Wednesday, May 21, 2008

In the Capitol

Assembly Democrats hate being called lapdogs. They resent it when critics (including me) portray them as little more than puppets of Speaker Sheldon Silver, sheepishly rubber-stamping the deals he cuts with special interests. ...

Standing in the way of reform is none other than, you guessed it, Silver. ...

If members want to show they have minds and spines of their own, they'll advance a straightforward version of the long-overdue reform. If they want people like me to keep branding them as feckless, fall-in-line pols, they'll cave in to Shelly - and tack on a poison-pill amendment that effectively guarantees the measure's failure. ...

If Silver were a judge overseeing a case like this, he'd have no choice but to recuse himself. But Silver plows ahead in spite of his conflict of interest. So it's up to rank-and-file lawmakers to do what they were elected to do - represent the people, not act like lemmings. ...

Otherwise, we can all go back to counting sheep.


The words of out of touch Freeman editorial writers who know nothing about Albany because we don't have a reporter covering the state Capitol? A personal attack by meanspirited editors hiding behind their computers?

You may have read or heard that kind of criticism of us when we've dared to take on local state representatives and the Legislature as a whole, sometimes employing words not unlike "lapdogs."

No. Those were comments in Tuesday's New York Daily News about a pending reform bill. Bill Hammond is the columnist who wrote them. His beat is Albany. His time is spent in the Capitol. He knows the issues and the players. His conclusions are strikingly similar to those I've read in the newspaper I publish.

We may have been one of the first newspapers to describe Albany as "dysfunctional," but we're certainly not alone.
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