A sensible response to the news of City Councilman Larry Seabrook's indictment on charges of money laundering, extortion, and fraud would be to call for more transparency and accountability in the way that the Council uses its discretionary funds. Another City Councilman, Miguel Martinez, pleaded guilty in July to charges associated with the discretionary funds. Clearly, the process needs reform, and the City Council should move as quickly as possible to prevent the same story from playing out again.
But after reading "The Scam behind the Scam" I was stuck by the sheer audacity of the editorial page of the New York Post. The editorial begins by simply assuming every single member of the City Council is corrupt.
Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly -- and New York City councilmen, it appears, have to stuff their pockets with taxpayer cash.
And the Post, it appears, gotta be hysterical.
The Post then goes on to uncover what it believes is the root cause of corruption in city government: "the grievance-mongering of New York's professional activists." In an exercise of absurd logic, the Post blames a recent court ruling on the FDNY's hiring practices for some of Seabrook's improper acts. The only problem is: there is absolutely no connection between the two.
Next, the Post goes after a community benefits agreement that was part of the city's subsidy deal with the Yankees. The agreement's goal was to ensure that as much of the new stadium's construction work as possible went to local Bronx businesses, instead of contractors outside the city or even the state, in order to create community benefits from the project.
But this agreement had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Seabrook solicited $50,000 from a contractor in exchange for the contract to install boilers at Yankee Stadium.
I wholly expected the Post to blame the bagel industry next. After all, Seabrook was also caught manipulating a $7 receipt at a bagel shop in order to be reimbursed $177.