Saturday, January 27, 2007

"Back Seat" Political Drivers Or I heard it thru the grapevine

Here we are....Saturday Evening.......I figured...I would share some "blog" dialogue from the "political" pundits discussing the current comptroller crisis....I do not necessarily agree with all of them...but thought you all would like to see what is being said in cyber land......this is going to be a long post...but worth the read if you are a political junky........andy

Capitol Condifential...reaction to The Times Endorses Weitzman........

1--In my humble opinion, the fact that Mr. Weitzman’s political base is Nassau County, and that he was a partner in a top four accounting firm, are two strikes against him. Nassau County has a very long history of political corruption. Ditto,the top four accounting firms. Enron would not have happened without the collusion of the big accounting firms.
Comment by gecannonphd — January 27, 2007 @
10:46 am
2--Since when does the sun rise and set by the New York Times? Those days are long gone. The NYT overestimates its own importance. Most voters upstate don’t even read the New York Times and it’s not the only significant paper downstate either (there’s the NY Post, Daily News, Newsday). For that matter, most people don’t even read newspapers these days!
Let’s look at what state law actually says, since “the law” is the final arbiter of what’s going to happen.
If you go here:
and click on the “PBO” link referring to Public Officers and then click on Article 3 (CREATION AND FILLING OF VACANCIES) and then click on section 41 (Vacancies filled by legislature), this is what you find:
§ 41. Vacancies filled by legislature. When a vacancy occurs or exists, other than by removal, in the office of comptroller or attorney-general, or a resignation of either such officer to take effect at any future day shall have been made while the legislature is in session, the two houses thereof, by joint ballot, shall appoint a person to fill such actual or prospective vacancy.
…that’s pretty straightforward, isn’t it? There’s nothing in there about comptroller panels or choosing from three candidates or any of the public spectacle that kept us entertained this week.
The hearings were an idle gesture to try to keep peace with Spitzer. It didn’t work. The 3 wise men wandered off the reservation, so to speak. I, for one, think that Spitzer inappropriately interfered with their decision-making process.
That being said, all that the law requires is a joint ballot — since Hevesi resigned (Hevesi wasn’t removed).
Silver will do what he must do to keep the members happy. That’s his job. And rants about this saga being Spitzer’s big opportunity to remove Silver are but a pipe dream.
In the last election (and in most elections) the incumbent gets reelected. Voters may rail against “Albany” but they still like “their guy” or “their gal” in Albany. The Assembly Democratic majority had a net gain in seats during the last election (the same one where Eliot was elected) and the Democrats are close to taking over control of the Senate. The likelihood of Shelly being tossed is zip, IMHO. Quit dreaming.
The next election for all legislative members isn’t for another two years. Two years is a lifetime in politics. I don’t know about Bruno, but I’d bet the farm that Silver will still be sitting there as Speaker and all this comptroller brouahaha will be a distant memory.
Anyway, that’s my 2 cents worth on the subject. :>
Comment by topo gigio — January 27, 2007 @
11:25 am
3--The legislature will decide and pick one of its own. Mr. Weitzman would make an excellent Number 2 at OSC. Any of the three would. The State Comptroller is an elective office. Whoever holds that office must be able to understand public policy, process, and politics. And the Assemblymember candidates have that advantage over the 3. If you want a Long Islander, DiNapoli is your man. If you want a regarded rabble rouser, Brodsky is your guy. If you want someone with the pulse on issues affecting the people and support diversity, Ortiz is the choice.
The constitution should be amended ASAP to allow for calling special elections for a vacancy like this in the future.
You cannot make a political process, like the selection of the State’s number three constitutional officer, non political. The Governor and the press should recognize this.
Comment by TomJefferson — January 27, 2007 @
11:48 am
