Weekend News Cafe

Only tweaking the status quo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo talked the talk – on pensions and redistricting, in particular – but pulled a St. Bonaventure and came up short at crunch time this past week. The New York Times provides a good analysis.

What’s most striking:

  • State employees can still pad their pensions by working a lot of overtime during the homestretch of their careers.
  • Gerrymandered Senate and Assembly districts were accepted for a proposed bipartisan commission in 10 years that, The Times notes “would operate under the purview of the Legislature, unlike more independent redistricting commissions in Arizona and California.”
  • The key deals were once again cut by Three Men in a Room.

Said The Times: “In classic Albany fashion, the package of measures approved through the night Wednesday and early Thursday was hatched behind closed doors by three men — the governor, the Assembly speaker and the Senate majority leader — with lawmakers voting in the wee hours on bills that many of them had not even read.”

Meanwhile the Wall Street Journal suggests that this session might mark the beginning of the end of Cuomo’s extended honeymoom.

Said The WSJ: “New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is taking unusually heated criticism from a variety of quarters for his latest mega-deal with state lawmakers—from good-government leaders, editorial boards and even some fellow Democrats.

“I think the criticism of the governor has been sharper this time,” said Doug Muzzio, a professor of public affairs at Baruch College. “We still have three men in the room. The massive logroll. And there’s no transparency. Legislators still don’t know what they’re voting on until the leaders tell them how to vote.”

“There was a honeymoon period,” Mr. Muzzio said, during which “the ugliness of the process was overlooked.” That period may be over, he said.

Say what?

Timothy Cardinal Dolan, head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and archbishop of New York, ventured to Albany this past week to lobby politicians on, among other things, how unfair it would be to the Catholic Church if the statute of limitations was extended to prosecute clergy accused of molesting children.

“We feel that this is terribly unjust. It singles [out] the church and it would be — and I use the word purposefully — devastating for the life of the church,” Dolan declared.

No need for an exit interview

Greg Smith, a honcho at Goldman Sachs, quit in spectacular fashion the other day by resigning in an op-ed column in The New York Times.

It makes me ill how callously people talk about ripping their clients off. Over the last 12 months I have seen five different managing directors refer to their own clients as “muppets,” sometimes over internal e-mail.

Smith decried the firm’s environment as ” toxic and destructive” and ProPublica followed up by documenting its history of transgressions.

Sites we like

This time of year, especially, State of Politics and the Albany Times Union’s Capitol Confidential are essential reading to track political developments in Albany and around the state.

A musical statement

Given the week’s events in Albany, the phrase “same as the old boss” rings true.

Hit it, Pete.