Your Breath, It’s the NYS Legislature
is that stench? Hold your breath.
Wafting all the way from Albany, we can smell the stink of the
New York State legislature.
It is noxious and offensive and has been so for a very long time.
Any student of government, any observer, any reporter, all fair
thinking people just shake their heads, wave a hand in front of
their nostrils and try not to inhale the foul aroma that emanates
from the legislative halls of New York State.
It's nothing new. The odor has been nasty for years only this
week it once again reached almost lethal levels of toxicity. The
people have been nauseated by the stink of Albany before and will
be so again. As a matter of fact, I can't quite recall the last
time that fresh air drifted south from our state's Capital.
Morally, ethically and legally, Albany has been the center of
pathetic dysfunctional government with a vile disgusting stench.
And anyone who goes near starts to gag.
If you can't smell the stink, you either need to consult an ENT
specialist or perhaps you have lived with the smell so long that
to you it seems normal.
You know how the only ones that can't seem to recognize the foul
odor coming from a room are the people who have been inside the
room for a very long time.
So it seems to be with the ethically challenged New York State
We all know the smell of the nation's most dysfunctional legislature.
The legislators only seem to recognize it when a member's blood
starts to flow.
So it was this week with Queens Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio.
His acts of personal greed and corruption came to light in a complaint
filed by U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia accusing Seminerio of selling
government influence to a tune in excess of a half-million dollars.
Yes, we believe Tony is entitled to a trial before being found
guilty. But we have read transcripts taken from the wiretaps and
statements of the FBI agent on the case. It is pretty clear.
They have Tony on tape: "I was doing favors for these sons of
b-- there, you know, they were, they were making thousands. Screw
you, from now on, you know, I'm a consultant."
Some half a million dollars later to his phony consulting company,
introductions, legislation, budget lobbying and favors, Anthony
Seminerio has been caught.
But it was legal for him to do it all for campaign contributions
- that was the old fashioned way for this 30-year Assembly veteran.
But Joe Bruno, the former Senate Majority leader who retired under
investigation by the Feds, had a "legit" consulting company and
he did business with guys who did business with the state, and
they haven't indicted him.
And Tony's leader, Speaker Shelly Silver is "of counsel" receiving
a purported million dollars annually from a firm that benefits
from Assembly inaction on tort reform, and no one seems to be
Don't all members do favors for big contributors?
Aren't there legislators who are practicing attorneys whose clients
are benefiting from their close relationship?
Aren't there other consultants?
the Legislature's disclosure rules don't even try to prevent this
type of behavior.
And the Assembly ethics committee provides "self-regulation,"
done behind closed doors, secretly.
Welcome to the Albany culture and whew, it sure does stink.
This time it was Tony's big mouth and bigger greed that brought
shame on the legislature. In recent memory Queens' Brian Mclaughlin
- apparently the FBI's cooperating witness who helped bring down
Tony - and Brooklyn's Clarence Norman and Diane Gorden, all recently
pleaded guilty or were convicted of corruption charges. Efrain
Gonzalez Jr., the Bronx State Senator, currently is facing Federal
Go back further and there are others, all adding to the smell
of Albany culture.
And no, we're not counting the multiple cases of sexual misconduct,
or even sexual harassment instances that add to the odor.
We have not provided a complete documentation - it would require
too much research for any single writer. Albany - the State Legslature
- is a sewer and it's stench is intolerable all the way to New
And no, not all of the members of the legislature are corrupt.
Most of them are not - we hope and think.
But these guys and gals have been sitting in the room with the
stench for so long that they don't recognize the smell.
"If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem."
-- Eldgridge Clever, Soul On Ice.
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Mayor Endorses Maltese In Senate Battle
Huge Turnout Gives Huntley Win In Jamaica
Memories of Shea
On 9/11, Some Wounds Still Unhealed
Women’s Hospital Breaks Ground
Citi Field To Be Year-Round Attraction
Stolen Torahs Recovered By Police
Meng Beats Young in Primary for Flushing Seat
Term-Limits Reversal Is Lukewarm
Your Words, Bite Your Tongue
HENRY J. STERN
Primary Day is in fact the primary way we choose elected officials in New York City, because the winner of the Democratic primary is usually assured of election in November (for every office except Mayor).
