Wednesday, June 10, 2009

NY Senate apparently watching too much professional wrestling

I'm a resident of NY State, and currently I have to whisper that with a fairly high degree of embarrassment. NY State politics has always been, shall we say, a little on the dysfunctional side, but what has gone on in the last week in the NY State senate is nothing short of comical.

Watching the behavior of the two "democratic" senators,Pedro Espada and Hiram Monserrate (both from the 5 boroughs... big surprise), made me feel like I was watching one of those goofy, staged WWE wrestling events, where one of the participants switches allegiances in mid-match and attacks his own partner. It's contrived, silly, and only works because everybody knows it's fake.

Apparently, Espada and Monserrate think shit like this is actually acceptable behavior on the floor of the NY Senate. In what can only be described as a spiteful coup, the two senators backed a proposal by bullying republicans who seem to think that the will of the voters is really just secondary when it comes to control of Senate leadership. These goobers LOST their elections and thereby lost their ability to control the Senate, but being the corrupt little weasels that they are, saw an opportunity to go around the voters by making back-door deals with Monserrate, and ESPECIALLY Espada, who was immediately named Senate President by the republican leadership. Does anyone really believe that particular action wasn't the gravy that convinced Espada to turn like Brutus? Of course it was.

Espada already has a track record of shady politics. He's racked up over $60,000 in fines for ill-begotten campaign funds, has fines for failure to file reports to the state Board of Elections 41 times, and doesn't even live in the district he represents.  This guy is dirtier than the floor of a chicken coop, and the republicans knew exactly who to target when they decided that a simple matter of lost elections was merely a technicality. Since when do NY State voters and their will mean a damn thing to republicans? Losing an election, to them, merely means they need to get more creative in their attempts to strong-arm the political landscape, and shows once again that ethics and voter representation are secondary to their agenda.

The disturbing part about all of this is that the NY Senate Republicans aren't even being coy about the level of corruption they are displaying. They are simply abusing a flawed system to assert power and completely ignore the will of the voters. Democracy in NY State is officially on hiatus, and I for one am disgusted. The voters of the Bronx have been disenfranchised. Pedro Espada, you were hired by the voters of the Bronx to represent their best interests. However it is clear that the only interests you are representing are your own. My only warning to you is this: voters remember behavior like this, and while your despicable actions may be a short term gain, I promise you they will be a long term loss.

Yup... just like watching a pro wrestling match, I know two things about what's going on with the NY Senate... the outcome is fixed and the two main participants are puppets... and puppets are puppets because they are paid to be... enter Tom Galisano.

Galisano, as many of you recall, is the upstate billionaire owner of the Buffalo Sabres and failed (3 time) NY Gubernatorial candidate.  Galisano spent a great deal of money helping the Dems win control of the Senate on the November elections. Once that was accomplished, the Dems appointed Malcolm Smith, a democrat from Queens (another borough... you'd think NY City was the only place in NY that matters) as majority leader.  Galisano hoped that Smith would help him push his agenda, seeing as he was so helpful to the Dems in their campaign.  This didn't happen... apparently Smith was too busy, you know, actually representing his constituents, to bow to Galisano's will and be at his beck and call.  Outraged, Galisano secretly came up with the ploy to oust the Dems from power and find people he could manipulate (see the aforementioned "puppets") to put in power.

The thing is, Galisano is not an officially voted in representative of any government agency in NY.  He should have no part, no say in any of this whatsoever.  All that he is, is rich.  Extraordinarily rich... and as a result, powerful enough to significantly tip the balance of NY politics.  It is corruption at its very basic and worst level... and it's alive and well on the floor of the NY Senate.  And you thought 'The Sopranos' was a work of fiction... 

UPDATE:  Jim Dwyer has a great article about the despicable, corrupt Espada and how this whole thing came to pass in today's NY Times.

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