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Session Ends in a Flurry of Disappointment
June 30th, 2006

Despite advocates’ hopes to continue the 2005 drumbeat of reform in 2006, the state legislature wrapped up its sessionon June 23,without addressing key issues that would increase accountability of those elected to public office and government transparency. The Record Online summed up this sessions legislative efforts, but also noted the blatant inaction on issues such as campaign finance reform, strengthening of ethics laws and improving the way district lines are currently drawn.

Earlier this year, good government groups and their members convened the 2006 Reform New York Lobby Dayin Albany advocating for these issues, in addition to calling for legislative rules reform and increasing transparency in the budgeting process.

The only significant legislative measure taken was the last minute introduction and passage of Assembly bill, A.11900-b, a one-house ethics reform bill that restricts honoraria, strengthens the states gift ban, addresses the revolving door practice of former legislative employees and creates ethics training for public officials and lobbyist. The bill did not have a Senate counterpart, and will have to be reintroduced next year in the new legislative session.

The Assembly will also be holding hearings this summer on redistricting reform while the Senate has yet to take action on this important issue.

By on June 30, 2006, 3:05 pm
In category: Eye on Albany | Comments Off on Session Ends in a Flurry of Disappointment

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Kerik's Plea
June 30th, 2006

The plea bargain that will keep disgraced former Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik out of jail proves the old adage that rank has its privileges, the Daily News says. Anticipating todays agreement (Kerik pled guilt to two misdemeanors and will pay$221,000 in fines), the News says one of the perks of the powerful is avoiding jail time for crimes that would land the ordinary mortal behind bars. By letting Kerik walk, Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson, who worked out the deal with Keriks attorney, has made the former top cop the envy of the run-of-street defendants who parade through the criminal courts every day.

Kerik is not the only one heaving a sigh of relief. His patron former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who persuaded President George W. Bush to nominate Kerik for homeland security secretary must be pleased that Kerik chose to ignore a trial that experts believe would very likely tarnish Giuliani’s still-shiny, national image as a tough-on-crime former prosecutor, writes David Saltonstall in the News. But Giuliani is not entirely in the clear. Kerik’s ties to the former mayor could still show up in ads trying to undermine Giulianis reputation. While New Yorkers know that Rudy’s City Hall tenure was far from scandal-free, voters in the rest of the country probably do not know that Kerik is only one of what Saltonstall describes as a rogues’ gallery of former Giuliani aides who in recent years have pleaded guilty to various forms of official corruption on the former mayor’s watch.

By on June 30, 2006, 10:39 am
In category: Crime & Safety,Gotham City,Law | 2 Comments »

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Cell Phones on Hold
June 29th, 2006

The school year has come to a close but not before another volley in this years hot controversy: whether to allow students to bring their cell phones to school. The Association of New York City Education Councils, which opposes the Department of Educations cell phone ban, announced the winners of a contest inviting students to come up with their plan to both let the kids keep their cell phones and address the administrations concerns about improper use of the devices in school. All the winners (and the lions share of entries) were from Stuyvesant High School. While Alex Newman proposed a variety of penalties if a student uses the phone in school and Abigail Schaeffer envisioned a special storage facility for the phones, Nathan Bixler won the Out of the Box award for an elaborate scheme he likened to a Faraday Cage that would render the phones useless inside schools buildings.

Tune in in September to see if the administration adopts any of these schemes, if it continues to enforce the ban or if, as some predict, the whole thing fades quietly away.

By on June 29, 2006, 5:28 pm
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Budget Dance Wows Em
June 29th, 2006

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn are earning praise for their negotiations on the citys $52.9 billion budget.

The New York Observer says that “it might be a little early to be drawing comparisons with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, but theres no denying that Mike Bloomberg and Christine Quinn have turned the annual budget dance from a flat-footed, clumsy hoedown into something approaching grace.”

A New York Times analysis says the agreement suggest that Bloomberg and Quinn “share a similar vision of government characterized by fiscal restraint, a commitment to children’s programs and a belief that strong police programs are essential for economic growth.”

By on June 29, 2006, 7:07 am
In category: Gotham City,Public Finance | Comments Off on Budget Dance Wows Em

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New Design for Freedom Tower
June 28th, 2006

An illustration of a New Design for Freedom Tower

By on June 28, 2006, 3:30 pm
In category: Gotham City | 2 Comments »

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THE SENATE SIDES WITH THE DRUG COMPANIES
June 27th, 2006

Most New Yorkers rarely get a glimpse into the ways of Albany. And while poll after poll documents voters growing unhappiness with state government, most have no idea how Albanys dysfunction directly affects their lives.


