Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The mess in Albany

Our editorial people will be producing n piece on the Spitzer-Bruno scandal, probably for Sunday. Meantime, some thoughts:

* I don't know if Gov. Spitzer did anything to warrant the kind of probe Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno is likely to launch. But the rookie governor sure is guilty of botching the golden opportunity given to him by 70 percent of the state's voters. Carrying a huge mandate to clean up and refocus Albany, Spitzer's overly combative side has made enemies of allies and sympathetic figures of those who don't deserve it (like Bruno). Now the governor is on the defensive, his political agenda in a shambles and his image as an ethics crusader sullied. Who knows if he'll ever regain the admiration and encouragement of many who supported him?

* While Bruno -- never one to shy away from a fight -- takes the momentum of the attorney general's findings into the next round against Spitzer, will the already slow wheels of state government grind to a halt as Albany engulfs itself in hearings and probes? Can the people's business be completed in the toxic atmosphere along State Street? Will tentative deals -- congestion pricing, campaign finance reform, among them -- unravel? Will economic development projects from one end of the state to the other -- including the solar energy initiative in Ulster County -- be left in suspended states of animation?

* What's the deal with the attorney general and the New York Post? Something doen't feel right to me.

* His denials to the contrary, it's hard to believe the hands-on governor wasn't aware of what his guy Darren Dopp did. If he did know, it's bad for obvious reasons. If he didn't, as the governor contends, what's that say about his ability to control his administration?

* By the way, Bruno may not have committed a crime in the way he utilized state transportation and personnel -- the source of this entire affair -- but he sure did show why new rules have to be written so what he and others have routinely done can't happen again.
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