‘It ain’t over ‘til it’s over’

In Columns by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

Yogi Berra, who caught for the New York Yankees for over nineteen years, is known for his sage advice. Let’s consider how this particular “yogi-ism” applies to our political leaders in Albany and in particular, to State Senator Tom O’Mara (R,C) from Elmira, NY. Why? He just announced that he will chair a “revamped” Senate Task Force on Government Efficiency that will indentify questionable spending practices and advance proposals that “will save New York more than $1 billion during the next decade.”

Interesting! The original Task Force was established on March 3, 2010 by then Senate Majority Conference Leader John l. Sampson (D,WF) to “correct years of fiscal irresponsibility that has pushed our state to the brink of fiscal disaster.” It ceased operating after the 2010 Legislative Session. The next two paragraphs explain why it did not remain active and a view on its reactivation.

On Jan. 5, 2011 just prior to the governor’s State of the State address, four Democrats, including newly reappointed Senator David J. Valesky (D-Oneida) announced they would split from their party’s leadership and start their own independent caucus. As reported in the New York Times, they lost confidence in Sampson; and, felt some Democrats (from outside New York City) have borne the political brunt of the scandals and dysfunction that has racked their conference in the past two years. Without even a semblance of consensus, the need to prevent a “fiscal disaster” was quickly rendered unnecessary.

The reactivation of the task force is politically well orchestrated. O’Mara is establishing an agenda that will identify him and the other members of his Task Force as proactive assessors of the need to cut spending in the upcoming election year. O’Mara’s foresight is expressed in the following remark made at a recent press conference. “We’ve long suspected that uncontrolled spending has undermined the cost effectiveness and efficiency of the state bureaucracy.” Wow! He’s about to once again rattle the chains of progress to reform Albany’s dysfunctional ways.

In my opinion, what we have witnessed is best described as another farce — a comic drama in which authority and order are at risk and ordinary people are caught up in extraordinary events with predictable, indefinite results.

Beware of promises made. Yogi is right “it ain’t over ‘til its over.”

Since August 2010, Hal Peterson, a Rockville Centre resident, has written a series of guest columns available on the Herald’s web site, dealing with the need to reform New York’s dysfunctional state government. For more information on his work, visit www.reformalbanynowregistry.com.


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