The 2006 session offered an eye-opening example. The skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs is an important issue to millions of New Yorkers and tens of millions of Americans. Nearly 3 million New Yorkers have no health insurance. Many more lack prescription drug coverage if they have insurance and most pay a deductible for their medicines.


So you would think that lawmakers would be seeking ways to reduce the cost of prescription drugs. It is, after all, an issue of great importance, and for some people it is an issue of life and death.


Unfortunately, legislation designed to reduce the cost of prescription drugs was blocked in the State Senate this past session. The proposal was a casualty of Albanys dysfunction.


The legislation allowed the state to create a prescription drugs buying pool. Essentially, the state would pool all of its drug purchasing power for the millions of New Yorkers who get their medicine through the state public employees, Medicaid beneficiaries, low- income seniors and other low-income families. The state would then negotiate with the drug companies meaning that if the companies wanted New York business, they would have to offer discounts.


The savings would be used to offer drug coverage to those who do not have it.


In addition, the program would be offered to employers. If they wanted to be part of the program and reduce their health costs, they would access medicines for their employees at the same low price.


By adding these companies and the uninsured, the states buying pool would get bigger. These increased numbers would increase the states leverage with the drug companies, which would mean even more money saved.


The legislation is modeled on similar programs run by states and some federal agencies, most notably the Veterans Administration. The VAs negotiations with the drug companies are so successful that on average the VA pays half the cost of prescription drugs sold in New York pharmacies.


Makes sense, right? It is the notion that every consumer already knows, you buy in bulk and you save.


The only problem is, of course, the drug companies. They hate the idea. They know that the savings eat into their considerable profits.


So the drug companies began to mobilize. They knew that if the legislation were put to a vote, it would pass with wide margins. So their plan was to go directly to the Senate and the Assembly leadership and try to block a public debate on the issue. They hired scores of lobbyists and funneled campaign contributions.


In the Assembly, the drug companies efforts failed. The bill passed with an overwhelming bipartisan majority.


But in the Senate, they succeeded. The drug companies went directly to Senator Bruno and his top staff and were able to block the issue from coming up for a vote.


As a result, the Senates opposition to a vote on this issue could cost New Yorkers hundreds of millions of dollars.


But there is hope. The Senate may return to consider issues before the November elections. Its time for New Yorkers to demand that lawmakers show their support for a smarter approach to government. An approach that will save money and help improve the publics health.


So far the Senate has chosen to side with the drug companies. Well soon see if they decide to stick with them through the election.

By on June 27, 2006, 9:11 am
In category: Eye on Albany | Comments Off on THE SENATE SIDES WITH THE DRUG COMPANIES

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The City and the Cyclists
June 27th, 2006

The day after a 23-year old cyclist was run over by a truck in the Village, Diana Kuan in Metroblog wonders why New York police continue to go after cyclists. Focusing on the continued police effort against the monthly Critical Mass bike ride, she writes With gas prices skyrocketing, and the United States going to war because of our foreign oil addiction, there is no worse time to squelch a movement that promotes energy-efficient transportation.

And cyclists may be more likely to be victims of law breaking by others than law breakers themselves. The Village cyclist, Derek Lake, apparently fell from his bicycle… as he was attempting to ride over or around a metal street plate that protruded from a construction site, the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives said. The group charged the plate was in violation of Department of Transportation rules and called upon the city to ensure that all street construction is performed in a lawful manner.

Another bicyclist, 57-year-old Henry Nacht, died Sunday of injuries he suffered when a tow truck struck him as he bicycled on the West Side bike path Thursday. (Nacht was not wearing a helmet.) His wife, Mary Beth Kelly, told the New York Times that the tow truck unexpectedly turned into the bike lane and did not slow down. ”We thought because we were on a bike path, we were safe,” she said.

But, Gothamist notes, The unfortunate thing, as many recent biking accidents have shown us, there is no such thing as safe. Let’s hope the city will embark on campaigns to improve driver education about bikers’ rights in the city – as well as reminding bikers of tactics they need to take.

