NYC’s crime, mental health crises have Hochul, ‘rookie’ Adams on the ropes
Elections have consequences, but some of those consequences can have an odd and intriguing afterlife….
Elections have consequences, but some of those consequences can have an odd and intriguing afterlife. Take the findings of a new Siena poll on Gov. Hochul.
She won her election last month by the relatively narrow margin of just under six points, but is now trailing her defeated Republican opponent in a favorability contest. According to the Siena survey, Hochul is at 45% favorable with 43% unfavorable, while Lee Zeldin is at 46%-32%.
That’s a swing of 18 points for Zeldin, who stood at 37%-41% before the election.
The results are a consolation prize for the Long Island congressman and reflect the way he dictated the campaign agenda while Hochul hid in the Governor’s Mansion until the final days. As such, the findings are a serious warning to her.
The reason for Hochul’s lackluster showing now is the same reason she almost became the first Democrat to lose a statewide election in 20 years: crime or, more accurately, her failure to do much about it.
She won because of her party’s better than 2-1 registration advantage, but many voters, including some Democrats, clearly believe she’s been a spectator during a murder surge in most cities and they are nervous about growing disorder nearly everywhere.
Her inaction on crime helps explain why Republicans picked up four House seats in New York, which was key to gaining the majority in Congress.
In assessing the governor’s standing, the Siena poll takes a resourceful approach by asking voters if she made progress in six areas she promised to focus on a year ago. Here is how pollster Steven Greenberg described the response: “Today . . . voters give a resounding ‘no.’ A majority or strong plurality say she did not make progress on any of them.”
Fewer than one-third, he added, believe she made any progress on any of the six, which included, in addition to public safety, building trust in Albany and making the state a place where people want to live, not leave.
Yet many of those same people voted for her. Go figure.
Hochul’s perceived weakness as she begins her first full term could have enormous implications for taxpayers across the state and could hinder Mayor Adams as he begins his second year at City Hall.
For one thing, the far-left Legislature has no reason to fear her, with the result that she will have the least clout in the budget process of any governor in recent times. Even if Hochul were inclined to veto new taxes, spending and other key legislation, Dem lawmakers enjoy veto-proof majorities in both chambers.
Adams’ ‘rookie’ mistakes
For Adams, the situation underscores how he missed his best chance to get help from Hochul on crime during the campaign, when she was vulnerable and needed his backing. Now she would have trouble delivering the measures Adams wants, even if she agreed they are needed.
Crime, of course, was the major issue that propelled Adams to victory a year ago and, while murder and shootings are down by 11% and 16% respectively this year, violence and disorder remain Public Enemy No. 1 for most New Yorkers.
When he was elected, Adams jubilantly vowed he would show America how to run a city. Perhaps sobered by the difficulties, he said recently that 2022 is his “rookie year” and promised more results soon.
If 2023 really is going to mark a big improvement, Adams will need to stay more relentlessly focused on crime, including things like fare-beating and shoplifting. He often seems to take his eye off the ball, as with his embrace of a migrant influx from the border.
He also seems reluctant to use the persistence needed to get results. For example, neither Albany nor Washington has helped bear the cost of the migrants, yet the mayor hasn’t raised the issue lately.
And when Hochul and lawmakers refused to make needed changes to bail laws and other criminal justice measures that are turning loose dangerous people, he eventually gave up and accepted the cold shoulder.
In fairness, he might have been leery of recreating the nonstop war between his predecessor, Bill de Blasio, and Hochul’s, Andrew Cuomo. But being a gentleman hasn’t gotten him a better result. He needs to stop taking no for an answer.
His Albany agenda this year will feature a critical new measure, one that gives Hochul and lawmakers a second chance to help make Gotham safe again. The issue is forced hospitalization of the mentally-ill homeless, all of whom are a danger to themselves and some who have committed violent crimes.
The mayor’s plan is a series of commonsense measures that reflect the growing realization that the current laws have created a revolving door where the mentally ill are taken off the street for treatment but then released in a matter of days, only to have the cycle repeated after more violence.
Naturally, the far left is already lining up to oppose the mayor, claiming the mentally-ill homeless have a right to live on the streets. The radicals couch their argument in terms of compassion and civil liberties, but many street people are simply incapable of taking care of themselves.
And how is it compassion to leave them outside in New York’s winter?
Once again, the mayor is on the right side of the issue but that’s no guarantee. Indeed, if 2022 taught New Yorkers anything, it’s that being right doesn’t count for squat in Albany.
Power is all that matters. And right now, Adams doesn’t have much.
Title 42 border bunk
With America already suffering more than 5 million illegal border crossers under Joe Biden, the feds are about to lose a valuable pandemic-era control tool. Title 42 allows expulsion of migrants if the government believes they are likely to spread contagious diseases, but a federal court said it is arbitrary and must be lifted next week.
But don’t worry, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan assured reporters. All will be well because, well, he said so.
“The team has been working very hard,” Sullivan said, “to ensure that we are taking steps to be able to manage the expiration of Title 42 and put in place a process that will be orderly and humane.”
There, feel better?
“Musk” say thank you
Reader Greg Litzie is grateful for Elon Musk, writing: “It’s funny how a hero can be found and little did we know he was there. Musk is very intelligent, very inventive, very aggressive and has a touch of oddity.
“He has given us a new understanding of just how the Deep State works. It is pure evil lined with treasonous actions.
“Trump was right, going back to 2016, the swamp needs draining.”