The tabling by State Assembly Democrats of a Suffolk County sales tax hike is being viewed as a stinging rebuke to Steve Levy, who has made combating illegal immigration a central theme of his administration.
Here's what county legislator, former Assemblyman and Levy ally, Thomas Barraga (R-West Islip), said about the Assembly's unprecedented move: "It has to be very embarrassing for the county executive."
Well, I'm not sure it's all that embarrassing to Steve Levy. As a former wrestler with a napoleanic complex, it seems to me that Levy loves the contact. His instinct? To pin the opponent--and without an actual challenger to his county crown, the opponent is now local Assemblyman Phil Ramos. And he's called Ramos out.
Threatening "draconian cuts," and laying the blame squarely on Ramos, Levy jabs that "[i]t won't be pretty--and it's all going to be on Ramos".
To make clear that Levy relies on stroking the nativist chord, his ally county legislator Joseph Carracappa (R-Selden) threw this low blow to the Assembly's Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Caucus, Assemblyman Adriano Espaillat:
"There is no room for compromise. You don't negotiate with terrorists and that's basically what this guy is."
Espaillat's response: "Those are very strong words. I'm very discouraged that that kind of rhetoric is happening in Suffolk. It doesn't lead to healing, and it doesn't lead to the solution of any problems."
The good news is that Levy the Bully now has to deal with people his own size--politically speaking. And that should bode well for all New Yorkers.
Stay tuned for the next installment.
See Levy battles, but Suffolk may pay in taxes and Is Levy Getting His Comeuppance?