Recently, at a membership meeting of the Jefferson Democratic Club, the potential Democratic candidates for the 26th Assembly District were given a few minutes to speak about their candidacies. After briefly introducing myself, I spoke of the well-documented problems of our government in Albany.
I spoke about how our leaders in Albany and our government in Albany have failed us.
I spoke about the control of our government by the leadership and by the lobbyists and special interests.
I spoke about how the best interests of the hard working citizens of our state take a back seat to the interests of the leadership and to the special interests that keep our elected officials in office.
I also mentioned a December, 2009 New York Times editorial that called New York State a “failed state.” I spoke of the reports and updates published by the Brennen Center for Justice of the New York University Law School which called our government and its leadership “dysfunctional.”
Finally, I held up my copy of the book Three Men in a Room by former Senator Seymour P. Lachman. I noted that in his book Senator Lachman wrote about the lack of democracy inherent in how our government works and how the major decisions that affect all citizens of New York State are made by the Speaker of the Assembly, the Senate Majority Leader and the Governor.
After I concluded my speech, Assemblymember Ann Margaret Carrozza defended the leadership in Albany.
While she is not a candidate, Ms. Carrozza felt compelled to counter my beliefs and the the beliefs of the New York Times Editorial Board, the Brennen Center and Senator Lachman. I'm not sure why Ms. Carrozza felt the need to speak but perhaps she felt her handpicked proposed successor was incapable of defending his boss.
For whatever reason, Ms. Carrozza stated that what I had declared was not true.
She stated that the leadership in Albany works “very well.” She went on to say that the press does not see the how well the leadership works because all of that activity happens “behind the scenes.”
She said that Senator Lachman's assertions simply aren't true and that no one can believe what is contained in the Brennen Center reports because the Brennen Center reports are simply “the work of four graduate students.”
Before the ratification of our Constitution in 1788, our nation was governed by the Articles of Confederation, which were ratified in 1781. The government under the Articles of Confederation was weak and ineffective. After only a short time of government under the Articles of Confederation, many of our founding fathers believed that major changes to our government were needed. When confronted with the fact that major changes to our government were necessary, future President George Washington stated that it would take time before the people realize that the government was not working and that change was needed. Washington stated that “the people must feel it before they will see it.” I believe the same can be said for our state government in Albany.
Our state government, including the Governor, the Senate Majority Leader and the Speaker of the Assembly are ineffectual. Nearly every week another elected official or government official is indicted or convicted.
As I write this letter our state budget is over 67 days late and major cuts to vital programs and services are being contemplated. While Ms. Carrozza does not seem to see it, I believe the people both feel it and see it.
I believe it is clearly time to change the way our government in Albany operates. The time has come for campaign finance reform, ethics reform and changes in the fundamental way our government in Albany operates.
The people feel it. The people see it. Perhaps if Ms. Carrozza had spent more time in Albany she too would see it.
26th Assembly District