Monday, September 22, 2008

Another Reason To Flip The State Senate

No one can deny that Albany is in need of some serious reform. Like our Federal government in Washington, the state capitol must be led in a new direction away from the sleaziness of the past that plagues it today. One of the big problems in our state is that very little gets done and members in both parties have been able to get away with too much under the cloak of gridlock. However, the tide can be turned and a new day can begin in Albany if the balance of power in the State Senate changes hands. The Democratic Party is just two seats away from taking back the reins of NY's government.

Besides outright victory, what does that mean to ordinary New Yorkers? "So what," the cynics will say. Well for anyone plagued by the way eminent domain is abused in the City or elsewhere across the state, this may offer some hope for you.

State Senator Bill Perkins, a Democrat of Harlem, is calling for a moratorium on the use of eminent domain and said he is willing to push for more restrictions on the use of eminent domain, provided the political climate is right in Albany.

"I don't know of too many other issues where you have such diverse and pervasive outrage," he said yesterday in an interview.

Mr. Perkins said he would be meeting with Governor Paterson this week to discuss the findings of a hearing he held last week examining the possible use of eminent domain for the proposed $7 billion expansion of Columbia University's campus. He said Mr. Paterson was "supportive" of his work on eminent domain, but said he had not discussed specifics with the governor.

For far too long wealthy developers have had the larger voice in Albany and here in the city as well. While the Democrats haven't been perfect, Senators like Perkins can lead the way in the new/future Majority caucus. Of course changing the rules in the Senate to distribute power beyond the leadership will help too, but that can only be done with a Democratic majority. The people of New York, especially in the key areas of the state will be instrumental to the way things in Albany get done next year.