Tuesday, July 14, 2009

In Albany, Honeymoon Was Over Before It Started

Partisanship Strips People Of Their Voice In Government

Never mind the marquee issues, like same-sex marriage and control over the NYC public schools (less sexy, but no less divisive).

Seems that the NYS Senate, now coup-less, still can't get its act together, notwithstanding a quorum, hastened by Pedro Espada's re-defection to the Democrats.

Forget that most issues before the Senate, including dozens of bills already passed by the Assembly, have little if anything to do with ideology, whether liberal or conservative.

The bickering, back-stabbing, and gamesmanship, to and fro, are endemic to a dysfunctional system that exists only to pit "us" against "them," whoever the "us" and the "them" may be at any given moment on any given day.

It is unabashed ego, unchecked power, ransom money, and let the public be damned politics, all at their very worst.

No, they apparently won't grow up in Albany, nor will either side (as if we really need "sides") make the effort to simply get along, if for no other reason than to promote the greater good of those they were elected to serve -- the public. [Hey, remember us?]

A long way to go until November, 2010, when every NYS Senator comes before the electorate for review.

Perhaps the Governor will keep the Senate in special session until then.

And just maybe, voters will recall the tumultuous honeymoon and dissolve the marriage of office that keeps the State Legislature from its intended business -- that of representing the people of New York State.
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From Newsday Editorials:

Now NY State Senate Democrats lack a quorum

Just when you thought the State Senate was ready to move forward, arm-in-arm, passing some bills, possibly breaking into song . . . the Democrats will fail to have a quorum today. One member, no doubt having set his plans months ago, is on his honeymoon. The house will be divided 31-30.

The leadership fight is over, and Republicans plan to attend today's session to provide a 32-member quorum. But there's no guarantee there will be enough votes to pass laws.

Not to single out Sen. Daniel Squadron, the honeymooning Democrat from Brooklyn Heights, but his case illustrates what this page has been saying - that a thin majority can be upset by just one senator at any time, and therefore the parties should be working together. Yesterday, Republicans were excluded entirely from talks about today's agenda. Many Democrats outside the ruling clique were also ignored. Have the senators learned nothing this past month?

The Senate has 344 bills ready for a vote. But if they pass one - a question on New York City school governance - that will be a big achievement for this bunch. Senate Democrats swept into office promising reform - on rules, ethics, campaign contributions, property taxes - but they are delivering the bare minimum to keep New York running.Other needed bills on foreclosures, health care, the environment, higher education, energy and pensions are languishing.Enjoy the umbrella drinks, Sen. Squadron.

Copyright © 2009, Newsday Inc.

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