By on June 27, 2006, 7:56 am
In category: Environment,Gotham City,Transportation | 27 Comments »

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Fast Food and Zoning
June 26th, 2006

Councilmember Joel Rivera’s idea to confront obesity by changing zoning laws to prohibit fast food in low-income neighborhoods with high rates of obesity is attracting criticism from all sides.

Blog readers can find rants at various levels of vitriol from those who see the idea as an example of big government liberalism. The most thorough, though, is on a blog called the Rant Shack. The post blasts the City Council, blasts Rivera personally, and blasts overweight people, saying that zoning won’t them from unhealthy foods. It ends by questioning the existence of an obesity epidemic.

In the New York Sun, Elizabeth Whelan, president of the American Cuoncil on Science and Health, writes that obesity is a serious health threat, but thinks that government’s main role should be to teach people how to eat better and exercise effectively. She also suggests more focus on bioengineering food to make it have fewer calories without affecting the taste.

Environmental blog 3r likens the idea to another attempt to control sinful industries through zoning: the push to move pornography out of Times Square. The face of Times Square was changed, it writes, but many businesses found loopholes. Instead of pushing for new zoning, 3r thinks Rivera should push for more funding for health education, gym classes, and parks.

By on June 26, 2006, 3:21 pm
In category: Health,Land Use | 4 Comments »

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Keeping the Cap
June 26th, 2006

In the final days of its session, the state legislature blocked moves backed by Governor George Pataki and Mayor Michael Bloomberg to lift the limit on the number of charter schools in New York. According to the Times, the legislature balked at a plan to more than double the number of charter schools, which receive public funds but are privately run.

While angry, the New York Sun, a fervent supporter of the schools, sees a silver lining. The legislatures decision to keep the limit at 100 such schools statewide, the paper says, hands the Republican candidate for governor, John Faso, an issue with which to clobber his Democratic opponent, Eliot Spitzer, who sat on his hands and did nothing whatsoever to help the parents of New York City schoolchildren.”

In its editorial, the paper also urges Governor George Pataki to pull some tricks out of his hat to expand the number of charters. Spelling out what Pataki could do, the paper concedes that the governor would risk being accused of legerdemain, at least by some. But by others he’d be credited with leadership.

NewsCopy New York agrees charter schools could be a hot button issue in the governor’s race. Its a battle, the blog says, that puts a liberal union bureaucracy (the teachers union) key to the Democratic Party against New Yorkers, many of them liberal Democrats, who want better schools for their kids. And so, says NewsCopy New York, They’re choosing charter schools….The failure of State Capitol lawmakers to see this new grass-roots movement could cost both major parties significantly.

But writing in the Daily News, Frederick Hess of the conservative American Enterprise Institute appears to lament overheated rhetoric in the charter school debate. A proponent of charters, Hess accuses his fellow supporters of selectively and dishonestly — using test scores to advance their cause. Charter proponents who play it fast and loose will come to regret their stance, Hess writes. The next time someone uses similar data to cheap-shot charter schools, charter defenders will be standing on shakier ground. It’s hard to complain about unfair treatment when one’s scruples appear to be a matter of convenience.

By on June 26, 2006, 11:48 am
In category: Albany,Education,Gotham City | 1 Comment »

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Stop the War Against Pigeons
June 26th, 2006

“It is open season on one of mankind’s most loyal and gentle friends,” writes Andrew Blechman in today’s New York Times: “the pigeon.”

Pigeons helped Darwin develop the theory of evolution, told Noah when the flood waters were receding, and took part in the first Olympics, writes Blechman. Paris Hilton has said she likes feeding pigeons more than shopping.

But lately “the peaceful co-existence between man and pigeon had deteriorated into a war of attrition.”

New York City has seen numerous cases of pigeon poisoning and torture, he writes, and the city’s pigeons are regularly kidnapped and taken to Pennsylvania where they are used for target practice. London has recently made it city policy to reduce the numbers of pigeons in Trafalgar Square.

There’s a simpler — and gentler — way to reduce pigeon populations, he writes. American cities should follow Europe’s lead and set up areas where people can feed pigeons a reasonable amount, while also cutting down on the random overfeeding on the street that leads to larger pigeon populations.

If the amount of food we give pigeons is managed well, he writes “the flocks will diminish, the pigeons will be treated humanely and the bird-loving public will approve.”

