State Senator Daniel Squadron delivered the “unfiltered” skinny on the state of the New York State Senate this week – and folks, it is not good.
“The legislature is an embarrassment,” Squadron told the Cobble Hill Association at Christ Church on February 11. “Officials are more likely to be indicted or die in office than to be voted out.”
The freshman legislator representing the 25th District partly ran on a platform of rules reform.
Sadly, Squadron’s initial efforts to smash through “Planet Albany’s” stubborn calcification have largely been unsuccessful.
“The culture [in Albany] has to change,” Squadron lamented.
Just a day after meeting with Cobble Hill residents, Governor David Paterson signed a piece of legislation that Squadron helped author called the “Bruno Gap” bill.
“In Albany, the struggle for reform is slow, and true steps forward are rare,” Squadron said in a press release.“That’s why I am pleased that today Governor Paterson signed into law the bill I wrote with Speaker Sheldon Silver to close the “Bruno Gap” in state ethics law, making it illegal for a public officer to use government resources for outside, for-profit business.”
The “Bruno Gap” refers to ex-Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno and his guilty conviction last year on two countsof felony corruption charges.
“The fact is, despite all the talk of the last months, this is the first ethics reform that has become law. I urge Governor Paterson to work with the Senate and Assembly to quickly reach agreement on a comprehensive ethics reform package that will actually become law,” Squadron said. “If the commitment to ethics reform ends with today’s bill-signing, it will be more Albany business-as-usual, and a step backward for state government.”
On February 9. the legislature voted to eject State Senator Hiram Monserrate, following the Queens representative’s conviction of misdemeanor assault on his girlfriend.
Squadron told the Cobble Hill Association that a “poisonous” mix of factors still plagues the state capital.
“I wish I could say thatour toughest days were behind us,” Squadron said.
To truly remedy all that plaques Albany, Squadron urged neighbors to take a more active role in electoral politics.
“A lot of folks have not focused on the state,” Squadron said. “It falls into a void. Such a small number of people decide state elections. People don’t think about boring reform, but it has a huge impact on our lives.”
In addition to changing the way Albany operates, Squadron said he supports mayoral control of the city schools but would like to see more input from parents and a move toward “longitudinal testing.”
Admitting that he once owned a bar/restaurant, the reform-minded legislator nevertheless said that being a state senator is the hardest job he’s ever had.
February 11’s “roundtable” with Daniel Squadron was the second in a new ongoing series with local elected officials sponsored by the Cobble Hill Association.