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Short Takes – August 1, 2010

August 1, 2010

We’re hearing that Wednesday is the day when both houses will return and the state budget will finally be resolved. The Senate will pass the revenue bill with amendments that have been worked out with the Assembly. Supposedly it’s FMAP, and some manner of SUNY Flex and maybe one or two other things.  Sooooo, barring a blow up, the state will miss setting the record for the latest budget ever by a few days. That’s not exactly an accomplishment, but you’ll probably hear some lawmakers saying it as if it were. 

 In a previous post, we reflected on the lost art of enterprise reporting. With only a few exceptions (Times, Newsday, Times Union and Gannett) there’s no sustained effort to dig and do in-depth work. The Times Union is the most consistent at it. (See its Sunday banner story on state audits that are being called into question.) There’s something truly commendable about the TU: Unlike most other papers, it still has a firm two-source rule, meaning they won’t just run with a story unless it can be corroborated by someone else, preferably an independent person. Through the years, the TU has been beaten by other larger publications because of this rule, but the paper, to its credit, still abides by it and does quite well. 

Two major publications – New York magazine and the NY Times — are supposed to come out with in-depth profiles of Andrew Cuomo soon. These are stories that apparently have been months in the making. As Cuomo-ologists, we’re hoping for a new storyline, something other than the typical stuff about his competitive relationship with his famous father,  the end of his storybook marriage, his stumbles and comeback. We want to know what this guy really believes in. In his own words, what’s the new Cuomo-ism all about? 

By comparison to the last several years, the Pataki era isn’t looking that bad. No, he wasn’t a dynamic guy. Yes, political expedience trumped everything else. And yeah, he really ran out of gas toward the end. But if nothing else, he and his people were steady, and that quality is looking damn good right now. Having said that, there’s something about Pataki that we find truly disturbing. We’re informed that he had refused to provide official documents concerning his administration to the State Archives so the materials can be preserved for posterity.  This specific situation is impetus for a new bill that would require the transfer of such documents at the end of each governor’s tenure. It seems crazy that such a bill is necessary, but it apparently is.

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