Spitzer & Pataki

14 Dec

fail.jpg

Has Spitzer overreached? His pissing match with Senate President Joe Bruno, and his almost universally disliked licenses-for-illegals plan have sent his poll numbers plummeting to a 48% job disapproval rating. Remember the guy won with a Collinsesque mandate for change.

The Buffalo News yesterday lauded the baby-steps to reform that Spitzer has accomplished, but there is more to do. Will he become a shadow of his former self over the upcoming months, and falling into the Pataki trap of going along to get along? Or will he instead redouble his efforts to lurch the state towards fundamental reform by re-examining just how confrontational he needs to be?

Piecemeal signature projects in upstate cities – Peace Bridge and Canal Side in Buffalo – are all well and good, but as we constantly harp on here, until and unless the economy of Western New York is rendered more attractive to prospective and current residents, immigrants, and businesses, it will all be for naught.

We’re still shrinking. We’ll just have a nice waterfront or a new bridge for our shrinking population.

As the News says,

That kind of change would become much more likely if each legislative chamber would first reform its internal, topdown rules that discourage the free flow of ideas. That’s hardly the point of a democracy.

Upstaters can be pleased with Spitzer’s infrastructure projects. But as useful and expensive as they stand to be, they are the easy part. It is urgent that he not let up on the state reforms needed to make upstate an economically competitive place to live and do business. Until that is done, this state will continue to bleed.

New York is the second most expensive state in which to do business, behind only Hawaii.

Hawaii has an excuse. New York is running out of them.

What can we do to cajole our state legislators to take seriously the problems that face Western New York and upstate, and enact the sorts of political changes that might help spur economic and population growth? What can we do to get Spitzer to be less of a broken-down steamroller and more like a persuasive consensus-builder?

Advertisements

19 Responses to “Spitzer & Pataki”

  1. Buffalo Blood Donor December 14, 2007 at 4:37 pm #

    Under normal circumstances it does not take a rocket scientist to understand that when people leave a company (or a state, or a country) then there is something wrong with the way that company (or state, or country) is being run.

    Our elected state officials, unfortunately, just don’t get it, and their replacements don’t seem to get it, either. They haven’t gotten it in 50 years, so it is *not* a generational problem. Rather, it is systemic. Like cancer.

    There are no easy cures to a systemic problem: Poison, fire, and amputation and other such drastic measures are almost exclusively applied. In a government sense this translates to uprisings and revolution. Unless we (and by “we” I’ll limit this discussion to Upstaters) are willing to stand up against the National Guard and state troopers I doubt that there is little successful action we can take against our state government. Ergo, more of the upstate population will simply flee.

    In a twisted sort of way this will eventually solve many problems for state legislators as Upstate is essentially eviscerated. Perhaps this is the plan all along.

    In another decade or so I will be starting to approach retirement, and at that point, I too, will seriously consider throwing in the towel and heading for a less demoralizing climate.

    BBD

  2. starbuck December 14, 2007 at 5:42 pm #

    What can we do to cajole our state legislators to take seriously the problems that face Western New York and upstate, and enact the sorts of political changes that might help spur economic and population growth?

    I think root cause of the problems are that most legislators really do philosphically represent how NYS voters think and feel.

    Even if you could cajole legislators into “taking seriously” the problems facing WNY, they really think and feel the solutions are more government spending and/or puny tiny symbolic tax cuts less than 1 or 2% of the budget. Even what Unshackle Upstate asked for a few days ago is a very small set of reforms and tax cuts. Around half a billion while state spending zoomed up about 10 billion last year right? (about 8 or 9 % of 110B budget)? And they no longer even request Wicks Law changes. Sounds like they’ve given up and are jsut going along to get along and keep good relations with the Big 3.

    What can we do to get Spitzer to be less of a broken-down steamroller and more like a persuasive consensus-builder?

    Again, problem would be his consensus with Silver and Bruno would jsut as likely result in them agreeing more often to do what they thing is good but what really is bad.

    As counter-intuitive as it might be, harsh backbiting gridlock among those 3 guys might slow rate of spending growth this year.

    Even though he’d never ever have chance of winning, Faso’s agenda in the last election for real reforms and tax cuts are the only thing I can think of with decnt chance to move us in better direction of state-by-state business environment rankings.

