The WSJ provides a daily cartoon titled “Pepper & Salt.” A recent posting shows a politician behind a podium stating “I’m leaving politics to spend more time with my defense team.”
So be it! Beginning in 2011, a combined total of fifteen New York state senator’s, assemblypersons, one comptroller, and one state health commissioner all required legal representation, charged and subsequently convicted of: Federal corruption, lying to the FBI, obstructing justice, conspiracy, wire fraud, bribery, extortion, entering into a shame marriage in order to gain U.S. citizenship, perjury, mail fraud, embezzling money from federally funded healthcare clinics, tax evasion, receiving kickbacks, benefiting from “pay to play” schemes, and last but not least, the use of staff for personal services.
With two exceptions, all served during the leadership of the Majority Leader of the New York State Senator, Dean Skelos, and Speaker of the New York State Assembly Sheldon Silver, and during the tenure of Governor Cuomo. I leave to your imagination the race to the bottom in their respective interactions.
Adding more salt to the wounds, Dr. Alain Kaloyeros, the governor’s economic development guru, two involved business executives, Louis Ciminelli, a Buffalo based developer, and Joseph Percoco, a former campaign manager of the Governor can now be added to the list of convicted felons.
Is reform in the air? Hardly! With regard to Sheldon Silver, Gov. Cuomo remarked “justice was done” adding he won’t call a special session of the legislature to take up ethics reform, the process ran its course, the jury verdict was clear leaving a loud message that the legislature should hear. “If you break the law you will get caught and you will get convicted, so don’t even think about it.”
Score one for the governor. A classic example of detachment on a grand scale. He seems not to realize, with the exception of the non-politicians mentioned, all of the convicted were in the legislature. Power corrupts…absolute power corrupts absolutely. The chicanery cited is disgraceful, destructive and intolerable by any rational standard of judgement. We’ve been had!
Can Albany be Fixed? Yes, if we are willing to join the fray and take an active role in influencing change. To learn more, please attend James Coll’s “Voter Participation Laws” presentation to be held at the Rockville Centre Public Library, 221 N. Village Ave. Rockville Centre on August 9th, at 1 PM. Mr. Coll is an adjunct professor of American and Constitutional Law with Hofstra University.