OP-ED SENATE 06-25
A COUP IS A COUP
BY SENATOR TOBY ANN STAVISKY
It is difficult to describe the frustration coupled with the outrage at the Senate minority’s coup attempt. It had nothing to do with reform, as claimed.
As a June 10 editorial in the Syracuse Post-Standard stated, “It is clear that ‘reform’ was merely a cover for Monday’s coup. The Republicans wanted to get their power back, plain and simple, and they found two Democrats desperate enough to help them do it.”
In fact, the Republicans had 43 years to enact reforms. Democrats were treated shabbily, receiving a fraction of overall resources. Last year, three percent of the bills, which passed the Higher Education committee, were sponsored by Democrats.
In contrast, this year, when I became Chair, 20 percent of the bills passed in committee were sponsored by Republicans.
Now, during their power grab, they have the nerve to talk about reform. Even more outrageous is their attempt to make Pedro Espada the President of the Senate, next in line of succession to be governor.
This is a man who:
lives in Mamaroneck in Westchester County, not his east Bronx district;
who continually refuses to disclose who financed his campaign;
who in 2002 tried to direct $745,000 in pork grants to his clinics, and
who is under investigation by both the Bronx District Attorney and the Attorney General.
This is the man every single Republican – including Queens’ own Senator Frank Padavan – voted to place a heartbeat away from the governor’s mansion.
The Senate remains deadlocked at 31-31.
The State constitution states that in order to conduct business, there must be 32 Senators to have a quorum. Important legislation such as New York City school governance, economic development and the city’s tax request cannot be enacted. Because of the opportunism and greed of one person, government has come to a standstill.
Compromise at this point is the only course of action.
The Senate Democrats proposed a bipartisan agreement, which has been used in other states in similar situations. To circumvent the legislature gridlock, we proposed a fair, bipartisan, 50-50 share of Senate resources and power, a proposal that was immediately rejected by the Senate Minority.
I continue to do my work as Chair of the Higher Education Committee. I attend meetings in the district. I am committed to making our government more accountable and transparent and I hope that by the time you see this letter, common sense can prevail.
Toby Ann Stavisky
State Senator, 16th S.D.