Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The start of something big

New York Daily News Editorial

"Day One dawned, and Gov. Eliot Spitzer dedicated his administration to reviving New York's lagging economy and bringing democracy to Fortress Albany. He backed down not one whit from his promise to change everything - and more power to him.
His forceful, 20-minute inaugural address, delivered in the frigid outdoors, was filled with moments to warm the hearts of all New Yorkers who care about clean, effective government.
As when Spitzer - with ex-Gov. George Pataki, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno sitting a few feet away - likened state government to Rip Van Winkle, having "slept through much of the past decade."
As when he declared that New York cannot afford "merely to tinker at the margins of the status quo." And when he praised former Gov. Teddy Roosevelt for taking on "the political machine and inbred corruption in order to give government back to the people."
As when he spoke of the need for competitive elections to the Legislature, without the shameless gerrymandering of districts and unfettered fund-raising. These were welcome words because the combination of safe seats and special-interest money is a surefire recipe for bad lawmaking.
He spoke with characteristic swashbuckling bravado - which is encouraging, because he'll need a lot of energy and confidence to keep even half of his commitments.
Spitzer literally hit the ground running - first with a predawn jog, then by signing executive orders designed to dispel the atmosphere of sleaze at the Capitol. The measures - including a ban on gifts from lobbyists and on the personal use of state cars and other equipment - apply only to his appointees, but he made it plain he expects the Legislature to follow suit.
His speech promised a pragmatic approach to the state's most urgent problems: the shortage of good-paying jobs, especially upstate; schools that fail to prepare young people for the 21st century; health care so expensive that millions of New Yorkers lack coverage, and - behind everything else - a government that, as Spitzer nicely put it, "works for those who hold office, not those who put them there."
It was a sharp, clear-eyed agenda unencumbered by grandiose calls for social justice or anti-government rhetoric. Instead, Spitzer sketched a vision of the state as a "lean and responsive force that can make possible the pursuit of prosperity and opportunity for all."
Spitzer recognizes none of this will be easy. To come are the potentially devilish details, in his State of the State speech tomorrow and his budget later on. But Day One felt like the start of something big." That is why we created this blog in the first place........to record these historical moments....and Spitzer's fight for reform and good goverment.......andy

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