This week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo flagrantly abused the power of his office, circumventing the state legislature, thumbing his nose at the state constitution—and we applaud him for it.
His executive order calling for speed cameras to be turned back on in school zones will make our streets safer and protect our kids, which are arguably the most fundamental things citizens rely on our government to do.
When the legislative branch fails to act, the executive branch needs to step up and implement temporary fixes. In this instance, Cuomo acted appropriately, giving the legislature the summer to try to sort out a fix, and waiting until this week to make the move right before our children return to school.
This is how a democratic republic government should operate.
He has already received blowback for the move. Many people have recycled typical Machiavellian critiques of the two-term governor, or referenced his infamous quote, “I am the government.”
Some have suggested that the move is outright illegal and that he is going to get sued and lose—which is probably true. But we ask, who is going to stand up and file a lawsuit to try to make our streets less safe? We don’t know of any Fathers For Fast Driving organization infuriated by this decision.
At the end of the day, as mishandled as the process has been, and as much of a power grab as this may be, Cuomo did the right thing. Our bet is that the vast majority of the people agree and will just let this go forward without challenge.
Cynics may suggest that Cuomo is only doing this because he is in the middle of a campaign. Maybe he only championed this issue because it will get him votes.
If that is the case, who cares?
We should judge our elected officials on their actions, even if we are skeptical of their motives. In moving to make sure speed cameras are operable, Cuomo took appropriate and necessary action.
While his re-election campaign has been lackluster and often tone-deaf, he struck the right note with this action. This reminds us that despite his many failings, he has been a steadfast leader who has delivered for the people—and continues to deliver for the people.