If you don’t live in upstate NY, you may not realize how horrible a Governor Andrew Cuomo is.

Upstate, a huge region north and west of New York City, is Republican territory, and has been in revolt against Cuomo’s outrageous gun control SAFE Act for years. Almost every upstate county has, in an ultimately futile but symbolic act, rejected the SAFE Act.

Cuomo also banned fracking, which has left upstate stuck in economic decline as nearby Pennsylvania counties thrived. Upstate is shedding population and jobs, while downstate NYC and surroundings receives state government’s attention and majority of votes.

Radio host Bob Landsberry thinks the upstate (Republican) decline is part of Cuomo’s plan, Falling NY Population Is Part Of Cuomo’s Plan:

The undeniable goal of Andrew Cuomo and the Democratic Party is the political and social cleansing of a vast rural population which is culturally and philosophically different from its progressive New York City masters. The people who are moving out of New York are the people Andrew Cuomo doesn’t want, and their departures year after year are merely the falling dominoes of his tightening grip around the neck of a people he hates.

When Andrew Cuomo said there was no place in New York for those with whom he disagrees – the “extreme conservatives” with their Christianity and their Second Amendment – it was the statement of a policy. It was the declaration of an objective. It was a decree.

It was a verbalization of the war against the culture and people of rural upstate New York which has defined the Cuomo administration….

By denying upstate New York of the prosperity and tax revenues of hydrofracking for natural gas, he has made the Southern Tier counties among the very poorest in America. By imposing both mandates and tax caps, he has nearly bankrupted the municipalities and schools of upstate, and denied their elected leaders any true role in local governance. He is pushing hard to consolidate and eliminate rural, local municipalities, denying upstaters even the pretense of self-government.

He has attacked the rural culture of upstate with gun bans in his Safe Act, harassed the faith of many with his disallowing of religious exemptions in vaccination mandates, and imposed a progressive political regime on scores of counties where it is anathema.

He has dumped New York City’s trash in upstate’s pristine Finger Lakes region, and disfigured rural hills and fields with grotesque “green energy” projects that rape the upstate countryside to assuage the downstate conscience.

Cuomo’s “green” agenda continues to run roughshod over rural communities, Andrew Cuomo’s bid to ram industrial wind, solar plants down locals’ throats:

This clash has been a long time coming. Since 2014, the governor has waged war against hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the technology that has unleashed an energy renaissance of jobs and cheap natural gas. Last year, Cuomo pushed even further with his green agenda. Under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, passed and signed last year, the state must obtain 70 percent of its electricity from green sources by 2030 and 100 percent by 2040. And by 2050, the state must achieve “net-zero” emissions for everything — electricity, motor vehicles, industry, you name it.

Those are daunting benchmarks. Replacing all of the non-electric fossil-fuel use with wind and solar power will be a Herculean task, not only in terms of the rate at which those renewable resources will have to be developed, but also the amount of land it will require. Hence, this battle with localities.

Upstate New York already is home to most of the existing and proposed wind and solar development — and opposition to that development. Many upstaters are unhappy about the impact that 500- to 650-foot-tall wind turbines and hundreds of acres of solar panels will have on their communities….

Cuomo intends to crush local, home-rule-based opposition. Under the guise of the state’s budgeting process, he intends to declare an “emergency” that will allow him to revamp the process for approving green-energy projects. To wit, the projects are to be fast-tracked, with no regard for local opinion. The state will also acquire needed land, build the necessary infrastructure, including transmission lines, and hand it all over to developers.

It’s no coincidence that Republican congressional candidates do well in upstate districts, particularly Tom Reed in NY-23 and Elise Stefanik in NY-21, who are national party leaders.

It is these bitter suspicions of Cuomo that have been brought to the surface with Cuomo’s announcement that the state has ordered the National Guard to seize ventilators from upstate NY hospitals for use downstate:

The governor announced an executive order Friday directing the National Guard to take unused ventilators and personal protective equipment from Upstate hospitals and businesses and deliver them to the New York City region.

