How Diane Savino Broke My Heart
On Tuesday, I had lunch with a consultant, who I’ll call Wiseman, and yes, he’s actually a composite, but all dialogue is guaranteed verbatim.
Lunch was pretty uneventful til we got to the topic of the State Senate Dems.
WISEMAN: Everyone wanted them to lose, and when I say everyone, I mean every one. Except for the Senate Dems themselves, and even a few of them.
GATE: Did you see that Senator Danny Boy Squadron went ballistic over Skelos allowing the Paleface conference to sit together? First the Sampson nominating speech and now this; There's no way that that goes down well among the Heights or Paul Newell's crowd.WISEMAN: I saw that and had the same thought. He is acting like the biggest Sampson ass-kisser. My take is that he is very scared of being in the Minority (staffing, etc.); of "what do I do about Brooklyn Bridge Park," of all the other enemies his penchant for lies has made him; and, particularly, of redistricting---although I think he lacks any real legal/technical appreciation for his precarious situation.
Redistricting: the 25th is certainly overpopulated as it stands. Growth in downtown Brooklyn may make it real hard to justify a Brooklyn/Manhattan district. If it all stays in Brooklyn, he has a problem: he is sandwiched between Voting Rights districts which could lead to Downtown Brooklyn and Brownstone Brooklyn getting brutally chopped up; however, adjacent Black districts, especially Velmanette’s probably can't take more whites. So, the answer could be a Savino combine, freeing up more Borough Park for Marty Golden. NYC will get more seats, so there could be a lower Manhattan-centered seat. But, he can't run there unless he moves to Manhattan by this October, although I have my doubts about where he really lives--that's another story. But, if he does move, he can't run in a Brooklyn district.
So, he hopes Sampson will save him somehow. That will work only so far as he doesn't come up against a "black agenda" or the Republican's needs.
GATE: If Velmanette was 20 years younger, she could swallow the Heights--in fact, it would have been to her advantage --a challenge to her with her record would be a very distasteful primary for a white liberal, and what black could beat her?
WISEMAN: Velmanette wouldn't win -- too old. But, Voting Rights Act would never permit her to be given so many whites.GATE: But a Squadron Savino fight--Squadron, champion of the corrupt machine pol who was once Clarence Norman's shill candidate for DA; Savino the brave reformer who challenged the evil leader
In a Brownstone fight between Racetrack Empire and the Paleface's I bet on the Palefaces
WISEMAN: YupI was all set to write this up as my latest column when Senator Savino and her fellow members of the group I now call ”Snow White and the Three Stooges”decided to end their career as reformers, and take the Dean Skelos’ thirty pieces of silver in the form of Committee Chairmanships and other lulus. .
GATE: Seems to me that taking committee chairs from the GOP squanders Klein's cover story and makes them look like whores instead of reformers. They would look far more credible if they did not make such a deal
WISEMAN: True, but no surprise. GATE: Buy-partisanship. The Amigos without clout or tans.
I expressed my disdain the next morning, and was greeted by this response:
POWER PARK RANGERS: What's your beef with the newest Amigos? They've taken relatively little (they are politicos after all and if they wanted more it was probably available for the asking), and would you associate with Sampson as your leader? With many of the relatively inept others? Calling leadership votes at the last minute, excluding your newly elected from that vote, misuse of campaign resources to pick up close elections to favor your own, blatant race based politics, AEG, a failed leadership (admittedly it is difficult to herd and juggle kittens, though Steve Martin could easily do the latter). I wouldn't join 'em and frankly it astounds me that many of the other reform-minded did, including Kreuger and Squadron. It just ain't cricket (or futball). Yet the editorial writers and political blogs have just let the Sampson continued leadership seemingly pass. Sure, there's been articles, but to have that level of incompetence and conflicts of interest, and then have them try to amass power? Perhaps I'm too idealistic, but why wouldn't the other clear reformers (my term, but perhaps not yours, since I include Squadron who has WFP blood in him and it ain't clear WFP=reform) not join them?