By on June 26, 2006, 7:47 am
In category: Environment | 3 Comments »

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Race and Money
June 25th, 2006

The New York Times returned once again Sunday to the hotly contested race for Congress in Brooklyns predominately black 11th district. Four people — three black, one white — are vying for the seat currently held by Major Owens, who is retiring. Residents are locked in a wrenching, racially charged debate over a white politician’s campaign for Congress, writes Diane Cardwell, turning her focus to that candidate, David Yassky. Yassky, Cardwell writes has built a reputation as an accomplished, independent-minded councilman …a mild-mannered former law professor who, colleagues say, is a true believer in the power of government to improve lives.

Unmentioned in the article is Yassky’s enormous war chest. As of the March 31 filing deadline, Yassky had raised more money than any other Democrat running in an open congressional seat in the country.

A hefty chunk of that, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, comes from the finance, insurance and real estate industries. The last of that troika probably raises the most eyebrows, with the Daily News having reported last month that the real estate industry is pouring thousands into Councilman David Yassky’s congressional campaign.

Clearly, David Yassky wins hands down as the Megabuxster of this race; meaning, lots ‘o big money and big interests in tow. writes the Room 8 blog.

But if the Times chose to ignore all this to focus on race, its not alone. On Friday, the Reverend Al Sharpton urged the three black contenders to unify around one candidate. I would hope that people could put their egos and personal ambitions aside for the empowerment of the people of the district. Sharpton wrote. He said he was not acting out of reverse racism but out of concern over the meager number of political offices that African-American, Latinos and Asians hold throughout New York and a desire to hold onto as many posts as we can, lest our voice becomes even more marginalized.

The American Moderate Party blog, though, wishes Yassky well not because he is a white running in a “black district,” but because he could successfully represent his district and could help solidify that race is not a determining factor of electing candidates.

For what its worth (probably not much), the polls show money may not be everything afterall. The latest has Yassky coming in fourth — after all three of his opponents and besting only Assemblyperson Nick Perry, who has dropped out of the contest. Yvette Clarke came in first, with undecided scoring a strong second place.

By on June 25, 2006, 9:10 pm
In category: Electoral Politics,Gotham City,Governing | 2 Comments »

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Time for a Pay Cut?
June 25th, 2006

As the states legislators head home for their very long (months long) vacations, they are, according to the Times, plotting their latest pay increase. And that makes the papers editorial page writers (to use their own word) cranky. Right now New York legislators are officially the fourth highest paid in the country, the Times says. But, it continues, New York’s Legislature is not the best or the fourth best in quality. It is possible that the constant refrain about Albany being the worst of the worst is hyperbolic. But the fact remains that the State Legislature here is below average, inadequate and most definitely not worth more money.

By on June 25, 2006, 8:23 pm
In category: Albany,Electoral Politics,Gotham City | 1 Comment »

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No Wal-Mart Law -- For Now
June 23rd, 2006

The Working Families Party conceded defeat on the Fair Share for Health Care Act, which would have forced large employers to pay for their workers’ health insurance. State legislators seem set to let the bill die as the session comes to an end. But they say that they’ll continue pushing the issue, noting that it took six years to get a change in the minimum wage.

“Rome wasn’t built in a day. It took us six years to win the fight to increase the state’s minimum wage,” writes Steve Perez on the party’s blog. “And a new Governor with a commitment to comprehensive health care reform will take office on January 1, with a mandate for progressive change from the WFP.”

Perez doesn’t mention Eliot Spitzer’s opposition to the bill. But in an editorial this morning, the New York Post praises Spitzer for coming out against what it calls a “horrific anti-business initiative”. The Post does note that the Working Families Party will continue to push the issue, and that Spitzer seems open to take up something similar if he wins the governorship this November.

“One reason Spitzer gave for opposing the Wal-Mart bill is that he thinks it doesn’t go far enough in providing health care for all New Yorkers. He also continues to portray himself as the superhero who “protects” average New Yorkers from “exploitative” businesses,” it writes. “And there’s no telling how he’ll choose to pay back his labor-linked supporters if he’s elected.”

By on June 23, 2006, 1:14 pm
In category: Albany,Gotham City,Health | 1 Comment »

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Pataki's Patronage
June 23rd, 2006

The New York Times disapproves of Governor George Pataki’s recent round of appointments of political allies to state jobs, a flurry of activity that even one Senate Republican has called an “orgy of patronage.” [Yesterday Wonkster wrote specifically about the re-appointment of Peter Kalikow to head the Metropolitan Transportation Authority]

“There is no excuse for his rush all too evident during the closing days of the State Legislature to pack friends and associates and even some contributors into state jobs. With more than a hundred appointments being slammed through by the end of the session, the breathless pace of these selections began to feel like a government fire sale,” writes the Times.

