Corrupt Spending By An Out Of Control System
Senator Serphin Maltese
By By MICHAEL SCHENKLER
Election campaigns are often ugly.
They are frequently played in the gray areas on the border of moral, ethical (and perhaps legal) acceptable behavior.
Now, in election campaigns for legislative seats when a seat or two may change control of the legislative house, the entire process may be elevated to an institutional game played in the gray area.
Make that legislative body one of the most corrupt and the most dysfunctional in the nation and you have a blatant disregard of right and wrong.
Welcome to the New York State Senate.
For years, the Republicans have held onto a slight majority in the New York State Senate despite an overwhelming Democratic registration statewide. They have done this with the complicity of the Democratic controlled Assembly – so let’s share the blame.
Redistricting occurs every 10 years and each house draws lines to protect their incumbent members. Each house permits the other to gerrymander without scrutiny or review. The governors, at least till now, have not interfered with the process and allowed the system to continue, ignoring the undemocratic nature of districts drawn to help the election of particular individuals or party.
For the first time in decades, the Democratss are within two seats of gaining control of the Senate. A change of two seats from Republican to Democrat will give the tie-breaking vote to the Lieutenant Governor, David Patterson, a Democrat.
The Republican controlled Senate, fearing loss of personal power, committee chairmanship, lulus as well as half the legislative partnership which has caused our State’s legislature to become a body existing to serve itself and its members and not the people, seems prepared to do whatever is necessary to retain its slim majority.
Joe Bruno, the Rennsalaer Senator who is the Republican Majority leader who is already under ethical and legal probe by the FBI appears to be willing to bend and break the rules and expand the gray area, has sanctioned the use of the people’s money – money collected by taxes – to be used to retain his party’s majority.
In the same self-serving manner as redistricting, each legislative house permits the other to dispense money to its members’ operations and sit in judgment as to what it may be spent on.
Welcome to re-election campaigns.
And welcome to the expenditure of our money by a corrupt group intent on preserving their majority at the election in November 2008.
And meet Queens State Senator Serphin Maltese. As of the 2008 election he will have served 20 years as the Senator from the western Queens district including portions of Maspeth, Middle Village, Glendale, Ridgewood, Woodhaven, Ozone Park and Howard Beach – a district drawn to give a Republican a shot at a Queens seat in spite of the overwhelming Democratic registration.
And now it appears that Maltese will have a credible challenger with wide name recognition. Councilman Joe Addabbo Jr. is the likely Democratic candidate and will have the funding, organization and experience to equalize Maltese’s advantage of incumbency.
Meet Joe Bruno and his Republican caucus and watch them increasing the district’s postage and print budget so that Maltese can send tons of mail into his district for the purpose of self promotion.
Encounter the ethical standards enforced by the Republican leadership permitting color postcard after postcard with large photo and name of the candidate – oops, I mean Senator – just like are used in a campaign.
Who pays the price for the mailing? The people of the State of New York.
Ultimately, for accepting the unethical mailings, Maltese should pay the price with his seat; and for engineering the publicly funded campaign, the Republicans should pay the price with their majority.
We call upon the practice to end and Maltese to renounce his past use of public funds for campaign purposes.
When a corrupt process spends the people’s money the fine line of government use and campaign use no longer gets slightly blurred but totally ignored. State Senator Serf Maltese of Queens occupies one of the two or three seats which could go Democratic next year and change control of the NY Senate from Repub to Dem for the first time in years.
The Republican majority under the leadership of leader Joe Bruno is funding an expensive four-color, direct mail campaign to reelect Maltese. The mailings above (front and back) and below (front only) and the postage (left) are being paid for with taxpayer money, are clearly not for the benefit of the people or the State but are designed only to win the people’s support and vote for the Queens Senator who occupies one of the swing seats.
Paid for with taxpayer money