4--The most critical thing to Silver survival is to keep his Democratic conference happy. Without the support of his conference he can’t remain as Speaker, so all other factors are secondary. A number of assemblymembers may want of their own chosen if only for the fact it could open a key committee chair (creating some musical chairs allowing a number of people to move up)
So, I think he will throw the choice to his Conference and let them decide if they want to pick one of the panel’s candidates or one of their own. If they decide to pursue on of their own, I assume (especially if they go with picking an assemblymember) that Silver will ask the members of the Conference to abide by the choice of the Conference. So if the Conference decides to support candidate A, all of them will at the joint session vote for candidate A, as that will demonstrate the strength of the Assembly’s Democratic Conference (and prevent the need to secure vote from the Assembly minority, Senate, majority, or Senate minority).
If it comes from the Assembly, I think it will be between DiNapoli and Brodsky. DiNapoli has the potential to pick up bipartisan support from some of Long Island’s GOP senate delegation (plus his support of Spitzer may ease Spitzer’s wrath for choosing an assemblymenber). Brodsky is hard working and could be counted to be a strong watchdog as Comptroller. He purses investigations with vigor and he would be a good indpendent choice (he would have been good as AG as well).
One out of the box approach that Silver could pursue would be to pick someone who did not even apply but would be an independent comptroller who would relentlessly pursue Spitzer. Perhpas pick someone like Chris Callaghan who demonstrated his ability to pursue and bring people to justice. The last thing Spitzer would want ia him as Comptroller relentlessly auditing his administration. I know he didn’t apply but if Silver offered it to him, would he turn it down? I think Silver would be spared the wrath of the editorial pages as he would have (1) not chosen a member of his conference and (2) chosen someone independent of both Spitzer and Silver. (and I think the NY Times had endorsed Callaghan). If he was chosen it would make for some ironic justice.
Comment by albany1998 — January 27, 2007 @
1:18 pm
5--Eliot Spitzer has been nothing short of a master tactician here. He has out-generaled Shel Silver every step of the way. Spitzer is outnumbered, the state Constitution is not on his side, and he is out there fighting other battles at the same time, yet he has boxed Shelly into a very uncomfortable corner.
The thing about Grannis’ appointment is that he doesn’t have to resign until after he is confirmed. That means the Governor not only took away the Speaker’s 107th (majority) vote, he lined one up in his own corner (who knows, Grannis might be able to take one or two other loyal friends with him - but they better not be Committee Chairs).
Before Thursday, Silver had the 107 votes he needed to name the replacement without talking to anyone else. Now he has to deal. Question is - who does he deal with? Bruno, most likely, especially if the nod goes to DiNapoli, who all the Long Island Senators genuinely like.
Spitzer has proven to be very agile in this whole process. Silver had better wrap this up quickly or it will get away from him. Time favors the Governor.
So what can stop Spitzer? Two things: Silver rallies his troops, decides on a replacement, cuts a deal with Bruno, and gets it done this week. And, Spitzer can stop Spitzer. He’s picked a whole bunch of battles, not all of which he needed to be fighting this week, especially when he is presenting a new budget next week. A special election, ethics reform, Medicare reform, and naming a new Comptroller - something the law gives him no right to do, is an awful lot to have on your plate all at once.
Comment by TKN — January 27, 2007 @
1:49 pm
6--It’s simple.
Eliot Spitzer is doing what many governors have done before him, going all the way back to the beginning of this state. He is seeking to expand the role and reach of his office. Unfortunately for him, this blind ambition took it too far, too soon. I predict that the Legislature will teach him a lesson in basic civics. Public relations can only go so far. Substance and the rule of law have to prevail at some point. This whole exercise seems to have accelerated that day.
Day Thirty, everything changes….. again.

