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Governor Cuomo Meets the Hedge Clippers in the Hamptons, at $5,000 Per Person

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Author: dianeravitch

It is a beautiful sunny day on eastern Long Island, a perfect day for Governor Andrew Cuomo to mingle with the rich and powerful hedge fund managers and moguls who underwrote his campaign. He is raising money for yet another campaign, only months after his re-election. If you can afford to pay $5,000, you too might join the fun and share the canapés. The hedge funders have been his most reliable allies, and he repaid them by giving free rein to the charter industry, especially in New York City, where Mayor de Blasio had threatened to curtail their expansion. Cuomo derailed de Blasio’s plans, showing his disdain for mayoral control of the schools when the mayor doesn’t agree with him.

Ah, but what is this? Uninvited guests! The Hedge Clippers, labor activists who object to Cuomo’s love-the-rich policies and charter schools. You can read about it in the Wall Street Journal.

Busloads of labor activists and liberal operatives are headed Saturday to a place where they won’t be welcome: A fundraiser for Gov. Andrew Cuomo at a sprawling estate in the Hamptons.
Mr. Cuomo has become the primary target of the group calling itself the Hedge Clippers that protests the governor’s policies and his ties to the wealthy.

Their rise comes as Mr. Cuomo contends with a growing rift within the Democratic Party between his centrist approach and the liberal base, much of which doesn’t like his cultivation of support from Republicans and many in business.

The target of the Hedge Clippers this weekend is a $5,000-a-person East Hampton event in honor of the governor hosted by Daniel Loeb, a top hedge-fund manager based in New York City. Mr. Loeb is also a political fundraiser who, like Mr. Cuomo, has sparred with teachers unions and championed charter schools.

The showdown has tony communities in the Hamptons slightly amused and slightly on edge.

“Dan Loeb is thick-skinned and relishes a fight,” said Euan Rellie, an investment banker who summers in the Hamptons and is a friend of Mr. Loeb’s. “But no successful business person wants to be seen as a remote billionaire living with pitchforks at the hedges. Who would want that?”

The activists plan to fly aerial banners over the grounds of the Loeb mansion as Mr. Cuomo’s donors nibble canapés and sip cocktails on the lawn.

To be sure, Mr. Cuomo is hardly the only politician to be met with protesters at some of his events. But the Hedge Clippers are trained largely on one politician, and their pockets are deep.

Funded by the American Federation of Teachers, the group has been galvanizing liberal activists in Albany, Washington, D.C., and New York City since February.

“The larger point is the governor of New York should listen to everybody, not just the billionaires in the Hamptons,” said Michael Kink, a former state Senate aide who now runs a union-backed activist group and said he planned to attend the protest.

Multiple hedge-fund managers who declined to speak for attribution said they appreciated Mr. Cuomo’s opposition to new taxes and saw him as a politician interested in compromise.

They said they believed that charter schools were a better alternative to some of the city’s troubled schools. Many hedge funders identify as libertarians, said people in their industry, and don’t support a particular party.

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