Albany Dysfunction Makes NY National Laughingstock


albanyIt was a dramatic day in Albany. Control of the New York State Senate remained in limbo. Republicans thought they were going to take over the Senate chambers today in the afternoon, but it never happened as the legislative session was canceled. In the end, the bipartisan coalition that was supposed to end dysfunction in Albany turned into a big disappointment. In fact, all it really did was create more dysfunction.Hundreds of members of the media waited around for a 2:30 p.m. press conference that never took place, and for a 3 p.m. session that was canceled. This after members of the leadership bragged to reporters that they had the keys to open the locked Senate chamber’s door.

“We have the keys,” said Sen. Pedro Espada, the new No. 2 in the line of succession to the governorship. “We’re gonna be going in together very soon to take on an active list that has mostly Democratic bills on and so you’ll see us all perform our work in the chamber today.”

Espada also had an interesting tidbit. He said aides to deposed Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith tried to get Gov. David Paterson to change the locks on the Senate doors.

Paterson, at his own news conference today, couldn’t made heads or tails of the spiraling situation.

“My belief is that they need to re-open the Senate, go in and settle it by vote,” Paterson said.

Austin Shafran, spokesman for Smith, said the Republicans can speak of getting back to the business of governing all they want; the Democrats have no intentions of complying.

“We are not going to go back in to be governed by unlawful rules,” Shafran said. “And that’s what the Republicans have been pushing for, and that’s illegitimate and illegal.”

The following was expected to happen tonight:

First, the Democrats were expected to go into court and try to get a temporary restraining order to stop the Republican-Democrat coalition from taking over.

Second, the bipartisan coalition was going to try to get five or six more Democrats to join them before they go into session.

And last but not least, the coalition claims it is going into session on Thursday.

That remains to be seen.

The entire ordeal has caused New York to become sort of a laughingstock nationwide, but it does not appear that the senators, themselves, are the least bit embarrassed by their actions. The lawmakers appear to be too busy playing the blame game.

{WCBS-HD/Noam Newscenter}