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Tranquility Base: An Interview With Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie

by Chris Chichester on 02/04/18

Chris Chichester: Speaker Carl Heastie thank you for joining me today as you continue to lead our Assembly in Albany.  On July 11, 2017 The Mercatus Center at George Mason University released a report that asserted: "On the basis of its fiscal solvency in five separate categories, New York is ranked 39th among the U.S. states for its fiscal health." What legislation will you propose to reverse this crisis? 

Speaker Carl Heastie:

Chichester:  Mr. Speaker according to "Meet Carl Heastie, New York's New Assembly Speaker" in New York by Margaret Hartmann on February 3, 2015:  "The manner of Heastie's selection isn't the only thing that rankled those hoping for change in Albany. Heastie, a 47-year-old former budget analyst for the New York City Comptroller's Office, was first elected in 2000, and his legislative record is thin." Is this description accurate?

Heastie: 

Chichester: In 2015 you hired Jane Feldman from Colorado to lead the Assembly Office of Ethics and Compliance.  You deposited her in a windowless 9th floor cubicle in the Legislative Office Building. In 2017 she quit and described the position as "a waste of money" and "a p.r. move."  Why do you possess such contempt for establishing a standard of ethical accountability for your Members?

Heastie: 

Chichester: Mr. Speaker on January 16, 2018 Assemblyman Charles Barron [D--Black Panther Party] stood and shouted at the governor during his speech announcing the $168 billion state budget. He said: Tax the millionaires! This is not the first time he has engaged in disgusting behavior. From Newsday in 2016:

ASSEMB. CHARLES BARRON INTERRUPTS ANDREW CUOMO'S STATE OF THE STATE 

By David M. Schwartz
david.schwartz@newsday.com
Updated January 13, 2016 9:07 PM

A New York City Assemblyman interrupted Gov. Andrew Cuomo's State of the State message Wednesday and was escorted out as he berated the governor about poverty.

Assb. Charles Barron (D-Brooklyn) stepped into the aisle in front of Cuomo as the governor listed the state's accomplishments at the start of the speech at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center.

"You're wrong! You're wrong!" Barron said, challenging the governor on urban school funding. 

Why did you fail to control the lunatic fringe in your conference as represented by Assemblyman Barron? Again.  

Heastie:  

Chichester: According to "Heastie On Switch To Payroll Tax: Would Be Wrong Not To Try" in the Times Union by Matthew Hamilton on January 16, 2018 you said "we need to explore" a new tax structure.  Does it require New Yorkers to EXPLORE THE SPACE with THE Bruce Dickinson? 

Heastie: 

Chichester: Your official Assembly site includes a link for press releases.  You have a grand total of: two. That number is spelled: t-w-o.  As the Speaker why do you refuse to detail a legislative agenda? Or explain your policy positions? Or respond to news events? Or engage the people of New York?

Heastie: 

Chichester: According to "Bronx Named Unhealthiest County For Seventh Time In A Row" in the Daily News by Jacqueline Cutler on March 17, 2016:

"For the seventh consecutive year Bronx County came in 62nd among all New York counties, branding the area as the most unhealthy.  The Bronx ranked at the bottom for quality of life, which included poor physical and mental health and low birthweight, and in health factors, such as smoking, obesity and physical activity." 

You are first elected to represent the Bronx in 2000. How do you respond to this pathetic quality of life?

Heastie: 

Chichester: More from the Daily News about your Bronx: 

"The rate of childhood poverty in the Bronx is 43%, which is nearly double the statewide average. High school graduation rate is 56%, where its 77% statewide and unemployment is 9.8%, compared to 6.3% statewide, all factors that led to it being last in statewide stats."

What is your reaction to these appalling numbers?

Heastie: 

Chichester: According to "Best And Worst States For Taxes In 2016" in Forbes New York is ranked: 50th. It cites our 12.7% state-and-local tax burden and 5.8% effective state tax rate on $50,000. What are you doing to relieve this obscene burden?

Heastie: 

Chichester: New York is absent from "The Ten Best States For Future Job Growth" in Forbes on November 16, 2016.  Why?

Heastie: 

Chichester:  According to "The 20 Worst States For Finding A Job" at CNBC by Emmie Martin on June 25, 2017 New York is ranked: 19.  Why is New York consistently a spectacle, a mediocrity, a laughingstock in job creation rankings?

Heastie: 

Chichester: Is it true that love means never having to say your sorry?

Heastie: 

Chichester: If Kitty Dukakis were raped and murdered would you favor an irrevocable death penalty for the killer?

Heastie:

Chichester: In an isolated incident The New York Times quoted three consecutive sentences from you. You said: "I think to close out this discussion, I think it would be better to put into perspective what we are talking about. I had a discussion with our daughter Amy the other day before I came here to ask her what the most important issue was.  She said she thought it was nuclear weaponry, and the control of nuclear arms." Is that language accurate? 

Heastie:

Chichester: You are a graduate of the State University of New York at Stony Brook.   It is the alma mater of handsome, charming Chris Chichester. How did you achieve graduation wallowing in silence for four years?

Heastie:

Chichester: As the legislative session unfolds during the next five months how do you identify the issues that will 1) prevent New Yorkers from leaving the state for superior employment opportunities and 2) retiring to a state with lower taxes?

Heastie:

Chichester:  You swore a constitutional oath to faithfully discharge the duties of your office. Can you describe your policy agenda for the 2018 legislative session? 

Heastie: 

Chichester: I'm a botanist at Acidalia Planitia on Mars with Astronaut Mark Watney.  What advice do you provide to high school students visiting your office about the splendor of New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx? 

Heastie: 

Chichester: Is living in solitude on Mars a life you aspire to given how you conduct yourself in Boo Radley silence as speaker of the New York Assembly? 

Heastie: No. 

Chichester:  You're unusually talkative and demonstrative today, Mr. Speaker. I commend your Lincolnesque powers of communication.  What is the reason for engaging the people of New York with this harmonious cadence from your star chamber in Albany?

Heastie: 

*

Freedom Lies In Being Bold -- Robert Frost
www.eff.org