  3. starbuck December 14, 2007 at 5:49 pm #

    BTW, might want to ask your web designer to fix your stylesheet to get rid of those “1.”s to left of each comment. Probably that would be a 5 second fix.

    While at it, he or she might want to take a few more seconds to add blank line below each comment for a little whitespace before next comment starts.

    Lot easier to fix CSS than NYS.

  4. N December 14, 2007 at 8:48 pm #

    The New Yorker actually ran a great article about Spitzer last week. You can read it here.

  5. BobbyCat December 15, 2007 at 7:10 am #

    I’m having trouble comprehending this site. I don’t want to sound like some stuffy english teacher (I’m not) but I think you are ignoring the fundamentals of journalism. A short list:

    *Photos without captions. I don’t know what I’m looking at. Eg: a photo of an un-named downtown city. Was I supposed to KNOW it was Boston or was I to guess?

    *The 5’s are missing. I can’t figure out what the story line is about.

    * Too many cryptic references. It’s fine to use hip language – until you lose the reader. Eg: What is a ‘shovel-ready bog”? I know what a shovel -ready site is…but…I don’t get that, and a hundred other references.

    *The layout is uncomfortable to look at, at least to my eyes.

    * The tone is up to you, of course. But has it become more confrontational or harsh?

  6. BobbyCat December 15, 2007 at 7:12 am #

    I’m having trouble comprehending this site. I don’t want to sound like some stuffy english teacher (I’m not) but I think you are ignoring the fundamentals of journalism. A short list:

    *Photos without captions. I don’t know what I’m looking at. Eg: a photo of an un-named downtown city. Was I supposed to KNOW it was Boston or was I to guess?

    *The 5’s are missing. I can’t figure out what the story line is about.

    * Too many cryptic references. It’s fine to use hip language – until you lose the reader. Eg: What is a ‘shovel-ready bog”? I know what a shovel -ready site is…but…I don’t get that, and a hundred other references.

    *The layout is uncomfortable to look at, at least to my eyes.

    * The tone is up to you, of course. But has it become more confrontational or harsh or angry?

    I’m trying to be constructive here.

    best…

  7. jen December 15, 2007 at 10:16 am #

    I too, have wondered about the “1s” to the side of the comments. Is that a placeholder for a future comment rating system?

    A line break between comments would be helpful and maybe moving the user’s name after the time stamp/date would help clarify who said what.

    I am sure BP will correct me, but I think “shovel-ready blog” is a joke; a wink and a nod to politicos clearing industrial land in hopes that someone will build something there.

  8. starbuck December 15, 2007 at 6:34 pm #

    I think shovel-ready means he realizes some readers might compare his blogging to the stuff shoveled away from horse barns and places like that.

    The layout would benefit from a little blank space between comments, and some visual difference between the comments and the rest of the page. A very light shade of something as background for comments, for example. The Buffalo News blogs effectively use some light shades or grey and tan. BRO uses light yellow. Anytyhing like that.

    The blue lettering is a big improvement over previous bright green. I might make is a slightly darker shade of blue is all.

    Looks to me those “1.”s are caused by an ordered list “ol” HTML element. Probably that wasn’t intended by the web designer. An unordered list “ul” could be used instead which would reove the “1.”s but would put a bullet/dot in its place by default and also look strange. The CSS style can easily be edited to have neither, and that’s probably what was intended.

  9. Buffalopundit December 15, 2007 at 7:34 pm #

    *Photos without captions. I don’t know what I’m looking at. Eg: a photo of an un-named downtown city. Was I supposed to KNOW it was Boston or was I to guess?

    I never use captions. They’re inconvenient to use, and seldom matter. Remember – this isn’t a journalism site. It’s a blog. I sometimes post pics, sometimes don’t. But when I do they’re somehow relevant or at least funny or ironic. The photo was of Boston, but so what? It showed a big city with new development that had an elevated expressway going down it. It wouldn’t have mattered if it was Boston or Hong Kong.

    *The 5’s are missing. I can’t figure out what the story line is about.

    I don’t know what you’re talking about. What 5’s?

    * Too many cryptic references. It’s fine to use hip language – until you lose the reader. Eg: What is a ’shovel-ready bog”? I know what a shovel -ready site is…but…I don’t get that, and a hundred other references.