The appointments undermine the next governor’s ability to make his own appointments to important posts, writes the Times, and that fact that Albany’s Republicans are working so hard to push these appointments through shows who they’re betting on this November.

By on June 23, 2006, 6:50 am
In category: Albany,Electoral Politics,Gotham City | 1 Comment »

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Revised Memorial at Ground Zero
June 22nd, 2006

An illustration shows one part of the revised memorial at Ground Zero.

By on June 22, 2006, 3:12 pm
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Assessing Albany's Legislative Session
June 22nd, 2006

The Albany Times-Union assesses the state legislature’s latest session, which will likely end this week:

“In an encouraging sign that the lawmakers realize they must show some results for this session, they have reached compromises on several key issues that had languished far too long,” it writes. “Unfortunately, they have ignored the need for fiscal responsibility by spending much of this year’s surplus on an array of programs, despite projections that the state will face a deficit of $12 billion in the next two years.”

The New York Post, meanwhile, complains that the legislators have
given too much to organized labor, by making it easier for public employees to strike and taking several other labor-friendly steps in regards to collective bargaining.

“This is craziness, pure and simple,” writes the Post, “and a testament to the potentially enormous power lawmakers can bestow on unions, particularly in election years.”

By on June 22, 2006, 12:47 pm
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Kalikow: Six More Years
June 22nd, 2006

Peter Kalikow said he still has lots to do as chair of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority but many critics want Kalikow go out of service. Governor George Pataki reappointed Kalikow to a six-era terms meaning the next governor, whoever that might be, wont get to choose who will run this vital agency, and the State Senate confirmed the move. In fact Kalikow said he would not step aside even if the new governor asks him to. I work for the people of the State of New York,” Kalikow said. “That’s who I believe are my bosses – not the governor, not the mayor, not the legislature.

But is Kalikow really the peoples choice? In its news story on his reappointment, AM New York described Kalikow as a Manhattan real estate tycoon famous to subway riders for raising fares twice and for keeping a personal Ferrari collection.”

Not surprisingly the transit workers union is not wild about Kalikow either. Calling the MTA under Kalikow mismanaged and corrupt, Local 100 Secretary-Treasurer Ed Watt said Kalikows reappointment represented a frivolous attempt by George Pataki to continue to burden New Yorkers with his failed leadership long after his political career ends.” Gothamist was critical as well. Although he was initially appointed by Mario Cuomo, Kalikow has really seemed like a Pataki flunky, and therefore ineffective when it comes down to the small stuff, like accounting and customer satisfaction. Or even getting a good real estate deal for the West Side railyards, the blog wrote.

Even some who think Kalikow has done a good job questioned whether he should remain in charge of the MTA. This is not a knock on the chairman’s tenure at the MTA. But Kalikow’s many fine qualities notwithstanding, the next governor must be directly accountable for the region’s transportation said a Daily News editorial. We hope Kalikow, after ably helping to run the subways for 12 years, knows when it’s polite to give up his seat.

Eliot Spitzer agrees. A campaign spokesperson reportedly said that the gubernatorial candidate hopes the chairman will allow the next governor the opportunity to appoint someone new to enable the leadership change that is drastically needed at the MTA.” Gothamist was blunter: Spitzer hates what Kalikow has done to the MTA, but won’t be able to oust him.

By on June 22, 2006, 12:35 pm
In category: Albany,Gotham City,Transportation | 1 Comment »

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Demanding Sex Ed
June 21st, 2006

Complaining that “the only sex education we have is music videos, the Internet and books because our parents don’t talk about it with us and we don’t get it in school,” ten seventh grade girls who attend PS 218 have started a petition demanding that the school start teaching sex education. The school currently does not give the state-required curriculum because of complaints from parents, the petitioners say.

The petition seems to have forced the school to agree, writes El Diario in an editorial this morning, and that’s a good thing. Citing the high rates of teenage births among Latinas, the newspaper thinks that “as teachers and parents, we need to wake up. We are letting these children down” by neglecting to teach them about sexually transmitted diseases and birth control.

On the comments section of local blog Me and My Crazy World, readers discuss questions such as: “Should school be the best place for children to learn about sex and sexuality? What age do you think children should learn about sex? What would you tell your children about sex? How do you feel about these children starting a petition to get sex education taught in their school?”

