Spitzer- Bruno Feud Will Have Lingering Effect
Every day that the childish feud between Governor Eliot Spitzer and state Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno continues, the more certain it is that if the governor is not successful in ending Bruno's reign in next year's elections, the Albany government apparatus will be stalemated for the next three years, at a minimum.
The name-calling and physical threats have already affected the normal functions of government as the senate has refused to hold confirmation hearings on two Spitzer appointments.
Besides that, Bruno has flatly refused to meet with the governor, who had asked that a meeting be held in Albany yesterday perhaps to start untangling his and Bruno's differences and put the vicious feud behind them.
When asked when Bruno might be ready to sit down and talk with the chief executive, a Bruno spokesman responded: "[The governor's representatives] can hold their breath as far as we're concerned. [Bruno has] told the governor he's not going to meet privately with him."
Not even Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has had any luck trying to mediate the dispute between Spitzer and Bruno his equal partners in running the state government.
Bruno's position has hardened under an onslaught of alleged threats both physical and political by the governor against the 78-year-old, 31-year veteran upstate public official.
Bruno, a one-time amateur boxer, has expertly counterpunched and defended himself against the governor's insults and appears to have gained public sympathy from the battle with Spitzer.
Amid all the brickbats being flung by both sides, Mayor Michael Bloomberg assured Bruno and the Republican majority in the senate last week that his recent withdrawal from the Republican Party to become a registered independent voter would in no way affect his support for Bruno and the GOP controlled senate.
Although the mayor declared war
against the Republican senators
last year as part of his strategy
to get them to vote for New
York City school funding,
last week a
stated, "Time after time
over the last six years, the
state senate has been extraordinarily
helpful to us," explaining why the mayor promised continued future support.
A major reason for the mayor's assurances of support at this juncture is that Bruno and the GOP-controlled senate are backing his controversial congestion pricing plan and may bring it up for a vote when the senate reconvenes next Monday in Albany.
However, it is not known whether Silver will call the Democrat-controlled Assembly back into session. From all appearances, it seems unlikely that Silver and the Democrats will vote to approve the mayor's plan without major changes, and may not vote on it anyway, even if the mayor agrees to the changes.
MAYOR PROMISES PADAVAN CONTINUED SUPPORT: Even before Bloomberg reassured Republican state senators of his future support, he had reached out to Senator Frank Padavan (R- C, Bellerose) to promise his backing in future elections as he had in the past.
Padavan, who will probably get a strong challenge next year as the Democrats try to take control of the senate, said the mayor had called him several days after the legislative session ended several weeks ago and offered his future support.
In his election challenge in 2006 Padavan revealed, the mayor had sent out letters of support for the Northeast Queens veteran incumbent and also recorded phone messages backing him. The mayor's efforts, he said, were "enormously helpful".
WEINER SETS 'LIBERTY' FIGHT PLAN: Congressmember Anthony Weiner will introduce legislation this week that would require the National Park Service to allow visitors to have access to the Statue of Liberty's crown. The crown has been closed since the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Since access to the crown was closed, Weiner (D- Queens/Brooklyn) has maintained that the reopening was necessary to show the world that America had survived the attacks and was back to normal.
The lawmaker said last week that the reopening was "symbolic of America and American values" and that it would bring back the visitors New York City had lost since the 9/11 attack forced the closing of the statue.
Once his legislation is filed, Weiner said he plans to call National Park Service officials to a committee hearing and have them explain why they have repeatedly refused to open the statue's crown.
NEW WOES FOR HEVESI? A report earlier this week indicated that investigations of possible conflicts of interest in the state comptroller's office during Alan Hevesi's tenure could draw criminal charges.
Others who may be caught up in the findings, a Daily News story said, were Hevesi's Forest Hills confidante, Jack Chartier, and his long-time political associate and consultant Hank Morris.
Chartier, whose political association with Hevesi dates back about 20 years, had previously come under fire for allegedly providing actress Peggy Lipton with chauffeur service by a state employee, similar to the charges which ended Hevesi's career in public service.
The present probes of the comptroller's office under Hevesi are being conducted by state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and Albany District Attorney David Soares, who spearheaded the Hevesi investigation.
MAYERSOHN'S RAPE/HIV BILL PASSES: A bill which allows a rape victim to receive an HIV test of her alleged assailant after he is indicted, sponsored by Assemblymember Nettie Mayersohn (D- Flushing), has passed both houses of the legislature and is now being considered by Governor Eliot Spitzer.
The governor has been supportive of the measure and is expected to sign it into law. The bill permits a judge to order an HIV test of an accused rapist within 48 hours of an indictment. Mayersohn said this is particularly urgent when the person requesting the testing could have been exposed to blood or bodily fluids of the defendant during the rape.
MONSERRATE APPLAUDS DHS ACTION: Action by the federal Department of Homeland Security (DHS) granting legal residency to Yardelin Hiraldo, wife of a soldier missing in action, was applauded by Councilmember Hiram Monserrate (D- Corona).
Monserrate, in whose district MIA serviceman Army Specialist Alex Jiminez- Duran resides, stated, "On behalf of our entire community I want to thank the [Department] of Homeland Security for their diligence and compassion in resolving this matter. They have brought some measure of relief for the Jiminez- Duran family. Now, as opposed to worrying about deportation proceedings against Alex's wife, the family can focus on their ongoing prayer vigil for his safe return."