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Good Government

The Brian Lehrer Show

Grading State Corruption: New Jersey Scores Best?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

In a new report that grades every state by transparency and corruption, New York ranks 36th and New Jersey is ranked as the least-corrupt state in the nation. WNYC reporters Cindy Rodriguez and Bob Hennelly discuss the findings, the (somewhat flawed) methodology, and what's important when it comes to measuring corruption.

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The Empire

Good gov coalition drops 'nonpartisan' from redistricting lingo

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

[Note: NYPIRG's Bill Mahoney left a response in the comments section in reaction to my post. I've added his comments to the very end as a rebuttal.]

Or The Life Cycle of Political Reform

It seems like a well rehearsed script by now:

1. Some insidery government operation is about to get under way, full of anticipated opaque backroom dealings and partisan manipulations.

2. Good government groups, and the political opposition, make a tremendous noise about fairness, openness, and a government for, of, and by the people.

3. The insidery government operation makes noise about doing the right thing. Then they go about doing exactly what everyone was scared they'd do.

4. The political opposition screams bloody murder. And good government groups walk back their rhetoric, talk of compromise, and figure out how to be on the same stage as the insidery government operation folks when the deal gets signed.

The script is entering its fourth and final act for the state's redistricting process. After telling everyone they were interested in fairness and doing things transparently, Senate Republicans--aided and abetted by their colleagues in the Assembly's Democratic majority--last Friday surreptitiously revealed the final piece in the puzzle that will help to keep them in the majority.

This, despite being decisively in the minority when it comes to voter registration. In fact, there are more people now enrolled in no party than enrolled in the Republican Party. Likewise, across the state, Democratic Senate candidates, taken as whole, got almost 500,000 votes than their collective counterparts in the last Senate election cycle.

These are just facts.

But so is this: unless Governor Andrew Cuomo or a judge intervenes, New York's State Senate will have 63 seats next year, and they will be drawn in such a way as to protect the minority majority Senate Republicans.

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The Empire

Headline: News media blasts Machiavellian Cuomo, public checks wallets

Friday, December 09, 2011

Just wanted to highlight something that, in my opinion, is an important reality that the press deals with when covering the Cuomo administration. The tax reform blitzkrieg the Governor waged in Albany this week drew cries of opaqueness and hypocrisy from the press throughout the state.

But as Capital New York's superlatively special correspondent Jimmy Vielkind points out in a Q-and-A with Capital's editor and co-founder Josh Benson, the view from the ground is much nicer than among the airy media class.

Josh: ...The way this deal got done is about as far from Cuomo's stated ideal of transparency as it's possible to be. It makes a mockery of that particular pledge, actually.

But it happened fast. If the governor's calculation here was that the press and some legislators would scream about the lack of deliberation but that the public wouldn't care at all about the process angle, was he wrong? I mean, I ask this with an appropriately heavy heart and all, but have you seen any polls indicating that what people really want from Albany is more deliberation?

Jimmy: No. Our hearts can weigh heavy, but the polls won't capture it.

What people at home will see are a slight decrease in their taxes. They'll see reports of a federal government on the verge of shutdown. They'll see their stock portfolios suffer as the federal credit rating is downgraded. And then for once, after years of seeing their state government stalemated, they see ... stuff getting done.

You can check out the rest of the exchange here.

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