Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Pataki's Promises of Change Yielded to Custom and Delay

The New York Times
January 5, 2005
Pataki's Promises of Change Yielded to Custom and Delay

ALBANY, Jan. 4 - It was 10 years ago this week that Gov. George E. Pataki, a little-known Republican state lawmaker who had just defeated Mario M. Cuomo, used his first annual address to the Legislature to call for a revolution in state government.

Starting with him, he said, New York's governors should be limited to two terms in office. He insisted that the budget should be passed on time. He called for a new spirit of cooperation and bipartisanship with the Legislature, praising the Democratic speaker of the Assembly, Sheldon Silver, as "a good leader" who "has a proven record of putting principle ahead of politics." And he vowed to end the state's "back-room budget making," telling the assembled lawmakers that "the door to this governor's office is always open to each and every one of you."

A decade later, as Mr. Pataki prepares to deliver his 11th annual address to the Legislature on Wednesday, it is safe to say that the revolution has not exactly proceeded as planned.

The former proponent of term limits is now midway through his third term and is toying with the idea of seeking a fourth. The budget has not been adopted on time since he took office, and the last one was the latest yet. Tensions between the governor and the Legislature have continually erupted into political battles and even lawsuits.

The same three men who controlled the fate of all legislation 10 years ago - Mr. Pataki, Mr. Silver, and Joseph. L Bruno, the Senate majority leader - still have the same strong grip over the state. As for the governor's open door, his whole wing on the second floor of the Capitol has long been blocked off by a glass door guarded by a state trooper. The wing is known as "Fort Pataki."

Full article at: