New Yorkers are distressed, as they should be, with the New York State Legislature which has been described by The Brennan Center for Justice as the nation’s most dysfunctional in 2004, and in a follow-up study in 2006, entitled “Still Broken,” found insufficient progress.
I have said about the state legislature that we should "throw them all out — the good and the bad — because the good aren’t good enough, and the bad are evil.”
That recommendation is, of course, too ambitious, and a more doable approach should be agreed upon by those who want change.
To chart a workable course of action, I have convened a meeting on March 12 of concerned organizations and individuals. The matter is now of even greater importance because of Gov. David Paterson's recent announcement that he will not run for election. State government is now in total disarray.
New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is currently investigating Gov. Paterson for possible illegal use of the New York State Police Department to interfere with the domestic abuse case against a top Paterson aide, as well as the alleged improper award of a slot machine contract.
After announcing at a press conference that he would not run for election, the governor called a number of people, one of whom was me. I have known David Paterson since he was a child. His father, Basil Paterson, served in my administration as a deputy mayor for about a year before stepping down to become secretary of state of New York.
Shortly after the governor’s call, I received a call from a New York Times reporter who said, “I understand the governor called you.” I said, “How would you know that? I haven’t told anyone.” His reply was, “I have my sources.” It was obvious that the governor’s staff had alerted the press to the call. I felt free to relay my conversation with the governor which appeared in The Times the following day, February 27.
The Times reported, “Some old friends told him that he should consider going further. Minutes after his announcement on Friday, the governor called Edward I. Koch, the former mayor of New York City. ‘I said I think you should resign,’ Mr. Koch recalled of the conversation. ‘They’re going to play with you like a dog with a bone, and it won’t be any fun,’ he told the governor. ‘There won’t be any satisfaction, you won’t have any clout and it’ll be agonizing.’ ‘He said thank you, and that was all,’ Mr. Koch said.”
Gov. Paterson has asked Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to investigate the alleged misuse of the state police. I support an inquiry. Cuomo is expected to announce his candidacy for governor shortly and, for that reason, he should recuse himself and request that a special prosecutor be appointed to undertake the investigation.
I also suggest that he propose for that position former U.S. Attorney and New York County District Attorney Robert Morgenthau who recently stepped down after 35 years of service and continues to practice law at the law firm, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. Everyone knows that Bob Morgenthau is a person of total integrity who would seek only fair and impartial justice.
What is happening in New York rivals the plot of "Alice in Wonderland.” If a movie is ever made of these events, Johnny Depp should play the governor, but who should play the roles of Speaker Shelly Silver, Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada and Minority Leader Dean Skelos? What an interesting casting job that would be.
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