Thursday, May 07, 2009

DN Op-Ed Scolds Albany For Trash-Talking The M.T.A.

Last night the Assembly and Senate officially passed the M.T.A. "bailout" bill after the leadership was assured of its' passage the night before. Democrats were delighted and Republicans acted angrily but both sides decried the M.T.A. for running a "less than clean" operation. Malcolm Smith repeatedly smacked them around with charges of pay to play, inappropriate perks and the infamous yet discredited theory that they ran with two books. Well, Bill Hammond at the Daily news has a few words for the legislators in Albany. The whole article is a thing of beauty, but here are a few of my favorite parts.

From The NY Daily News:

Just look at the recklessly irresponsible way the Assembly and the Senate - justly tagged as the most dysfunctional in the country - handled the MTA bailout.

It was almost a year ago that the MTA first raised an alarm about its looming fiscal crisis, due largely to economic forces out of its control.

It was 154 days ago that a blue-ribbon panel headed by former MTA chief Richard Ravitch delivered a solid rescue plan.

It was based on months of research and had the hearty endorsement of a rainbow of civic groups.

The MTA clearly warned of fare hikes and service cuts in December, held public hearings in January and February, and approved the details in March.

No one can claim to be caught by surprise.

You can't argue with that, this was a long time coming. And about Smith bashing the M.T.A.? Well....

But compared to the Legislature, the MTA is a model of open, clean government.

At least it has financial books it shares with the public - on a monthly basis. They're on the MTA's Web site, available to any lawmaker who actually cares to know the facts.

And those books are double-checked by an independent auditor, the state controller, the public authority budget office, a citizens advisory panel and any number of private watchdogs. The MTA also has an inspector general responsible for keeping things honest.

The Legislature, by contrast, shares its books with no one, is audited by no one and - despite a dozen criminal indictments of members in recent years - operates without a serious ethics cop on the beat.

Smith has no right to talk when the Senate he runs is more corrupt than the M.T.A. could ever be. There are several criminals in his midst, yet does nothing about it. And don't tell me that stripping one from chairing a Committee is a real consequence. That guy is looking at serious jail time if his alleged domestic abuse charges yield a guilty verdict. Then there's Espada, who's all kinds of crooked. Espada's friends, Diaz and Kruger are no angels either and the list goes on from there. But is there any accountability for anything?

All I hear is crickets, and a whole lot of hypocrisy.