When it comes to New York politics, corruption and all-around shadiness persists in every nook and cranny. If someone comes along and tries to challenge the status quo, the powers that be will do whatever they can to quash the "problem." Gobs of money will be spent and all aspects of the dictionary will be used to make that person go away. G.Y.N.H.A. and 1199 give tons of money to people like Joe Bruno and now they are helping Shelly Silver stave off two primary challengers in his own district. Staying silent about these practices helps them to go on indefinitely. So when I heard one candidate address the pay to play nature of Albany, I did a silent cheer.
From Paul Newell:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: MAY 1, 2008
NEW YORK, NY - May 1, 2008
Sheldon Silver is pulling out all the stops as Paul Newell's grassroots challenge gains traction. Despite having more than $3 Million in his campaign fund, Silver has already turned to third party special interests to fund his campaign.
Yesterday, 1199 and the Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA) filled 64th Assembly District mailboxes with a 2-sided, full color 8½" X 11" mailer praising Silver. GNYHA and 1199, which recently gave $100,000 to Republican Joe Bruno, have long been recognized as among the savviest operators in
's lobbying culture. Albany
Paul Newell responded to the piece, saying "The problem is not the mailer itself, it is the pay-to-play culture in
. Silver and Bruno have put the word out that the way to get something from Albany government is to spend big money supporting the status quo." Newell continued, "No amount of special interest money will hide the fact that Sheldon Silver has been failing the people of New York State Lower Manhattanfor decades."
The highly unusual timing of the piece - more than four months before Silver's first contested primary in 22 years - is clear proof that Silver is concerned about community organizer Paul Newell's campaign. Evan Hutchison, Newell's Campaign Manager reacted, saying "We knew that Sheldon Silver's millions in special interest money would come into play, we just didn't expect him to start calling in favors so early in the campaign. They are obviously scared". Newell has already knocked on over 4,000 doors and distributed over 10,000 flyers to voters in the district.
In another sign of concern, Silver recently hired high-priced campaign consultants BerlinRosen to manage his defense against Newell's aggressive grassroots campaign. The hire is Silver's first such move in over 20 years.
It is great to see Silver's anxiety about the race front and center. It will definitely make itself even more apparent as the primary election gets closer. The big players that operate around the state capitol have no intention of watching one of their three men in a room be kicked out of office. That is why we must fight as hard as we can to kick Shelly Silver out for good and finally start to clean the stench up in Albany.