By on June 21, 2006, 6:39 am
In category: Education,Gotham City,Health | 1 Comment »

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Is Bush Listening?
June 20th, 2006

Mayor Michael Bloomberg says he used his brief, but much discussed (in the Wonkster and elsewhere), airport encounter with George W. Bush Monday to tell the president that the federal government’s allocation of anti-terror funds was shortchanging New York City.

The Daily News, though, questions whether Bush got the message. “Maybe a pleasant chitchat for a couple of minutes’ … will be enough to persuade the president to order Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff to stop stabbing New York in the back. And the best way for Bush to accomplish that, the News said, would be by firing Chertoff.

The
Post
also wants the city to get more anti-terror funds, although its editorial goes easy on Bush. Picking up on the
reports that Al Qaeda planned – but then abandoned — a cyanide attack on city subways in 2003, the paper says, This latest report underscores the need for full funding of the city’s homeland-security efforts. New York must receive adequate funds to mount a vigorous defense against such attacks before they take place.

By on June 20, 2006, 8:50 am
In category: Crime & Safety,Gotham City | 2 Comments »

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Heading Down The Homestretch
June 20th, 2006

This is it, the final days of the 2006 legislative session. And just like most sessions, the key issues remain unresolved, waiting to be wrapped up in the final moments of the session. One key reform strengthening the states ethics laws took one step closer to being part of the end of session frenzy when Assembly Speaker Silver advanced his policy package late last week.


Overall, the legislation covers an impressive number of topics. The Assembly bill tightens the states gift ban, restricts honoraria, makes it harder for legislative employees to immediately begin lobbying when they leave public service, and establishes ethics trainings for top public officials and lobbyists.


But the legislation does not cover all of the areas that need reform. The legislation does not call for the creation of an independent ethics commission for both the legislative and executive branches, or establish a ban on campaign fundraising by lobbyists and those receiving government contracts.


Moreover, the bill does not adequately address the problem caused by the personal use of campaign contributions by lawmakers. It is this problem that has stirred most of the complaints about Albanys ethics. Some lawmakers have used their campaign contributions to pay for luxury cars, trips to exotic locales and dinners with lobbyists.


The Assembly package recognizes the problem, but recommends a weak first step. The bill requires that the State Board of Elections issue rules that limit the personal use of campaign contributions and to hold public hearings on these regulations. Obviously, if the State Board issued tough regulations and used the hearings as a way bolster public support for that decision, this plan would be quite productive.


But there has been no evidence that the State Board would be so courageous. Thus it is likely that reliance on the State Board to point the way toward stronger ethics in this area will fail. And lawmakers will have to deal with this problem anyway.


Reformers have been encouraged by the Assembly package and are hoping that negotiations will begin. The hope is that through discussions with the Governor and the Senate, the Assembly package will be strengthened.


Unlike other major issues, ethics reform is not an area in which Republicans and Democrats have serious philosophic differences. It was the State Senate that initially passed a ban on gifts from lobbyists in 1999. The Governor last year called for a total ban on gifts from lobbyists.


And this year, Senate Republicans have advanced reform proposals. Senate Ethics Committee chair George Winner has proposed legislation banning gifts from lobbyists and Senate Elections Committee chair John Flanagan last week introduced legislation dramatically limiting the personal use of campaign contributions by lawmakers.


While there has been no action on these two proposals, it is clear that there is support for ethics reform in the Senate.


But the mere introduction of legislation does not mean that laws will result. It takes leadership, the kind of leadership that is all too often missing from these kinds of discussions.


The Assembly Speakers proposal should bring the issue of ethics reform to the table. There is support for elements of the plan in the Senate. The real issue is what will the Governor do? If the Governor uses his considerable influence to move this issue along, it may turn out that one of his important legacies will be a more ethical Albany.


It is a legacy worth the effort. New Yorkers will know soon if Albanys leaders are serious about strengthening state governments ethics.

By on June 20, 2006, 8:43 am
In category: Eye on Albany | 1 Comment »

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Gotham Gazette is published by Citizens Union Foundation and is made possible by support from the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Altman Foundation,the Fund for the City of New York and donors to Citizens Union Foundation. Please consider supporting Citizens Union Foundation's public education programs. Critical early support to Gotham Gazette was provided by the Charles H. Revson Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

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