    A Google search will vet some of the cryptic references. I’ve jokingly referred to this as a “shovel-ready” blog for many years – it predated the former, black template – because the phrase “shovel-ready” is just funny to me.

    *The layout is uncomfortable to look at, at least to my eyes.

    It’s a big improvement over the last layout, and I guess we can’t please everyone. If there’s something more specific you can point to, let me know.

    * The tone is up to you, of course. But has it become more confrontational or harsh or angry?

    This is Buffalo. If you don’t get frustrated (or confrontational or angry) at times, you’re probably not paying close enough attention.

  10. Buffalopundit December 15, 2007 at 7:40 pm #

    Oh, and the 1s only show up (AFAIK) on Windows running IE. I haven’t seen them in Firefox, and never on a Mac. I forwarded Starbuck’s catch to our designer, so keep pointing stuff out. we’re paying attention & thanks.

  11. LC Scotty December 15, 2007 at 8:28 pm #

    I think the 5’s are the who, what, where, when and why that our “credentialed journalists” use with such efficacy to promote their agendas.

  12. Ben McD December 16, 2007 at 4:46 am #

    “What can we do to cajole our state legislators to take seriously the problems that face Western New York and upstate, and enact the sorts of political changes that might help spur economic and population growth?”

    Not re-elect them.

  13. Ben McD December 16, 2007 at 4:50 am #

    “I think root cause of the problems are that most legislators really do philosphically represent how NYS voters think and feel.”

    Nail on the head.

  14. Ben McD December 16, 2007 at 4:52 am #

    I’d like to change my previous response,

    “What can we do to cajole our state legislators to take seriously the problems that face Western New York and upstate, and enact the sorts of political changes that might help spur economic and population growth?”

    Change the voters.

  15. BobbyCat December 16, 2007 at 3:15 pm #

    Yes, the “5’s” are of course, the 5w’s. Sorry, my omission.

    Without them, well…need I explain? Ok, maybe I do. Without telling the reader WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN AND WHY every reader is in the dark, except a handful of insiders who can decifer the cyptic language, the abbreviations and acronyms. It becomes an insiders game.

    I can’t tell what I’m reading and I expect that most people can’t, as well.

    I have tried to read bloggers who are too cool to use puncuation. They are free to do as they wish, but goodbye to them.

    Never using captions is…[obviously] excluding most readers from getting the point.

    When I write something I want to communicate with the widest audience. I want everybody to understand it. Isn’t that the whole point of writing?

  16. starbuck December 16, 2007 at 5:32 pm #

    Yes, just noticed that using Firefox fixes both problems.

    A little blank space appears between comments, and numbers are shown near top of each comment and in order 1,2,3… rather than always being “1.” and showing up near bottom of every comment.

    Maybe the way Internet Explorer interprets the style definition is deficient in those ways, but still it’s worth adjusting the template to ensure it shows up closer to intended in both major browsers.

  17. starbuck December 16, 2007 at 5:44 pm #

    Ben is right, we’d need a need to import a new set of voters. Maybe import a few million from Tennessee and a few million from each of the Carolinas. And also export a few mil of the current ones, and then after all that there would finally be some real changes in direction.

    Otherwise it’s just a matter of personalities and appearances, with faces changing once in a while and rhetoric going through cooling and heating cycles. Only things that change are how well the tax/spend NYS Dems and the tax/spend NYS Reps are all getting along with each other at any moment in time. Major aspects of philosophies stay pretty much the same and are derived from the majority of voters over the long term.

  18. starbuck December 16, 2007 at 5:48 pm #

    Or did Ben mean “change the voters” by getting them to change their thinking? That would work too, but sounds very unlikely. The ones I know are pretty stubborn.

  19. Miles Berkedge December 18, 2007 at 4:52 pm #

    Why is Bruno a Republican? He tripped up Pataki to get more pork. Bruno opposed the war on Iraq, which is why Dick Cheney sicked the FBI on him. The Conservative Party in New York wants the GOP to loose the State Senate so the Conservatives will be the sole arbiter of the fate of the New York Right in Washington, just like they were in Pataki’s Albany thanks to Giuliani endorsing Cuomo.

Contribute To The Conversation

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: