Crusading To Fix Albany

Posted on July 26th, 2010

Vote out the enemies of reform: Ed Koch names names in his crusade to fix Albany

BY Ed Koch

Sunday, July 25th 2010, 4:00 AM

Between 1928 and 1932, the Empire State was led by Gov. Franklin Delano Roosevelt. FDR followed in the footsteps of Alfred E. Smith, also a Democrat. Nelson Rockefeller, a Republican, created our great state public universities. These outstanding governors set the standards for leadership and social programs that lifted New York – and by emulation the rest of the country – into the modern era. There were other exemplary governors as well.

From 1975 to 1982, Gov. Hugh Carey was part of that tradition. During his eight years in office, Carey saved New York City from bankruptcy and New York State from financial ruin. By virtue of the 11th Amendment to the Constitution, our states are prohibited from applying for bankruptcy and the protections of the federal bankruptcy courts, which assure an orderly payout of the bankrupt’s assets.

Carey’s contribution to the well-being of the state and city he loves is not yet appreciated, but someday he will be recognized for his many achievements, perhaps by naming the Battery Tunnel in his honor, as suggested by our current lieutenant governor, Richard Ravitch. (The latter’s considerable talents are currently being wasted by Gov. Paterson, who was prescient in his appointment of Ravitch, but who unwisely declines to use his services.)

The leaders of our state Legislature are not well known. The two I worked with over an extended period were Speaker of the Assembly Stanley Fink, a Democrat, and Majority Leader of the Senate Warren Anderson, a Republican. Compared with today’s leaders, Fink and Anderson were giants devoted to the public’s needs.

Regrettably, the two current leaders – Speaker of the Assembly Sheldon Silver, a Democrat, and Majority Leader of the Senate John Sampson, also a Democrat – are not in the Fink-Anderson tradition of public service. Indeed, at this moment, New York Uprising, a political action committee – in which I have a leadership role – is dedicated to cleaning the Augean Stables known now as the dysfunctional Albany Legislature.

New York Uprising has designated Silver and Sampson as “Enemies of Reform.” Their names and many others are posted on our Web site,

About six months ago, along with Dick Dadey of Citizens Union and Henry Stern of New York Civic and others, I decided to undertake this crusade. We are taking on the state Legislature, which almost every New Yorker sees as a disgrace, shaming us with its antics and its inability to adopt a state budget.

As we speak, adoption of the budget is more than three months late. That lateness is not simply a delay without consequences. Municipalities dependent on state funding, as well as nongovernmental agencies similarly dependent, are suffering and have to privately or publicly borrow monies to keep operating – paying interest on loans. Commentators now compare New York with the bankrupt and equally scorned state of California.

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