With the political implosion of Governor Paterson; with New York economy reeling; with a State budget deficit of $8.2 billion; with a State where no one has confidence in our government's ability to get anything done or get anything done right, it's time to call for a time out.
David Paterson should cede the gubernatorial reigns to Richard Ravitch. And then, both the Democratic and Republicans parties should announce that they will cross-endorse Richard Ravitch to be Governor of New York State -- not just through the end of this year -- but for the following four. At 77 years old, Ravitch doesn't want or need this. But we need Governor Ravitch now. He's the adult in the room. Ravitch has the gravitas, trust and respect of elected officials from both parties. And we need him to pony up for one term for the next four years to salvage the New York ship of state which is in a state of crisis, economically, structurally and politically. He should be a nonpartisan governor, and immediately call for a nonpartisan constitutional convention. The convention's primary piece of business should be to discard our bicameral legislature, and in lieu, adopt and construct a one-house nonpartisan state legislative body. This can no longer be viewed as some absurd pie in the sky notion -- but the beginning of a path to restore trust in New York State government. There's no rational reason to have two legislative houses in New York State government.
Richard Ravitch has a storied and serious background. In many ways he was responsible for seeding the rebirth of New York City in the 1970s and 1980s that bore fruit. Heading and revitalizing the Urban Development Corporation and then the MTA, Ravitch had almost as much of an impact on the physical and fiscal revitalization of New York as Robert Moses had earlier last century -- but without the arrogance of power. He's a realist -- and we're already hearing bipartisan calls for Governor Paterson to hand off the budget football to Ravitch now. The other announced pretenders for Governor, Andrew Cuomo and Rick Lazio, are dwarfed by Ravitch. And even better, Ravitch doesn't want the job or need it. That's why we need Governor Ravitch now more than ever.