I was ready for the recent senate standoff in Albany. After all, I spent ten years in Rhode Island, one of the most corrupt states in the union, before returning to my native New York in 2002.
Rhode Island, the so-called biggest little state, prepped me for the charade of state governance in ways well-beyond the headlines of former Providence Mayor Vincent A. ("Buddy) Cianci's 50-month incarceration. Although one can't help draw a comparison to Mayor Cianci's earlier legal problems and New York's newly-minted Republican state Senator Hiram Monserrate's indictment this spring on charges of slashing his female companion with a broken glass.
Of course there is one major difference: Monserrate actually gained power after his indictment, while Cianci was forced to resign as Mayor in 1984, in the wake of his felony conviction for beating the crap out of a man he believed was having an affair with his then-estranged wife. Buddy later won reelection as Mayor (Providence residents are a most forgiving electorate) but in 2002, Cianci was convicted of racketeering conspiracy, imprisoned and was once again forced to give up his office.
Rhode Island's state government is akin to New York's in that its local politicians always seem more intent on retaining their little slivers of power than concentrating on the massive issues at hand. With NY state unemployment at a sixteen-year high, it's an embarrassment that the children in Albany are dithering about in their sandbox. Are there any grownups in the state? Does anyone want to create a coordinated effort to go after federal stimulus dollars?
As New York faces enormous financial pressures in the post-credit crash recession, it's no longer amusing to watch the clown act anymore.
Coincidentally, this photo was taken in ALBANY, NY in 1934, amid the Great Depression. The new caption should read: "New York State Senate Circus Act, June, 2009".
Image by Flickr User Photos o' Randomness, cc 2.0