Welcome to the Back Room, Eliot
March 5th, 2007

Is Eliot Spitzer changing Albany? The Daily News and the Times both say no.

Michael Goodwin describes the new governor as “the latest ‘reformer’ to fall victim to secrecy’s sway.” There have been no public hearings on the major bills that Spitzer and the legislature have agreed on, he writes. “The secret process can be defending only if one dares claim there are no good ideas in New York other than those advanced by three white men who have vested interests in the outcome,” he adds. (Goodwin ends his piece by recounting a testy exchange he had with Spitzer over the process.)

Albany may be running more smoothly, the Times writes, but Spitzer’s successes don’t automatically mean the end of business as usual.

“These reforms were largely worked out the old-fashioned way in the back rooms of the State Capitol. It makes sense that Mr. Spitzer wanted to push through some early victories, but if he plans to succeed over time, he should be doing more to bring the public into the discussion,” it writes in an editorial this morning.

The Times also ran an Op-Ed yesterday by Assemblymember Richard Brodsky defending the legislature against Spitzer’s (and, it seems everyone else’s) attacks as a complacent supporter of the status quo. Sure, the legislature has not been as effective as it should have been in passing laws, Brodsky argues, but it has fared significantly better in its other responsibilities. The most important of these, according to Brodsky, is to “check abuse of executive power.”

Brodsky does believe that Spitzer is “mostly right” when he talks about cleaning up Albany.

“But hes also created the dangerous possibility that, in the name of reform, the constitutional centers of power intended to limit executive power will be damaged. Changing the system from three men in a room to one man in a room is not reform.”

By on March 5, 2007, 12:19 pm
In category: Albany,Electoral Politics,Gotham City | Comments Off on Welcome to the Back Room, Eliot

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