heard my interlocutor use the dead man walking reference – and I’m sure you're having the same reaction reading it.
Some Wright talk, no action
There was some buzz against New York County Democratic Committee Chairman Keith Wright prior to and during the committee’s March 11 gathering in Harlem to select a candidate to replace Bill Perkins in the state Senate’s 30th District. There were even some bochincheros who approached B&B during the actual process that Saturday afternoon with quejas. The complaints ranged from talks about rigging the process in favor of Brian Benjamin (Wright’s preferred candidate) to how the former assemblyman was running the county organization. “We’re going to throw his ass out of the county chair,” one angry Wright hater told us. The state Senate special election is set for May 23 and the anti-Wright forces may be waiting for that to be over before moving on any coup attempt. All that’s happened so far is a letter signed by district leaders John Ruiz, Rev. Al Taylor and activist Joyce Johnson accusing Wright of using his position to deliver the seat for Benjamin and threatening legal action, as reported by Will Bredderman from the Observer. “It’s all shit talk, Borrero,” is the way one Wright ally put it. Veremos.
Look for New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer’s 2016 audit of Access-A-Ride, which detailed “widespread mismanagement, waste and service failure” to get a second wind at upcoming MTA board meetings. The buzz is that complaints from thousands of affected passengers are getting to the oídos of board members and staffers. “I was an hour late to a four-hour dialysis treatment and the clinic couldn’t make up the hour,” one affected bochinchero said. Another bochinchero told B&B: “I waited for three hours for a pick up after I received treatment at the hospital.” Both complaints to B&B came from Brooklynites.
Access-A-Ride services are mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act, which requires public transportation authorities to provide a paratransit system for passengers who cannot use public bus or subway services. The MTA spends about $400 million a year on the service, but as much as $100 million is wasted on multiple contractors and administrative costs.