I could dispute some of that; for instance: “and if they wanted more it was probably available for the asking.”
Balderdash.Pedro Espada, Carl Kruger & company got what they wanted for the asking because they held the balance of power. Sensible leaders in both parties would probably washed their hands of such extortion and instead have shared power, but the New York State Senate proves again and again it lacks sensible leaders in any party.
But while Dean Skelos lacks sense, he is capable of simple arithmetic.
Dean Skelos does not need Snow White and the Stooges to take power. They offer nothing but the false window dressing of bi-partisanship, and the ability to let marginals off the hook for an occasional bad vote. That’s something worth having , but its value is strictly limited. Sneaky Pete Espada and Company were apparently worth something in the neighborhood of $11 million dollars. Klein and company seem to be worth about $12 and half grand apiece.
But that aside, mostly I agreed with Power Park.
Shortly after the Aqueduct report was released, I expressed my distaste in no uncertain terms; distaste I expressed even more strongly in my failure to endorse continued Democratic control of the State Senate, something which previously had been perhaps my dearest cause as a blogger.
I had no illusions about Snowy and her boys. Back in 2009, during the Senate’s Time of Troubles, I first named Klein’s Klaque the Palefaces:
Moreover, the fragmented nature of the Senate Democrats offered Skelos many opportunities to put together a more truly bi-partisan coalition. Not only was there the mercurial Monserrate, but his other remaining amigos as well.
And those were not the only possibilities. Darrel Aubertine wanted “Jobs for Power,” and Skelos wanted power for the jobs--surely, an accommodation could be reached, but then the plug got pulled.
Next, Skelos tried pulling Tom Duane’s plug, dangling the promise of a vote on same-sex marriage in exchange for a vote for a political one. Perhaps Skelos would have succeeded had he only promised Duane “the votes,” instead of just “a vote.” But Skelos seemingly did not understand that a man not named Pedro Espada may not be comfortable betraying a lifetime of friends and principles in exchange for merely getting a floor vote he was destined to lose.We also know that Dan Squadron was seen late nights in a hotel bar in an animated discussion with the Mayor’s consiglieri, Kevin Sheekey, and Tom Golisano’s butt-boy, Steve Pigeon, though we can only guess whether it was by accident or design (bet you know where I stand).
Other Skelos overtures, and we know of at least one (to Bill Stachowski), appear to have been summarily rejected (but we will never know how many were made to whom, under what circumstances, with how much negotiation).
I am not condemning Duane, Aubertine and Squadron (well, maybe just a little),---by my count, if one adds them to The Gang of Four” (plus Dilan and Sampson) and the two groups of Seven putting forth their own power-sharing plans: “The Progressives” (Schneiderman, Squadron, Liz Krueger, Parker, Adams, Oppenheimer, and Breslin) and “The Palefaces” (Klein, Savino, Foley, Johnson, Stachowski, Valesky and Aubertine), there were at least 21 out of 32 Senate Democrats who, at one time or another, were conducting non-officially sanctioned negotiations (or trying to) with either the Republicans or Epsada, or were themselves Espada.
We know for a fact that the Palefaces nearly got the job done.
It is possible that Sampson, the closest approximation the Democrats currently have to a leader, had wisely decided to let a thousand flowers bloom in the hopes that if he threw enough of them at the wall, one would stick. However, it seems just as likely that individual and self-dealing may also have been involved in at least some of these activities (YA THINK?).
But give the Palefaces credit; they had balls.
Even (or maybe especially) Savino.
So when they decided to bail from on Nucky Sampson’s Empire, I certainly did my best to be sympathetic, despite my weeks of railing about the Amigos betrayal during both of their two attempts to hold State government hostage.
As such, I think Power Park has mischaracterized my position; although I refused to surrender my common sense, I was sympathetic to the Palefaces.
