Oct 21, 2006
I must have been given the wrong address yesterday. Or maybe it was the right place at the wrong time? Whatever the problem, it sure seemed like the wrong press conference.
The invitation said "come on down" to the College of Saint Rose and hear all about a new geology classroom. That sounded good; I'd been meaning to catch up with the good folks down there in Albany and this presented the perfect excuse to stop by.
But what I got was some guy going ballistic up on the podium talking about ... pretzels!.
That guy was none other than our own Uncle Joe, the good Senator Bruno, spewing forth fearful threats about what a disaster it will be to the Capital Region if --heaven forbid-- the Democrats take over his chamber in the upcoming elections. He mentioned something about waking up that morning and immediately hearing some comment that got him all worked up. Those in the audience wished he had reacted by hitting the snooze button and going back to bed instead of taking it out on them.
The fear (or threat), of course, is that the Albany area will no longer enjoy the windfall of state money that Uncle Joe has been able to throw its way for various economic development, community service and infrastructure projects since he took over as majority leader eleven years ago. My notes quote him as saying:
"I was there 18 years watching the dollars flow to New York City and to Long Island. And what did we get here? Pretzels! I sat there in a corner and bided my time."
He also went on to defend the so called "three men in a room" process of governance in New York that is the subject of so much finger pointing by observers as being the core cause of the state being labeled as the most dysfunctional government in the country. You know: the land of late budgets, ineffective and out of date legislation, out of control spending (backdoor and otherwise) and unfunded mandates that are driving up local property taxes. But as long as the pork flows in the right direction (ie., to the home districts), we are expected to support the gate keepers of this funny farm.
And so goes what we can call the Voter's Paradox (or schizophrenia): "Sure, government spending is a runaway train that must be brought under control, but I expect my local legislator's primary role to be bringing that pork spending back home right here to me and the young 'uns!"
Pretzel logic! Any major dude will tell you that, my friend. So Rikki don't lose that number.
As long as that thinking rules, nothing will change. Joe's throne is likely safe.