Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Three Men Return To Their Room

Just when I had a chance to praise for Paterson for standing with his party, I have to criticize him yet again. This time it is to call him out for forgetting about his past appeals for reform. Paterson was all about cleaning up Albany's corrupt, bad-government ways when he was a Senator, but now he is just another part of the problem.

From The Poughkeepsie Journal:

ALBANY — Legislative leaders and Gov. David Paterson said today they have agreed to try to bypass required public conference committees on the state budget in favor of hashing out a budget deal among themselves, leading government watchdogs to complain that the public is being shut out of a process involving billions of taxpayers’ dollars. “I think the important thing for us in this time of crisis is to give certainty to New Yorkers,” said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, in defending the decision. “So at this point, we and the governor have agreed that we want to look at the end result and avoid the bickering that takes place with one-house budgets if we can.”

Not holding the committees not only violate a 2007 law meant to open up the process, it also is “incredibly insensitive” to make the decision on the eve of “Sunshine Week,” said Blair Horner, legislative director for the New York Public Interest Research Group.

“Is this the way the Democrats want to celebrate Sunshine Week? With secret meetings? That’s a bad idea,” Horner said. Sunshine Week, which starts Sunday, is an effort by newspapers around the country to promote open government. It started in 2002.

Not much has changed since 2002 and no one who is in a position to immediately effect change wants to do it. I never had faith in Silver, but there was just a bit for Paterson and Smith. Now there is none. Effecting change is still a battle for the people to fight and one that must be taken against people like Paterson, Smith and Silver. At some point, those in power are going to have to learn that when it comes to the health of our democracy, transparency trumps expediency, or else the government will continue to distance itself from meeting the needs of all the people, not just those that have the most lobbyists in Albany.