Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Gray Lady speaks

From today's New York Times editorial page:

"Joseph Bruno, the powerful leader of the New York State Senate, surprised nearly everyone this week, announcing suddenly that he will not seek re-election. It is hard to know what that means for Mr. Bruno, who at age 79 is facing a federal investigation of his outside businesses, or for the Republican’s slim Senate majority. We hope that politicians in Albany — from both parties — will capitalize on this shift to finally clean up one of the most dysfunctional and expensive state governments in the country.

"Here is just a short list of what needs to be fixed: a scandalous campaign finance system, a culture of back-room secrecy that serves lobbyists rather than the voters and a system for drawing political districts that comes straight out of Tammany Hall. Voters should demand concrete reforms from their state representatives, many of whom are going home this week to campaign for re-election.

"This has been a year of upheaval in New York, which, unfortunately, has produced far less change than is needed. Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who resigned in disgrace in March, was replaced by Gov. David Paterson, a very different kind of politician. Mr. Spitzer antagonized lawmakers as he battled zealously for reform. Mr. Paterson has made collegiality his objective. He has managed to get a budget passed and can boast a few legislative wins this week, most notably an improvement in the state’s law to clean up brownfields.

"The governor has not delivered on his own promises of major reform. He did not press legislators, even from his own party, to embrace his excellent but last-minute proposal for a campaign-finance fix. And he has not pushed for a nonpartisan redistricting commission. At this point, we are seriously worried that the new governor’s easy manner means that there will be no real change in the status quo. And the status quo is not something to be proud of in Albany.

"There are strong signs that Mr. Bruno’s departure may make it easier for the Democrats to win control of the State Senate this fall. Bills that now win approval in only one chamber, the Assembly, should do better with Democrats controlling the Senate and the governor’s office. But what Albany needs is fundamental reform.

"Voters should choose candidates and the party that are truly committed to cleaning up New York State’s corrupt politics. Anything less is no change at all."

Still believe the political insiders who contend Freeman editorial writers don't know what's going on in Albany?
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