THE BLOG
08/20/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Shameful Shysters

Chronicling the self-serving travesty that unfolds daily in Albany can become a tiresome task. Reading about the problem is not a gratifying activity, but if we are ever to escape our bonds, we must know what is going on. Just don't shoot, or ignore, the messenger.

What does a concerned blogger do when every day brings fresh reports of actions which clearly reflect personal rather than public interests? If one wants to keep his readers informed, he must continue to plow through the garbage, pointing out the most noisome tidbits. At the same time, one should think of ways to effect change.

One problem is that people we choose as agents of change themselves change when they acquire a smidgen of authority or influence. Like Oliver Twist, they want more.

Guilty as Charged, But Who Else is Tapping the Till?

The News gave the downfall of Miguel Martinez most of its front page. The headline on the wood: "ROBBIN' HOOD." A black box on page one carries the message "SLUSH FUND SCANDAL, WHO'S NEXT?" A large headline topping pages 2 and 3 reads, "I'M THIEVING PIG, POL ADMITS." The pages contain charts of where the money came from and past Daily News headlines about the investigation. The story is reported by Thomas Zambito, Robert Gearty and Greg B. Smith, who are members of the News I-Team, which conducts investigations for the newspaper.

The News' editorial today, "STOP THE THIEVES," includes these points: "Some people are just determined thieves. The question for the Council, most notably for Speaker Christine Quinn: Why make it easy for them? Martinez' pocket-lining is an example of how corruption-prone the Council's system of doling out so-called member items has become. Each lawmaker gets money every year to give to favorite groups under the loosest of controls."

"No surprise, many of these pork-barrel grants go to organizations with ties to friends or family of the members... Last year, amid a phantom grant scandal, Quinn and colleagues David Yassky and Dan Garodnick proposed ending member items. The 48 other Council members killed the plan. It's time for Quinn to try again. End all member items."