Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Ballad of Pedro Espada

Every Good Coup Deserves A Song

We're moving on from the apalling body politic of Albany. Wish our State Senators would move on as well, bobble-headed nonsense giving way to clear-headed judgment.

We've got community concerns to deal with. They, well...

Alas, boys will be boys, and it seems that nothing short of Death Match 2009 could save the day -- assuming that day is worth saving -- in the State Capitol.

Yes, its Pedro "El Presidente" Espada versus Hiram "The Slasher" Monserrat for ultimate control of the Senate.

Pedro wins, Skelos rules. Monserrat prevails, Smith, Sampson, or any leader de jour gets the post. They annihilate one another -- there is no leader. The Senators return to the Senate, put forth every piece of legislation locked away in that drawer, and vote their own minds (do they have any?), or better yet, the way their constituents would have them vote.

Every bill reaches the floor. Every Senator has his/her say. Say goodbye to "three men in a room," and hasta la vista to a one man show in the NYS Senate.

And now, a little diddy to brighten your day. Sung to the tune of the Chiquita Banana Song...

I am Pedro Espada
And I'm here to say
The Governorship
Is but a heartbeat away

I made my bed
In the GOP den
The Senate reconvenes
I cannot say when

En Espanol
Diga me
I let Dean Skelos
Have his way

Now the gringos
Want to run the show
Why did Monserrat
Have to go?

The people's business
At a standstill
With but 31 votes
We can't pass a bill

Back in the Bronx
Never had a coup
Now I'm a big shot
Deano, thank you

A little latino
among old white men
Everyone needs Salsa
Every now and then

And that's the way
This story goes
Albany's a mess
Don't you know?

You can blame it on the Dems
or the Republicans
Ay, just don't blame it
On us Puerto Ricans

Si, si, si, si!
- - -

- - -
From Newsday's Spin Cycle:

Senate split: Time for the steel cage?

Players in this State Senate standoff might wish to take a cue from New Mexico, where the law says that if an election is tied, the winner is chosen by a game of chance.

Five-card stud, a simple high-card draw, and even a coin toss have all had roles in choosing elected officials there.

This Capitol has had its legendary card games. But nobody ever heard of the Board of Elections certifying the outcomes.

More than a couple of people, when told about New Mexico, suggested as a New York alternative a steel-cage wrestling match — perhaps with a crowd on hand rooting for injuries.

What more essential metaphor could there be for our legislative politics than pro wrestling, with its fixes, flamboyance and fake rage? An urban lobbyist, shy about being identified, even proposed a contest between Sen. Pedro “The Defector” Espada, the putative president and champion, and indicted Democrat Hiram “The Re-Defector” Monserrate.

Somebody else suggested paintball. Another liked mixed martial arts.

But with the help of Deadlock Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) and Middle Reliever John Sampson (D-Brooklyn) the actual sights and sounds of the day offered fresher ironies and twists than mere games:

*With a judge declining to take up the Democrats’ objections, last week’s 32-30 power-change vote, putting the GOP crew in the house majority, stands — at least for now.

Everyone on the GOP side says the 32 votes, including Monserrate’s, won them the top seats.

Everyone on the Democratic side says, with Monserrate’s return, both sides have 31 conference members.

Both numbers are correct, in a way.

Now, there’s something you don’t get with a single roulette ball.

*Espada, with Spanish-language press on hand....
....carried out a partially bilingual news conference — where his GOP allies all consisted of non-Latino Caucasians. Even if some looked befuddled, the pols were on-message in both tongues: We won, they lost.

*Democrats, fresh from nearly six months of cornering the majority’s top-pay positions, the good offices, the bills and the pork-barrel funds, are now boycotting the chamber — with the rationale that “mob rule” had been imposed. Some say those lawmakers should not be paid.

*Gov. David A. Paterson said he doesn’t know who’d succeed him if he vacates his job — so we’d all best root for his health.

*Skelos noted that the new Senate order, co-headed by himself, stands behind some very underrated reforms — such as limiting the Senate president to six years in that post.

*One week from today marks the one-year anniversary of his predecessor, Republican Sen. Joseph Bruno’s retirement — who served for 14 years as both majority leader and Senate president pro-tem.

*Whatever contest might be settled upon to break this deadlock, perhaps Acting State Supreme Court Justice Thomas McNamara could moonlight as referee. He showed his neutrality by ruling Tuesday: “In the present context, the question calls for a solution by the members of the state Senate, utilizing the art of negotiation and compromise ... The failure of the Senate to resolve this issue in an appropriate manner will make them answerable to the electorate.”

Will that electorate next year be a cage-match crowd, rooting for injuries?

1 comment:

  1. Like just about everyone, I guess, I've been watching the saga in Albany unfold and gnashing my teeth at the pettiness and intransigence on display. At least for the time being, we now live in a state that has no capacity to legislate - a sorry state of affairs to say the least. This whole situation has been bothering me immensely, until I realized, based on a story in Newsday, that among the actions pending in the legislature that pertain to Nassau and Suffolk County are the following: authorizing a cigarette TAX; reauthorizing a hotel and motel TAX; authorizing a surcharge on traffic tickets (in other words, a TAX); and authorizing Nassau county to issue more debt (which will undoubtedly have to be paid via, you guessed it, a TAX). Hmmm, now that I think about it, maybe this Albany situation's not so bad afer all.....