The Times Overreaches

Sheldon Silver

In a Saturday editorial stating its endorsements for the September 14 primary, the New York Times dismisses the New York State Assembly altogether:

“In the Assembly, there are not enough real contests. And in New York, that means one thing: the Democratic Party has given some of Albany’s worst legislators a free ride. Here’s the only solution: vote against the incumbents.”

Some people disagree. Here’s a letter submitted to the Times by our colleague, Carol Ann Rinzler:

“To the editor:

“At a time when the Republicans in Washington are planning to shut down the government if they achieve a majority in the November elections and three Democrats in Albany were able to wreak chaos in the legislature, it is at best irresponsible and at worst dangerous to fail to distinguish the competent and intelligent from the mob and to say, as you did of the Assembly, ‘Here’s the only solution: vote against the incumbents.'”

“As the author of more than 20 books on health, I am both professionally and personally grateful to the Assembly Health Committee chaired by Richard Gottfried for its work this last session in protecting the medical rights of New Yorkers, beginning with the passage of the Family Health Care Decisions Act which makes it possible for a patient’s family member to make health care decisions when the patient is does not have capacity to do so and has not signed a health care proxy.  This bill, passed in the State Senate thanks to Tom Duane and signed by the governor, will in the future spare parents the agony my late husband and I endured when our adult son was hospitalized without having signed a health care proxy.”

“I am appending a partial list of the health care bills passed by both the Assembly and Senate and signed into law by the governor, as well as those awaiting the governor’s signature, and those vetoed by the governor.”

“Despite the dreadful behavior of some miscreants in Albany, the men and women who did this work deserve your praise, not your sneering dismissal.”

Carol Ann Rinzler

Why does the Times dismiss the Assembly? With the 1989 charter having given the mayor all the cards in NYC, the State Assembly is the only effective brake on Mike Bloomberg’s excesses. Examples: Dan Doctoroff’s Hudson Yards West Side Stadium debacle and Joel Klein’s drive to get Albany to raise the charter schools cap without any restrictions.

Next time you see the Times, the News, or the Post calling Albany “dysfunctional,” keep in mind that they, like Mike Bloomberg, would like to see NYC autonomous and free of Albany’s restraints. How better to build public support for that but to tear Albany down?

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