Let’s look at the record:
1/3/11: (Klein leaves as Deputy Leader, and leaves the Conference):GATE: We always knew there was never really a Democratic Majority in the NYS Senate, just four (or more) factions in uneasy alliance. Dean Skelos' Minority always controlled more votes in the Senate than anyone else.
But though the incoming Senate Democrats have as many seats as Skelos did, there will not be a Senate "Minority" in the sense that Skelos led one. Without a pot of gold to be obtained at the end of the rainbow, there will not even be an uneasy alliance. Klein Gives Up No. 2 post www.nydailynews.com
1/5 (Klein is joined by Savino, Valesky and Carlucci):GATE: I'm still trying to rationalize how this Paleface Conference is different from The Amigos; I'm not sure I can, beyond the fact that the players here are not only not out for pecuniary advantage like Pedro, Carl and company, but, in fact, have forfeited such advantage, which is a BIG difference.
Beyond that, this group comprises most, but not all, of the Senate Democrats who represent relatively conservative constituencies, but are themselves relatively socially liberal.
Query: if the common thread is revulsion against corruption, how long can Krueger, Duane, Squadron (who, believe it or not, placed Sampson in nomination for Minority Leader), Oppenheimer and Avella afford to hold out? The New Amigos www.capitaltonight.com
GATE: Hey, why not let every Senate Democrat have their own conference? Sen. Diaz Has Plans www.capitaltonight.com
GATE: It Takes One to Know One Department: Bloomberg: Democratic State Senate Was 'A Disgrace' | The New York Observer www.observer.com
I continued this conversation of Facebook:PAUL NEWELL: Independence or factionalism? Remains to be seen, but I like the signs of life this implies. Senate Dems Bolt Democratic Caucus | The New York Observer www.observer.com
GATE: I'm still trying to rationalize how…(and blah bah blah)...the players here are not only not out for pecuniary advantage like Pedro, Carl and company, but, in fact, have forfeited such advantage, which is a BIG difference.
NEWELL: Well, that and the fact that they're not shifting the majority (as they have no power to).
GATE: We are in basic agreement. You need to talk to Restler, did you see his post?RESTLER: Huh? It doesn't seem to be ideological...Are these folks claiming to stake out a moral high ground relative to the Senate Dems? Unity within the dem conference has real value. The New Amigos www.capitaltonight.com
GATE: Agree they need to distinguish themselves; But unlike the amigos (and blah blah blah)...the players here are not only not out for pecuniary advantage like Pedro, Carl and company, but, in fact, have forfeited such advantage, which is a BIG difference.
NEWELL: Yeah, let's give these guys some room. They're not handing power to Skelos, and not profiting. I can certainly understand the interest in distinguishing themselves from a Senate leadership that did not deliver on reform.
1/10 (Celeste Katz buys the Sampson line about Nucky increasing Latino clout in the Senate, while Rube Diaz compares the Palefaces unfavorably to the Amigos)GATE: While Katz may very well be correct here about the internal NYS Senate Democratic Conference (such that it is) politics, the title of her piece is just bizarre.
Last year every Latino in the State Senate was in the Majority and Chaired a committee; now none of them do.
So the truth is exactly the opposite: thanks to Sampson, Latinos have not gained power; they have lost it. Latino Dems gaining power in state Senate; new caucus may be hobbled www.nydailynews.com
GATE: I'm not saying that Klein and company are monuments to purity (though given what they rebelled against, it's hard to look bad in comparison), but Ruben Diaz, as he so often does, elevates his divine delusions over the concrete facts. Diaz and his co-conspirators made out like bandits--even controlling the Finance Committee. By contrast, Klein, et al, are, at best, getting a slightly higher quality grade of bread crumbs. Capitol Confidential » Klavinuccilesky still waiting for TPPP (video added)
1/14 (continued revelations about Nucky‘s profligacy):GATE: ALBANY PRODUCTION OF “GUYS AND DOLLS” (Part Two)
WHEN YOU MEET A MUG LATELY OUT OF THE JUG/ AND HE’S STILL LIFTING PLATINUM FOLDEROL:“Just read his Epitaph,
and please try not to laugh,
switch your vote and he’ll give you half,
just how much we don’t know yet.
