On the issue of transparency: when it comes to the governor, legislative leaders and the state press office being open, honest and helpful to those trying to figure out what in the world is going on, it's the same old politics as usual. This latest cloak of secrecy may come in a different color, but it doesn't fool us.
Is the familiar backroom politics practiced in Albany a method to keep the public confused, or a way of not allowing us to get to the real truth behind state kickbacks, consultation fees, extortion, and personal corruption?
DWI charges, domestic abuse cases, and more than a handful of state political representatives and staff members have been caught of late in elaborate decade-long schemes ranging from demanding money from developers to finding out ways to heist pension funds. That's just one chapter in the long history of scandal amongst Queens representatives that you, the voting public, have elected to office.
Brooklyn's Assembly representatives deserve their own thick book for wanton corruption. One Brooklyn assemblywoman, Diane Gordon, even demanded a construction company build her a house in return for getting her support.
All this just pertains to their personal finances, remember. Imagine how bad it gets when they all come together to negotiate the state budget.
The secrecy with which Governor Paterson and Assemblyman Sheldon Silver and State Senator Malcolm Smith are conducting their budget begs us to wonder how we can sit here and just re-elect incumbent after incumbent, when few fight the Albany system once they get there. Not all state elected officials take the low road, certainly, but there sure are a great deal more who do than don't, it seems.
One legislator we spoke with this week is more than embarrassed about the image of state officials. "It's not as bad as you might think," the legislator said. "There are those who focus on the good. The ones who don't just get more attention."
Well, attention or not, the government is clearly broken upstate. The only way to change it is to hold your assembly and senate representative to task. You should call and ask to meet with them. If they won't meet with you, give us a call at this newspaper and let us know who refused to do so, and what excuse they gave. Getting the runaround from your representative is a sure bet they aren't on the level.