Wednesday, July 01, 2009
If you live between an ocean and the mountains or maybe on a Great Lake, there is a very good chance that your state government is a freakshow. But is it worse than New York's? There's your acid test:
The latest attempt to break the State Senate’s three-week-old stalemate began with a quest for caffeine.
Shortly before noon on Tuesday, as Democrats prepared to convene what they expected to be another fruitless one-party session, they saw Frank Padavan, a Queens Republican, walk through the rear of the chamber.
Mr. Padavan would later say he had simply been taking a shortcut to the members’ lounge to grab a cup of coffee. But to the 31 Democrats in the chamber, that did not matter. Claiming that Mr. Padavan’s brief presence gave them the 32-member quorum required to gavel the Senate into session, Democrats began ramming through dozens of measures, including sales tax extensions and bond authorizations that were set to expire at midnight.
By the time the Democrats adjourned, Mr. Padavan’s coffee run had thrust the Capitol into a new round of recriminations and legal debate. Democrats insisted that the bills had been lawfully passed, Republicans denounced the session as fraudulent and inappropriate, and Gov. David A. Paterson suggested that he would not sign the bills into law.
New York taxpayers are, of course, paying for all of this silliness. On the bright side, it is no doubt less expensive than the legislation "passed" by dint of the walk-through quorum, but still.
I thought our legislature in California was pretty darned farcical (Seriously proposing a state "blueberry commission," with $100k+ salaries, of course, during a budget crisis), but New York's senate is truly impressive.
This is what happens when people stop paying attention to state government.
This is New York's senate ... our Assembly (House) is actually worse. Shelly Silver runs it as a fiefdom. He has enough dirt on key fellow Democrats to keep them in line -- that's his power base. You bribe Shelly by hiring his law firm. We have a state ethics disclosure law that applies to all state employees except elected officials.
Just one of many examples -- Shelly killed the proposed new Jets stadium as a favor for the Dolans, who own Madison Square Garden. The stadium was really a way to build a nationally competitive convention center and would have been a good deal for NYC.
Mark L: I just had that exact conversation last night. We bitch about our government, but compared to the train wrecks happening around the country (California, New York, South Carolina, New Jersey) I'm pretty pleased. A solid economy, growing population (esp. from people fed up with Cali), an armed yet polite society, and all without an income tax.
No wonder liberal Democrats hate Texas. We upset their entire worldview.