Categories: Editorial, OpinionDuring a recent radio conversation with WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Gov. Andrew Cuomo made a claim that anyone who has observed his long career in government knows he never would have made eight, four or even two years ago.He called himself a “progressive.”. He also went on to assert that among the records of his fellow Democrats in the state legislature, the Congress and the dozen or more announced presidential candidates; his was the record of a “real” progressive. It wouldn’t be Cuomo if there weren’t at least a hint of criticism in that remark.As veiled but obvious payback for the rebuke he received over his proposed plans with Amazon in New York City, he was calling out the progressive credentials of those opposing that plan more self-styled than substantive. Aspiring to things is all well and good, he argued; but what really counts is a record of accomplishment. To his detractors, this particular reticence proves that Cuomo is no true progressive, but rather an opportunist whose political beliefs change to conform to emerging and then prevailing trends.To be a true progressive, must a leader possess a Quixote-like quality that openly and willingly tilts at windmills, as it were?Or can a leader who coldly assesses what is within the realm of possibility and then acts accordingly also be a true progressive?Politics at its core might be best described as the art of achieving the aspirational through a keen ability to pragmatically perceive — and then skillfully utilize — timing and opportunity. Idealists are apt to discount this as a skill at all and argue that the mark of true leadership is both the willingness and ability to create the circumstances necessary for achieving the aspirational, even against long odds.Are idealism and pragmatism opposing values?Is this just another regrettable example of Democratic infighting — the party’s proverbial “circular firing squad” where perfect is made the enemy of good? What do the terms we breezily cast about today — “liberal,” “progressive,” “socialist,” “centrist,” “conservative,” “nationalist,” “populist” — really mean anyway? There’s no universal agreement over how each are defined. Cuomo and his critics are perfect exemplars.Far from nailing things down, blithely placing labels on ideas, policies and people are just efforts at buttonholing them in a way that only serves the intentions of those applying the tags. They mean whatever anyone wants them to mean. It’s lazy shorthand designed to defeat and replace deeper thought and reflection. Political tacticians know this better than anyone. “Branding” and “redefining” may be clever strategy, but they’re just forms of political propaganda. You say pot(ay)to and I say pot(ah)to. Maybe we need more than labels to tell us who our leaders really are.Is Cuomo a “real” progressive? You tell me.John Figliozzi is a regular contributor to the Sunday Opinion section.More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen? He does have one.During his tenure, the governor has advocated, presided over and helped enact a number of policies and initiatives generally acknowledged as “progressive.”And the list is not a short one — marriage equality and protection of LBGTQ rights; gun control; a graduated minimum wage increase to $15; a free tuition plan at state universities; promoting a host of environmental-protection strategies including the banning of fracking; supporting and enacting criminal justice reforms involving use of bail, treatment of juvenile offenders and the closure of over a dozen prisons; infrastructure projects such as overdue replacement of the Tappan Zee Bridge; rigorous opposition to Trump federal tax and immigration policies; and new laws to increase voting rights and better regulate campaign financing. His critics, though, decry his treatment of the teacher unions, his embrace of charter schools to the detriment of the public education system, his strong ties to Wall Street and his open feud with Bill deBlasio, the more outwardly liberal mayor of New York City. They say that, for decades, he and other “establishment” Democrats turned their collective backs on the principles of the New Deal and accepted the Reagan dictum that government should shrink from engineering solutions to societal problems and embrace the agenda of corporate and commercial interests.They contend that he waits to determine the direction of the political wind and then acts only when compelled.They complain that many of the progressive reforms over which he has presided could have been enacted earlier, were it not for his unwillingness to confront the Senate Democrats that allied with Republicans during his first two terms and prevented the progressive Democratic majority from taking control of the chamber.
