Requiem for a Hevesi
Let me start by saying that I like Alan Hevesi. When you spend too much time involved in politics, you learn that many of our wise elected officials are really nothing more than vapid, empty suits that are able to memorize some lobbyist talking points when making an argument. Spending much of my time around so many mediocre pretenders in the political clubs and chambers in which I have participated, it was a breath of fresh air whenever I happened to find myself involved in a conversation with Alan Hevesi. Whether he was NYC Comptroller, Mayoral Candidate or NYS Comptroller, Hevesi always made me, and the others involved in our conversations, feel important (a trait that neither Dan nor Andy learned from their father). He gave thoughtful, well reasoned answers to the numerous policy and political questions he received from people he barely knew and wouldn't remember after he had left the room (including me). He never lost the college professor, ivory tower demeanor and occassionally I did notice that conversations with him were a little like a professor giving a lecture to his college students, but it was a class and lecture I would've enjoyed and it did not bother me as much as it did others. To me, Hevesi was one of the few bright bulbs in a state dominated by dimwits. I was one of the few people that supported his mayoral candidacy and believed in 2001 that New York would have been a much better city under Hevesi than under the other four candidates (including Bloomberg).
That said, I was willing to forgive him for his mistake in this Chauffeurgate scandal. I’ve seen much worse in politics than a husband using an official car to help aid his extremely sick wife. To me, Hevesi had slipped, but by quickly compensating the state of the approximately $80,000 he owed, Hevesi had slightly redeemed himself in my eyes and had not lost my vote or support. The continued pounding by the press and pundits only strengthened my support since I thought that the beating was completely undeserved and they were using him simply as material to sell more papers or get more page-views. I saw the desertion of his fellow Democrats, including Spitzer and Ferrer, as disgraceful and spineless, and in contrast gained respect for Hillary when she said that she stands up for her friends (even though I later realized her actions say something else). I naively waited for the next Jeanine Pirro scandal to hit to take some heat of off Hevesi. I steadfastly continued to support Hevesi to my colleagues, family and friends, even as the poll numbers continued to fall off a cliff.
However, today was the last straw. The Hevesi campaign just disclosed that the Attorney General’s office required Hevesi to pay an additional $90,000 to continue to compensate the state for his use of civil servants (note the plural) for personal uses. This brings the total amount to over $170K. To me, this is indefensible. How can the New York State Comptroller, the person in charge of the state’s financial health and policy, not be able to accurately determine the amount of money he personally owes the state for his use of government resources for private reasons? There are only two options, either the Comptroller’s office is incompetent, or it is dishonest and its intent this entire time has been to deceive and try to minimize the damage done, probably with hope that it will just go away. There is no way that the Comptroller's calculations could be off by almost $100K, so in my opinion, the Comptroller has clearly been dishonest to the public. By selling his soul to Hank Morris, it seems that Hevesi has decided that survival at any cost, even through further deception, is better than honesty. I’m sorry Alan, but it has backfired. In your quest to keep your elected position, you have now repeatedly deceived, lied, and disrespected us. As such, you no longer deserve our support or our vote.
Count me in that growing group that’s deserting Hevesi and causing those dropping poll numbers. I could have voted for a person I respected that made a mistake, but I can’t vote for someone that doesn’t respect me (and all the other New York voters) and blatantly lied.
Now the only question is which one of the other mediocre pretenders to vote for.