The reaction to Times Comptroller Endorsement

If you accept the premise that only one of the anointed three should be selected, then the Times is right on the money. In addition, Weitzman, who, as far as I know, owes absolutely nothing to Spitzer and has a record of independence in precisely the issues that are pertinent to this office, may be the one who can assuage the wrath of Silver. If this can salvage the honeymoon a little longer, that would be a good thing.
By far the best part of the editorial was the put down of Spitzer hack Mulrow. Despite all the admitted corruption in the legislature, the fact is that the vast bulk of the items audited by the Comptroller are administered by Executive or quasi-Executive agencies. Thus, independence from the Executive is by far the more important consideration. This made Mulrow the worst possible choice, and I congratulate the Times for helping to sink his ship.
Posted by: jad
January 27, 2007 11:59 AM
Mulrow is unacceptable for the reasons already noted.
The others are weak politically and won't be able to successfully stand up to the Governor.
Brodsky, DiNapoli or Morrelle are considerably stronger candidates for the job.
Let's see how this plays out.
Posted by: Anonymous
January 27, 2007 2:33 PM
My comptroller pick is on the Martha Stark.
It's time that Albany had some real change.
I thinks folks are frankly tired big boys network - which now includes Spitzer, Paterson, Smith, Bruno and Silver of statewide officials.
It's a real shame that New York the most Bluest and liberal state in the United States has such a lack of diversity on the statewide front.
Posted by: anonymous
January 27, 2007 3:38 PM
If the decision is made to go beyond the 3 duds, DiNapoli is best positioned. He is widely respected on both sides of the aisle and may be able to attract Republican votes.
I'm amused by the Governor's insistence that the Comptroller not come from the legislature. Weren't his choices for Lt. Governor, Homeland Security czar and DEC commissioner (gasp)state legislators? Are they only OK if he picks them?
I'm also stunned by the choices of the 3 ex-comptrollers. Were they even awake during the interviews? None of them asked a single question and when it was all over, they pass over the strongest candidates. To try to explain the inexplicable, they cite as qualifications for the job experience they didn't have when they were elected/appointed to the post.
Fascinating stuff.
Posted by: watching and waiting
January 27, 2007 3:42 PM
Also, the issue of who can stand up to Spitzer is a non-issue in terms of selecting a Comptroller.
The issue that we have to look at is whether whomever is chosen for the comptroller can work with the Legislature and Governor to bring about positive change and prosperity in New York.
Posted by: anonymous
January 27, 2007 3:46 PM
3:46 I disagree. There needs to be someone that is willing to tell the public and the press that the governor's/Legislature's policies are flawed. To do so, we need someone that is willing to say it loudly and show why. It would be even better if this new person could provide alternatives.
Say what you will about Hevesi, but he was loud on a number of issues and brought positive change (Brodsky wasn't the only one reforming public authorities). It is important that the new person is a working part of the reform movement, but we've seen too many "reforms" that turned out to be a waste of time and press releases. Someone that is not directly in the policymaking role needs to be able to step up and say what's crap and what's not and why.
That being the case, I think any one of the three chosen by the panel should be avoided. A legislator should be chosen simply because Spitzer so badly does not want one there.
Posted by: anon
January 27, 2007 5:09 PM
I'm most put off by the Governor's actions. I was thirsting for change, but contrary to the current play by the Executive, I wanted a change in tone in Albany.
This move is no better than the heavy-handed play of the Pataki Administration and therefore, any change does not equal reform.
Also, I think the Speaker is moving forward with the nuclear option-not because he wants a fight with the Governor-but because his conference is telling him to do so. Instead of the Spitzer v. Silver thing, it is Spitzer v. 106 members of the Assembly.
Now the legislature has had their share of problems, but many, at least, on the Deomocratic side fought for the same proposals Governor Spitzer now wants. The Assembly passed a lot of reforms over the objection of Governor Pataki and the Republican Senate.
I think the Governor should view them as a partner, not an opponent. Maybe the Governor can think no other way as a career prosecutor.
Posted by: Edwin Stanton
January 27, 2007 5:17 PM
The Times endorsed Mark Green and a hand full of other losing candidates. So... so what... who cares.
Posted by: Fred Dicker III
January 27, 2007 5:21 PM
I agr there is no real reform without iversity. A minority woman as comptroller would not hurt. The times did not explain why the picked someone over Stark. New York is blue only in theory. They still pick out of the olds boys club for al big seats.
Posted by: The Masterpiece
January 27, 2007 8:42 PM
Stark is promising,but a newbie. Not ready for statewide elected office...yet.
Posted by: i'm almost with you...
January 27, 2007 9:57 PM


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