Community residents ask Cuomo for special elections

Nayaba Arinde | 3/20/2014, 11:48 a.m.
At a Sunday afternoon rally targeting Gov. Andrew Cuomo activists demanded special elections and the reopening of 10 Assembly district ...
Protestors at a rally to demanded special elections for 10 New York Assembly districts offices Tyrik Washington photo

“Gov. Cuomo continues to ignore us,” Barron told the AmNews. “He doesn’t respond, but we are pursuing legal measures to both have special elections and have the district offices open to provide services for the residents.”

Asked why she thinks Cuomo is refusing to call for special elections—which many political observers thought would be an automatic announcement in January—Barron acknowledged that she had heard rumors that it may be because it had something to do with the governor’s concern over her husband, former Councilman Charles Barron, planning to run for her now vacated Assembly seat.

“Some people said that it is because he doesn’t want Charles up there challenging him as he runs for re-election, but I heard that it is to accommodate some Republicans, because there are some Republican seats upstate, but they are marginal—and they just don’t want elections held right now. Some people are also saying that the governor is just accruing money, because the money for these offices has been allocated. My [old] office, for example, has a lease paid up for two years. But the money for my [Assembly district] staff, the salary line, is not being spent, so it is just accumulating. That is $2 million to $3 million statewide that is not going to the districts’ offices and staff, and resources,” said Inez Barron.

“The Speaker called for Special Elections earlier this year,” was the only response from Silver’s office after several AmNews efforts to contact Cuomo and Silver on the issue.

The governor’s office referred to the statement he made at a February-aired radio show hosted by Susan Arbetter, during which the governor was asked, “Are you going to call special elections for the 11 open seats?”

Cuomo replied, “We are looking at that now. You know, it seems like every week there is another open seat given the travails of our friends in the Legislature. If you have to do special elections, they are very expensive to do because you basically have to run a separate election operation. So it is obviously something you want to do lightly. I would like to know what the legal effects are, and I would like to know, on a practical level, how many more shoes are going to drop here and how many people are going to be leaving office.”