When we think of the things we're thankful for, do you think anybody puts New York government on the list?
Nah. Creative types with a wide vision might pause to give thanks that Bernie Madoff is in jail and Bruce Springsteen is still touring. But nobody raises a glass on Thanksgiving to express gratitude for the City Council. Unless they happen to be City Council members.
Somebody has to do it. After a prolonged period of thought, herein lies my list of ten things to be thankful for (the public sector version).
- New York City voters. They had absolute perfect pitch when they re-elected Michael Bloomberg, but by such a surprisingly narrow margin. Few people outside the Bill Thompson family were prepared to argue that Thompson would have been better at the job. But now, when future mayors are tempted to break the two-term limit, they'll have to remind themselves that $100 million only got Bloomberg 51 percent of the vote.
- Bernie Kerik is not the head of Homeland Security.
- Gov. David Paterson. Post publisher Rupert Murdoch complained last week that since Paterson is blind and can't read Braille, he can't keep track of what's going on. However, the corruption trial of former Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno has demonstrated how much conflict of interest in Albany gets transacted during golf games. So while it's true we have a governor who can't read a policy paper, let's be grateful that we also have one who can't play golf.
- The corruption trial of Joe Bruno.
- Richard Ravitch. This is part of our settling-for-small-favors theme. Who'd have thought we'd sink so low that we'd be grateful New York has a lieutenant governor?
- Certain state senators. Whenever I write about that nefarious, misbegotten pack of losers, I always try to mention that there are exceptions. So let's be thankful for Democrats Liz Krueger, Eric Schneiderman and Dan Squadron. And on a bipartisan note, I'll add Republicans Betty Little and Kemp Hannon.
- The City Council ... has very little power.
- The fact that the subway service has managed to avoid being ruined.
- The city agencies that Mayor Bloomberg has really improved. And the 311 system.
- The New York reporters who continue, administration after administration, to point out that the Department of Buildings is hopeless.