I couldn’t stop laughing after learning about Democratic State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver calling for public financing of elections. Everyone knows that it takes more than money to insure fair open competative elections. Speaker Silver rules the Assembly with an iron hand. He controls whose bills come out of committee to a full vote, lulus for chairing committees, funding for member-item pork barrel projects, staffing, mailings, district office budgets and favorable district boundaries. Republican Senate majority leader Skelos has similar powers in his chamber.
Past Republican State Senate majority leaders, the late Warren Anderson, Ralph Marino, and Joe Bruno cut deals with past Democratic State Assembly Speakers Stanley Steingut, Stanley Fink, Mel Miller, Saul Weprin and Silver. These political back room arrangements were a quid pro quo deal preserving the status quo. Each gave the other unlimited freedom to protect and expand their respective majorities in each legislative house they controlled. Once again in 2012, Skelos and Silver have maintained this bipartisan traditional Albany incumbents protection program.
As two of the infamous “Three Men In the Room”, an honest reapportionment and election of a new Speaker and Senate majority leader is needed. Real reform could have come to Albany with honest competitive elections as supported by former NYC Mayor Ed Koch and his New York Uprising movement. Voters will have to wait ten more years until the next reapportionment in 2012 to see real change.