Oh, but for a few hours, we thought it was going to be the most special-ist election ever!
This past Friday, Governor David Paterson's office announced that Seminerio's seat would be filled by a special election on September 15 instead of a boring old regular election. In a boring old regular election, any boring old regular Joe can throw their hat into the mix, which results in a big random field of candidates with political stars in their eyes who are willing to suffer a three-hour commute to Albany where they get to sit on their hands in a dysfunctional legislature.
We guess in that respect, the boring old regular election is actually a more exciting event than a special election, at least from the outside looking in, that is, because in a special election, the heads of the Queens Democratic Party get to pick the candidates, and if you've managed to get on the wrong side of some of those folks in the smoky backrooms that litter the borough, well, guess what? You aren't on the ballot, regardless of how many signatures you managed to get on your petitions or how much money you raised.
And if you managed to stay on their good side, than you're probably a clueless party hack who never says anything mildy outrageous or, even better, incredibly over the top for the local weekly rags to put in print.
We're sure there were a lot of disappointed political wannabe's out there when news broke that Paterson planned to hold a special election to fill the seat. Disappointed for a couple of hours anyway.
The same day that the special election was announced, the special election was quickly called off. It turns out that a counsel to Paterson, who has the gov's signature permanently handy thanks to an automark pen, signed the proclamation authorizing the special election by accident.
Apparently, the governor wasn't even in Albany where he could have personally signed off on the special election, and was instead vacationing out in the Hamptons, no doubt with some new friends he made while he was clubbing in Chelsea a couple of weeks back (more on that later). Which confuses us as to how this comment got released:
"This special election will ensure that the residents in part of Queens County will have the representation they need in the New York State Legislature," Paterson said in a statement.
Paterson's press office quickly rescinded the announcement once she learned that the proclamation had been signed.
Now, there's a lot of things that confuse us here. First, how did Paterson release a statement without his press secretary knowing about it? We're not so naïve to believe that Paterson delivers all of his own statements and that every word comes directly from his mouth to our inbox, but we were under the impression that everything that Paterson “says” comes directly from the press office keyboard to our computer screen.
Secondly, if there was no intention to call a special election, why is there a proclamation floating around that would do just that? And if you have already written up a proclamation just to be prepared, maybe you should keep it off the desk of the man with the governor's signature in an automark pen ready to affix it to everything from a proclamation to the the executive grocery list. At least put a big post-it note on it that says “Please do not sign!”
It's so confounding, in fact, that we can't even begin to unravel the path that led to that point. Instead, we are going to focus on Paterson's new foolproof out! From now on, the governor need only pass legislation or sign a proclamation or what-have-you and then sit back and gauge public opinion. If his executive decision is met with a favorable reception by the public, then he need only to bask in the showering of praise that will rain down on his infinite wisdom.
If, however, the decision is met with public outcry and outrage, he need only to fall back on the automark excuse. He didn't actually sign that proclamation, it was some careless aide with an automark pen that signed it, and he intends to rescind it forewith!
Although, with Paterson, nothing is that easy, and we don't think our perfect out is going to help him with the much bigger debacle he is facing that has nothing do with a special election. Remember that clubbing in Chelsea we mentioned earlier? It seems that one of the people Paterson was clubbing with was recently hired as a deputy director for state and federal affairs in the Washington, D.C., office – a post that pays a not-too-shabby $88,000 per year.
In addition to Gabrielle Turner being a friend of Paterson, her hiring directly contradicts the governor's own hiring freeze for all state positions due to huge budget gaps and a flagging economy. But since we kind of like Paterson (or at least the copy that he gives us), Pol Position is going to help him out again.
Instead of going on the defensive over the hiring of Turner, Paterson should go on the offensive. Challenge his critics, who as far as we can tell are against the governor creating new jobs for the residents of New York City, and instead keeping the good people of this state unemployed and unable to afford the pricey drinks at swanky New York City nightclubs, an economic stimulus, we might add, made possible by the governor's recent achievements in lowering the unemployment rate by at least one person.
There, now can we just enjoy the beach?