Monday, December 8, 2008

Who Runs New York?

The buzz around the city and state today is that JFK's daughter, Caroline Kennedy, might get appointed to fill Hillary Clinton's senate seat. Obviously the idea of putting the daughter of one of our most beloved presidents as our senator is kind of irresistible (I mean ... she's friggin' JFK's daughter) but I don't really think she's paid her dues in public service yet. Besides, she hasn't been tested in the public arena yet and going right into the senate might be too big a leap. Remember, she'll have to run in 2010 and 2012 and raise a LOT of money. Not sure if she's the right choice but I could be wrong. We shall see.

Certainly no one envies Governor Patterson this decision. He's bound to disappoint someone -- if not just about everyone besides the person who finally gets the seat. Stay tuned.

And here in New York, control of the state senate has finally been decided. Some rogue Democrats agreed to some bizarre deal with Malcolm Smith who will now become the first Democratic State Senate Majority leader in decades. Many are grumbling about this deal but, for now, the Democrats have complete control of New York State. Let's hope absolute power won't corrupt absolutely. We've had enough of that!

Finally, The New York Times today asks a great question: just who has real power in New York today? No one really. There used to be a number of people in this city and state who wielded great influence and Got Things Done: political bosses like Carmine De Sapio and Ed Flynn, Governors like Rockefeller, labor leaders like Victor Gotbaum and Albert Shanker, Mayors like LaGuardia and Wagner, and public officials like Robert Moses. They transformed New York in was inconceivable today. And those days are long, long over. Witness the hole at Ground Zero more than seven years after 9/11 and the state's rotting infrastructure. The problem is that our public institutions have gotten so decentralized and our government so complex that no one has that much power over anything to get things done.

I guess that closest we have to a real power broker these days is Mayor Bloomberg, and that has more to do with his money than anything else. Money, of course, rules everything.


  1. Nice blog. :) Happened to wander by when going thru a bunch of random blogs. I like what you have here. Keep up the good work!

  2. Thanks so much! You got a great blog too!

  3. Better Caroline Kennedy than Fran Drescher!


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