By Alan S. Chartock | April 27, 2019

Murray, the world’s cutest and most intelligent dog who was taught how to read and write at the Literacy Network of South Berkshire, announced that he wanted to talk to me.

“Hey, Pops,” he said. “You’re not looking too well. I agree with Mom that your new meshuggah diet is over the top. You really need some R and R so why not just let me carry this for a while. I really think that your Ph.D should have an expiration date on it and I’ve been around long enough to know more about things than you do.”

“Like what?” I asked Murray.

“Well, like about your new frenemy, Andrew Cuomo. I heard someone say that he’s a lot like Donald Trump. If you get on his enemies list you could end up not only toast but burnt toast. If you don’t give them the loyalty they think they deserve, you could end up on the losing end of the stick,” said the little dog, mixing his metaphors.

“Just look at the mess over the New York subways. I’m getting a headache just trying to follow his reasoning on why the subways stink. First he wanted us all to think that he, and not Mayor Bill, was in charge of the subways. Remember how he stood in front of the new Second Avenue Subway and beat his chest about this accomplishment? Then the subways became a big scandal and he ran fast. Even though he had the most votes on the MTA board, he said he needed more control. Then when HIS board bought in a top flight guy to run things, he got into fights with the new honcho to the point that the guy was ready to quit. Doesn’t that remind you a little of Trump?”

“Well, Murray,” sez I, “I really do resent the comparison. I mean Andrew may be tough and unnecessarily aggressive but as the people always say, ‘He gets things done.’ I think that’s true so while his style may not be to everyone’s liking, we have achieved some wonderful things in New York. Trump, on the other hand, appears to be the devil incarnate. Right? “

“What about all those people leaving New York and all the new buildings for the richest people? That ain’t right. On top of that, you have this congestion pricing stuff that punishes the poorest people who want to come in from New Jersey and the outer boroughs.”

“Well, Murray, you may have put your paw on it this time. No question about it. People are leaving because, as the man said, ‘The taxes are too damned high.’ Even the people with second homes make sure that they are here for less than half a year so that the city and state can’t tax them. Prince Andrew insisted on a tax cap but the fact remains that by moving to Florida, you save a ton of money. In our family we know what we have and we try not to spend ourselves into debt. I hate to sound like one of them but if Andrew figures out how to spend less he’ll be a hero.”

“One other thing, Pops. Senator Joseph Robach wants to divide the state into two parts, upstate and downstate. He says that New York City is getting too much. I think that he’s right,” said the little dog.”

“No, he’s not, Murray. All the data suggest that upstate gets more than its fair share which is why every once in a while, some opportunist from the city suggests that the city secede from upstate. Let’s face it — this is just political opportunism. It ain’t gonna happen and it shouldn’t.”

“I love you, pops,” said the little dog. “And I really am sorry that I questioned your credentials. I’m glad that you’re my pops.”

Alan Chartock is professor emeritus at the State University of New York, publisher of the Legislative Gazette and president and CEO of the WAMC Northeast Public Radio Network. Readers can email him at [email protected].