“I don’t have an option and I’m not going to get into a situation where we know we are running out of ventilators and we could have people dying because there are no ventilators but there are hospitals in other parts of the state that have ventilators that they are not using,” he said.

Almost immediately after the governor announced his plan to divert ventilators downstate, Erie County Legislature Minority Leader Joe Lorigo, C, got on the phone with the county attorney to discuss how to block the executive order.

“I as a county legislator have a duty and a responsibility to represent residents in Erie County,” he said. “Allowing our medical equipment to go somewhere else and leaving us completely exposed would be irresponsible.”

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, D, said in speaking with the governor’s office and the hospitals, it’s his understanding there are no available ventilators to take from Erie County.

“There is not a single person who’s going to have a ventilator taken away in Erie County to send downstate,” Poloncarz said.

State lawmakers also criticized the plan with a number of Republicans, sending a letter to the governor calling on him to reconsider. Democratic Assemblywoman Monica Wallace said she also expressed her concerns to Cuomo’s office.

Cuomo reportedly also plans to use military helicopters to seize the ventilators:

Cuomo is not taking all the ventilators from upstate, reportedly he’s only taking 20%, but some hospitals upstate in rural areas already have only a handful to start.

Some local context: Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake has 8 ventilators total. Elizabethtown Community Hospital has 2.

Cuomo, implicitly comparing himself to FDR, says he’ll only be borrowing the ventilators and will return them when NYC no longer needs them.

That’s a dodge — what if small upstate hospitals need them soon, will Cuomo pull them from downstate hospitals? Those downstate hospitals don’t need them NOW, the worry is that they will need them in the future.

Upstate hospitals don’t have a lot of excess ventilator capacity, so Cuomo’s plan is dangerous even in large upstate cities like Buffalo:

Upstate hospital executives and elected officials said it would be unacceptable to dispatch National Guard troops to pick up ventilators, masks and gowns from hospitals in areas not yet hard-hit by the spread of Covid-19 and deliver them to New York City….

At his regular briefing on the pandemic, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz on Friday said he had spoken to the leaders at all the local hospitals and could not find any ventilators that are not in use. He said he had shared that information with the governor’s staff.

“There’s not going to be any movement of ventilators from Erie County,” he said, adding: “There is not a single person who is going to have a ventilator taken away.” …

Kaleida Health, Catholic Health, Erie County Medical Center and two smaller hospitals in Niagara County last month reported having a total of 363 ventilators, although the two large hospital systems said they were expanding their ventilator capacity.

Hospital officials on Friday did not immediately say how many ventilators are in use by patients and how many are available. However, Poloncarz said as of Thursday evening, 179 people were hospitalized in Erie County because of Covid-19, including 90 in ICUs, with 79 of them getting “airway assistance,” including ventilators.

Kaleida Health, the region’s largest hospital system, said it learned of the action as Cuomo was speaking Friday.

“Today I stand shoulder to shoulder with our physicians, nurses and staff to oppose this executive order that is designed to pit upstate versus downstate,” Kaleida Health CEO Jody L. Lomeo said in a statement. “In a time of crisis, we do not have the luxury of spending time on public fights and mandates like this. Instead, I would welcome and encourage us all to develop a more collaborative plan that doesn’t jeopardize lives and result in further chaos and panic.”

Republican politicians have led the charge opposing Cuomo’s plan, joined by some Democrats like Rep. Brian Higgins:

A hastag has started, #UpstateLivesMatter:

https://twitter.com/LegInsurrection/status/1246423773198405633

The reactions have been predictable.

Cuomo will receive national media accolades for his caring posture, even though he is as responsible as anyone for NY State’s lack of hospital capacity and ventilators.

But upstate, the recipient of years of Cuomo abuse, won’t see it that way. Cuomo has, once again, painted upstate into a corner from which there is no escape.

 

 
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