However, only people previously enrolled in the Democratic Party are allowed to vote in their primary. Mayor Bloomberg is not a member of any party, and therefore cannot vote. Millions of New Yorkers are in the same situation. Me too.
That is because New York is a closed-primary state. Other states have open primaries, where any enrolled voter can participate. Particularly in a one-party city, open primaries appear to be a fairer way to choose nominees for office.
Unbelievably, in New York City, a blue city in a blue state, the Democratic Party candidate has lost the last four elections for mayor. In 1993 - David Dinkins, 1997 - Ruth Messinger, 2001 - Mark Green and 2005 - Fernando Ferrer. A fact contributing to their defeat was that they were chosen in closed primaries, where the more extreme members of any party have disproportionate influence. The same holds true in Presidential primaries, and often works to the detriment of moderate candidates.
Thousands of people who consider themselves politically independent, neither Democrats nor Republicans, have enrolled over the years in the Independence Party, which is a political party like the others. The Independence Party of America was founded to support Tom Golisano, a Buffalo billionaire who owns the Sabres hockey team. Golisano founded Paychex, now the second-largest payroll processor in the United States.
He ran for governor three times on the Independence Party line, losing each time to the Republican Governor, George Pataki. Golisano is now paying for advertisements through a political action committee (PAC), called Responsible New York, which supports his favorites from both parties in legislative races. Mayor Bloomberg also helps candidates from both parties, on the basis of what they have done for the City.
The Board of Elections was wrong to approve the name of the Independence Party, because it misleads people who wish to be independent and not members of any party A party can take any name its members choose, but the name should not be deceptive.
When I was a lad, collecting petition signatures for Liberal Party nominees, I met a few voters who did not realize they were members of any party, but had simply checked the Liberal box on the enrollment form because they considered themselves liberals. The proportion of unknowing Independence Party enrollees is undoubtedly far higher.
In 2006, Senator Hillary Clinton declined the nomination of the Independence Party. Eliot Spitzer accepted it, abandoning his previous relationship with the Liberal Party, which had supported him in a four-way primary for Attorney General in 1998, and then provided more than his margin of victory over incumbent Dennis Vacco. On reading the chart following the Wikipedia entry which reprised Spitzer's electoral history, we observed that for both 1998 and 2002 he had excised the votes he received as a Liberal and added them to his Democratic total.
There is little use in beating a dead horse, but it is increasingly clear that Lust and Pride were not the only sins of Governor Spitzer, who departed on Day 442 of a series that began with Day One - Everything Changes. Spitzer's caustic tongue was recalled last week by Senate majority leader Dean Skelos, who referred to a comment by Governor Paterson comparing legislators with bloodsuckers as "Spitzeresque."
Governor Paterson made his biting remarks out of sympathy with petitioners whom he was addressing, advocates for the disabled who had made a wearying journey. He said: "I used to sit in my legislative office and think about how difficult it is to travel 150 miles to Albany on a bus … and how there were legislators who I used to think practiced their own versions of being Count Dracula."
He modified his remarks moments later, but in the political game of Gotcha, anything you say can be used against you, and there is no Miranda warning.
It is the reference to the Transylvanian vampire that stokes the memory. The character of Dracula, as described by Bram Stoker in the 1897 novel, is said to have been based on Vlad III (short for Vladimir, as in Putin), of Wallachia, better known as Vlad the Impaler, who reigned from 1456 to 1462. Vlad was renowned for having impaled tens of thousands of people by anal penetration. We offer this gory detail because it relates to New York State politics. It was Governor Spitzer himself who said last year that he wanted to impale then Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno with "a red hot poker."
Life imitates art, and art imitates life.
Not4Publication.com by Dom Nunziato