Upon New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s resignation after a bombshell sexual harassment report, there was palpable applause in the conservative world. It was time for the emperor to renounce his throne. But in Cuomo’s place has emerged a figure no more appealing.
Former Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who joined Cuomo’s team in 2014, is already pushing boundaries that ought to gall those concerned with their rights and the common good. Corporate media outlets may have referred to the Buffalo native as a “centrist Democrat,” but anyone paying attention right now might think otherwise.
Like other Democrat leaders, including President Joe Biden, Hochul has joined the bandwagon to compel Americans into COVID vaccination. This week, a federal judge extended a block on Hochul’s August order requiring all health-care workers to get vaccinated by Sept. 27 or else be fired. The block will remain in effect until Oct. 12 and comes on the heels of state employees, with legal aid from the Thomas More Society, suing New York over the lack of religious exemptions in Hochul’s overbearing order.
“What New York is attempting to do is slam shut an escape hatch from an unconstitutional vaccine mandate,” attorney Christopher Ferrara of the Thomas More Society said, further arguing that the plaintiffs are not anti-vaccine as much as seeking to retain their constitutional rights.
Preliminary data indicates Americans are dissatisfied with attempts by the government to force them to get COVID shots. According to a recent Convention of States Action and Trafalgar Group poll, only about 30 percent of people think the White House can do so. Worse for Hochul, the poll indicated just over 56 percent of Americans support attempts by state governors to oppose the vaccine requirement. (Another win for Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis).
Robert C. Cahaly, chief pollster at Trafalgar Group, told me the data shows people are not willing to let COVID dictate their lives anymore.
“Look at college crowds in red and blue states, see the traffic on the roads, or just go to Home Depot on a Saturday morning. People are telling us that COVID is in their rearview mirror and they would like for the government to respect their choices in the matter,” Cahaly said.
Hochul Elides Law on Moratoriums, Mandates
Hochul doesn’t seem to get the message, though. It’s no wonder the governor said in August she desires the “legal clearance” to mandate all charter and public school employees get tested, while claiming she would “mandate” it given the opportunity.
Keep in mind, this is the same official whose administration has been accused by lawmakers of rejecting local governments’ vaccination plans and prolonging dosage plans back in January. Hochul tried to rationalize this failure in a recent briefing, noting, “There is a role for state government [and] a role for local government.” This is ruling class hierarchy at play.
After the Supreme Court ruled Biden’s eviction moratorium unconstitutional, Hochul signed into law an extended moratorium on COVID-related evictions in effect until Jan. 15, 2022. Landlords already struggling to collect rent as New Yorkers flee the state will be further burdened by the moratorium.
New York City’s largest landlord group, the Rent Stabilization Association, is suing Hochul and claims the “unsworn hardship declaration” tenants would sign to avoid rent will go unvetted since residents won’t need to provide “any documentation of the hardship.” As The New York Daily News reported, the state’s moratorium program has continued to deal with glitches and only a small portion of the more than $2 billion program is being allocated to landlords.
Governor’s Policies Hurt the Working Class
Joe Borelli, a Republican New York City Councilman, told me he thinks Hochul’s administration is hurting working-class New Yorkers by freezing evictions.
“Democrats have a misguided belief that every landlord owns a skyscraper, but unfortunately the people who will get crushed the most by this are small mom-and-pop landlords and two-family homeowners,” Borelli said. “They have decided to arbitrarily suspend the concept of a contract for some backwards political gain.”
Hochul’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The supposed “centrist” is assuming office at a time Democrat governors are increasingly expanding the scope of government and backing further coronavirus restrictions after lockdowns led to social and economic devastation. Mask mandates have trickled back in several blue states, including in schools.
Borelli is appalled by Hochul’s COVID leadership thus far and calls it “Kafkaesque” that further mandates are on the table after all this time.
“It’s just unclear to anyone observing how despite our lower numbers, an effective vaccine, and successful treatments, the mandates and restrictions only seem to be getting worse,” the councilman said.
In her short time in office, Hochul keeps reinforcing the power of the COVID hierarchy. Her administration represents not a break with Cuomo, but its indefinite extension.