We've addressed our concern with the State Assembly, Senate and Governor's office all being controlled by one party. Unfortunately, it is often sloughed off as political rhetoric, and not a legitimate concern. So when we came across this New York Times editorial, we thought it may be of interest. Here it is in its entirety:
March 8, 2008
A One-Party New York State
Democrats in New York are only one Senate election away from full control of state government. This could be a chance for one party finally to break the gridlock and start getting things done. In Albany, however, the idea of one party in total control, even a party with many promising goals, should stir great public concern.
It would be tempting to bid good riddance to the Republicans who have held power in the state. Senate Leader Joseph Bruno, who is under investigation by federal agents, has long held fast to business as usual. Rather than work to reform the way campaigns are financed, for example, he mocks the very idea.
The trouble is, the Democrats need a counterweight. The ideal way to achieve that would be for moderate Republicans to adopt a mop and a broom as official symbols and become the party of reform. They could vow to clean up campaign finance and put in place tough new rules about legislators’ outside employment.
Democrats, of course, argue that they are the reform party. But as Danny Hakim reported in The Times recently, Gov. Eliot Spitzer, while standing firm on his promise to cap contributions to his own campaign at $10,000, has routed larger dollops of campaign money to the state Democratic Party, which he also controls. That party money was essential to the Democrats taking a Senate seat last month in a strong Republican area upstate.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, the state’s other top-ranking Democrat, has chosen a member of his law firm to lead a state panel that chooses judges. He also refuses to disclose the details of how much he earns as a lawyer and who his clients are. Neither official has broken laws, but if the Democrats want voters to hand them one-party rule in November, they need to earn it.
That means upgrading the rules on ethics and elections. The governor should urge the Legislature to create a nonpartisan legislative redistricting commission, like the one Iowa uses. Fair mapmaking is a fundamental route to better government. New York is also long overdue for campaign finance reform. It needs a system with public financing, tighter limits on contributions and more transparency on reporting.
One-party rule in Albany could mean that important bills — on such issues as civil liberties and gay rights — long blocked by Republicans will become law. But giving one party so much power would require a leap of faith by voters. Now is the time for Democrats to show that this faith would be well placed.