July 22, 2018

Meanwhile, Back in Albany (v17)

Nathaniel Brooks/NY Times
For the second time, former NY State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son Adam were found guilty of corruption charges.  

Previously convicted in back in 2015, that verdict was thrown out and a new trial ordered based on a Supreme Court decision in another dirty politician's trial. The Skelos case was kicked off by former US Attorney Preet Bharara, who was fired by the Trump Administration, as happens sometimes when administrations change. (Bharara is now more than holding his own on social media, hosting a podcast on NPR and otherwise keeping us in the know.) 

And yes, while the trial was in Manhattan, the case has legs beyond the boundaries of New York City.  Because, meanwhile back in Albany, these are just a couple more convictions in a list of convictions on ethics-related charges that have occured in the past few years, reinforcing the message that we need to do something about the people we elect, the people they appoint, and how they all operate.

Who's in the rogue's gallery, in addition to Skelos? Here's a partial list, covering the nine years I've been publishing veritable pastiche of just the convicted state pols, not the 'resigned in disgrace because of a sex scandal' gang or any who served at the federal level:
  • Sheldon Silver, Assembly Leader
  • Deputy Senate Majority Leader Tom Libous
  • Senate Minority Leader John L Sampson
  • Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith
  • Assemblywoman Gabriela Rosa
  • Assemblyman William Boyland
  • Assemblyman Eric Stevenson
  • Assemblyman Nelson Castro
  • State Senator Shirley Huntley
  • Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada, Jr.
  • State Senator Vincent Leibell
  • State Senator Nicholas Spano
  • State Comptroller Alan Hevesi
  • State Senator Carl Kruger
  • State Senator Hiram Monserrate
  • State Senator Efrain Gonzalez, Jr.
  • State Health Commissioner Antonia Novello
Pretty impressive, kinda sorta, isn't it? You know, in a shameful kind of way, or in a 'seriously, we can't do better than this?" kind of way.

We've tried to address this, in any number of ways, including suggesting that the legislators get paid more so they would be less tempted to be bad.

We've tried passing ethics legislation - that didn't work, either.  And we had our Sonofa Gov's Moreland Commission, which was abruptly cancelled just when things started getting interesting.

Do we maybe just need better people?