The Post says we have big debt,
no sweat.” Senate Democrats’ Extra Campaign Loan Was And Remains Unguaranteed www.cityhallnews.com
GATE: ALBANY PRODUCTION OF “GUYS AND DOLLS” (Part Three):
GOTTA HAVE A GAME OR WE’LL DIE FROM SHAME:“No class,
Dean Skelos really kicked our ass,
our excuses just barely pass,
So write our Epitaph,
even if wrong by half,
The GOP will be getting the last horse laugh.
Dean Skelos really kicked our ass,
our excuses just barely pass,
So write our Epitaph,
even if wrong by half,
The GOP will be getting the last horse laugh. Senate Dems Mum On Layoffs: Updated! www.nydailynews.com
GATE: This item is included here today for its Malcolm Smith reference. CHN outlines Smith's troubles and asks "Time to start a new non-profit?"
But anyone who's followed Malcolm's career in the "real world" knows that, whatever the nature of his charities (many seem to start at home), every business he's ever started has been a "non-profit" Winners & Losers, Jan. 14 Edition www.cityhallnews.com
1/25 (Dissing Sampson over seating, and Skelos over reapportionment):GATE: Although my disdain for the State Senate Democrats is no secret, one can hardly say I’ve been overly enthusiastic about Jeff Klein’s Paleface Caucus. Yet in demanding the right to seat the Palefaces as they please, the Senate Democrats have abandoned even the pretense of the moral high ground. Eric Adams argues that it should have be left up to Senate Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson to determine where to seat his members, and I agree. But if Klein and company are unclear about much of their agenda, one things is crystal clear:
They are not Sampson's members.
And Adams’ assertions about gender discrimination are just offensive. The Palefaces basically have the same percentages of women they do The State Senate's Great (Chair) Debate: Updated www.nydailynews.com
GATE: Beware of Greeks bearing gifts of non-partisanship. GOP Pushback To Independent Redistricting Plan Begins To Take Hold www.cityhallnews.com
So, the truth is I knew better, but I was still rooting for Snowy and her Boys. They all may have been marginals, or quasi-marginals, scurrying away from someone toxic, but they were showing some initiative and some revulsion about things which were revolting.
Doubtless, Liz Krueger too feels revulsion. In the aftermath of the Amigos, I would understand her taking a principled stand against renegade Democrats forming their own conference when the going gets rough.
But one need not form one’s own conference to take a stance against revolting developments.
Liz, what do you really think?
And Danny Boy; I cannot condemn you for not joining the Palefaces; but did you really have to put Sampson’s name in nomination and give him the benefit of what’s left of your “reform” credentials?
Did you really need to go to war over preventing people who are no longer members of your conference from sitting together?
But, those question are now history, Now the questions are for Snowy and the Stooges.
Now Snowy and her boys must explain how they are different from Ruben Diaz, Carl Kruger, Pedro Espada and Hiram Monserrate.
Do you have an answer?
Yes, you did not put the State into chaos. And yes your price tag was lower. But that owes more to the difference in your ability to impact the balance of power than it owes to any differences in your conduct.
What can you point to of a substantive nature that you got from Dean Skelos?
The Amigos had no agenda besides their own enrichment, their own power and their own egos.
What is your agenda?
Did you get Dean to agree to Non-Partisan redistricting? Or just to saving your seats?
Is there a policy agenda he’s agreed to as a result of your deal? What is it?
We know the Independent Democrats have endeavored to wrap themselves in the blanket of Cuomo, whether the proposals are good or bad.
This means they differ from Samson not one iota. In fact, it means they differ from Skelos not one iota.
The only difference is that Skelos may be more slightly more credible than either Democratic faction in claiming to agree with Cuomo on the matter of the budget.
I know I should know better by now, but once again a raven haired beauty has broken my heart.
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