Monthly Archives: June 2009

Senator Johnny Explains It All For You

Hey kids! Have you heard about the trouble at the State Senate? Is it making your mom and dad confused? Would you like to learn more about how your state government and democracy works? Don’t worry… Johnny the Friendly Senator is here to explain it all for you. Gather round, children, and come sit on Senator Johnny’s knee!

The Roberts School student council happened to be in the Senate gallery on Monday when the coup unfolded. (They were there on a field trip to watch democracy inaction.) John DeFrancisco visited the school this week to explain to them what happened…

After urging the children to read and greeting by name the granddaughter of former city councilor Bob Cecile (“you know who talked me into running for school board? Your grandfather …), DeFrancisco took the children through the background of Monday’s history maker…

“Sen. Smith, the so-called leader, wasn’t there,” DeFrancisco said. “They didn’t know what to do. Finally, they took a vote. It was 32-30. The appeal was accepted. They had to take up the resolution.”

Remember that old Star Trek episode with the orphaned children and “Gorgon the Friendly Angel”? Yeah, I’m remembering that too.

Meanwhile, he said, the coalition has been trying to do business but was thwarted Wednesday when they found the Senate chamber locked, and thwarted again Thursday because the secretary of the Senate had locked up needed paper work.

Thursday’s session was particularly unfair, as protesters were allowed near the chamber doors for the first time in Senate history, he said.

So, that’s the scoop, kids. Remember, protesting is un-democratic and just no fairs!

No more Upstate Guy

Wilmers quits ESDC (HT Buffalopundit)…

Just one year after becoming the state’s economic development czar, Robert Wilmers is stepping down from the post, the latest in a growing line-up of officials departing the Paterson administration.

Wilmers, who is also chairman of the Buffalo-based M&T Bank, made his resignation known in a letter to Paterson, a government official said on condition of anonymity.

With much fanfare and as a bow to upstate, Paterson tapped Wilmers last June to lead the state’s Empire State Development Corp. At the time, economic development organizations praised the choice, which raised some eyebrows because of the stinging criticism Wilmers has leveled over the years at the state government and its handling of upstate’s economic problems…

It is uncertain why Wilmers is leaving. But the agency has seen its share of infighting, sources have said in recent months, with tension between the various upstate and downstate offices of the department. A source said recently that Wilmers also has expressed frustration with the musical chairs among high-ranking officials in the governor’s office over the past year — making it difficult for the agency to get adequate attention at the Capitol.



ALBANY – Republicans seized control of the New York State Senate on Monday, in a stunning and sudden reversal of fortunes for the Democratic Party, which controlled the chamber for barely five months.

A raucous leadership fight erupted on the floor of the Senate around 3 p.m., with two Democrats, Pedro Espada Jr. of the Bronx and Hiram Monserrate of Queens, joining the 30 Senate Republicans in a motion that would displace Democrats as the party in control.It was a noisy and acrimonious scene on the floor of the Senate as Senator Thomas W. Libous, a Republican from Binghamton and the party’s deputy leader, shouted for a roll-call vote, while Democrats attempted to stall the vote by asking to adjourn the session.

From Liz Benjamin at the Daily News:

An observer in the Senate chamber tells me Skelos was sitting in Smith’s chair with a BIG smile on his face and Smith was nowhere to be seen. The chamber has now emptied out and Republicans are talking about electing themselves to committee chairmanships.

Run, do not walk, to The Albany Project for more.

Updated: Coup not finalized? Yes, the Republicans and Democrats are busy fighting over custody of Hiram “The Slasher” Monserrate.

Also: Spitzer, who won’t go away, is loving the chaos and says it is good for us.

Grownups’ State

John DeFrancisco can spin the coup as “necessary for reform” all he wants, but in the end it was all about personal power and perks.

If anyone with money can set up their own government in New York, people without money should be able to do it as well. I mean, anything goes now, right? I used to be fascinated by the Boys’ State concept of learning about government, where you elect a mock legislative body. Call me crazy but I don’t think it would be a bad project for serious New York adults of all political persuasions and party affiliations. Call it Grownups’ State. Starting with the imperfect laws and rules we have now — or even the new ones just instituted by the Republicans — the idea would be to convene a new Senate, pass bills, make decisions on allocating funds, and then (to avoid diverging too much from “reality”) wipe the slate clean and start over again the next year. Eventually you will have a pool of people who have knowledge of how the legislature functions, and if the project gained credibility you could ask business and community leaders to interact with the decision-making process. (To keep Grownups’ State honest, you’d need media of course, and that’s where laid-off TV and newspaper reporters come in.)

Yes, it’s a shadow government concept. Why not? If a handful of “public” servants can devise a secret Senate takeover plan in an Albany bar, and then proclaim it legitimate, I suppose ordinary citizens can do the same. Enough with government watchdog groups: be the government. Then when every last crook in Albany — and their new friends — have lost all credibility, you’ll (theoretically) have a credible government of citizens ready to be installed. Just like heroin addicts need to have their blood completely changed, it would be a total government replacement. (Maybe Grownups’ State will even have stolen some of their funders, too. “Hey, you never know.”)

If the problem is the people we have in government — many of whom have been there far too long and are far too corrupted by the company they keep — the experiment should produce different results. If the problem is New York’s form of government itself, this would also become apparent in the experiment.

I’ve already selected myself alternative state senator for the 50th District, so DeFrancisco should know that in the reality alternate to the status quo — which not even a lifer like him can escape — I’m in charge. (No one else is here yet at Grownups’ State, so I’m also declaring myself Alternative Senate Majority Leader.)

New marketing concept for Upstate NY

I watched part of ABC’s Earth 2100 last night. It struck me as this generation’s version of The Day After… soon to be distributed on DVD with study guides to cowering junior high school classes nationwide, although with wind farms and skyscraper-top gardens filling in for “duck and cover.”

In the end of the story, our heroine fights her way to the Promised Land… none other than the fabled, verdant lands of a Kunstleresque Upstate New York. By Jove, I think we have our marketing concept! “As seen on ABC’s Earth 2100… Upstate New York. Why wait for humanity’s collapse? Get YOUR piece of Upstate TODAY!”

(Looking for more dystopian visions? Check out Upstate 2050.)