Lack of Clarity
"Next week, the mid-term elections will be held. According to opinion polls, most of the voting results for New York State are already known. However, the likely outcome of the State Comptroller’s race is uncertain. One way or another, Alan Hevesi is toast. The smart move for New York voters is to vote for him, so that on his reelection, he can be replaced by a first-rate candidate, such as City Comptroller Bill Thompson, former State Comptroller candidate Bill Mulrow, Assemblyman Herman D. Farrell or Assemblyman Richard Brodsky.
The replacement candidate will be chosen by a joint vote of the State Assembly and Senate, with each official having one vote. Speaker Shelly Silver, the dominant figure in the more numerous Republican-controlled Assembly, will ultimately determine the outcome. To elect Christopher Callaghan, the inexperienced Republican candidate for State Comptroller, would be, in the opinion of many knowledgeable people, including myself, a mistake that could endanger the pension funds of city and state employees.
The New York State Comptroller’s office is in charge of $140 billion in pension funds. After selecting the new State Comptroller, the Legislature should reduce the powers of that office, so as to remove the current authority of the State Comptroller to make all financial decisions unilaterally. In my view, the power of the State Comptroller should be curtailed so that they are more in line with those exercised by the City Comptroller.
If Hevesi is reelected, he could face impeachment or indictment and may be forced to resign. I am not a fan of Hevesi’s, but I am truly sorry for him. He may be greedy, but I do not believe him to be a dishonest man. Had he appointed an independent agency to decide the amount he should have repaid and paid it immediately, he would have, in all probability, avoided his current situation. Apparently, the thought of paying several hundred thousand dollars for the state services rendered by state employees to his ailing wife overwhelmed his judgment."
By virtue of his senior citizen’s exemption from the rules of normal political discourse, Ed Koch is allowed to articulate things politicians still on active duty would like to say but can’t. Though normally as disloyal a Democrat as can be found outside of Brooklyn Borough Hall, Koch is now in the peculiar position of being the public spokesman for the “Party Line Catechism” being articulated by every Democratic pol in the privacy of his own clubhouse. To watch Ed Koch become the face for the sort of thing being said on “Daily Gotham” would be normally be as laugh out loud roll on the floor funny as things get, if it wasn’t for the spectacle of watching “reform/progressive” types like Mole333 and Bouldin doing this year’s version of “Vote for the Crook; it’s Important” with far less justification.
But, let’s put things in perspective. This strategy is perfectly legitimate for Republicans in Florida’s 16th CD, where former incumbent Mark Foley has resigned, but still appears on the ballot. The Party choice for his replacement has been named, and it is dead certain Foley ain’t coming back; let us contrast that with Hevesi’s position:
“Now, unfairly, some politicians want to stampede me out of office. But it’s your choice, not theirs. I’m asking you to weigh my mistake against my 35 years of public service. I’m human; I’m a good comptroller who did a dumb thing. If you give me the chance to keep serving you in the job I love, I’ll owe you everything, and those politicians nothing.”
In other words, Hevesi’s not asking voters to support him as a stopgap; he’s outright promised to regard his re-election as a mandate; albeit a mandate to behave entirely differently than he has over the past four years. It brings back Murray Kempton’s description of Robert Wagner winning a third term by “running against his own record”. The only reason to feel any comfort about Hevesi’s position is that he’s already proven himself a liar, and there’s no reason to believe he’s going to change now.
And for those who will vote for Hevesi on the basis that the end of his tenure is imminent even if he fails to exit voluntarily, let us remember that while former US Attorney David Kelley’s report does provide certainty as to whether Hevesi’s past conduct renders him unfit to continue as Comptroller, it is somewhat less reliable than Nostradamus as a guide for predicting the future; an analysis of Kelley’s report in today’s “Daily News” was entitled: "Lack of clarity keeps his job safe for now". What happens next is anyone’s guess.
What is certain though is that the New York State electorate does not benefit by displaying to its elected officials a live and let live attitude towards official misconduct, especially when the beneficiary of this magnanimity is the State’s Chief Fiscal Officer and watchdog.
Since the Republican candidate is a monumentally unqualified boob, I cannot advocate his election. The important thing is to hold Hevesi’s vote down to a level which will duly chasten all observers in the political chattering classes. Just don’t vote for Hevesi!
Those interested in voting on the basis of record should probably support Libertarian John Cain, who is personally responsible for the eradication from public life of former Rockland County Democratic Chair Paul Adler, a disreputable fixer and peddler of indulgences, who would today inspire Lincoln Steffens to write “The Shame of the Suburbs” (What’s the difference between Paul Adler and a catfish? One is a bottom dwelling, scum-sucking scavenger, and the other is only a form of aquatic wildlife).
Unfortunately, Cain’s idea’s about the pension system may even be stranger than Chris Callahan’s, so I’m sticking with writing in Adam Green, unless Hevesi resigns by the time I go to bed Monday Night and promises not to come back.
If he does that, he will have earned our votes.
Gatemouth's Homepage was updated on 11/05/06; for more fun and laughter, visit:
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