February 13, 2018 Human Services, Medical Marijuana, Press Release Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today announced medical marijuana will be available for patients at approved dispensaries beginning February 15.“Pennsylvanians have been waiting years for this moment,” Governor Wolf said. “Medical marijuana is legal, safe and now available to Pennsylvanians suffering from 17 serious medical conditions. In less than two years, we have developed a regulatory infrastructure, approved physicians as practitioners, certified patients to participate and launched a new industry to help thousands find relief from their debilitating symptoms.”Patients are encouraged to contact the dispensary directly before visiting to see if an appointment is required. Medical marijuana will be available at the following locations:Feb. 15Cresco Yeltrah-Butler, 201 Pillow St. Butler, PA, 724-712-0705Feb. 16Keystone Canna Remedies, 1309 Stefko Blvd., Bethlehem, PA, 484-408-6122Solevo-Squirrel Hill, 5600 Forward Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15217, 412-422-0420Organic Remedies-Enola, 4425 Valley Road, Enola, PA 17025, 717-562-7758Feb. 17Terra Vida Holistic Center-Sellersville, 64 N. Main St., Sellersville, PA 18960, 215-257-3243Keystone Shops-Devon, 420 West Lancaster Ave., Devon, PA, 484-581-7189“Our work continues to increase access to this important medical tool,” Dr. Rachel Levine, Acting Health Secretary and Physician General said. “Our teams are crisscrossing the state inspecting dispensaries as they are ready to open their doors. Each week we will be adding locations where Pennsylvanians suffering from serious medical conditions can get this medication.”To date, 10 dispensaries and 10 grower/processors have been approved to operate. Cresco Yeltrah is the first grower/processor to begin delivery to dispensaries.More than 17,000 patients have registered to participate in the medical marijuana program, with nearly 4,000 certified by a physician. Physicians continue to register to participate in the program. To date, 708 have registered and of those, 376 have competed the training to become certified practitioners.In order to become operational, the grower/processors and dispensaries have each undergone several inspections from the Department of Health. Each of the grower/processors are fully integrated with the seed-to-sale tracking system and are now able to begin accepting seeds and clones to grow medical marijuana.The Medical Marijuana Program was signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf on April 17, 2016. Since that time, the department has:Completed the Safe Harbor temporary guidelines and Safe Harbor Letter application process, as well as approved more than 340 applications;Completed temporary regulations for growers/processors, dispensaries, physicians, patients, and laboratories, all which have been published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin;Issued permits to grower/processors and dispensaries;Developed the Medical Marijuana Physician Workgroup;Convened the Medical Marijuana Advisory Board;Approved five training providers for physician continuing-education;Approved three laboratories to test medication before it is delivered to patients;Launched registries for patients and caregivers, as well as physicians;Registered more than 17,000 patients for the program;Approved eight dispensaries and 10 grower/processers to begin operations; andContinued to work with permittees to ensure they will be operational.The Medical Marijuana Program became effective on May 17, 2016, and is expected to be fully implemented in 2018. The program will offer medical marijuana to patients who are residents of Pennsylvania and under a practitioner’s care for the treatment of a serious medical condition as defined by the Medical Marijuana Law.Questions about the Medical Marijuana Program can be emailed to RA-DHMedMarijuana@pa.gov. Information is also available at www.medicalmarijuana.pa.gov .For more information, follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Wolf Administration Unveils When and Where Medical Marijuana Will be Available to Patients SHARE Email Facebook Twitter
− claims provision not exclusionaryIncumbent Alliance For Change (AFC) Leader Khemraj Ramjattan has justified his intention to serve another term as leader of the party, if so nominated by delegates, despite the fact that this will breach the party’s constitution.According to Ramjattan, the provision in AFC’s constitution is not exclusionary in any way.According to Article 19 (1) of the AFC’s Constitution, no leader would be allowed to serve more than two consecutive terms in the same office, in the interest of “a broader activism in leadership positions by the membership.”Not excluded! AFC Leader Khemraj RamjattanWhen contacted for a comment on his direct breach of the party’s constitution, Ramjattan stated that the provision cited was not exclusionary in any way. According to him, the provision does not mandate that he cannot run again.Ramjattan was elected as AFC Leader in 2012, his term lasting for four years, or the equivalent of two terms. According to Article 7 of the party’s constitution, “A national convention shall be held every two years at a place and time decided by the National Executive Committee.”Though Ramjattan will be looking to be re-elected to serve in the leadership capacity, he is expected to face stiff competition for the post at the upcoming elections, which will be held at the party’s National Executive Conference (NEC) later this month.In addition to Ramjattan, Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson and Public Telecommunications Minister Cathy Hughes are seen as contenders for the post.The AFC’s NEC will be hosted on January 28 at the Vreed-en-Hoop Secondary School in Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) – the party’s first NEC outside of Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica).The NEC will include elections for the positions of the party Leader, Chairman, Vice Chairman, General Secretary and 12 National Executive Members.Contender for the top spot; Public Telecommunications Minister, Cathy HughesThe AFC was formed by Ramjattan, current Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman and the late Sheila Holder, in 2005. Trotman became the leader, but a power sharing agreement was enacted that would see the leadership being rotated.It was with this formula, and the constitution it enacted, that the AFC contested subsequent elections. It has since been subsumed by the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) coalition, a step taken in order to contest the 2015 General Elections.The AFC has faced criticism from political activist Dr David Hinds for its perceived silence on controversial issues, including the Minister’s salary hike and the sugar industry. According to Hinds, the party appeared to be suffering from apathy and was disconnected from its support base. Dr Hinds had noted that after the promise of transformation it came with, the party seemed to have shifted away from its transformative agenda. In response, the party had stated that it remained committed to change and transformation.